The often-cautious Big Ten Conference made national news Monday in two areas.
Athletic directors, who met in Chicago the past two days, agreed that the number of conference football games should increase from the current eight per season to either nine or 10 starting as early as 2014 when Rutgers and Maryland join the league.
That action, if eventually approved by league presidents, also could affect Big Ten nonconference scheduling agreements already set with high-profile opponents such as Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Oklahoma.
The other major change is Commissioner Jim Delany telling those in attendance he won’t interfere with Big Ten schools who want to schedule night games in November. There is no policy banning such games, but schools have shown little interest in it.
Delany told espn.com that Nebraska, Penn State and Ohio State had lobbied for more night games.
Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst didn’t respond to phone and text inquiries Monday night to gauge NU’s position on these changes. Eichorst’s public relations contact also didn’t respond to a phone message.
A key issue for Nebraska regarding potential football schedule changes is whether NU will continue to play at least seven home games per season.
School officials long have said that seven home games are the minimum necessary to pay the athletic department’s bills. Hotels, restaurants and merchants in Lincoln and Omaha also are keenly interested in maintaining that number of football Saturdays.
Nine conference games would result in four league home games one season and five the next out of a 12-game regular season.
A 10-game slate would allow for only two nonconference games, both of which would have to be home games in order to play seven at home.
The Big Ten also issued a statement regarding the new recruiting rules that would allow unlimited communication with prospects. The league has asked for those changes, scheduled to go into effect in August, to be tabled to allow for more study.
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