Report: Nebraska ready to join Big Ten Conference Friday

Published 2:17 am Thursday, June 10, 2010

OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska could be on its way to the Big Ten by Friday.

The university’s Board of Regents on Wednesday evening amended the agenda for its previously scheduled Friday meeting to include a briefing from chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Tom Osborne on conference alignment. The regents then could vote to leave the Big 12.

Osborne said a decision has not been finalized, and he declined comment when asked whether the Big Ten had formally invited Nebraska to join the league.

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Shawn Watson, the offensive coordinator for Nebraska’s football team, said Osborne hasn’t given the athletic department staff an indication which way the school will go.

Watson said Osborne met with the staff last Friday to tell them about last week’s Big 12 meetings and to “get a feel” for what the staff thinks about the Big 12 and Big Ten.

Since then, Watson said, Osborne hasn’t updated the staff on developments.

The university issued a statement Wednesday night to counter media reports that regents met informally Wednesday and had already agreed to a move to the Big Ten.

Officials, however, do want a quick resolution on the future of the Huskers’ athletic programs, whether that means staying with several longtime rivals in the Big 12 or leaving for the Big Ten.

“The conjecture and all the intensity surrounding it is not positive,” Regent Jim McClurg said of the impending decision. “Everybody needs to know and has a right to know. The calamity and opportunity that’s conjured up by not knowing sometimes exceeds reality, so I think it’s important to get a decision done.”

The Big 12 reportedly has given Nebraska and Missouri a Friday deadline to affirm their commitment to the league.

The Big Ten announced late last year it was considering adding at least one school, and possibly more, to allow for a lucrative league championship game in football and broaden the reach of its cable television network.

Based on 2009 figures, Nebraska would double the amount of money it receives from conference distributions in the Big Ten. Big Ten schools received about $20 million a year in revenue compared with the $10 million Nebraska took in from the Big 12.