LINCOLN — Nebraska coach Mike Riley said Wednesday he “agreed wholeheartedly” with Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst’s idea to have Husker coaches forgo their bonus checks should NU be invited to a bowl game this weekend.
Because of the sheer number of bowls, 5-7 Nebraska should get an invite. Normally, a team must be at least 6-6 to qualify, but not enough teams with records of 6-6 and better were available this year. On Monday, the NCAA announced that 5-7 teams with the best Academic Progress Rate scores — a rolling total of graduation rates — would be in line for bids. Nebraska’s APR score is at the top of the list.
However, Riley and assistants won’t be getting the $437,385 in bonuses normally handed out for a Husker bowl berth. Riley said he’s fine with that.
“It’s obviously an administrative decision, but I agreed wholeheartedly,” Riley said. “Shawn brought it up to me and said, ‘What do you think?’ I think that’s appropriate. We’re just very fortunate to play another game. In the normal scheme of things we weren’t bowl eligible. We’re just fortunate we get to go. The credit belongs to the university for having that APR.”
NU already has said it will accept a bowl bid if one is extended. Riley said he’d embrace the opportunity.
“I would really love it for a number of reasons,” Riley said. “It’s kind of one of those deals. It’s a little unusual, but we’ll take it. It’s good for the current team to play another game, and it’s good for the future team to get to practice and hopefully go into the offseason with a win.”
Nebraska will prepare to beat whatever opponent it draws, Riley said, with an eye on younger players on the roster.
“The No. 1 focus is to win the game,” Riley said. “You have to give respect to this current team. But, because of the time allotted for practices, you can use to help for future development. We’ll keep the younger guys out a little longer and work with them technically and strategically on what they’re going to be doing in the future. I’ve really appreciated those times in the past. You can get a couple things done.”
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