The University of Nebraska Lincoln has settled the question of whether the Huskers Football team will play Friday night home games.
“It’s our expectation that we will not play any home games on Friday nights here in Lincoln”
With that statement to the Board of Regents, UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green eased the fears of High School Athletic Directors, downtown Lincoln businesses, and professors. Green said a study determined that Friday night lights at Memorial Stadium would result in massive problems. The Huskers are committed to a Friday night game this season on September 29th at Illinois. Green said, however, that since 13 of the 14 teams in the Big Ten have agreed to play Friday night games, in a six year cycle, he does not anticipate another for the Huskers.
Green and Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst grabbed the attention of every Regent with their next announcement. $5 Million in Athletic Department funds will be made available for general scholarships for non-athletes. The move comes just weeks after the Regents announced two upcoming tuition increases due to the State’s slowing economy and Legislative Budget cuts. Eichorst called it a high priority initiative, saying he’s been working on it since taking the job of Athletic Director.
“It’s been a priority of mine, since Day One, to ground everything we do in Athletics in Academics” said Eichorst. He went on to say “we’re fully integrated, and have collaborations with almost every college on campus, and we’re continuing to strive in that direction.”
Eichorst added that not every College or University is able to make a contribution of this type.
“Very few athletic programs in this country are able to operate with no State support, no University Subsidies, no Student fees. We operate in the black, and we make a significant contribution back to the University because it’s the right thing to do.”
Also on Friday’s agenda was a plan to refurbish Mable Lee Hall at 14th and Vine. The plan as approved will displace the Women’s Gymnastics Team. Coincidentally, the Men’s gymnastics program, which operates at the Devaney Center, also is in need of upgraded facilities. The Regents approved a 13,000 square foot addition to the Devaney Center which will be the home of both programs. Eichorst emphasized that the addition will be built entirely with Athletic Department funds.
The Regents also approved a new 11 year sponsorship agreement with athletic shoe maker Adidas. The agreement includes the final year of the current ten year agreement, plus an additional ten years. UNL will receive a total of $128 million from Adidas, half in cash and half in shoes for athletes in all Husker programs.