The Nebraska Board of Regents revised its bylaws during Thursday’s meeting to shift oversight of the Nebraska athletic department under the purview of president Ted Carter. That move shifts the role to the president’s office from the chancellor’s office. Regents also approved Dr. Rodney Bennett as the school’s 21st chancellor on Thursday.
As a result of the proposal, the school’s board of regents now looms closer to a direct decision-making role in Nebraska athletics. The proposal for this shift came from regents Tim Clare (Lincoln) and Rob Schafer (Beatrice). The eight-person board passed the proposal unanimously.
Dr. Bennett said he was fine with the shift to see how things went. He said little about athletics during his week of public forums, only to mention the large gathering of Husker fans and the national prominence of the brand could expand fundraising opportunities. Bennett also addressed the volleyball arena scandal while he was at Southern Mississippi during the forums. He takes over for Chancellor Ronnie Green, who retires after seven years in the position at the end of the month.
Nebraska’s regents pointed to the various large-scale projects as a reason for the shift. There’s not only the current Go Big Project that will house the football team in about two weeks, but likely major renovations coming to Memorial Stadium. Regents also rationalized the vote as a preemptive move when preparing for a future with name, image and likeness and transfer portal within college athletics.
“Nebraska needs to stay on the cutting edge in this changing landscape,” Clare said during Thursday’s meeting. “So I would say athletics is too important for the president not to be engaged.”
With that vote, Carter became direct supervisor to athletic director Trev Alberts. Carter also inherits a seat on the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors with the move. It’s also worth noting Carter served on the NCAA Board of Governors when he was the superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy (2014-19) before his move to Nebraska. Carter also played an important behind-the-scenes role in hiring current Nebraska football coach Matt Rhule. The plan that eventually became Volleyball Day In Nebraska gained considerable steam behind Alberts and with Carter’s blessing. (Regents also voted to approve alcohol sales at Volleyball Day In Nebraska during Thursday’s meeting.)
Some regents, while voting in favor of the move, aired reservations of the chancellor losing his seat on the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, which holds considerable weight concerning conference policies and operations. Green played a voting role in hiring new Big Ten Commissioner Tony Pettiti. Regents, who are publicly elected to six-year terms, wondered if future university presidents would be as well-fit or responsible for the role as Carter. Those concerns were ultimately kicked down the road.
Carter said his new responsibility would not detract from his current duties, something at least one regent aired concerns about. Carter shared his desire to work closely with both Alberts and Bennett to build a successful, sustainable future for Husker athletics.
Regents also voted in favor of a 3.5% tuition hike starting with the upcoming operation budget. At the same time, Bennett’s base salary as voted on by regents is $720,000—a 37% increase from retiring chancellor Green. Green was paid $525,300 in 2023, according to university budget documents. Bennett also receives a deferred compensation package which, in total, brings his compensation package to $802,800.