The Big Ten continues its attempts to string together plans for a potential winter football season, and a part of those plans could be playing inside domed stadiums. The conference is currently considering several different domes — most of which serves as NFL stadiums — as sites to play games should the Big Ten be able to resume play in time for the winter months, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Potential sites include Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the conference currently holds its annual conference championship game. Detroit’s Ford Field, Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium and St. Louis’ The Dome at America’s Center are reportedly also being considered, as is Syracuse’s dome. While not going into, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith confirmed to the Dispatch that the Big Ten is considering those sites “and others.”
As far as what those other sites might be, the only other domed stadiums within the Big Ten’s geographic footprint are Miller Park in Milwaukee, Northern Iowa’s UNI-Dome and Northern Michigan’s Superior Dome. It’s also possible that the Big Ten would consider stadiums outside its footprint, though that could be a lot more difficult to pull off considering travel.
Either way, it’s clear the Big Ten is trying to figure something out. Shortly after announcing the cancellation of the 2020 fall football season, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said the conference was putting together a “task force” to configure a plan for the winter or spring.
News of the conference considering domed sites comes a week after word leaked that the Big Ten was considering a plan that would see its season beginning in early January in order to finish well before the NFL Draft. It’s not crazy to think that idea is carrying some momentum if the conference is now looking for domed stadiums to play in because such a setting would become a bigger necessity during January in Big Ten country than March or April.
Though, selfishly, the idea of the Big Ten playing outdoors in January does have some appeal to this weather-hardened Midwesterner.