Indiana teams to play in Classic
INDIANAPOLIS -- Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke fondly remembers his childhood days, when he looked forward to Indiana's basketball powers coming together during the holiday season.
Thanks in part to his persuasive skills, Burke will no longer have to rely on his memory. Indiana's four top college basketball programs will come together for the new Crossroads Classic in 2011 and 2012 at Conseco Fieldhouse.
"Morgan deserves the credit," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said. "He provided the leadership for it, reached out to all of us and helped develop the idea."
Burke pitched the idea to the other three athletic directors: Swarbrick, Indiana's Fred Glass and Butler's Barry Collier. Burke said it was an easy sell, but it took some time for details to be worked out.
"I've wanted to do this for a long time, but it takes four willing partners, and it's not always easy to get these schedules together," he said.
All four athletic directors were on hand for Monday's announcement in Indianapolis. Glass said he listened to fans who had been clamoring for such an event.
"Morgan and I talked about the importance as public universities to provide the public what it wants," Glass said. "To have four programs like this in one state, I think, is unparalleled. I can't think of another state in the union that has four programs of this quality."
The original Hoosier Classic made its debut at Butler Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in 1948. The event was held seven more times over the next 11 years, with the four schools meeting for the final time in December 1959.
Collier looks forward to the modern version.
"This is a great event for college basketball," he said. "There is a great tradition behind this, one I think that fans will embrace. There will be a focus on these four schools, on our city and on our state at a time when attention turns to college basketball."
Purdue will be the host in 2011 and Indiana will take over in 2012. Each school will have equal ticket allotments, and revenues and expenses will be shared.
The programs all have rich histories, and all but Indiana have been strong recently. Butler is coming off an NCAA runner-up finish, and Purdue has reached the Sweet 16 the past two years.
"All four of these teams have been great over time, and I think they're going to be pretty good down the road, too," Burke said.
While Notre Dame and Indiana have played 69 times, they last faced each other in the state in 2004.
Burke said Purdue and Indiana won't play each other in the event, in part because they are scheduled to play twice a year for the rest of the decade as part of the Big Ten schedule. He expects it to be nationally televised.
The athletic directors said Conseco Fieldhouse was an obvious venue.
"This is where we've always wanted to have it," Glass said. "It's the premier basketball venue in the country. It's wonderful that we're able to play it in the capital city."
Burke expects the event to continue past 2012.
"I'm hopeful that they'll lock this thing in, that this will be one of those holiday traditions like lighting the [Monument] Circle," he said.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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