Big Ten Accepts Nebraska; More To Come?

Expansion has hit the Big Ten for the first time in two decades when the University of Nebraska-Lincoln voted to apply for membership in the league on Friday, a membership the conference accepted later in the afternoon. And commissioner Jim Delany said there could be more action to follow. Updated 8:40 p.m. EDT

The Big Ten announced at 5:45 p.m. Eastern time that the league's Council of Presidents/Chancellors had approved the addition of Nebraska as the league's 12th team.

Earlier in the day, Nebraska's board of regents approved a resolution advocating the school in Lincoln submit an application for membership into the Big Ten and its academic counterpart, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.

The Cornhuskers, formerly members of the Big 12 and the fourth winningest college football program of all time, will begin athletic competition in the Big Ten in the 2011-12 season. A longtime football power that claims five national titles since 1970, Nebraska also brings powerful women's basketball, women's volleyball and baseball programs into the fold.

Also a land-grant university like Ohio State, Nebraska fits the bill as a member of the academic consortium the Association of American Universities.

According to the Big Ten, any school hoping to be admitted into the conference must submit a written application, which must be approved by 70 percent of all league institutions. Nebraska's application was submitted formally on Friday afternoon and soon accepted.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany called the vote, "enthusiastic and unanimous." Speaking with reporters via teleconference Friday evening, he added, "It's a historic day for the Big Ten Conference."

Nebraska director of athletics Tom Osborne said the school is honored to be part of the Big Ten.

"We've been very pleased by the process," said the legendary former football coach of the 'Huskers. "I've been impressed by the fact Jim Delany is not just concerned about what your balance sheet looks like but he's also concerned about issues of culture and how well things are going to fit and be integrated into a conference.

"Sometimes the reasons these things don't work out very well is those kinds of issues are not attended to and you kind of smash schools together and try to integrate cultures that are not prepared for it."

While the conference announced in December it would take 12-18 months to explore expansion, Delany admitted recently arising uncertainty with the membership of the Big 12 inspired the Big Ten to act more quickly than it initially intended to.

"I think for the next 50 of 100 years Nebraska is going to make us a better conference than we were before today," Delany said.

With a 12th team in the fold, the conference may be finished expanding, or it might not.

"If something makes sense to our presidents, our athletics directors and our faculty that we will approve of, we'll make that change," Delany said. "If it doesn't make sense, we'll probably just be where we are. We're going to be alert and aware of what's going on around us and we'll make those judgements."

By the time 18 months have passed from the initial date the idea of expansion was breached, any worthwhile moves should have presented themselves, he added.

For now, Delany said he anticipates the league will institute a football conference championship game, but no serious considerations had been made yet regarding potential divisional alignments or adjustments to the 2011-12 schedules.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories