The Nebraska Cornhuskers have been the subject of curiosity ever since the Big Ten canceled fall sports in 2020 with the hopes of playing in spring 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Would they stay or would they go? That question was answered on Thursday.
Nebraska chancellor Ronnie Green and president Ted Carter announced that the program is committed to stay in the conference both this season and moving forward.
"The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a fully committed member of the Big Ten Conference. It is an unparalleled athletic and academic alliance. We have the greatest fans in college athletics. This has been a difficult and disappointing week for the Husker family. We look forward to the day when e can cheer on our student-athletes, on the field and in the arena."
This comes two days after coach Scott Frost suggested his Cornhuskers might look somewhere else to play football this fall after the Big Ten canceled its season. It is believed that Nebraska was one or two dissenting votes when conference presidents weighed in on whether to cancel the season earlier this week.
"We want to play a Big Ten schedule; I hope that's what happens," Frost said. "Our university is committed to playing no matter what that looks like and how that looks. We want to play no matter who it is or where it is. We'll see how those chips fall. We certainly hope it's in the Big Ten. If it isn't, I think we're prepared to look for other options."
That possibility was left open later Tuesday night when Green, Carter, Frost and athletic director Bill Moos released a statement immediately after the announcement of the postponement.
"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. Safety comes first. 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."
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren shot down the possibility of Nebraska bailing on the conference this year if it hoped to come back in the 2021-22 academic year.
"No," he told Yahoo Sports when asked if Nebraska could play elsewhere in 2020 and then stay. "Not and be a member of the Big Ten Conference."
It's not surprising that Nebraska is sticking around. In an era of uncertain financial times, staying married to the Big Ten -- and the massive paycheck that comes with it -- is probably in the best interest of the long-term health of the program.