In the world of college athletics, the name brand and the merchandise that comes with it can be a big business. It's certainly a big business for brands like the Nebraska Cornhuskers. People see coaches and players wearing things on the field and on the sidelines, and out and about and they want to buy them.
There's a reason that there were Dylan Raiola jerseys out there to purchase just days after he signed with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Husker brand has long been one of the most popular in college sports. Even as the football team has had some rough years.
Athletic director Trev Alberts has spoken on more than one occasion about wanting Nebraska to have "a more centralized approach" to its brand. Not just when it comes to Nebraska football but all the sports.
“There have been people who have worked really hard for 100 years on that ‘N’ and what it stands for," Alberts said at a press conference about the issue back in 2022.
Earlier this week, during Alberts' appearance on the Huskers Radio Network, he addressed the subject again after one of the callers to the program said he wasn't a fan of the materials that the guys honoring the 1993-1994 Nebraska basketball team were all wearing black pullovers instead of red and white.
Nebraska Cornhuskers moving towards more control over the brand
There's been a move by some in the athletic department to make black a bigger focus on merchandise and uniforms. It appears that Alberts believes that move is over. In response to the call, the Nebraska Cornhuskers AD made his feelings clear.
"I think if you've noticed, our uniforms across the board, we're wearing red. We're Nebraska. And if you don't want to wear red, you might have to go to a different school," he said.
Alberts also made it clear that while the department has been "contracting" the merchandise offerings, that's actually led to a higher revenue stream.
"We actually have significantly contracted our brand book and we've gained some consistency there," Alberts said. "And what's happened is our royalty payments that we get has actually increased. We have the highest royalty increase that we've had in a long time. So sometimes we're our own worst enemy. We think we're going to be really creative and we're going to come up with all this."
With the basketball team on the precipice of an NCAA tournament big, the football team hoping for a resugence and women's sports having a ton of success as well, the Nebraska Cornhuskers brand is growing and Alberts seems to have his arms around it in a way that an AD hasn't in years.