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Indianapolis to host Big Ten football championship game

The Big Ten conference announced Sunday that the inaugural Big Ten football championship game will be held in Indianapolis.

After considering proposals from Indianapolis and Chicago, the conference’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors unanimously decided to play the first four editions of the Big Ten championship game, including the inaugural title game in December, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Lucas Oil Stadium, an indoor facility that can accommodate 63,000 spectators for football games, features an artificial playing surface. Chicago’s Soldier Field, the Windy City venue vying to host the title game, is an open-air stadium that holds 63,000 fans and features a natural grass field.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said the Big Ten considered weather and the comfort of the venues when choosing Lucas Oil Stadium.

“We know the weather changes (in the Midwest) in November,” Delany said. “The idea was that, you know, we could get consistency for planning for both teams if you knew the weather was gonna be pretty consistent. I would say it’s a fan aspect as well as a player’s aspect.”

Five Buckeyes, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, offensive lineman Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits. Former coach Jim Tressel resigned as OSU’s coach May 30.

Delany would not comment on whether he thought Ohio State would be eligible for December’s title game, but he did say OSU’s situation was difficult.

“It’s disappointing for (OSU) to be where it is,” Delany said. “Nobody can feel good about it. It’s not easy for Ohio State. It’s not easy for the Big Ten, but I have tremendous confidence in that program to be resilient, and to do the right thing and to re-establish themselves. For now, all we can do is wait for the facts to develop.”

The conference also announced that men’s and women’s Big Ten basketball tournaments will be held jointly at Chicago’s United Center, Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse and the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., for the next four years.

Chicago will host the men’s tournament in 2012–13 and 2014–15, and Indianapolis will host the men’s event in 2013–14 and 2015–16.

“Conseco (Fieldhouse) is not as big a stadium as the United Center, but it is one of the best stadiums in the country,” Delany said. “They do a heck of a job in Chicago, but, you know, Indianapolis, starting around 1980, has made this great commitment to not only amateur sports, but collegiate sports. They do a great job of hosting our fans.”

The Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held at the Sears Centre Arena in 2013 and 2015.

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