Less than two weeks after Indiana athletic director Fred Glass leaked the prospect of a doubleheader involving the state’s four premier basketball programs, they made it official with a press conference Monday morning at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Indiana, Purdue, Butler and Notre Dame signed a memorandum of understanding for a two-year deal to play doubleheaders at Conseco Fieldhouse on Dec. 17, 2011 and Dec. 15, 2012. In 2011, Indiana will play Notre Dame in the first game, followed by Purdue against Butler in the second game. In 2012, the opponents will switch, allowing Indiana to play Butler and Purdue to play Notre Dame.
The school’s four athletic directors attended the press conference along with a representative from Conseco Fieldhouse. They said they are not hiring any sort of management or promotion company to hold the event but each school will take its turn serving as the tournament host. Purdue will be the host in 2011 and Indiana will be the host in 2012. The designation will continue to rotate if the schools sign a new contract to continue the event, which they expect to do.
“We put on events all the time,” Glass said. “We figured we could do it ourselves. The folks at Conseco Fieldhouse are great partners. It just didn’t seem like it was worth their cut to have somebody come in and do what we could do four ourselves.”
Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke said all the costs and profits for the doubleheader will be split four ways.
“We split the arena into four quadrants,” Burke said. “Everybody will have the same tickets to sell. We’ll share revenue and expenses. We did that and we can run these games. We’ll be the tournament manager the first year. IU will do it the second year and my hope is this thing will continue on and Notre Dame and Butler will get their chance to run it. We think we’re fully capable of running a basketball tournament.”
Glass and Burke said the athletic directors will meet after the first year and gauge the public interest.
“You want to make sure it’s an event the public will support,” Burke said. “I think they will. I have no reason to believe they won’t. But we just said the safest thing is to start with two years. That way we make one complete rotation. If everybody likes what we’ve got, then we’ll reassess and move on. But I’m hopeful that we’ll lock this thing in. This will be a tradition. One of those holiday traditions.”
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