Husker AD Trev Alberts on fan survey, new football staff, facilities & more
Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts joined the Huskers Radio Network on Wednesday night to discuss the return of the men's and women's basketball program, the Memorial Stadium fan survey, the Huskers' new offensive football coaches and more.
Trev Alberts Radio Show breakdown
*** Alberts said he is proud of Nebraska's medical staff, team, coaches and student-athletes on the men's and women's basketball teams for coming back from a bout of COVID-19 that shut down each program and reschedule two games each.
Both basketball teams are back in action against Wisconsin for a double-header at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday. The men play at 4 p.m. and the women play at 8 p.m. Alberts said he is also grateful for the flexibility of Wisconsin's programs.
Alberts said he is thankful for the fans staying with both programs and being flexible with the games being rescheduled and adjusted.
Alberts said they decided to schedule the men's game at 4 because Head Coach Fred Hoiberg thought it would allow more time to rest before they play Rutgers on Saturday.
*** Alberts said it was a route COVID test required by the university for all students and staff to get tested as they returned for the second semester. He said some student-athletes didn't know they had COVID.
*** He said he is happy with how the Big Ten is handling the games that need to be rescheduled. Alberts said he is happy the conference is rescheduling games instead of ruling them as a no contest.
*** Alberts said he wanted to thank the fans and said the best way to support Husker athletics is attending games, including non-revenue sports like women's basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, track and field and more spring sports.
*** Alberts said they are approaching 20,000 people who have filled out the Memorial Stadium fan survey now that it is open to the general public. He said it's going to take some time to sort through the data and plan to implement the changes.
He brought a list into the radio booth to read off an immediate change they are making in the stadium for 2022. Nebraska is expanding the width of the seat in the endzone from 18 inches to 20 inches or more. Alberts said in order to do this, the rows might go from 27 seats to 24. He said while it will affect the capacity, he said they want to respond fast and make sure the fans are comfortable.
He said Nebraska is going public with all of the results after the department sorts through and organizes all the data.
*** Alberts said tickets for the Spring game go on sale on Feb. 1 for the season ticket holders at 10 a.m. Tickets for the general public go on sale to the next day, Feb. 2, at 10 a.m.
The tickets to Nebraska's game against Northwestern in Ireland go on sale Friday, Jan. 28 and they are available on Monday at 8 a.m. to the general public.
*** Alberts said when he played for Nebraska, they played in Tokyo, Japan against Kansas State and both teams flew on the same plane which was awkward.
He said Nebraska isn't thinking about traveling for another game after Ireland "at this moment." Alberts said there is a lot up in the air" with scheduling in college football. He mentioned the potential future alliance with the ACC and the PAC-12 and the College Football Playoffs.
*** Iowa's athletic director, Gary Barta, said that the Big Ten is considering getting rid of the divisions within the conference. Alberts said the leaders in the Big Ten have been talking about scheduling and going away from divisions could be an option.
"I would anticipate in the future that there would be some fairly significant change in what scheduling looks like," Alberts said.
*** Alberts said the outdoor track is progressing well and the track is done. He said the track project was broken into two phases due to the pandemic and construction costs The first phase was roughly $10 million.
The second phase which includes the grandstands is still in the works as Nebraska had to reject the only bid on the project because it excused their $6 million budget.
*** Alberts said they are working through whether the men's basketball team will be required to wear a mask during their game on Thursday. He said because many of the COVID health and protocols in the Big Ten rely on the local protocols there is confusion and inconsistency on what to do.
He said they have a "great" relationship with Pat Lopez, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Director, and they work "day in and day out" with the experts at UNMC.
*** Alberts said they are deciding where the student section will be located in 2022. He said they are going to be thoughtful about the changes but haven't decided on the student section relocate or not.
*** A caller asked about getting either artificial turf or a grass field. Alberts said they are replacing the current field with new artificial turf. He said if he got to choose what to play on, he would prefer natural grass.
However, Alberts said doing research on the cost of natural grass, he realized it would be an $8 million investment. He said they considered the other events hosted on the field such as potentially more concerts/events, fan days, graduations and more in coming to their decision to stick with turf.
*** Will Shields, a former teammate of Alberts, was at the Outlander Trophy Ceremony in Omaha recently. Alberts said it was great to see him and he wants to find a way to get Shields involved in the athletic department because he is "intelligent and he loves this place."
*** Alberts said he thought Scott Frost did a "great job" pulling together his new offensive staff.
"I think football has a lot of momentum right now and I give Scott a lot of credit for that," Alberts said.
He said offensive coordinator Mark Whipple brings a lot of perspective and experience. Wide receiver coach/associate head coach Mickey Joseph brings passion and he had an infectious personality as a player.
Alberts said Joseph was a little older than him but he remembers him from when Joseph was the quarterback at Nebraska. Alberts said he is not surprised that his efforts on the recruiting trail have shown that.
Offensive line coach Donovan Raiola has a different approach, as Alberts said, but it has resonated with the team.
Alberts said the coaching staff had a "great, great effort" in the transfer portal.
*** Alberts said Frost is healthy after testing positive with COVID-19 and he is back on the recruiting trail.
*** A fan called in and asked Alberts about the possibility of alcohol allowed on campus and at sporting events. He said it is a challenging decision because they are strong opinions on both sides of the argument.
Alcohol was part of the fan survey sent out but Alberts said he and his team haven't been able to sort through all of the data yet.
He said this decision is not just his and the athletic departments but the entire universities and stakeholders as well. He said they have been reading academic papers about the impact of having alcohol at games, talking to other Big Ten schools and doing research into the potential revenue boost.
*** Nebraska hired Marquita Armstead as their new senior women's administrator in light of Pat Logsdon retiring after 43 years at Nebraska.
Alberts joked that Nebraska volleyball was successful because of Pat Logsdon in spite of John Cook. He said it was hard to hire someone new after Logsdon has spent so much time at Nebraska and has become a staple of Nebraska athletics.
However, he said Armstead has a lot to learn but that he thinks she will do a great job.
*** A caller asked about upgrading the swimming and diving facilities. Alberts said he had a conversation with swim and dive head coach Pablo Morales about that possibility. He said there was a vision for an upgrade before he became AD.
Alberts said they are focusing on what they can do today to improve those facilities. He said he "recognizes and understands there are improvements to be made."
"The challenge is, when you don't do anything for a long time, you dig yourself into a whole. In athletics, you never stay the same. You are either making progress or you're falling behind. And the truth of the matter is, in some of those areas, we've fallen a little behind and we need to fix it," Alberts said.