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Mailbag: The Effects of Saying ‘No’ to Football, Domes, Logos, and More

September 21, 2020

It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s time to crack open the mailbag and answer your questions.

What will be the residual effects on recruiting for the schools with Presidents/Chancellors who voted NO to playing or trying to play this fall? And the same question for those voting YES. (@Corn_Huskers)

Brandon Vogel: I don’t think there are long-term effects either way, but that’s sort of a general life outlook of mine—complex systems tend to remain complex and it takes something truly massive to alter them. I’m sure some of the schools who have publicly been in the “no” camp will deal with a little negative recruiting and schools that have publicly been in the “yes” camp, like Nebraska, can use it to highlight its commitment to its players. Those things will be mentioned, but I don’t see a massive shift among recruits to that factor suddenly becoming the deciding factor. It’s still about opportunity. If Alabama plays 12 games this year and Ohio State plays zero, the Buckeyes are still going to land their share of 5-stars, not because they wanted to play but because Ohio State is still one of the best places in the country to play football. That just filters down through the recruiting levels. Indiana will continue to get the kids for whom Indiana football is the best opportunity, and it will likely be the same level of prospects the Hoosiers were getting before. Individual programs have peaks and valleys, but overall recruiting is a really hard thing to change.

Greg Smith: To me, the only real long-term effect for a school like Nebraska is to be able to say they were publicly on the side of playing. So if a recruit is being told by an SEC school that the Big Ten doesn’t care about football as much as them, the Huskers can combat that by saying “Look how hard we fought to keep football.” Otherwise, I don’t think it has a big impact either way. The bigger impact, short- and long-term, is the pandemic and not being able to get on the road and evaluate. Also, prospects not being able to visit schools in person.

Assuming the domes are in play the day after Thanksgiving, would teams have a home base at a certain dome, or would they go back and forth from campus to the dome? I would assume there would be a home base with the team hotel being their “base.” (@Go_Big_Red)

Derek Peterson: This is a good question. I’m very excited about the prospect of domes. The NBA bubble has had a serious March Madness vibe right from the opening tip, and a lot of that has had to do with the atmosphere. Donovan Mitchell dropped 50 on the Nuggets and then Jamal Murray had to walk past him outside their hotel right after the game. Very NCAA Tournament-y, or AAU-y. I’d love to see what that looked like for a football team. And if we go with the domes, those home bases make soooo much sense from a bubble-creation standpoint. You can control as many variables that way. From a financial standpoint, that might be difficult though. Are you bringing the whole team? Where are you practicing? If you can’t bring the whole team, the guys you’re leaving behind are missing out; if you’re bringing the whole team that bill gets astronomical fast. There are also classes… those pesky things. Guys would have to move to fully online, and that move would take place mid-semester; that would pretty much shred the “they’re just like any other student” b.s. from the NCAA, so you might as well just give them the semester off at that point. Maybe you get a situation where teams are just staying overnight at the same hotel each time they travel to their home site.

Jacob Padilla: For all of the logistical reasons Derek pointed out, I don’t really see how you can put an entire college football team in a bubble. I was skeptical about the domes to begin with when they were discussing the season happening in the middle of January. If the Big Ten does decide to go with a November start and if things go relatively smoothly with the college football happening now (not a great start on that front), I’d guess they just play campus games. Is the weather really going to be that bad?

Who are the next few Husker athletes to have their own logo/song/clip reel? While innovative, are there any additional features you’d recommend to add some “pop” to the branding/NIL discussion? (@3rdLargestCity)

DP: I would think a Husker volleyball player has to be next in line. Lauren Stivrins feels like she should have one either in the pipeline or coming soon, and not just because she said she’d drop a song if she hit 10,000 retweets on Monday. She’s got close to 10,000 followers on Twitter, she’s verified on Insta with close to 30,000 followers, and she’s one of the faces of Nebraska’s best program. It’s past time a volleyballer got one, quite frankly. As far as additional stuff to add to the portfolio, that’s a good question. I think Nebraska’s creative team is killing it right now on this front, and the introduction of music is pretty genius.

