Nebraska officials gush about Big Ten

Nebraska has formally applied for membership in the Big Ten, and listening to chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Tom Osborne, it's easy to see why.

Perlman and Osborne gushed about the Big Ten at the Nebraska Board of Regents meeting Friday, as the school took another step closer to officially switching leagues. They identified Big Ten strong points such as stability (especially in relation to the Big 12), academic excellence, the Big Ten Network and tradition.

Even Big Ten weather, which always seems to be a knock against the league, actually appeals to Nebraska.

"We're obviously not [located] in the Sun Belt," Osborne said. "And we find some of our sports at a disadvantage because of that. Most young people who are golfers or play tennis or play baseball or play softball, sometimes even soccer, would prefer to go someplace where they can practice outside year-round. ... So we would probably be having, in comparison, more of apples to apples [with Big Ten teams]. It doesn't mean that we can't compete.

"We can compete, but it's just more difficult."

Stability clearly was the big selling point for Perlman and Osborne, who didn't want to commit to a league they didn't believe was viable in the long term. They clearly viewed the Big Ten, both athletically and academically, in a different light.

"The Big Ten is all members of the AAU, which is of considerable importance when you try and recruit faculty, when you seek research grants, when you do other things in the academic environment," Perlman said. "The Big Ten operates the Big Ten Network. It will allow all Nebraskans to see almost all of Nebraska's competitive games: not just football, not just men's basketball."

He also pointed out the Committee of Institutional Cooperation and its benefits on research for a university.

"This will bring Nebraska the stability that the Big 12 cannot offer," Perlman said.

Other quick hits from Perlman and Osborne:

  • Osborne said there won't be an immediate financial windfall for the athletic department for joining the Big Ten.

    Perlman said Nebraska expects to be an equal financial partner in the Big Ten eventually, which shouldn't be a problem.

  • Osborne said that aside from short trips to Kansas and Kansas State, the Big 12 has a similar footprint to the Big Ten, and the Big Ten would provide easier air travel because it has more schools closer to major airports.

  • Osborne on recruiting: "Sometimes you hear people say, 'Well, this will really affect your Texas recruiting, and it might.' We will continue to recruit Texas. We will continue to get some players out of Texas, maybe not as many, but we certainly can get more, probably, in the Midwest and the East Coast." Does he know something about the Big Ten's next expansion move?

  • Perlman expects to hear "relatively quickly" whether the Big Ten's Council of Presidents/Chancellors has voted in Nebraska as a new member. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has said this will be a quick process, and no one will be embarrassed by it. Translation: We'll get a formal announcement soon.

  • Perlman acknowledged informal discussions took place between Nebraska officials and Big Ten officials, but things didn't really pick up steam until Wednesday, when Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe called and asked for Nebraska to make a commitment to his league.