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August 14, 2004

Nebraska Invests Boldly In The Future

FROM THE CORNHUSKER STATE comes the latest installment of the incredible, impossible, implausible investment competition known as the college athletics arms race.

Borrowing a page from Oregon, Ohio State and Indiana, the University of Nebraska has broken ground on a $50 million project includes construction of a new indoor practice facility, a weight room, football locker room and offices for the football coaching staff and athletic administration.

Also, 6000 seats will be added to Memorial Stadium, pushing capacity to beyond 80,000. That will propel Nebraska’s stadium from 22nd on the list of college football stadiums to 19th, as they will leapfrog past stadiums of Texas, Florida State, Wisconsin and Cal-Berkeley.

And leapfrogging is precisely what the arms race is all about.

Fortunes have changed indeed for the Cornhuskers. From the heady 90s, when they won three national championships, Nebraska has drifted into a “mediocrity,” at least as defined by (over?)ambitious AD Steve Pederson.

It was just last year that Pederson proclaimed that NU’s 9-3 record was akin to “mediocrity,” and he proceeded to give the boot to head coach Frank Solich and seven of Solich's nine assistants.

In the recent Sports Illustrated rankings, Nebraska was slotted in way down at 21st. That’s a lot lower than the top five rankings that the school was accustomed to not long ago.

The expansion complex has been named the Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex, in honor of Nebraska’s long-time coaching legend (now a US congressman). Congressman Osborne said that while the race to build bigger and better facilities is a growing problem in collegiate athletics, it is "the nature of the beast right now. We have to keep up with other folks--so this will be very helpful."

Ahem.

It’s the nature of the beast “right now?” Seems like it has always been thus, and will remain thus for a long time to come.

(this 312 word excerpt—with accompanying commentary—was distilled from a 604 word article from the Lincoln [NB] Journal-Star of 8-13-04 and a 410 word article from The Daily Nebraskan of 8-12-04)