JP: Stivrins is the obvious one from volleyball, but they’ve got to be able to do something for Lexi Sun, right? That name and her popularity gives the creative team a lot to work with there. I’m sure Nicklin Hames will get a chance to have her own at some point well with the role she plays and her personality. In men’s basketball, I think we’ll have to wait until they actually get on the court because the two returning starters (Thorir Thorbjarnarson and Yvan Ouedraogo) already got theirs. In football, I’d guess Matt Farniok and Cam Jurgens are next up. Perhaps Jack Stoll, Collin Miller, Will Honas and Marquel Dismuke will get a chance at some point as returning starters who will be seniors whenever they play. I’d call Garrett Nelson getting one a lock at some point in his career, probably sooner than later if he can have a big sophomore season. If Omar Manning lives up to the hype, I’m sure he’ll get his pretty quickly.

MB: This is a good place (I think) to interject a question about the rule allowing student-athletes to profit from name and likeness. How will this affect team unity? In football, for example, my guess is quarterbacks, running backs and receivers stand the best chance of making big money off those things. So we’ve got linemen blocking, not generating much of anything, for “skill-position” players generating big bucks. We’re unavoidably turning the college game into professionalism. Is that a good thing? And why the granting of scholarships. In Derek’s earlier answer he suggests giving football players the semester off. We’re reaching a point at which there’s really little reason to include the “student” in student-athlete aren’t we? Finally, the concept that the athletic department doesn’t use any university money, that it’s self-sufficient (at Nebraska, anyway), ignores the fact that the athletic programs exist because of the university. So if the athletes take a semester off from classes to focus on generating revenue to continue the athletic department’s existence, why shouldn’t the scholarship money go to the university in some form? Athletics could be the university’s best fund-raiser.

Which do you think is more likely: November, October or winter start for football? (@ChicagoStation)
When is Nebraska’s first game that actually counts? October 10th, Thanksgiving, January, next Fall? (@CarnesRegg)

BV: As of this moment, I’d put those choices in the following order of most to least likely: November, winter, October. I have no doubt that the teams could be ready to go by October and I’m sure the coaches and players would prefer that, but I’ve seen nothing so far to indicate the Big Ten decision-makers can get there that quickly. That leaves two options, neither of which is perfect. Play in November and the Big Ten at least gets its teams out there during the tail end of “football season,” but probably still eliminates itself from Playoff participation. January, of course, does that and both of what I consider the most-likely options would eliminate spring football practice. There are no perfect options here, but, specifically to the second question, I do think the Huskers will play a game that counts before next fall.

Erin Sorensen: I hate to say it (but also not because it’s about me), but I really think the only thing happening Oct. 10 this year in the Big Ten is my birthday. I’m willing to celebrate it with all of you though. Beyond that, I feel like the Jan. 1 start date feels the most likely, with Thanksgiving as an optimistic option. I do think we see something before next fall though.

GS: My order would be Thanksgiving, Oct. 10, winter/spring. I think given the timelines we are working with right now that Thanksgiving makes the most sense. Even if that comes with its own frustrations. I don’t think it makes sense to play this winter/spring because then you mess up two seasons. I’d rather them punt to next fall altogether than play in the winter/spring.

What advice would you give Kevin Warren to restore his own credibility, as well as the Big Ten’s reputation? (@dmhusker1)

ES: I don’t know if I would personally call it a need to restore credibility (although that’s probably how it feels from the outside looking in) but I definitely do think there is a lack of trust that will need to be rebuilt. Communication clearly broke down somewhere along the way in the Big Ten through all of this, and that’s going to take some time to sort through. The best thing Kevin Warren can do is be open and willing to have conversations with anyone in the Big Ten who wants it and find ways to be a more effective communicator going forward. Words will only do so much, but long-term action and willingness to listen will help. He won’t win over everyone, of course, but you can’t be worried about pleasing everyone if you’re in his shoes. Communication will go a long way, so I think that’s where I’d start if I were him.

