Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Omaha World-Herald published a great piece yesterday about the path Nebraska took en route to joining the Big Ten. It's a long read, to be sure, but it's less romance novel and more spy thriller. There's clandestine meetings, coded statements, and even an unnamed tipster who gets the ball rolling. Here's one snippet:
Because [Nebraska athletic director Tom] Osborne is a well-known figure who tends to attract attention, it was agreed he and the chancellor would fly separately. [Nebraska Chancellor Harvey] Perlman was joined by Joel Pedersen, the university's general counsel. Few on any of their staffs knew the reason for their travel.
After staying overnight in a city and eating breakfast separately to preserve their low profile, Perlman and Osborne received cell calls summoning them to meet a car outside. They then rode to a rural location about an hour outside the city.
They were greeted by Delany, Big Ten Deputy Commissioner Brad Traviolia and the conference's legal counsel.
One thing that becomes clear from Jim Delany's behavior throughout this process is that even though tradition isn't much of a factor in Delany's large-scale decision-making, identity is still critically important. After all, Delany bucked trends with the inception of the Big Ten Network and may tinker with the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, but when it comes down to adding another member to the conference, saying things like "we try to do things the right way" and "some things are more important than money" is still enough to send Delany's heart aflutter.
Big XII commissioner Dan Beebe and Texas president William Powers declined interview requests, and that's a shame, because their sides of the story would have been fascinating. They were the primary sources of pressure on Nebraska, after all, and now that Nebraska is in the process of bailing, some reflections on the situation from their end would be worth our attention. All in due time, probably.