Big Ten's Chicago vs. Indy debate nearing close

The Big Ten’s Chicago vs. Indianapolis showdown could conclude Sunday, when presidents and chancellors meet at league headquarters in Park Ridge.

Or the vote could be postponed if school officials ask Big Ten Deputy Commissioner Brad Traviolia and his staff to prepare more information.

“We’re trying to get the proposals in an apples-to-apples format,” Traviolia, the former Northwestern wrestler, said Tuesday by telephone.

At stake is the future of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and the conference football championship, whose location is TBD after the inaugural 2011 game is played at Indy’s Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Chicago and Indy delegations (led by Indiana governor Mitch Daniels) presented their cases two weeks ago during league meetings at the Palmer House Hilton.

Chicago is pitching Soldier Field for football, the United Center for men’s hoops and the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates for the women’s tournament.

“Why would the Big Ten want to be a big fish in a little pond,” one pro-Chicago official said, “when it can be a big fish in a big pond?”

The key factors in the decision, Traviolia said, are in the eyes of each school’s leaders. Finances will drive some, while others debate whether the early December football game should be played indoors (mostly for fans’ comfort) or outside (for the sake of tradition).

The Big Ten could divide its championships between cities or create a rotation.

tgreenstein@tribune.com

Twitter @TeddyGreenstein