Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst appeared for his monthly “Sports Nightly” radio hour Tuesday night; the Huskers’ new boss did not take calls but answered selected questions from email. Here’s a recap of his comments:
>> Eichorst played close to the vest on any changes in Big Ten division realignment and number of league games.
In sharp contrast to his former boss — Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez, who shared on his monthly radio show Tuesday all kinds of details, including that Big Ten schools agreed to stop scheduling FCS teams — Eichorst called Big Ten meetings “conversations amongst peers who are trying to gather as much facts as possible to render a decision that’s in the best interest of the league.”
“No decisions – in my opinion – have been made on a lot of those fronts,” Eichorst said. “Me personally — as a representative for the University of Nebraska — I need more information in order to make appropriate decisions.”
Eichorst said he wants to be “measured in my responses and remarks because I want them to be factual. And I just don’t think we’re quite there yet on a number of items.”
He did say that “clearly there is some momentum for some changes in the divisions geographically” while cautioning that “the devil’s in the details relative to the endgame, and that’s not only getting to conference championship but getting to that four-team playoff.”
>> Although the Big Ten released a statement Monday expressing concern over a number of the new college football recruiting rules, Eichorst said the league and NU will “continue to probe” the rules changes.
“I don’t think anybody was calling for a mandate or an override or any of those sorts of things,” Eichorst said. “I think folks were just asking the question: ‘Should we take a step back?’ Take a deep breath, and ask ourselves: ‘Is this in our best interests?’”
Eichorst said coach Bo Pelini has been “pretty outspoken about his feelings relative to these sorts of things, this package of legislation” — that is, his opposition to some of the new rules, which were passed by a NCAA executive board. Eichorst then explained what schools could do about the changes.
“There’s been a process to get us where we are with this,” Eichorst said. “It’s different than other processes in the past. Times have changed. Leadership at the NCAA has changed. Right, wrong or indifferent, that’s where we’re at on these processes. The way the system is set up is that we either get together as a group and collectively believe and understand that we need to take a deep breath — and take a look at these items more closely — or we collectively believe that it’s in our best interest to proceed, or there is another procedural way to do it, and that’s for folks to take overrides and try to stop the legislation. I tend to not prefer the latter. I’d rather folks get together and talk about these sort of things.”
>> NU will not be adding ice hockey or any other sports in the near future other than sand volleyball, which starts this spring.
>> Don’t expect alcohol sales at Pinnacle Bank arena when the Husker men and women’s basketball teams play there starting next fall. Eichorst said he’s had no talks about sales. At Creighton games in the Century Link Center, beer sales are allowed.
“We’ve had a great history and tradition relative to the things that we do in and around our games,” Eichorst said. “And I think that those things are working well. I don’t think our histories and traditions lends ourselves to heading in that direction. And I’d like to reinforce that those sort of conversations aren’t happening over in the Osborne building. But I understand the relevance and intrigue.”
>> Eichorst said Nebraska fans will have more parking and “options associated with parking” in and around Pinnacle Bank Arena than they did the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
“Our desire is to have a reasonable amount of parking at a reasonable cost,” Eichorst said. The city of Lincoln will own the lots around the arena.
>> Nebraska has the “best combination of softball and baseball” coaches in the nation with Rhonda Revelle and Darin Erstad.
“It’s black and white with (Erstad),” Eichorst said. “There are no excuses. They’re going to play an extremely tough schedule to put us in a position to win championships. And I’m excited about that.”
>> The new AD attended NU Foundation events at Troon North golf course near Phoenix and another alumni event at a home Paradise Valley, Ariz., a well-known hot spot for athletes celebrities like Muhammad Ali, Steve Nash and Bret Michaels.
Eichorst’s monthly hourlong show includes a full-segment appearance by a Husker athlete — Tuesday, it was volleyball player Morgan Broekhuis — and a coach’s segment — softball coach Rhonda Revelle took the mic this month.
“I’m really excited to be able to create a format like this where our fans can get to hear our young people more often,” Eichorst said of the Broekhuis interview.
Their combined appearances reduced the amount of time Eichorst actually talked on his own show by roughly 25 minutes.