This week while visiting Omaha, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany responded to the academic misfortune recently visited upon newly-admitted Big Ten member Nebraska.
On April 29, Nebraska Chancellor and former Chair of the NCAA Board of Directors Harvey Perlman noted in a letter to the public that the Association of American Universities (AAU) had voted to discontinue Nebraska’s membership in that organization.
Last June, Nebraska was admitted to the Big Ten by unanimous vote of Big Ten Presidents and Delany, with the vote being taken while Big Ten school Presidents attended an AAU conference in Washington, DC. Less than 24 hours after that vote from the AAU’s bi-annual meetings, NU Chancellor Perlman was asked by CHICAGO TRIBUNE reporter Chris Hines what role AAU membership played in Nebraska being invited to join the conference:
“All the Big Ten schools are AAU members. I doubt that our application would’ve been accepted had we not been a member of the organization.
I thought it’s critical for the Big Ten that all members are members of the AAU. It’s part of the commonality of culture and academic aspiration. Being part of the AAU is of course critically important to us.”
On May 18, 2010, less than a month before Nebraska’s admission to the Big Ten was made official, Delany was asked at a press conference how important AAU membership would be to Big Ten expansion candidate schools:
“It’s a very important factor,” Delany said. “AAU membership is an important part of who we are. It was an important part of who we are [when the Big Ten added] Penn State, and it’s an important aspect of what makes an institution a research institution, an undergraduate school, a school that serves the public at a high level.”
Wednesday Delany appeared on KOZN-AM’s Unsportsmanlike Conduct show in Omaha and was asked by host Kevin Kugler:
“Nebraska’s no longer in the AAU, how much does that matter?”
Delany’s response to Kugler’s question:
“It really doesn’t matter. We used it and have used it a lot and it is a major association of research institutions in the U.S. and North America. It wasn’t a criteria for us. We had two conversations with Notre Dame in the ’90s, they’re not a member of the AAU
”Nebraska fits us in every way, it wasn’t a criteria.”
As previously noted, after Nebraska was officially admitted to the Big Ten, NU Chancellor Perlman said: