Jun 10

The Day Tradition Died

Posted By:Wes Mewbourne - Birmingham, AL  Tags:

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Photo: NCAA

June 11th, 2010.  That is the projected date for Nebraska to leave the Big 12 Conference and join the Big Ten.  Sure, the move might not seem like a lot on the surface, but consider this: Nebraska is currently in a conference with teams from the original Big 8 conference, one that was created in 1907!  Nebraska has been with the virtually the same teams for over 100 years.  In a sport dominated by tradition, it doesn’t get much more traditional than that.

            As much as Nebraska would, I’m sure, like to stay where they are, it’s been in a difficult situation ever since the Big 8 blended with the Texas schools to form the Big 12 Conference.  At that time (1996 by the way), the schools from Texas were so sought after (mainly Texas, itself) that the revenue sharing plan was geared so that instead of sharing it evenly among teams, the most successful programs would get a larger slice of the pie.  Not a problem when schools like Nebraska, and Kansas St. were national players, but as the power and revenue shifted south, those schools were being left out in the cold.  Over the past few years, Texas has made nearly double the revenue of any other Big 12 school – including Nebraska.

            Over the past few years, the traditional rivalries have gone by the wayside.  No more are the days of Nebraska-Oklahoma highlighting schedules on a regular basis.  With the Big Ten, the Huskers get an immediate border rival in Iowa, and will have the pleasure of playing three of the winningest programs in the country on a yearly basis.  Who wouldn’t want to see Nebraska-Penn State or Ohio State-Nebraska on a fall evening?

            Better still, though, the most probable reason for the shift will be the Big Ten Network.  Now, the most lucrative television deal in the nation, jumping on board with the Big Ten will give Nebraska more exposure to potential recruits in some of the most fertile recruiting grounds, while at the same time raking in an equal share of profits from the conference. 

It’s a no brainer these days, but it is a sad day for a sport that prides itself on tradition when the final decision maker winds up being fatter wallets.
*Note – As I finished this, word came out that Colorado (a 50+ year member of the Big 8/12) has accepted an invitation to join the PAC-10.  Stay tuned…

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