By Mike Bell
The University of Nebraska stepped out of the Big Twelve Conference after the Big Ten Conference accepted its application to switch over from on June 11. Nebraska will become an active member July 1, 2011, as the first addition to the conference since Penn State joined in 1990. Of the 10 peer institutions that UNL compares itself to, five are Big Ten members, including Northwestern University, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Purdue University and Ohio State University.
Some of the academic benefits of the conference include the sharing of library resources and discounts on products that has saved the conference a collective $19 million so far.
The Big Ten also offers traveling scholarships for students and faculty.
Doctoral students from these schools can attend other conference schools for up to a year without having their tuition or residencies affected. They even have their own TV network, the Big Ten Network, where academic achievements are showcased.
In an email sent to UNL faculty and staff, Chancellor Harvey Perlmen announced the conference’s approval on June 11.
“The [Committee on Institutional Cooperation] will be working with our academic leaders and faculty during the coming year to connect UNL with the resources and networks of the CIC,” Perlman said.
As manifold as the academic benefits are, more attention is centered on the athletic pros and cons of the jump.
Perlmen said that there is nothing but an upside for UNL to join the Big Ten, noting that investors and entrepreneurs will be attracted to a campus known for research and development in athletics.
Big Ten universities collect 12 percent of federal research funding each year. 14.5 percent of all doctoral degrees in the U.S. are conferred by member schools, including 25 percent of agricultural doctorates.
UNL Athletic Director Tom Osborne addressed the UN Board of Regents before UNL applied for membership.
“We’re excited to at least have a chance to be considered,” Osborne told The Gateway.
As he spoke a room filled to the brim with cameras and sports writers, he said, “This is a tribute to our athletic programs, our academic programs and our fans. This is the right move at the right time.