OTHER VOICES: Big Ten only changes part of evolution | Opinion

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LINCOLN NEWSPAPER STAR

It’s not going to happen, but it’s tempting to imagine a coast-to-coast Big Ten conference football championship being played right in the middle of the country. Say, maybe, Lincoln, where we have a good-sized stadium available in mid-December.

Of course without a roof, without a guarantee of good weather and a dozen other objections and logistical problems, that seems unlikely. But Nebraska joined the Big Ten 11 years ago. And, even further geographically if not philosophically, USC and UCLA join the Big Ten.

It seems odd that colleges, which should be good at math, can’t even count to 10 or 12. The Big Ten hasn’t had 10s since Penn State was added in 1989. And the Pac-12 will have to explain his two impending departures. You can’t even trust simple calculations.

There is a certain faction of diehard Husker fans for whom the N on the helmet evokes as much nostalgia as Nebraska. It’s a style of football, a type of player and a legacy of dominance.

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And it’s not just football. Husker volleyball has a legacy of success, and even more recent. Basketball, baseball, softball, wrestling, soccer, gymnastics, bowling and track and field have all enjoyed varying degrees of success, but perhaps not with the high profiles of soccer and volleyball- ball.

Competing on or off the field has been a wild ride for Husker fans. But that doesn’t compare to the business of college athletics. A lot of money is spent on facilities, coaches, training and travel. A lot of money is raised through TV deals and, now for athletes, name, image and likeness deals.

Traditional conference alliances and rivalries are becoming the victims of a system that generates huge revenue for many figurative and, now, literal players too.

It’s tempting to get wistful for the chilly fall afternoons, fanfare, tailgating, and simplicity of student-athletes battling it out on a soccer field. Volleyball may stay a little less undercover with big money, but the Huskers’ success and fan enthusiasm means there are opportunities there too.

But here’s the truth: there is no turning back. There was a time – a very long time ago – that college sports was about athletes. But radio, TV, streaming, licensing, NIL, sponsorships and all sorts of other revenue streams have changed the game.

And the change is fueled by the demand – our demand – to win, to watch a game or game when and where we want, to want to look or eat like or bet or otherwise be affiliated with our favorite players and teams. favorites.

Husker sporting director Trev Alberts warned last week that the changes were just beginning. Fans may mourn what was and is no longer. Or fans can embrace the mad rush ahead, where surprises don’t have to wait for the last two minutes of a game.

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