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Delany: Nebraska the Green Bay Packers of Big Ten
The Big Ten commissioner said Wednesday that the Big Ten’s attraction to Nebraska went beyond geography and a shared culture with member schools.
“It’s really about the games,” Delany said. “We’re 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. It’s one of those programs.”
Though Nebraska accepted its invitation to the Big Ten last June, the school’s 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.
Delany said he couldn’t be more pleased with how Nebraska has begun to move into the Big Ten.
“We knew it would be good, but we couldn’t imagine that the receptivity in our region and here in Nebraska would have been at such a high level,” he said. “I haven’t heard a negative thing from fans, coaches, administrators, presidents, everybody.”
Delany address several other issues:
He congratulated the Pac-10 for negotiating a 12-year deal with ESPN and Fox that’s the richest in college sports, at $3 billion. The new deal, announced Wednesday, will generate about $250 million a year for the Pac-10. The Big Ten earns $220 million in TV revenue.
Like the Big Ten, the Pac-10 also plans to start its own TV network.
The Big Ten has five more years on its contract with ABC/ESPN, Delany said. He said the Pac-10 contract and others negotiated by other conferences indicates the growing popularity of college football.
“We have an unbelievable game,” he said. “It’s not that 10-7 game you saw 25 years ago. We have 13 or 14 weekends that are pretty neat, pretty compelling.”
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