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Lucas Oil Stadium lease for Final Four is on CIB's front burner

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It’s less than three months until March Madness tips off, and the NCAA still doesn’t have a lease deal finalized with the city’s Capital Improvement Board to hold the 2010 Final Four in Lucas Oil Stadium April 3 and 5 as scheduled.

CIB’s new president, Ann Lathrop, said the issue is “not creating too much alarm,” though she did say it would be discussed when the group convenes Jan. 19.

Lathrop

Former CIB President Bob Grand insisted the holdup with getting a deal signed has nothing to do with CIB’s recent financial woes. CIB struggled much of last year with a $47 million budget shortfall.

Greg Shaheen, NCAA senior vice president of basketball and business strategies, said the deal needs tweaking because Lucas Oil Stadium was in the conceptual stages when Indianapolis won the bid to host the 2010 Final Four. The Final Four was last held in Indianapolis—in the RCA Dome—in 2006.

Shaheen said details regarding the placement of ancillary events—usually in the Indiana Convention Center—are also being worked out.

Negotiations might also be slowed by the transition of CIB. Late last year, Mayor Greg Ballard announced an overhaul of CIB, which owns Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse, Victory Field and the Indiana Convention Center.

The mayor replaced four members on the nine-person CIB, including Grand. Longtime member Pat Early also is gone. In all, CIB will have six new members at its next meeting.

Lathrop, an executive with Oak Brook Ill.-based public accounting firm Crowe Horwath LLP, previously served as CIB’s treasurer. Her prior career included a stint as Indianapolis city controller under Republican Mayor Steve Goldsmith.

As treasurer, Lathrop was a key figure in helping CIB dig out of its financial hole, but she said she has had little to do with the NCAA-Lucas Oil Stadium lease deal.

“I’m still getting my arms around that,” Lathrop said. “It’s safe to say, when we meet, that will be something that’s on the front burner.”

 

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