OMAHA - Nebraska could be on its way to the Big Ten by tomorrow.
The university's Board of Regents yesterday amended the agenda for its previously scheduled meeting tomorrow 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.
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.
The university issued a statement last night to counter media reports that regents met informally yesterday 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."
The Big 12 reportedly has given Nebraska and Missouri a deadline of tomorrow to affirm their commitment to the league. The two schools are among the leading candidates should the Big Ten expand, while other Big 12 schools are rumored to be part of plans for the Pac-10 to expand.
The Big Ten announced late last year it is 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.
In a radio interview Tuesday, Osborne tried to quash speculation Nebraska would, in part, arrive at its decision based on its relationship with the University of Texas.
The Huskers and Longhorns have butted heads over many issues since the Big 12 was formed, and there is a perception in Nebraska that Texas wields too much influence on league policies.
"We certainly don't have anything against anybody in the Big 12," Osborne said on the Husker Sports Network. "This decision is not going to be based on animosity or petty jealousy. I mean, you're talking about something that could maintain for the next 75 or 100 years. This is a big deal in terms of the University of Nebraska [and] this is a big deal in view of many other institutions."