LINCOLN — Commissioner Jim Delany said Tuesday night that any move by the Big Ten to a nine-game conference football schedule would not happen until at least 2015.
Delany said, “I'm sure that we won't have a ninth game over the next four years” — referring to 2011 through '14 — during a radio interview on the Husker Sports Network.
Any decision on a possible nine-game league schedule is part of the ongoing discussions of how football divisions will be split when Nebraska officially joins the Big Ten next summer.
“I think within 30 days we're going to be able to have our divisions, have the protected rivalries and be pretty close, if not there, with regard to the 2011 actual schedule,” he said.
Of the possibility of going from eight to nine league games, Delany added: “We're really studying it, and I don't think we'll be prepared to commit, but I think we'll have it framed up and be able to describe what it is we would like to do if certain things could get agreed on.”
Nebraska does not have more than three nonconference opponents lined up for any future schedule.
Delany also strongly suggested Tuesday night that the divisional outcome will not be an exact east-west split. Ahead of geography on the Big Ten's list of important principles, he said, is for divisions to be viewed as equally competitive and for the best rivalry/trophy games to be preserved.
“We didn't think there's any way we could achieve principle one and two if we were rigid about geographic contiguity,” Delany said. “We are aware of geography, but we're not going to be driven by it.”
Among other comments:
• He said the reaction to NU joining the Big Ten has been “uniformly, consistently positive.”
• No TV network has the rights to the first Big Ten title game in 2011. Delany said the league will have a negotiation period with interested parties.
Before Delany was interviewed, Athletic Director Tom Osborne said Nebraska was moving toward creating its own TV network had it stayed in the Big 12, a la Texas, and said, “We probably by 2011 would have had our own network here.”
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