Hail Varsity Mailbag
Photo Credit: Quentin Lueninghoener

Mailbag: A New NCAA, Husker Villains and More

June 10, 2021

It’s mailbag day, so let’s dive in.

What is preventing every P5 school from coming together and leaving the NCAA? Why not come together in a show of force, especially with the way they’ve handled Women’s Sports/Championships and the NIL? (@Corn_Huskers) 

Mike Babcock: School administrators would have to be on board and someone would have to organize an oversight group. Would there be enough agreement among the breakaway schools? Do they have enough common interests? The handling of women’s sports/championships has been atrocious. There should be sufficient influence within the NCAA to preclude that. Don’t know why it’s taken this long to address, and then only under pressure and in a limited way. NIL is complicated and the issues now would still be issues if the P5 schools broke away. At minimum, the NCAA needs to be restructured in some way to address the issues. Starting a whole new organization probably would lead to unforeseen problems. Also, there’s always: “Show me the money.” 

Jacob Padilla: What is preventing them from doing that? Probably that they don’t want to do it. I’m guessing the NCAA’s approval rating is much higher among university presidents (the people that make the decisions) than it is with fans or some coaches. Breaking off from the NCAA would be incredibly complicated considering how many sports are involved and all the little things the NCAA takes out of the hands of the athletic departments. The current system is also making those universities a nice little chunk of change as well. 

Derek Peterson: As much as Twitter might make one believe that’s a viable route, and as much as I would be interested in seeing the 64 P5 programs try to do it, I just don’t think it’s possible. Look at the Big Ten last year, fumbling about and trying to keep everyone on the same page. That was only 14 programs. Trying to get 64—plus I would assume Notre Dame would push its way into the equation—from all over the country with varying wants and needs to try and operate together would be a nightmare. There would be too many people acting in their own best interests and not for the betterment of the group. Look at how hard it’s been the expand the playoff. I just don’t think this kind of thing is tenable.  

Who’s the most memorable “villain” in Husker history? #TeamMoJo (@Simba_Simms) 

MB: I’d say Missouri’s student group, the Antlers. They went much too far. In fact, Missouri fans in general, once forcing Kent Pavelka and his broadcast partner beneath their table during a game because of what was being thrown at them. Colorado was bad, as well, with snowballs (some with rocks in them); and at least once, the student section being cleared. We always tried to get a rental car with non-Nebraska plates to avoid trouble. But Missouri gets No. 1 on the list. Having said that, with a small sample, Arkansas should take no pride in the fans that went after Mojo. That was Antler-esque.  

How many seniors is Nebraska going to lose or any others getting drafted on this year’s team? (@CarnesRegg) 

MB: I’m guessing all nine seniors are done—Acker, Hagge, Roskam and (I think) Foster, for sure, because they were “super-seniors,” using the additional season of eligibility. Hroch announced on Twitter his career was finished. Schwellenbach figures to leave via the draft. There are positions to fill. Even so, there’s reason for optimism with Bolt and staff. The draft is only 20 rounds, in July, creating issues for coaches, who won’t know whether some players will be gone or coming back. That can impact recruiting.  

Who was the best overall athlete in high school—Frost, Hoiberg or Osborne? (@dmhusker1) 

DP: With all due respect to Scott Frost and Tom Osborne, Fred Hoiberg had a lengthy professional career playing basketball. It’s Fred, no question. 

MB: In high school? Osborne would be a reasonable choice, football, basketball and baseball standout, same at Hastings College, and he did play a couple of seasons in the NFL. I’d say flip a coin among the three. 

JP: Presented without further comment: 

Where does Luke McCaffrey end up, and where would his best fit be? (@Starkastic8) 

MB: How about Northern Colorado, playing for his dad?

JP: Answering the “best fit” question is difficult – best fit for what he wants or best fit for what he needs? Dipping from Louisville after just a couple of weeks suggests they might not be the same thing. At this point, I think he’d likely look to drop down to a lower level rather than try again at another Power Five school. 

DP: If he wants to play quarterback, I don’t think he’s going to find that opportunity at a Power Five program at this point in time. If he was open to position changes, maybe things would have worked out differently at Nebraska. My guess, then, would be that he ends up in a lower-level program where he’ll have a shot to rehabilitate his pedigree a little bit. 

Next commitment? (@Go_Big_Red) 

Greg Smith: Assuming you mean football, give me quarterback Richard Torres or offensive lineman Valen Erickson. 

Looking ahead: The Nebraska Football 2024 schedule has one out of conference game opening yet to fill. Who would you like to see them play? (@HerbieHype) 

MB: Would I like? Texas in Lincoln. Irrational, true, but I’d like to see that. I’d settle for Kansas, coached by Lance Leipold, though.  

Will Nebraska go after some JUCO talent for 2022? (@red_39_) 

GS: I think the Huskers will monitor JUCO players in case there are any late moves to be made. But I don’t see them going heavy JUCO this cycle. The team needs to see who is returning for a bonus year before moving to JUCO prospects, in my opinion.  

I was entertained by the great players at the Women’s College World Series. Does Nebraska have a chance to make postseason play next year? (@dmhusker1) 

JP: I’m certainly no softball expert, so take this with a grain of salt. But Nebraska went 22-22 last season and is losing its best player in Tristen Edwards along with a few other key seniors. On the flip side, Rhonda Revelle is returning her entire pitching staff and her top two hitters not named Edwards in Billie Andrews and Cam Ybarra, so perhaps that’s something she can build off of. Nebraska will have to take a significant step forward in order to make the postseason for the first time since 2016. 

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