Selected fans to be featured on Conseco Fieldhouse video boards during games

Park Ridge, Ill. Big Ten fans are encouraged to showcase their creativity and passion for conference basketball by taking part in slam poetry readings at the Big Ten Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournaments scheduled for March 6-9 and 13-16, respectively, at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.

The Big Ten continued its “Welcome to the Big Stage” basketball campaign this season by introducing the art of the spoken word with a public service announcement (PSA) featuring slam poetry. Award-winning poets Joel Chmara and Regie Gibson performed an original poem highlighting the fast-paced style of play and intense competition of Big Ten basketball.

In that spirit, slam poetry will make its debut at this year’s Big Ten Basketball Tournaments. Fans will be encouraged to write their own scripts, or they can read one of several poems produced by the Big Ten, including the slam poetry featured in the original PSA. Patrons are welcome to stop by the recording location near section 2 on the main concourse to tape their version of Big Ten basketball slam poetry. Selected renditions will be showcased on the Conseco Fieldhouse video boards during the games and will also be posted on the Big Ten website.

Information about the “Welcome to the Big Stage” campaign, including the PSAs, original poem, a bio on Chmara and Gibson, and more, are on the official conference website

The 2008 Big Ten Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournaments are in the first of a five-year commitment that places both events in Indianapolis through 2012. For just the fourth time in the history of the tournaments, both events will be held at the same venue Conseco Fieldhouse. The men’s and women’s tournaments were also hosted in Indianapolis in 2002, 2004 and 2006.