NU Athletics now reports to Nebraska President

Trev Alberts has a new boss, and it isn’t the new Chancellor. The Regents have switched the UNL Athletic Department to be under the control of the University President.

Any idea what precipitated this? It would seem the President has enough to do without taking on the responsibilities of the Athletic Department. Possibly there was some other rearrangement.

John Papenhagen

If any specific reasons were given, I don’t recall them. The speculation I’ve seen is that the Regents want UNL Athletics one step closer to their direct oversight, since the budget for the Athletic Department is larger than the budget for the University of Nebraska - Kearney.

Perhaps some of the poor decisions made by one or more previous Chancellors had some influence.

BTW, this means that the University President sits on the Big Ten Council instead of the UNL Chancellor.

We carry each Regents meeting on the university radio station, so I had the opportunity to listen to the discussion on this issue Thursday morning.

The Regents drew a pretty direct comparison between UNL’s success in athletics (particularly football) and increased enrollment, noting that each national football championship at Alabama was apparently followed by a 3% increase in enrollment the following year. With budgets in tough shape, enrollments down and the pool of available college freshman appearing to be on the decline throughout the great plains, enrollment strategies are at the forefront of a lot of discussions these days.

In addition, as the article Mike posted alluded to, Regents expressed concerns about declining donor interest unless the Huskers can become more competitive in the conference.

They believe this change will help remedy both concerns.

Questions linger. A university colleague posted online: *“*The Big Ten admitted the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, not Varner Hall, an entity without a student body. The Big Ten regulations require oversight of the athletic department by the faculty and student body. Varner has neither.”





In an era of declining student enrollments nationwide, UNL had its largest graduating class ever this spring.

You are correct Mike. 3,664 diplomas awarded - the fourth record-setting class in the past six years.

I think the link you posted was for the 2018 commencement. Here’s the article about the one last month:

My bad, I assumed Google would give me the most recent articles first. Can’t assume that!

However, I’m not sure how the change will alter the donation process or make Husker athletics more competitive. And it seems like if they’re going to transfer oversight for athletics to the President’s office, they should do so for all 3 units with athletic programs.

Yeah, I don’t get that either. I am not how this move insures greater productivity in the UNL athletic program. By that I mean making the teams more competitive. Possibly the move is more structural than administrative. I certainly don’t sit in on conversations behind closed doors so there are likely reasons for the move. From an outsider looking in it wouldn’t appear to be a move that would make a lot of difference.

It keeps meddling hands like our law professor who became chancellor out of the management process.

Athletics is the front porch of the University. It drives attention, enrollment, alumni giving, state pride, access to research dollars, and much more.

We are in the B1G because of our athletics reputation, not our educational ranking. We could get kicked out if we don’t start living up to our reputation. Harvey, single handedly, darn need killed our athletics department.

We can’t afford to let that happen.

You can say it’s the tale wagging the dog if you want. But, it’s reality and that tail is pretty important. To important to trust it to Perlman or his peers

Of course the President is the top position in the University of Nebraska system. Whether or not he will be better than the Chancellor at running an athletic department I don’t really know. The President may be no better than Pearlman was. He may be just the person the program needed. We’ll see.

John Papenhagen

“I’d be willing to bet you, if I was a betting man, that I have never bet on baseball.” - Pete Rose

---- On Sun, 25 Jun 2023 12:06:50 -0500 Jim5417P at via TSSI Lists wrote —

I think it just changes who can do the hiring (or meddling, if you prefer.)

Harvey Perlman made some bad decisions, but I thought Ronnie Green made some good ones.

Who’s to say that the current or next president of the University of Nebraska system will make better decisions? Historians can draw their conclusions down the road.

The real risk is that the Regents will be the meddlers. Historically, they’ve made about as many bad decisions as any Chancellor I can think of.

Mike Nolan

All gear points, Mike!


Great (not gear). Darn light pink text on white background.


Where are you seeing light pink text on white background?

In the native mail app on my iphone when I type in replies. Looked through all the defaults and didn’t find anywhere it could be configured.


I don’t know how to change it permanently, but if you do a select all on your message, you can get a color wheel from the formatting (Aa) icon.

Switching to dark mode doesn’t seem to help.

FWIW, I get white on light gray when I do a ‘reply’ to an email on my iPhone, and that’s possibly more unreadable than your pink on white.

Sometimes Apple’s ‘we know more about the right settings and options for your devices than you do’ attitude is extremely annoying. Recently I was trying to move some photos from an iPhone over to a PC and it was a HUGE pain in the a**.

Mike Nolan

An additional thought on UNL’s May graduation stats:

These grads enrolled pre-COVID, and enrollment numbers have not bounced back to those record-setting numbers since the onset of the pandemic. I believe that is common across the country. I heard a report this morning that college enrollments are down 7% nationally and suggests high school grad numbers may peak in the next couple of years, so recruitment is a bigger and bigger issue at UNL and everywhere. From the comments at Thursday’s meeting, the relationship between a winning athletics program and increased enrollment appeared to be at the crossroads of their vote to move athletics.


I think we’re past the peak on the HS/college age groups from what I think was the 3rd or 4th post baby boom population ripple. People were delaying having kids, limiting the number of kids they’re having, and I think even teenage pregnancies were down. And then the Pandemic drove those numbers even lower.

When I was on the Lincoln School Board 20 years ago, we looked at 20-30 year population projections, and Lincoln population growth due to in-migration and annexation was much higher than birthrate driven growth, and the percentage of the population that is school age is dropping.

I’m also seeing some evidence that having a college degree is less likely to be a job requirement in traditional ‘white collar’ positions.

So lower numbers of college students shouldn’t be surprising.

Interestingly enough, at Northwestern they had the highest number of applicants ever this past year and the lowest acceptance rate (around 7%).

Student ticket demand has dropped, I doubt that the change in administrative control of UNL Athletics will do anything to affect that.

The story I heard this morning timed the tipping point in high school grads to the economic downturn in the 2007-2008 era, implying birthrates were tied at least in part to anticipated lower incomes.

Otherwise, the story agreed with your points about changing perceptions of the cost/value ratio of higher ed degrees.

I know ASU has been seeing their largest classes as well. Really hard to justify $100K in tuition alone for remote classes.

I had a coworker who’s daughter started at Pitt fall of 2020 had to pay for the dorms and live there, all remote classes that year and few meal options.