Athletic Director of Nebraska Trev Alberts announced during his monthly appearance on the Huskers Radio Network that there will be no Memorial Stadium balloon tradition in the fall of 2022.
With the increasing difficulty of obtaining helium, the university administration asked the athletic department to store the helium they obtain for the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).
Alberts said the university has also had many conversations about the environmental impact of the balloon tradition.
He said the sports department and the marketing and fan experience department are working to keep the tradition alive in new ways.
“We will work with you Brandon Meier and our marketing department to try and come up with something, whether it’s digital or something to label and keep it alive,” said Alberts. “We’re working really hard on something for the future.”
In other news, Alberts said he doesn’t see the Big Ten eliminating divisions in the upcoming football season. With PAC-12 scraping its divisions, many conferences are considering doing the same.
The athletic director said many of the other Big Ten ADs he spoke to are in favor of abolishing divisions and allowing the top two teams to play in the conference championship.
According to Alberts, leagues like the Big Ten are in the midst of negotiations over media rights that will affect divisions and the number of conference games. He said the negotiations would also affect what future timetables look like.
Recently, the NCAA eliminated the 25 scholarship players per class for football. Now teams just have to work under the roster rule’s 85 scholarship players.
Alberts said he’s neither “here nor there” on the matter, but said it made sense to him in the transfer portal era that college football has entered.
Speaking of the transfer portal, Nebraska Football has picked up three defender transfers that Alberts said he and the coaching staff are happy with the young men they’ve added.
“Now the challenge is that so many different players from all over the world are trying to bring them together, to bring a team and a culture together, because that’s still very important,” he said. “You can have great talent, but you have to find a way to put that talent into a system, learn the system and create some unity in that dressing room. I know our coaches are excited to have the opportunity to do that.”
The biggest news for Husker Athletics is that the softball team won the Big Ten championship.
“They just reminded me of a team where losing wasn’t an option,” said Alberts. “In really critical moments when they really needed a win, they could pull it off. Really proud of them and I think (Rhonda Reville) has a really strong team coming back next year. They’ve taken a tremendous step forward with the softball program.”
Alberts said he had never seen so many home runs in his life. Nebraska hit 76 home runs in the 2022 season that ended in NCAA tournament regions.
While the softball team was advancing at Bowlin Stadium, the baseball team was struggling at the stadium next door.
To get to the Big Ten baseball tournament in Omaha, the Huskers must defeat Michigan State on Saturday, which they did 10-9. They also needed Purdue to lose to Maryland to win the No. 8 seed.
Purdue and Maryland did not play Saturday due to weather, sending Purdue to the Big Ten tournament.
While many fans were upset, the teams weren’t playing, Alberts said Dennis LeblancNebraska’s Executive Associate AD of Academics, made a few phone calls and concluded that the two schools “did everything reasonably possible to record the game.”
Alberts said head baseball coach Will Bolt said it was “nobody’s fault but ourselves”.
“We’ve had several opportunities this year to win a few games to get us into the tournament,” he said. “The real lesson here is to ensure that in the future we don’t put ourselves in the position of having to hope that a game will be played where weather odds and risks exist.”
Another issue raised was the parking situation at the Bob Devaney Sports Center for Husker volleyball games.
Alberts said the long-term solution was a parking garage, but that was “expensive” and “difficult”. He said there are some things that can be done to make parking easier in the short term.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a drastic change in the positive perspective of parking in volleyball in the short term,” Alberts said. “I don’t feel good about it, to be honest, because that fanbase has been as loyal as anyone else.”
***Alberts said there is a three-game soccer package where a buyer can choose North Dakota or Georgia Southern in September, either Indiana or Illinois in October, and Minnesota or Wisconsin in November.
The bundle goes on sale on Wednesday, May 25th.
***Alberts said there was a 92 percent renewal rate for football season tickets.
In view of the past few years, he thanked the fans for their commitment. He said they have between 3,700 and 5,100 tickets for a game to sell, depending on the game.