Nebraska appears headed for Big 10OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska could be on its way to the Big Ten by Friday. The university’s Board of Regents on Wednesday evening amended the agenda for its previously scheduled Friday meeting to include a briefing from chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Tom Osborne on conference alignment. The regents then could vote to leave the Big 12.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska could be on its way to the Big Ten by Friday.
The university’s Board of Regents on Wednesday evening amended the agenda for its previously scheduled Friday meeting to include a briefing from chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Tom Osborne on conference alignment. The regents then could vote to leave the Big 12.
Osborne said a decision has not been finalized, and he declined comment when asked whether the Big Ten had formally invited Nebraska to join the league.
Shawn Watson, the offensive coordinator for Nebraska’s football team, said Osborne hasn’t given the athletic department staff an indication which way the school will go.
Watson said Osborne met with the staff last Friday to tell them about last week’s Big 12 meetings and to “get a feel” for what the staff thinks about the Big 12 and Big Ten.
Since then, Watson said, Osborne hasn’t updated the staff on developments.
The university issued a statement Wednesday night to counter media reports that regents met informally Wednesday and had already agreed to a move to the Big Ten.
Officials, however, do want a quick resolution on the future of the Huskers’ athletic programs, whether that means staying with several longtime rivals in the Big 12 or leaving for the Big Ten.
“The conjecture and all the intensity surrounding it is not positive,” Regent Jim McClurg said of the impending decision. “Everybody needs to know and has a right to know. The calamity and opportunity that’s conjured up by not knowing sometimes exceeds reality, so I think it’s important to get a decision done.”
The Big 12 reportedly has given Nebraska and Missouri a Friday deadline to affirm their commitment to the league.
The Big Ten announced late last year it was considering adding at least one school, and possibly more, to allow for a lucrative league championship game in football and broaden the reach of its cable television network.
Based on 2009 figures, Nebraska would double the amount of money it receives from conference distributions in the Big Ten. Big Ten schools received about $20 million a year in revenue compared with the $10 million Nebraska took in from the Big 12.
If Nebraska abides by the Big 12’s “good faith” provision in the league bylaws, the switch would take effect in 2012-13. An institution that withdrawals from the Big 12 loses 50 percent of the revenue it would have received from the Big 12 during those two years. A school could lose up to 90 percent of its allotment if it leaves sooner.
In a radio interview Tuesday, Osborne tried to quash speculation Nebraska would, in part, arrive at its decision based on its relationship with the University of Texas.
The Huskers and Longhorns have butted heads over many issues since the Dallas-headquartered Big 12 was formed, and there is a perception in Nebraska that Texas wields too much influence on league policies.
“We certainly don’t have anything against anybody in the Big 12,” Osborne said on the Husker Sports Network. “This decision is not going to be based on animosity or petty jealousy. I mean, you’re talking about something that could maintain for the next 75 or 100 years. This is a big deal in terms of the University of Nebraska (and) this is a big deal in view of many other institutions.”
Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, a coaching rival of Osborne’s in the 1970s and ‘80s and longtime friend, said hearing Nebraska and the Big Ten in the same sentence doesn’t sound right.
Switzer told The Associated Press he doesn’t envy Osborne having to play a major role in the possible destruction of the Big 12, which evolved from the old Big Eight and Southwest Conference.
“I’m sure it weighs heavily on Tom,” Switzer said. “I hate to think we would lose what we have and what we built for so long. Finances are a factor, and sometimes you have to give up tradition for finances.”
McClurg said the Big 12 has been a good fit for Nebraska but the Big Ten, if it extends an invitation, could be better. It would greatly expand the school’s reach and could mean far more money for the school’s athletic programs.