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Hot Reads: Big Ten Begins Working Through Eligibility Questions

March 17, 2020

An hour after making the decision Monday to move Nebraska's training table to take-out only for now, Athletic Director Bill Moos joined Husker Sports Nightly to talk through the immense change the last week has brought to college athletics. It was a week, Moos said, where things changed by, well, the hour.

You're probably already aware of the big news from Monday night's radio appearance. The spring game is, in all likelihood, not happening. It was a decision that seemed inevitable in recent days as state and city governments tightened restrictions on mass gatherings.

As of now, the Big Ten's suspension of team activities such as spring football runs through April 6. There are questions to be answered there if teams cannot hold those remaining practices. Half of the Big Ten had yet to even start spring football.

But the biggest overall question right now might be what "eligibility relief" looks like. The NCAA did well to move swiftly and announce that spring-sport athletes wouldn't lose a year of eligibility for seasons that, in some cases, had just begun. The appropriate councils at the Division I and Division III levels have announced that measure.

Plenty more questions, however, unspool from there.

"What about the winter sport athletes who were having exceptional seasons, both team and individually, who weren't able to compete for a championship?" Moss said. "Wrestling would be a good example of that."

It sure would.

Nebraska wrestling was having its best season since joining the Big Ten. The Huskers finished second as a team at the Big Ten Championships and qualified 10 for the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis.

Based on what the NCAA has publicly stated to this point, that would be how it ends for someone like senior wrestler Isaiah White, the 5-seed at 165 pounds in the national tournament.

Nebraska swimming and diving was sending four to the NCAA Championships, its most since 1999–2000. Track and field had four qualified for the indoor championships, including record-setting middle-distance runner George Kusche, a junior from South Africa.

There are plenty of questions here and no easy answers. Moos said the Big Ten athletic directors and compliance departments were scheduled to start talking through eligibility options via conference call on Tuesday.

"That's the next conversation," Moos said, "as we try to keep the health piece a priority." 

Any actual change to what might happen for those athletes in winter sports would have to be at a national level, of course, but we've seen that the Big Ten has a lot of sway when it comes to those conversations.


As the first person to realize that many people may suddenly have a need for things to occupy additional time at home, I'm going to become the first person to recommend some things to consume (books, films, etc.). Maybe it will become a regular piece of Hot Reads during this Social Distancing Era, maybe not. My taste tends not to have the broadest appeal, so this might be disastrous.

Anyway, watch “Shoplifters.” If you liked Best Picture-winner “Parasite,” this Japanese drama was released a year earlier and you'll see the connections. In fact, a Shoplifters/Parasite double-feature is so of-a-set thematically that I have to assume some theater has already done it.

The film is available to rent anywhere you stream movies and is currently free for Hulu subscribers.

The Grab Bag

  • Part two of Jay Moore’s conversation with former Nebraska trainer Doak Ostergard is out now.
  • Nebraska volleyball’s spring exhibition match at Grand Island has been canceled
  • If you didn’t catch it, here’s a great column from Erin Sorensen on the current state of things in the sports world.
  • Greg Smith looks at the Huskers’ options at tight end on the recruiting trail for 2021.

Today’s Song of Today

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