Delany said Big Ten championship site best choice to create more research time

Published 12:08 am Sunday, August 15, 2010

SEATTLE — Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Saturday taking the conference’s first football championship game to Indianapolis was the easiest choice with little time to research other options.

Delany was at a downtown Seattle hotel on Saturday as Michigan faced the NCAA infractions committee for rules violations within the Wolverines football program. Delany declined to comment about the hearing during a lunch break.

But he was willing to talk about the conference’s decision that the 2011 championship game would be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

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“I wanted to get it accomplished so we could tell our television partner where it would be broadcast,” Delany said. “We know the people in Indianapolis, we know they have a great facility, we know they are teed up to have the Super Bowl in 2012 and I said to athletic directors, we’re not making this a long-term commitment. It makes a lot of logistical sense.”

Where the title game goes after 2011 is still for debate and evaluation. Delany said the conference intends to examine the locations for its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and the football championship game next spring when officials have time to tour a number of sites that have shown interest.

Delany said it’s possible all three could be together in a package deal, but athletic directors currently don’t have the time to examine all the options.

“We can go visit people who have interest and then make what I would say is a little more of a global decision about those three events,” he said.

The conference will split into divisions next year when Nebraska becomes the 12th member of the Big Ten. Delany said the athletic directors were very receptive to the core ideas of keeping competitive balance and holding onto rivalries, with geography a third factor but not as important as the first two.

Delany hopes the divisional alignments are solidified within a month.

“We’re making some progress,” he said.