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Big Ten tourneys to remain in Indy

– The state of Indiana is set to maintain for years to come a large role in Big Ten postseason events.

Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium got a six-year extension to play host for the conference’s football title game through 2021.

The Big Ten also announced Thursday that its presidents and chancellors unanimously backed a continued use of the traditional model for the men’s basketball tournament, which calls for a yearly rotation between Indianapolis and Chicago.

In 2020 and 2022, the event is scheduled to take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, with Chicago’s United Center playing host in 2019 and 2021.

“We are proud and delighted to continue our partnership with the Big Ten,” Rick Fuson, chief operating officer of Pacers Sports and Entertainment, said in a statement. “At the conclusion of this agreement, the fieldhouse will have hosted 12 men’s tournaments in a 21-year span, far more than any other city.”

Sites for 2015 (United Center), 2016 (Bankers Life Fieldhouse) and 2017 (Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.) were already known, while the 2018 site has not been announced.

The league said Thursday that the women’s basketball tournament will be played in Indianapolis from 2017 to ’22. It was already scheduled there in 2016.

Indianapolis built an early tradition of playing host for women’s tournaments from 1994 to 1999 when they took place at Hinkle Fieldhouse as well as the since-destroyed RCA Dome and Market Square Arena.

In its 17-year history, the men’s tournament has never been played anywhere but Chicago or Indianapolis.

The Big Ten announced last month the trial run at the Verizon Center, and speculation had emerged that New York City’s Madison Square Garden might be a possibility, as well.

But Thursday’s announcement solidified the league’s main footprint will be in the Midwest.

Lucas Oil Stadium has played host for the football title game since its inception in 2011 and had two years remaining on the original agreement.

“We thank (Big Ten) commissioner (Jim) Delany and the university leadership for placing their trust in Indianapolis once again,” Indiana Sports Corp. President Allison Melangton said in a statement.

cgoff@jg.net

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