Photo by Eric Francis
Nebraska Football

In Letter to Season Ticket Holders, NU Mentions Possible Spring Season

August 13, 2020

The thinking from some was that Nebraska would go rogue.

After initially expressing disappointment in the Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports, Nebraska had largely gone radio silent for 48 hours. A survey sent from the UNL Faculty Senate Wednesday night asked if faculty members would be OK leaving the Big Ten in order for fall sports to continue. Speculation ran rampant that Nebraska was plotting an exit from the conference while national pundits suggested Nebraska should be removed from the conference.

A statement from university President Ted Carter and Chancellor Ronnie Green Thursday morning publicly stated Nebraska had no desire to leave the Big Ten, and in a letter sent to season ticket holders Thursday morning, Nebraska athletics seems to have resigned itself to the idea that fall football won’t be likely either. 

“First and foremost, thank you for your patience and grace during these difficult times. We are disappointed but determined not to allow this challenging time in our history to define us,” the letter read. “The Big Ten has postponed all athletic events for the Fall 2020 season, including football. Circumstances have changed significantly since last Friday when we communicated to you regarding ticket and donation options for the 2020 season.

“The financial challenge ahead of us is even greater than we expected one week ago. As always, your loyal support is greatly appreciated and more important than ever. 

“We will reach out for additional feedback when we have more details about a possible Spring season. In the meantime, keep supporting our student-athletes and coaches as they regroup from this week’s tough news.”

In a letter sent to football season ticket holders last Friday, Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos wrote that NU was projecting a revenue shortfall anywhere from $40 to $100 million as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an attempt to help mitigate some of those projected losses, the Husker athletic department created the “Day by Day” campaign with the hopes that ticket holders would donate their 2020 payment to the fund rather than requesting a refund. Doing so was incentivized as Nebraska was offering full refunds for the first time. 

But with no football, Nebraska’s budget gets tighter. Husker coach Scott Frost said Monday Nebraska is expecting to lose anywhere from $80 million to $120 million in revenue this fall. Football alone accounted for $96.2 million in operating revenue for the athletic department in Fiscal 2019. The vast majority of the Big Ten’s media rights payout came because of football. 

In an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel Tuesday night, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said Nebraska would not be able to play non-Big Ten-sanctioned football this fall and remain a member of the league. 

At no point has Nebraska directly threatened to leave the Big Ten, though Frost’s comments on Monday suggested Nebraska would look at other options with regards to playing games in the fall. 

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