Nebraska has ended speculation about breaking from the Big Ten’s plan to postpone fall football.
“The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a fully committed member of the Big Ten Conference,” Chancellor Ronnie Green and President Ted Carter said in a statement. “It is an unparalleled athletic and academic alliance.”
— Ronnie D. Green (@RonnieDGreen) August 13, 2020
On Monday, amid speculation about the conference’s plans to postpone the season during the coronavirus pandemic, Huskers coach Scott Frost said the school was prepared to look at ways to continue playing.
“We want to play a Big Ten schedule,” Frost said. “I think the only reason we would look at any other options is if for some reason the Big Ten wasn’t playing, and only a handful of teams from the Big Ten wanted to continue playing. I think if that’s the case, I think we’re prepared to look at any and all options.”
After conference presidents and chancellors voted Tuesday to postpone all fall sports, Nebraska issued a statement attributed to Green, Carter, Frost and athletic director Bill Moos that again said the school was disappointed. “We hope it may be possible for our student athletes to have the opportunity to compete,” the statement said.
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren told ESPN Wednesday night that was not an option the conference considered viable.
“We have 14 schools in the Big Ten conference. I appreciate the passion of all of our schools. I didn’t expect all of our coaches to be ecstatic that the decision was made, so I understand they’re passionate, and as I sit here right now, that’s what I’m going to conclude — they’re passionate people,” he said. “My expectation is that when you’re in a conference, you can’t be in a conference and be an independent. That’s where we are. I expect for our 14 members to go forward together.”
The conference holds all of the Huskers’ media rights. The league earned $781.5 million in the most recent fiscal year, according to USA Today, with Nebraska earning a $55.6 million payout.
On Monday, Ohio State coach Ryan Day also pondered the possibility of playing outside the Big Ten, saying, “We need to look at every option, and if that’s the only option at the time, we will explore it.”
On Wednesday, OSU athletic director Gene Smith told ESPN that the Buckeyes would not pursue that path.
“We talked about what Nebraska was doing, looked at options that way, but it wasn’t realistic. We just embraced the spring,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing, trying out how that, logistically, can work. We’re on it. There’s not a fall option. We had hoped and just realized that not too long ago, as a result of conversations. We’re all about the spring and how do we set that up. I think it’s realistic. We hadn’t spent any time on it, none. Now that we are, it becomes clear that it’s realistic.”