The new-look Big Ten's 2011 spring meetings featured a host of newsworthy bits. The biggest and most important was the conference's announced proposal investigating the prospect of cost-of-attendance scholarships, which began a conversation on student-athlete welfare and competitive balance with massive implications for all of college athletics in the years to come.
Less exciting was the conference's debate on its new football championship game, the product of its post-realignment 12-team membership. Baked into that discussion was a parallel debate on the Big Ten conference basketball tournament. Should the conference postseason stay in Indianapolis? What about Chicago and its centralized legion of Big Ten fans? And did the conference really need to pick one site, anyway?
Both postseason questions were answered this weekend. The Big Ten's football title game will set its roots down in Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, which features the benefit, among others, of not being an outdoor stadium in Chicago in late fall. Basketball, meanwhile, took a more compromised approach. From ESPN's Adam Rittenberg:
The Big Ten also announced it will begin rotating its men's and women's basketball tournaments from 2013-16. The men's tournament will take place at the United Center in Chicago in 2013 and 2015, and at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in 2014 and 2016. The women's tournament will take place at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., in 2013 and 2015, and at Conseco Fieldhouse in 2014 and 2016. Conseco will host both the men's and women's tournaments in 2012.
It's hard to poke holes in that framework. Chicago-area fans who wouldn't make the trip to Indy -- and with Chicago's status as a huge post-Big Ten hiring hub, there are probably more of these people than you think -- can still get their conference tournament fix every other year. Meanwhile, the better-situated Indianapolis -- which has a host of hotels, bars and restaurants within walking distance of Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse -- gets to do its thing, too.
Some conferences like to stick with one obvious location for its conference tournaments. The Big Ten happens to have two. In a a way, everybody wins. Or, at the very least, no one loses.