It didn't take Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren long to quash the idea of Nebraska playing football in another conference this season after Warren initially said Tuesday that "today is not the appropriate day" to address that.
"No," Warren told Yahoo Sports of the possibility that the Cornhuskers could still play this fall. "Not and be a member of the Big Ten Conference."
After announcing the Big Ten would not play this fall, Warren rebuffed the idea presented by Nebraska coach Scott Frost on Monday saying that the school would look elsewhere to play in 2020. The program then released a joint statement affirming that intention after Tuesday's announcement.
"We are very disappointed in the decision by the Big Ten Conference to postpone the fall football season, as we have been and continue to be ready to play," Nebraska chancellor Ronnie Green, president Ted Carter, athletic director Bill Moos and football coach Scott Frost said in a joint statement Tuesday.
Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Big Ten in 2011 and has nearly doubled its athletic department revenue since the move, according to a USA Today database of NCAA-member finances. The school raked in $89.65 million in rights/licensing revenue during the 2019 fiscal year, much of which came from the Big Ten's TV contracts.
If Nebraska tried play in another conference this season, the Big 12 would be the most logical fit geographically. But Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Wednesday that Nebraska has not contacted the league about the matter.
It seems unlikely Nebraska would be willing to jeopardize its long-term standing in one of the nation's most-prominent conferences in order to play this fall. But the joint statement from the university's leaders on Tuesday suggested Nebraska will continue to explore the possibility of playing, even though Warren's words imply that doing so would clearly put the school's relationship with the Big Ten in a tenuous position.
"Safety comes first," Nebraska's statement said. "Based on the conversations with our medical experts, we continue to strongly believe the absolute safest place for our student athletes is within the rigorous safety protocols, testing procedures, and the structure and support provided by Husker Athletics.
"We will continue to consult with medical experts and evaluate the situation as it emerges. We hope it may be possible for our student athletes to have the opportunity to compete."