MB: Warren remains the victim of his position and what was expected to begin with, that who voted in what way wouldn’t be divulged, only that the result would be presented by the person hired to present it and speak for the conference. Where Warren slipped up is not being as straight-forward with Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network as he was soon after with Yahoo Sports. Would Jim Delany have done a “better” job? The perception would have been that he had because he had been at it a long time and could have avoided the backlash that the new guy got because he was the new guy. Restoring credibility is on the Big Ten for not being transparent and accountable across the board. Warren isn’t working for the fans. He’s working for the conference, ultimately the school administrators.

DP: I do think he needs the presidents and chancellors serving on the COP/C to be in his corner a little bit more than they have been. He was the public punching bag for them and they’ve ducked a lot of the same things he’s had to endure for their decisions. That’s not to say Warren hasn’t made mistakes over the past few months—he’s made many—but he’s not unilaterally responsible for the season shutting down in Big Ten country, yet he’s treated like he was. It would go a long way toward helping the Big Ten regain some of its footing if those 14 representatives collectively were more open about the roles they played. Follow Ronnie Green’s lead.

If the Big Red doesn’t play, which quarterback will leave, if any? Adrian to the draft or Luke to the portal? (@takes_baked)

DP: I don’t think either. Luke McCaffrey is next in line. Adrian Martinez needs another year on tape to prove he’s not the guy he showed a year ago.

JP: I agree with Derek. I don’t believe Martinez has the résumé to get drafted at this point and since this year isn’t costing either eligibility, I think McCaffrey and Logan Smothers would be fine to continue biding their time and developing for another year. However, if Martinez is still here and in line to start in 2022, somebody in that room might start thinking about looking elsewhere at that point.

If the COP/C vote to bring back football and the first games will be on October 10th, what will the next 31 days look like in terms of practice and preparation? Will the Huskers re-open the Training Table and other things that are currently shutdown? (@Corn_Huskers)

BV: I think there’d be an effort to get the training table up and going in some capacity. Some university employees who are currently furloughed would probably be able to come back. It takes a lot of manpower to put on one football game, much less a season. You’d still be dealing with reduced revenue, however, so I don’t think the athletic department would instantly be back at full throttle.

The year is 2050: when the books and stories come out about the crazy series of B1G decisions/events due to the pandemic what kinds of chapters names do you envision? Does SirYacht get a paragraph or whole chapter? (@Sal_Vasta3)

BV: Ch. 1 – A March without Madness, Ch. 2 – Rising Cases, Falling Hope, Ch. 3 – False Start, Ch. 4 – Decision Day, Ch. 5 – Contested Vote, Ch. 6 – Rumorville, Ch. 7 – The Sound of Silence, Chs. 8–12 TBD. SirYacht gets a brief reference in Chapter 6.

Is it safe to say that the Huskers are counting on more players leaving the team? They seem to be recruiting more player than they originally announced. (@JacobKrueger5)

GS: Attrition is always factored in but in this case its more about the attrition that has already happened. It wasn’t exactly expected to already lose a handful of guys from the 2020 class and that is playing a role in bumping up the number of recruits they can take for the 2021 class.

JP: Further illustrating Greg’s point, after Keyshawn Greene’s departure, Nebraska is down to 79 scholarship players on the 2020 roster.

Going grocery shopping and playing a little game: Keep or Toss. What fall-themed foods would you KEEP and which ones would you TOSS? (@Corn_Huskers)

ES: This is essentially just “pumpkin spiced” items, which is what most fall-themed foods in the grocery store are. There are exceptions, of course, but I’m focusing here. When it comes to pumpkin flavored anything, keep the coffee, coffee creamers, cinnamon rolls, pancakes/waffles and muffins. Toss the Cheerios, Kit Kats, popcorn (although caramel pumpkin spice did stop me for a second) and whey protein (or any protein drinks, for that matter). Basically, not everything needs to be pumpkin flavored. Some make a lot of sense. Others, not so much.

JP: Keep the cinnamon rolls, toss the chili.

DP: All pumpkin-based food and drink, with the exception of pie, is trash. Throw it all out and let me have Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, and potatoes early.

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