March 31, 2014 | 2:13 am
The fourth installment in a series looking at 12 different universities that could potentially join the Big Ten
- School: Nebraska
- Location: Lincoln, Neb.
- Enrollment: 23,573
- Current league: Big 12
- Number of sports offered: 21
- Academic profile: Member of the Association of American Universities; 96th in the U.S. News and World Report National Universities rankings
- Why it would fit: Nebraska carries a national profile because of its football program. That alone (plus 80,000 fans at every home game) makes Nebraska an attractive candidate. It also has strong academics and is geographically contiguous with the league's current eight-state footprint.
- Why it wouldn't: Nebraska has 1.2 million fewer people than Iowa, currently the Big Ten's smallest state. Outside of football, Nebraska brings very few unique intangibles that the Big Ten covets, such as population base and demographic potential for growth.
- Final verdict: Football conquers all when it comes to college athletics. The sport earns between 80 and 90 percent of all athletics department revenue. Outside of Notre Dame, Nebraska is the most attractive candidate strictly because of football.
- YouTube moment: A look at the history of Nebraska football.