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Official Husker Locker Blog

2010 Jun 11

BIG TEN EXPANSION: Live from the Nebraska Regents Meeting (Updated 1:00)


By HuskerLocker

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We're here live at the Nebraska Board of Regents meeting at Varner Hall on the University of Nebraska's East Campus, and we'll be offering live updates as NU moves toward the monumental decision to move to the Big Ten Conference.

Tom Osborne and Harvey Perlman's presentation should begin around 1 p.m. Before then, we'll attempt to set the scene for thousands of people who can't be here.

1:53: Perlman implicates Missouri as starting the debate to leave the Big 12. Wow. In fact, he says that's why NU reached out to the Big Ten.

1:51 Perlman asks Regents to ratify Big Ten membership application.

1:49 The Regents are back.

1:45 Still in closed session....

1:30: The Omaha World-Herald is reporting Nebraska has accepted a bid to join the Big Ten but the executive session is still in session. The Big Ten called Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe this morning to confirm the Big Ten had accepted NU's bid to join the league.

1:05: Closed session motion passes, and the Nebraska Board of Regents are in closed session.

1:02: Tom Osborne is sitting in the front row...here comes the public comments, if there are any.

1:00 The meeting has begun. Expect a few formalities with a shift directly in closed session.

12:52: We'll kick back into a closed session real soon here, which may take some time. The Regents, Osborne and Perlman will head upstairs to talk contracts and brandy snifters, we're sure.

12:48: Tom Osborne is back in the building.

12:46: We're back, Jack, and here comes the crush of peeps.

12:39: Regents, coming back fat'n'happy from a grilled lunch.

12:36: Perlman is back.

12:35: About 20 TV cameras here right now...and more coming. ESPN is set up outside off the corner of Varner Hall with a camera and three of those green folding chairs you take to Little League baseball games and fireworks shows.

12:25: A good story told to me by Huskers Illustrated writer and football historian Mike Babcock: In 1905, the Daily Nebraskan reported that Nebraska was hoping to make a strong case for entering the Big Ten by beating Illinois. In that season, NU lost to Michigan and Minnesota. The Huskers were likely never closer to a bid (before today) than at that time. The Big Ten chose instead not to add anyone until Ohio State in 1912.

Second good story: Bob Devaney, back when he started as athletic director in the mid 1970s, would not have minded a move to the Big Ten. But there was no interest at that time.

12:15 Before one of the most monumental decisions in recent university history, the Nebraska Board of Regents ate an outdoor lunch of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs under a grove of low-hanging trees, just outside the UNL Dairy Store. Nebraska, folks, Nebraska.

12:00 The Board of Regents will now adjourn for lunch, walking across the street to eat a barbecue lunch outside. At 12:45, they'll take some picture. At 1:00, there will be an executive session. Oh by the way - Harvey Perlman's here, too.

11:50 Tom Osborne is in the building. He's taken a seat in the audience - always the modest man - next to Huskers Illustrated reporter Mike Babcock, who doubles as NU's foremost football historian. Osborne is not wearing red. He's wearing a brown jacket and blue shirt.

11:40: Ferlic and Hawks holding court on NU budget/tuition issue. They sit next to each other, which is fitting. Their comments today will be the most interesting and salient of the bunch. Remember that Hawks has funded NU's Championship Center and has the baseball field named after him.

11:30: NU is discussing a 6% tuition increase. The media is filing in. We'll see just how regional/national media is here today. I pity their parking scenario. There is none. They'll have to find spots on the neighborhood streets surrounding Varner Hall, which have more odd, No Parking rules than any other place in, well, all of the Nebraska. Off-campus students looking to skimp on parking park there and they fill up the spots quick - even in the summer.

11:15 a.m. Let's set the scene, shall we?

Varner Hall is across the street from the main hub of the University of Nebraska campus. It's smallish and rectangular, designed in the Bauhaus style, a monochromatic look of giant white slats budding from dark-tinted windowns, with a giant university seal adorns both the front and back of its facade. The parking, on the back side of the building, is packed, surrounded by tall, old cottonwoods chewed up by storms and big-leafed weed trees that are typical in Lincoln.

The Regents meet in the basement. The Board itself is arrayed in a long semicircle that faces a podium. The news cameras are off to their right, while the print media, for today, is tucked into a corner near the back left. There's a ton here already; it's going to be tight later this afternoon.

There are eight voting regents and four student regents. All of them, at least this year, are men. They are:

District 1: Tim Clare, elected in 2008, out of Lincoln. He's a lawyer. He's the son of Pat Clare, an orthopedic surgeon who often works on Nebraska athletes. He's also the Regents' representative on the new Haymarket Arena joint agency.

District 2: Howard Hawks, elected in 2002, out of Omaha. Big-time booster of NU athletics (and Creighton, for that matter) Hawks is probably the most influential member on the board.

District 3: Chuck Hassebroek, elected in 1994, out of Lyons. He's considered, by many, a go-to guy on agriculture issues. Courtly and genteel.

District 4: Bob Whitehouse, elected in 2006, out of Papillion. He's the vice-chairman.

District 5: Jim McClurg, appointed in 2002, elected in 2006, out of Lincoln. He's a doctor. It was his controversial vote that refused to limit the University of Nebraska Medical Center's ability to continue to conduct stem-cell embryonic research.

District 6: Kent Schroeder, elected in 1998, twice chairman in 2002 and 2009, out of Kearney. He's a retired judge.

District 7: Bob Phares, elected in 2006, chariman now, out of North Platte. He's a lawyer.

District 8: Randy Ferlic, elected in 2000, out of Omaha. He's a doctor and professor. Along with Hawks, he's also influential, although his bid to get a former Strategic Air Command general as NU President fell apart in 2004 when that general withdrew his name amidst questions of his academic credentials.

The NU president is J.B. Milliken, a tall, sharp-looking man who looks like he could be in politics. He graduated from UNL, got his law degree at NYU, practiced on Wall Street, returned to Nebraska, rose to vice president, held a similar role at the University of North Carolina, then returned to become NU's president, beating out a large field of varied accomplishments and qualifications.

Today, Ferlic and McClurg are dressed in red coats with red candy-cane ties. Milliken is wearing a similar tie with an expensive pinstripe jacket. Clare is wearing a similar tie and a Nebraska pin.

Right now, the discussion is on NU's budget. Nebraska will be suggesting a hike in tuition, though not as large as recent years.

Tags: big ten expansion

Comments (1)

Profile image for carlfenseLocker Pass member

Mizzou fans are nervous here where I work....and this is the first time we have ever argued about academia?!?!

– Jun 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm

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