College Football: Nebraska can be the Green Bay Packers of Big Ten
OMAHA, Neb. ó Jim Delany calls the Nebraska Cornhuskers the Green Bay Packers of the Big Ten.
The Big Ten commissioner said Wednesday that the Big Tenís attraction to Nebraska went beyond geography and a shared culture with member schools.
ěItís really about the games,î Delany said. ěWeíre not the NFL, but the NFL has a very small-market team, Green Bay, and their games are national games, and everything they do is followed. The Nebraska brand has developed in such a way as other names like Oklahoma, Texas, Southern Cal. Itís one of those programs.î
Though Nebraska accepted its invitation to the Big Ten last June, the schoolís appeal to the conference was called into question last week when the prestigious Association of American Universities dropped Nebraska from its membership.
The AAU is made up of about five dozen of the top research universities in the nation. Each of the current Big Ten schools is a member. Nebraska joined the association in 1909 and became the first school to be dropped. Nebraska fell short on a number of criteria related to its prowess as a research institution and was voted out.
Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman said he believed his schoolís AAU membership was among the factors involved in landing an invitation from the Big Ten, which has a strong reputation for academics.
Delany, however, said Nebraskaís AAU membership status would have had no bearing on the Big Tenís desire to make the Huskers the leagueís 12th member.
Delany noted that the Big Ten discussed membership with Notre Dame in the 1990s, and Notre Dame isnít an AAU member.
Delany said he couldnít be more pleased with how Nebraska has begun to move into the Big Ten.
ěWe knew it would be good, but we couldnít imagine that the receptivity in our region and here in Nebraska would have been at such a high level,î he said. ěI havenít heard a negative thing from fans, coaches, administrators, presidents, everybody.î