What does Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst think about Friday Night Football games, the amount of money that Nebraska Athletics brings in, and health concerns of his student-athletes?
You can find a lot here, as Eichorst met with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Faculty Senate back on May 30. Here’s a copy of the minutes for those of you scoring at home.
Some of the highlights:
Friday Night Football: Per Eichorst, Nebraska is slated to host one Friday night home game every third year under the new Big Ten Friday Night initiative. The Huskers can also be the road team once a season. Eichorst did state that the preference is “extremely limited” due to the ramifications of having a home game. The Huskers are set to take on Illinois in Champaign this coming season on a Friday night.
Basically, you not only have to shut down the campus and downtown Lincoln, but the thought of having a lot of Nebraska high school games go to Thursday or Saturday has to be considered. I do like the thought of several games at Memorial Stadium on a Saturday to combat that. However, one has to wonder about staffing and what teams would play, as I would think Omaha teams aren’t moving their games to Lincoln.
While there are no special financial bonuses for hosting a B1G home game on a Friday, there’s no known penalty if Nebraska refuses to host a game, like Michigan or Penn State has mentioned. There are merits of hosting a game, such as exposure on an evening not a lot of games are going. That being said, the weight of what has to happen for a game to go off needs to be weighted.
Recruiting Oversight: Being fearful of something coming up at Nebraska similar to Baylor’s issues, the faculty asked about hosts for prospective student-athletes when on official visits. Eichorst stated that there is a constant education in hosting and that teams want student-athletes to come to Nebraska for the right reasons, which is academic as well as athletic.
Eichorst was asked how much boosters were involved with visitors, and Shawn stated that boosters are not allowed to be involved in the recruiting process. I have been told by several people in the know that Nebraska is “very clean” when it comes to recruiting. Some folks actually say that Nebraska is almost too clean, but others would say that too clean isn’t clean enough.
Title XI Training: All athletes get Title IX training from the Office of Equity and Institutional Compliance, who also handles all investigations of Title IX issues. Coaches of sports are not involved in any investigation except to give information that is necessary for an investigation.
Michael Rose-Ivey protest: During the conversation about the Office of Equity and Institutional Compliance, Eichorst was asked about the Michael Rose-Ivey kneeling that happened during the National Anthem at the Northwestern game. Eichorst stated that Rose-Ivey talked to Head Coach Mike Riley, Eichorst and then Chancellor Ronnie Green. Eichorst was willing to support MRI as long as he had a public dialogue with his actions and reasons for doing it. Eichorst had nothing but good things to say about Rose-Ivey and how he handled the situation with his teammates and the media.
Additional Big Ten Money: The Faculty Senate asked about the extra money the Big Ten would be paying Nebraska now that they were a vested member. Eichorst noted that over the past 6 years, Nebraska missed out on about $60 million. Eichorst pointed out that the growing cost of student-athletes and things like food, scholarships and such will be helped by the extra money.
There is also a focus on improving the North Stadium area, as well as a need for a new gymnastics area. Also, Nebraska is behind in the reinovation of their sports medicine space, so money will be allocated there as well.
Eichorst pointed out that even with the extra money and bigger income from things like ticket sales & such, the AD is not “awash in cash”. Eichorst mentioned that the school is getting better in academics with athletics. When Nebraska left the Big 12, they were on top of the conference when it came to athletics. But, when entering the Big Ten, they showed up at the bottom of the conference.
Eichorst did note that season ticket renewals in football, volleyball and basketball have been normal, while contributions to the AD have increased.
Concussions: When asked about football and a number of concussions tested for, Eichorst pointed out that soccer was the sport that concussions have to be watched for more, even more than football. While there are many eyes watching football players to see if they can spot a concussion, there’s not that many watching soccer players.
Midweek Game Scheduling: Faculty wouldn’t be faculty without mentioning that games during the week take student-athletes away from the classroom. While Eichorst admitted that he can do only so much about it, Nebraska’s cumulative GPA is 3.211, which is the highest in school history. That being said, it does take help from faculty to make sure that SA’s are successful. Eichorst stated that there are only so many things the AD can do, such as WiFi access when on the road, to help. Eichorst did state that during the season, it seems SA’s do think they are more successful due to the focus needed to do both.
Parking & Concessions: The Senate asked about control of both extra money makers. Eichorst stated that while the campus controls parking, Athletics controls concessions but splits that money with other groups. Eichorst mentioned that the University paid almost $3 million to the state of Nebraska & nearly a million to the City of Lincoln in sales taxes.
Coaches & Academic Issues: When asked about how staff members interact with academic folks, Eichorst was quick to point out that only certain staffers & students are allowed to talk to faculty. That includes no head coaches in that dialogue, a rule that is strictly adhered to.