Nebraska donors ante up as BT beckons

College athletics is an arms race, and it gets magnified in the Big Ten.

A host of Big Ten programs have made significant facilities upgrades in recent years, and several more (Wisconsin, Northwestern) will embark on renovations in the near future.

As Nebraska prepares to become an official Big Ten member this summer, the school is making a significant investment in its facilities. The athletic department is conducting a $100 million capital campaign, the largest in its history, which includes an estimated $55.5 million expansion of Memorial Stadium that will include suites and club seats. The school also is upgrading its training facilities for men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball and softball, and renovating the volleyball facility.

The response has been strong so far, associate AD Paul Meyers tells the Omaha World-Herald.

“My feeling for people right now is that they are very excited for the challenges of the Big Ten and what that brings,” Meyers said. “And they’re very understanding that change needs to happen in order to compete.”

Nebraska last month launched efforts to raise $25 million of the nearly $100 million necessary to complete the largest capital campaign in department history.

We can certainly debate whether figures like these should be applied to college athletics, but the fact is schools have to find way to keep up in leagues like the Big Ten. Nebraska appears to be doing so.