Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald is reporting that an executive at a Big XII school expects Nebraska to join the Big Ten as soon as this Friday. Tonight on his weekly appearance on the Husker Sports Network, Tom Osborne told host Lane Grindle:
"hopefully we’ll get things put together in the next few days."
Earlier today, the rumor mill was hot and furious as reports that a deal was imminent. Some of that talk was squashed by the Lincoln Journal-Star's Steve Sipple, who determined that Osborne never went to Chicago yesterday, as was reported.
The Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein writes tonight that Nebraska, Rutgers, and Notre Dame are the "home run" additions that will work for the Big Ten. Missouri would appear to be the first team out if the Big Ten goes to 14 teams, though that assumes that Notre Dame would actually join...and that's something only Chip Brown feels will happen.
Meanwhile, Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera reported this evening that Colorado does not have an invitation to join another conference, seemingly invalidating the earlier reports.
“We certainly don’t have anything against anybody in the Big 12. This decision is not going to be based on animosity, on petty jealousy. I mean, you’re talking about something that could maintain for the next 75 or 100 years. I mean, this is a big deal in terms of the University of Nebraska. This is a big deal in view of many other institutions.
“So you don’t ever make a decision based on personal likes, dislikes. And frankly, I get along very well with (Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds). I’m a great admirer of (Texas football coach) Mack Brown. And Texas has obviously done very well athletically and you have to admire them for that. So this is not a case where we’re somehow reacting to any one school, particularly to Texas.”
Another interesting tidbit courtesy of Jack Mitchell of Lincoln's KLIN-AM (1400). He points out the academic partner of the Big Ten, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation. The CIC consists of all 11 members of the Big Ten, plus the University of Chicago, which left the Big Ten in 1946. When Penn State joined the Big Ten, they also were invited to join the CIC as well.
What does this mean for the University of Nebraska? Assuming that an invitation to join the CIC would accompany an invitation to join the Big Ten, Nebraska would join an organization that currently receives 12% of federal research funds. This would be a huge boost to Nebraska's academic programs and the new Nebraska Innovation Campus, which is being developed on the former State Fairgrounds east of the Devaney Sports Center. One report this week on KOZN-AM's "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" indicated that the academic benefits of switching conferences might actually be greater than the athletic advantages.
Imagine that... academics possibly benefiting from football?