For a decade now, the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse has been a holiday tradition, bringing Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame and Butler together for an annual basketball doubleheader that the fans across the state throughly enjoyed.
But after this year's event on Dec. 18, the event will cease to exist. Scheduling issues at several schools – and the date of the event, typically the Saturday before Christmas – made it difficult to keep everyone on board.
The news was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier, where Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski basically blamed officials at Indiana and Notre Dame for burying the event after a great 11-year run.
“... We’re talking to the folks at Bankers Life (Fieldhouse), who’ve been great partners,'' Bobinski said. "They could not do anything more to try and be helpful and they’ve tried to lobby but a couple of the participants chose to opt-out and it’s no secret who those are — South Bend and Bloomington don’t want to continue the event.
"They have their reasons. I don’t necessarily agree with them, but that’s their decisions.”
Purdue released an official statement later on Tuesday that the event will end this year.
"The current format of the Crossroads Classic will end after the 2021 edition of the event,'' the statement said. "Purdue Athletics and its men's basketball program will continue to look for unique opportunities to partner with Bankers Life Fieldhouse to bring the Boilermakers to Indianapolis on a regular basis."
Each year, Indiana plays either Butler or Notre Dame in downtown Indianapolis, and Purdue plays the other team. Indiana plays Notre Dame in the final event, and Purdue will play Butler.
Indiana is 7-3 in the event. Purdue has the worst record, at 3-7. Butler is 6-4 and Notre Dame is 4-6. The Boilermakers beat Notre Dame 88-78 last year.
The event sells out every year, with the four fan bases packing Bankers Life, even in down years for some schools. With school out, there were always plenty of kids in the crowd as well.
But it's caused scheduling issues for some. In Indiana's case, an increase to 20 Big Ten games limited their scheduling flexibility, and there have been times where they have had to turn down national showcases elsewhere because of the conflict.
Purdue has worked with it just fine, because they've appreciated the spotlight of the event more than Indiana, to be frank. Butler, too, for that matter. But it's been hard for Notre Dame with their expanded ACC schedule. They also prefer to play a more national schedule than be locked in to an Indianapolis event every year.
"We have always enjoyed playing in Indianapolis, and this has been a great event," Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson told the Indianapolis Star. "We look forward to and are working on scheduling competitive games to play in Indianapolis in the future."
The Hoosiers have played 107 games all-time in Indianapolis, and have a record of 81-26 overall. They have played in Indianapolis every year but one – the 1983-84 season –since 1978 and have played several big nonconference games in the city through the years, most notably against Kentucky.
Crossroads Classic results
- Dec. 17, 2011
- No. 18 Indiana 69, Notre Dame 58
- Butler 67, Purdue 65
- Dec. 15, 2012
- Butler 88, No. 1 Indiana 86
- No. 22 Notre Dame 81, Purdue 68
- Dec. 14, 2013
- Notre Dame 79, Indiana 72
- Butler 76, Purdue 70
- Dec. 20, 2014
- Indiana 82, No. 23 Notre Dame 73
- No. 21 Notre Dame 94, Purdue 63
- Dec. 19, 2015
- Indiana 80, Notre Dame 73
- No. 17 Butler 74, No. 9 Purdue 68
- Dec. 17, 2016
- No. 18 Butler 83, No. 9 Indiana 78
- No. 15 Purdue 86, No. 21 Notre Dame 81
- Dec. 16, 2017
- Indiana 80 No. 18 Notre Dame 77
- No. 17 Purdue 82, Butler 67
- Dec. 15, 2018
- No. 25 Indiana 71, Notre Dame 68
- Notre Dame 88, Purdue 80
- Dec. 21, 2019
- Indiana 62, Notre Dame 60
- No. 17 Butler 70, Purdue 61
- Dec. 19, 2020
- Indiana 68, Butler 60
- Purdue 88, Notre Dame 78