Earlier this afternoon, two delegates involved with the press, as well as two counselors involved with the press, got the opportunity to attend the official press conference held by the University of Nebraska, announcing its plans to join the Big Ten Conference. Among the speakers at the conference were Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Athletic Director Tom Osborne, Head Football Coach Bo Pelini, and Big Ten Commissioner James Delaney. Nebraska will indeed be joining the Big Ten Conference, and the official start date for Nebraska being a part of the Big Ten is July 1, 2011. According to Delaney, the Big Ten presidents voted unanimously to accept Nebraska’s request. He went on to call this “a historic moment.” He says that he is “proud that Nebraska is a member of our conference” and is “convinced…that Nebraska will be a great addition to the Big Ten Conference.” When Tom Osborne gave comments, he said that “it is really important to recognize the Big Twelve Conference.” He went on to say that Nebraska does not look down on them. “We have had good association with [them].”
As the floor was opened up for questions, more information was released. Delaney said that this was a relatively quick integration of a school. He said that the Big Ten Conference “…is stronger today than…yesterday as a result of Nebraska’s application to the Big Ten.” When asked about interest in current Big Twelve rivalries and the interest in continuing those rivalries, Osborne responded by stating his desire to continue playing Big Twelve teams, such as Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, or whomever. The possibility of hosting a bowl game at Memorial Stadium was thrown around, but no one could say for sure whether or not that was likely. Bo Pelini was asked how he felt about leaving old rivalries and perhaps picking up new ones, to which he responded, “I’m not a really emotional guy.”
The official press release noted several academic and community benefits of being a part of the Big Ten Conference, which are copied below.
1. Big Ten universities attract 12% of all federal research funding annually. They grant 14.5% of all doctoral degrees conferred in the US each year and 25% of all agricultural doctorates each year.
2. UNL would be considered for membership in the prestigious Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago. The CIC leverages faculty, funding, facilities, investments, and ideas to help the collective whole compete and succeed. Among its core projects are library collections and access; technology collaborations to build capacity at reduced costs; leveraging purchasing and licensing through economies of scale; leadership and development programs for faculty and staff; course-sharing mechanisms by which student may take courses at other consortium institutions; and study-abroad collaborations.
3. The Big Ten is the only NCAA Division I conference whose members all belong to the Association of American Universities, as does Nebraska.
4. Of UNL’s 10 peer institutions (by which it compares itself), five are Big Ten members (University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, and Purdue University).
5. The ability to recruit faculty would be enhanced. UNL already competes with Big Ten and other institutions to attract high-quality faculty; UNL would be able to offer access to CIC and other opportunities afforded by Big Ten affiliation. Similarly, new Ph.D.s and other graduates from Nebraska would find their opportunities widened through Big Ten collaborations.
6. Research collaborations with faculty at other institutions, already important and under way, would increase.
7. UNL’s alignment with the Big Ten will open doors to new investors, entrepreneurs, and others interested in expanding regional and national markets through opportunities presented by Nebraska Innovation Campus, Perlman said.
According to Perlman: “The Big Ten is a historically prestigious and stable academic community of scholars and students…The Big Ten, known for its athletic prowess, is highly regarded in academe for its academic and research enterprises. There is nothing but upside for UNL to join the Big Ten.” Below are some photos of the delegates and staff at the conference.
Boys’ State Blogger Michael Schreier, Newspaper Assistant Kyle Chesterman, and Schuyler Sharp and Aaron Hostepler, two of the editors for the Boys’ State Bulletin
The podium and backdrop
Newspaper editors talking to a University of Nebraska representative
Chancellor Harvey Perlman
Big Ten Commissioner James Delaney
UNL Athletic Director Tom Osborne
Head Football Coach Bo Pelini
All of the media trucks outside