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Nebraska Athletic Department Loses Paul Meyers and Michael Stephens

The Lincoln Journal-Star reports that Nebraska associate athletic director Paul Meyers is no longer in his role as chief fundraiser for the athletic department. Also, Ohio University has hired NU's associate athletic director for marketing Michael Stephens as senior athletic director for external operations.  For an athletic department that prides itself on continuity, two major high level departures are eyebrow-raising.

This isn't the first time that Meyers has left his role at Nebraska.  On October 2, 2007, Meyers resigned his role, which caught the attention of chancellor Harvey Perlman, who then realized the problems in the athletic department went much deeper than Bill Callahan's inability to coach a football team. Two weeks later, Perlman had learned enough (and seen enough on the football field) to fire Steve Pederson.

Is this another "canary in the coal mine" moment? It depends on why Meyers is leaving this time.  He may simply be looking to do something else, especially after Perlman selected Shawn Eichorst to replace Tom Osborne as athletic director. It could also be the natural evolution of the workplace, as people move into new roles, roles change, and Meyers may simply have found a new opportunity.

The instinct is to immediately draw a connection between Meyers' two departures when they may not be related at all. Certainly, you'd expect Harvey Perlman to inquire as to why Meyers is leaving, much like he did seven years ago.  But barring any evidence to suggest a connection, it would be somewhat lazy and improper to assume that it's the same thing this time.

But two high level departures in the athletic department should cause Husker fans to pause and ponder.


Nebraska has released a statement confirming Meyers' resignation. From Shawn Eichorst:

"Associate Athletic Director Paul Meyers has informed the University of his decision to step down from his position to pursue other opportunities. Paul has been a valuable member of the Husker Athletics Department for many years and we wish him all of the best as he pursues new endeavors."

Meyers would not comment to the Omaha World-Herald beyond what was in the statement:

"It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of Husker athletics for more than 30 years. I’m proud of what we accomplished in the time I was there and there are so many people I will miss. I look forward to supporting the University, athletics department and student-athletes in the future as a Nebraska fan."