Friday, June 11, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL ... NEBRASKA IS THE 12TH MEMBER OF THE BIG TEN


LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska University is the 12th member of the Big Ten Conference.


On Friday, shortly after Nebraska announced that they would be applying for membership in the Big Ten, the conference's board of presidents and chancellors had a vote and approved the school's admission unanimously.


The Husker switch from the Big 12 to the Big 10 will begin in the summer of 2011.


"We are stronger today. Nebraska is an unbelievable program with an unbelievable legacy." Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said on Friday.


Earlier this afternoon, Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman asked the school's board of regents to authorize their application for membership into the Big Ten.


"I will today ask you to authorize the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to apply for membership in the Big Ten Conference," Perlman said on Friday. "I'm optimistic that the Big Ten will take our application under good consideration and will be receptive to it.


"We would seek full academic and athletic integration with the current membership of the Big Ten."


The Board of Regents approved the request soon after.


Perlman stated that the university became interested last December when the Big Ten expressed interest at their conference meeting about the possibility of expansion. Perlman, as well as Nebraska AD Tom Osborne, put together a presentation to Big Ten officials not long ago and came away feeling that they measured up to what the conference was seeking in its new member.


"We reached out to our friends in the Big Ten in order to see what options we had," Perlman said. "We held informal discussions with representatives of the Big Ten, in which they described what they were looking for in new members, what culture, what competitive standing, what academic credentials, what they were thinking. Tom and I presented the picture for Nebraska, what our athletic program looked like, what our history is, our values, our traditions and what our academic side of the school looked like.


"I think both (Osborne) and I walked away from that meeting thinking that those things aligned pretty closely with what the Big Ten was looking for."


Perlman said that following their presentation with the Big Ten, they returned to the Big 12 meetings, where they were forced to make a decision on whether to stay in the conference or bolt to the Big Ten.


"We came to the Big 12 meetings about a week and a half ago in Kansas City," Perlman said. "Shortly prior to that meeting there were rumors in the press that the Pac 10 had made an offer to six schools in the Big 12 conference. In the meeting with the presidents of the Big 12, it was confirmed that discussions had been undertaken between the Pac 10 and representatives of many of the schools in the southern division of the Big 12.


"It was also suggested to me that they hoped to decide quickly to consider that option or not. But if Nebraska decided to stay in the Big 12, they would stay in the Big 12. The result of that was they gave all members of the Big 12 an ultimatum, 'affirm your commitment to the Big 12 or they would consider that option.'


"They wanted a commitment while we were there and I indicated that I can make no such commitment without consultation with the board of regents and the (NU) president."


Perlman felt that Nebraska was in a bad position with the possibility of six schools leaving for the Pac 10. He felt that because of where they were located and the lack of worthy prospects to fill in the vacant spots which would be left in the conference, Nebraska could've been the odd man out.


"As Tom Osborne and I looked at that, we thought Nebraska was in a very vulnerable position," Perlman said. "Our geography, we sit here with not a lot of options, nor a lot of schools to be added to the conference to bring it back to 12."


Perlman wanted to make it clear at the meeting on Friday that Nebraska is not responsible for the possible breakup of the Big 12.


"There's been much public discussion and posturing this week to make Nebraska responsible for the changes that have been made for the possible breakup of the Big 12 should it occur," Perlman said. "I do not believe that we bear that responsibility. One school leaving a conference does not destroy a conference ...


"Nebraska did not start this discussion."


The Nebraska chancellor stated that Missouri and Colorado were the first to speak of departing the Big 12, not the Huskers. In fact, Colorado announced on Thursday that they would be leaving the Big 12 to enter the Pac 10.


"Early on, after the Big Ten announced that it intended to consider expansion, we saw reports that officials at Missouri would make it clear that they would want to go to the Big Ten, including statements by their governor and I believe by members of their board of curators," Perlman said. "By their chancellor, at least, comments that were not clearly supportive of the Big 12.


"Colorado has always been mentioned as between the Pac 10 and the Big 12. They had made some comments and you can see by recent events that that was a risk to the Big 12, as it materialized."


It's unknown at this time whether the Big Ten will seek further expansion.


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