Sunday, June 5, 2011

Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis

Today the Big Ten Office announced a short-term plan for the playing of their championships in football as well as men's and women's basketball. Indianpolis' Lucas Oil Field and Conseco Fieldhouse were up against Chicago's Soldier Field and United Center. Conference commissioner Jim Delaney announced the football title game will take place in Lucas Oil through 2015, while the basketball tournament will rotate between Indianapolis and Chicago in that time.

As a fan of Big Ten Football, I was hoping for the outdoor venue of Soldier Field. Football is meant to be played outdoors, and the conference takes pride in its history and tradition.They are proud of the many legends that have graced the gridiron while producing many great leaders...leaders that overcome difficult situations.

But the conference chose the indoors of Indy's newest sporting venue. The conference had a concern of the biggest game being affected by wintry weather conditions and stood behind continuity of one game site. Lucas Oil also guarantees playing the title game on a good playing surface, at night while securing prime time televisions rights.

But as a staff member who has visited both facilities, the Big Ten got this one right. I like the idea of playing the title game in the third largest TV market, in a stadium honoring the soldiers of the many wars. But Soldier Field is not the facility Lucas Oil Field is. For being so new, Soldier Field provides the worst shooting locations of all NFL stadiums. Lucas Oil may have the best. Our equipment staffs don't have to worry about taking warm-weather gear for coaches, staff and players. Each team's marching bands can take the field without worrying about tearing up the playing surface. And these are just a few of the reasons.

Perhaps by 2015 Soldier Field will be awarded the bid for the title game, but a game of this stature needs to be played in a facility worthy of the Big Ten title. The NFL hasn't considered Soldier Field as a possible site for a future Super Bowl, but it has already awarded Lucas Oil its for 2012. The Big Ten didn't need to follow the NFL's lead, but it too made the right choice.

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