Corn Nation is hosting the Big Red Roundtable this month. Husker softball and baseball seasons have started, and the men and women's basketball teams’ seasons are nearly complete, so with this Roundtable we're covering Nebraska's 'other' sports, meaning anything beyond Husker football.
I thought about inviting AJ the Husker H8ter, but I figured he’d crash the party anyway, so why would he need a formal invitation?
Without further ado, here’s the latest Big Red Roundtable:
What's your interest in the 'other' Nebraska sports those beyond Husker football?
I’m a Nebraska alum, graduating in 1987. My college experience at Nebraska made my life what it is - helped me forge who I was, meeting and making life-long friends and maybe learning a few things along the way.
Because of that experience, I have a profound love for anything Husker, whether it be the football team, baseball team, or how the University is doing in Fine Arts.
If the rifle team does well, I’m telling other people about it. If the volleyball team kicks butt, I’m telling the Gophers fans around me about it because they have a good volleyball team.
I’m not joking when I say that people around me sometimes get sick of how much ‘Husker’ I push at them. A constant joke at one client site is "so, how are the Huskers doing in bowling this year?"
In which sport besides football would you like Nebraska to succeed most and why?
I’m going to leave out volleyball because they’re already an amazing force, and at Corn Nation I made sure that we covered the Road to Omaha and the national title heavily because of my love for all things Husker, especially the volleyball team.
I’ve hoped for years that we would build a good basketball team at Nebraska, but I’ve decided that I don’t have the energy for that and I’ll jump on the bandwagon like some leach after they’re good.
Thankfully, along the way the Huskers have built an exceptional baseball program and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Haymarket Park and great Husker baseball has given me a reason to get back to Lincoln on an annual basis in the spring. I would love it if we can continue to improve and make it to the CWS on a regular basis - maybe someday win a national title.
Some Husker fans have the attitude that former athletic director Bill Byrne focused too much on 'other' sports which hurt the success of the football team. Do you agree with that statement?
The idea that Bill Byrne hurt football because he didn’t update the facilities is misguided. Something had to be done with Buck Beltzer field before we could build the new facilities, hence the building of Haymarket Park. Once that was finished, room was available for new facilities.
Under Byrne’s tenure, Nebraska was the first college team with instant replay video screens (at a college-only stadium). Byrne brought an outdated athletic department up to date, increasing the department’s budget significantly. He lead the $36 million improvement for Memorial Stadium and it was under Bill Byrne that we won three national titles in football.
It’s easy to blame Byrne as he left before the ‘big split’ happened. You always blame the last guy to leave the organization, right?
And as a follow up to the previous question, do you think that the 'other sports' detract from or compliment Husker football?
No doubt there a Husker fans for whom the only item of interest is Husker football. I don’t blame them but I’ve always felt they’re missing out on a lot because of the entertainment value provided by the other sports at Nebraska.
The older I’m getting the less enamored I am with professional sports. Too much of the coverage has nothing to do with the game, whether it be football, baseball, basketball. More athletes appeared to be overpaid immature jerks who won’t play if they don’t get everything their way. I find them much less entertaining and because of the jerk factor, I’m more apt to watch a college women’s basketball game than I am the NBA. I get the feeling I’m not alone.
I can’t possibly see how the other sports would detract from Husker football, unless someone wants the University to spend all of the athletic department money on football. In that case, perhaps you should pick a NFL team to root for because that’s just not college football.