LINCOLN, Neb. — University of Nebraska officials said Friday that they will apply for membership in the Big Ten Conference and expect to be accepted.
Chancellor Harvey Perlman disclosed the plan during a meeting of the university's Board of Regents, proposing that play in the new conference begin in 2011 after one more year in the Big 12. He said he believed Nebraska is more "aligned" with the Big Ten when it comes to academics, culture and athletics.
He also said the move offered stability "that the Big 12 simply cannot offer."
Nebraska's move comes at the end of a crazy week in college athletics.
On Thursday, fellow Big 12 member Colorado announced it would be moving to the Pac-10. Texas and other schools in the Big 12 South — Perlman told the regents that the Pac-10 had been in touch with many schools in that division — could be the next to leave.
Nebraska's move wouldn't become official until after Big Ten presidents give their approval. It would be the Big Ten's first expansion since 1990, when Penn State joined.
To generations of Nebraska fans, going to the Big Ten at one time would have been unthinkable. The school's athletic tradition is built on more than a century of football games against the likes of Missouri and Kansas, dating to the days the team was known as the Bugeaters.
The Huskers, in fact, have been conference partners with Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Kansas State since 1928; with Colorado since 1948 and with Oklahoma State since 1960.
Now the Huskers are on the verge of taking their five national titles in football and three Heisman Trophies east, and to start building new traditions, like a border rivalry with the Iowa Hawkeyes and regular trips to Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.
Fatter paychecks also will be coming. Nebraska figures to double its take of conference revenue, from about $10 million in the Big 12 to about $20 million in the Big Ten, thanks largely to bigger television contracts and the in-house Big Ten network.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has said he wanted to add only members that would be considered "home runs." The Huskers' football team struggled in the early and mid 2000s but have returned to national prominence the past two seasons under coach Bo Pelini, who is an Ohio State alumnus.
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