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Indy keeping Combine for immediate future

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 25, 2007) -- The NFL's Scouting Combine isn't going anywhere soon.

Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting which puts together the annual testing session, said the event would return to the RCA Dome next year and organizers plan to open negotiations with the city to move into Lucas Oil Stadium in 2009.

The new retractable-roof facility will be the Colts new home starting in late summer of 2008, and also has a deal to become a regular site for the NCAA's men's and women's final fours.

"It makes the most sense right here. We've been here 22 years and our city partners know our routine," Foster said. "Obviously, there are other cities we've looked at, but right now Indianapolis seems a great home for us."

In recent years, other cities have tried to pry the Combine away from Indianapolis.

Around the league, Indianapolis remains a favorite because it's centrally located and less expensive than bigger cities. The proximity of hotels to the convention center also means the primary transportation is by foot, through the city's maze of skywalks.

Over the past decade, the Combine has grown into a huge media event.

In 1998, dozens of reporters waited in a hotel lobby to interview draft prospects.

This year, AFC spokesman Steve Alic said, the league handed out 385 credentials -- a number comparable to Indy's conference championship game held here last month. That's more reporters than players (327).

The NFL also used six convention center rooms as a media center, and the league-owned television network broadcast the workouts live for the second straight year.

None of that is likely to change in 2008.

But when the Combine returns to Indy in 2009, there will be a different look.

"The new facility will allow us to put all the events we do under one roof," Foster said. "We're here for another year in 2008. We'll start in a couple of months negotiating a new deal, which would obviously put us in the new facility in 2009."

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