As the entirety of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship comes to Indiana, two venues in particular will have the opportunity to put on display to national audiences their roles in the state’s passion and devotion to basketball. Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse and Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, both recently renovated, will host first and second round games, with Hinkle also hosting games in the Sweet 16.
Barry Collier, director of athletics at Butler, tells Inside INdiana Sports Host Bill Benner discussions to host games began in mid-fall.
“The answer was ‘yes’ as the question was formed, actually,” said Collier. “We want to help make this happen however we can and we didn’t know many of the details; the question was simply, ‘Could you make this happen on your campus?’ and we quickly came to the answer of ‘Yes, we can do this.'”
Collier says the university was able to make adjustments for its sports programs to accommodate having Hinkle host the March Madness games.
The Indiana Farmers Coliseum, which also has a long basketball history by hosting past state boys basketball championships and serving as the original home of the Indiana Pacers. Today, the venue is home to the IUPUI Jaguars.
Cindy Hoye, executive director of the Indiana State Fair Commission, says they are excited about showing the venue off to the world. She says the fairgrounds has been working with the NCAA on health and safety protocols.
“A lot of the protocols and guidelines are being developed with the NCAA, but from a venue standpoint, all our venues are up and running and so a lot of those protocols are already in place and it’s just perfecting and tweaking some of those for the March events,” said Hoye.
The Indiana Farmers Coliseum underwent a $53 million renovation in 2012 and Hinkle Fieldhouse received a $36 million renovation a few years later. Collier says both projects preserved the history of each venue.
You can view the full March Madness schedule by clicking here.