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Official Husker Locker Blog

2009 Jun 17

Eight Keys to Toppling Texas


By HuskerLocker

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(see also: The Troubling Gap Between Texas...and Everyone Else)

Smaller is better: Athletic director Tom Osborne may not enjoy doing it, but he needs to ask whether golf and tennis programs, which ate up more than $2 million in expenses compared to a little over $100,000 in revenue, are truly necessary, especially when fan support is scant and the men’s golf team conducts its home meets in Nebraska City.

A no-spin zone on baseball: Osborne needs to closely watch Nebraska’s baseball program over the next year and assess whether Mike Anderson has the coaching skill and recruiting acumen to lead NU into the next decade. Not whether he did or didn’t make the grade five years ago.

Volleyball bucks: Osborne needs to consider whether Nebraska’s volleyball team should make the full-time leap from the NU Coliseum to the Bob Devaney Sports Center, where the Huskers can draw twice as many season-ticket holders and the sport can pay for itself. The Coliseum can still be used once or twice a year, for specific big matches, and Osborne can institute a tiered season ticket system for those coveted seats.

Grapplers: He needs to promote the Nebraska wrestling team smarter and harder, especially considering Omaha’s Qwest Center is hosting the 2010 NCAA Championships. NU’s squad has an outside shot at the national title next year, and a solid first semester schedule. Bo Pelini’s a good friend of wrestling coach Mark Manning; maybe it’s time for a TV ad.

Tough questions: He needs to ask, now that Nebraska has a terrific coaching staff, whether the operational side of the football program is being run as efficiently as it could be. Osborne is respected enough to make hard inquiries and necessary adjustments.

Help hoops: He has to figure out some way, any way, to get 10,000 Husker basketball fans inside Devaney before Kansas comes to town. The men’s basketball team was ninth in the Big 12 for revenue while the women’s team was 11th. If that means a better schedule for men and free tickets for the women, so be it. People have to see the product before they buy the product.

To that end, Osborne has wisely vowed to resolve the arena issue within the next year, whether it’s full-speed ahead on some Haymarket palace, or a revamp of Devaney. Wisely, Osborne won’t allow the athletic department to get dragged into city politics and the mercurial nature of Lincoln voters. Lincoln will do what it does, and considering the city can’t devise a way to get across town in 15 minutes, the arena may end up being a long shot. Good to see Osborne has a contingency plan at Devaney. Now, if he can just get some reasonable parking around it.

Spend football donor dollars wisely: Not blow them on baubles and trinkets, like ribbon boards inside Memorial Stadium. Enough of that stuff. The stadium experience is fine. It’s a football game, not a light show. Dump the media guides if you have to do it. Reporters know how to go online, and Huskers.com is a fine Web site anyhow. Spend it on people – coaches, administrators, down-the-line support staffers. Nebraska can’t afford to lose talent over a thousand here or there. In other words: Do what it takes to retain offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.

Beat Texas – and the rest of the Big 12 - where the Longhorns haven’t thought to fight: Osborne’s ahead of the game there with his student life complex initiative, which can be turned into one of Bo Pelini’s best recruiting tools when it is completed.

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See also: A Conversation with Phil Steele

Tags: tom osborne, nebraska, texas, doc sadler, haymarket arena, mark manning, wrestling, volleyball, baseball, mike anderson

Comments (2)

Profile image for The_Walleye


– Jun 17, 2009 at 11:59 am

Profile image for MrGoodLifeLocker Pass member

Great ideas, especially concerning cutting the sports. It's definitely time. I know that when I donate, I try to specify that my money not go to support programs that hardly produce any revenue, much less make a profit.

– Jun 17, 2009 at 10:03 am

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