Big Ten basketball fans upset over downtown smoking


Mary Milz/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Thousands of basketball fans are downtown as the Big Ten tournament tips off, but some aren't exactly excited about their team bars.

The men's Big Ten tournament is back for the seventh time with fans packing the bars.

But this year, some were talking more than basketball. That's after Smoke-Free Indy pointed out that 3 of the 11 team bars are NOT smoke-free.

"Our original thing is we put out the bar guide and then that created more discussion from some of the fans from Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa saying, oh, wow, we got this bar guide and we got put in a smoking bar," said Lindsay Grace, American Lung Association.

Iowa fan Beth Austin was surprised to see people lighting up at the Pub.

"I just didn't think you could because there hasn't been smoking in bars for a while," said Austin.

The Sport Corps John Dedman says in years past they hadn't received any complaints from the Big Ten, its schools or fans. Why now?

"Because it's a hot topic locally I think a lot of people are trying to see if our visitors have an opinion," said Dedman.

Grace doesn't deny Smoke-Free Indy has an agenda.

"Any time we can push for a smoke-free establishment in Indianapolis, we're always going to take that opportunity," she said.

Kilroy's, the IU bar, is one of the smoke-free places.

"I think it's been great for business," said

But the owner of the Pub says he's not hurting either.

Austin said she prefers non-smoking.

"I'd just as soon do without. Not having any smoking inside. If you want a cigarette, go outside. No big deal," said another woman.

One man said he didn't mind the smoke, and another said if fans don't like it, they can find another bar.