LINCOLN — Nebraska hasn't finalized any changes to its now-overbooked schedule in 2016, the first year that Big Ten teams will play nine league games.
The Huskers had previously agreed to four nonconference matchups in 2016. But now, one of those has to go.
NU is set to host Fresno State, Tennessee and Wyoming before facing Northern Illinois at Chicago's Soldier Field on Sept. 24, 2016. Because teams in the Big Ten West Division — Nebraska's new home — will play five conference road games during even-numbered years, it is assumed that NU would drop or move its neutral site matchup with the Huskies.
It appears, though, that NU officials are still working out details.
“No decisions have been made on the 2016 schedule,” Nebraska Assistant Athletic Director Jeff Jamrog said in an email.
The Big Ten announced Sunday that its new nine-game conference slate would begin in 2016, and released the alignment for the East and West Divisions for 2014.
It was revealed Monday that the Big Ten would have six prime-time games in 2013 on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 — but none involved Nebraska. BTN still gets to select its night games for next fall.
Jamrog has said that NU prefers to include at least one marquee nonconference game in each year's schedule, but the Huskers' priority is always to host seven home games — an objective reinforced in a statement issued Sunday by Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst.
“We are excited about ... the ability to continue to schedule seven home games on an annual basis,” Eichorst said.
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But to do that in 2016 and beyond, Nebraska cannot agree to any nonconference games away from Memorial Stadium during even-numbered years.
The Huskers aren't alone in their scheduling dilemma.
Indiana and Penn State are the only Big Ten teams — all of which presumably seek seven home games each season — that do not have similar conflicts in their future schedules.
And Nebraska's one of six league schools that currently have four nonconference games on the 2016 slate.
NU's 2016 matchup against Northern Illinois in Chicago is the start of a three-game contract between the schools. There's a $1 million penalty for breaching the contract, according to the document.
Nebraska would have to pay $500,000 to back out of the Tennessee game, $1 million for the Fresno State matchup or $1 million for the Wyoming contest.
But amendments can be made. The Huskers' 2013 home game against Southern Miss is an example of that. In November, the schools altered a contract signed in 2008, moving the second of three games from Hattiesburg, Miss., to Lincoln.
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