Osborne may talk at Big Ten meetings

OMAHA, Neb. -- Nebraska's Tom Osborne will go to the Big Ten athletic director's meetings next week with a sense of humility that would seem to belie his stature as one of the giants in college football history.

The administrators meet next Monday and Tuesday in Chicago, where divisional alignment and a possible conference championship football game will be among the issues discussed.

"I will express my opinion at the Big Ten meetings if asked. However, as a nonvoting member of the Big Ten, I am not certain as to what level of input I will have," Osborne said Monday in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said Osborne is invited to all conference business meetings in advance of Nebraska becoming an active member next July 1.

"They will be a part of all discussions," Chipman said of the Cornhuskers.

Osborne, who won or shared three national championships before retiring from coaching after the 1997 season, declined to comment on how he would like to see the divisions set up.

"We will look at all the alternatives before making any statements concerning preferences," he said.

When the Big 12 was being formed in the mid-1990s, Osborne was an outspoken critic of conference championship games in football because he believed it was an "impediment" to a team trying to win a national championship.

He said a championship game in the Big Ten "appears to be part of the landscape with the addition of a 12th team."

"The Big Ten will make the decision, not me," Osborne said. "We are willing to do whatever is best for the conference. At this time most conferences do have a playoff and, oddly enough, the Big 12 now appears to not have one after this year."

The Big 12 is set to have only 11 teams next year after Nebraska's departure. NCAA rules require a league to have 12 teams to have a title game.

Osborne also said he doesn't anticipate the move to the Big Ten will interfere with Nebraska's non-conference schedule to the point that the Cornhuskers would have to buy out any contracts.