Nebraska Cornhuskers lagging far behind conference rivals in NIL

Nebraska Cornhuskers AD Troy Dannen recently gave a speech where he spilled the beans on where NU's NIL compares to Big Ten royalty.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New Nebraska Cornhuskers athletic director Troy Dannen has a tall order in front of him. He’s got to pick up the stuff that Trev Alberts was doing right and run with it. And he’s got to figure out a way to correct the things that Alberts left unfinished or had going in the wrong direction.

One of the pressing issues that Dannen must address promptly is the Nebraska Cornhuskers' position in the Big Ten. This is a significant challenge, particularly with the impending changes in the NIL landscape.

In a recent address to potential donors and boosters, Dannen painted a stark picture of the financial situation of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. He emphasized the need for substantial financial support if the program is to compete with powerhouses like Ohio State and Oregon.

Nebraska Cornhuskers are lagging behind B1G rivals in NIL funds

Speaking at an 1890 Initiative event, Dannen first talked about how the House vs NCAA settlement is going to change things when it comes to paying student-athletes. He also made it clear that the university has already been setting money aside for revenue sharing.

Dannen thinks NU is in better shape in that regard than most teams in the country. However, he then turned to how much NIL money the school has and it’s quite a bit more of a dire situation.

“Let's talk about what happens in the next two years,” Dannen said. “NIL's not coming in-house, it's going to be replaced by something else. At Washington, our football program last year had an NIL budget of about $10 million and went to the national championship game. Oregon's is 23; Ohio State's is 23. Ours here is not even 10.”

In all, Dannen’s speech was a bit of a good news, bad news situation. He doesn’t believe NIL as it exists right now will be around much. So the race the Huskers are currently losing won’t be a competition much anymore. 

The bad news is that it will likely take at least two years for revenue sharing to replace the bulk of NIL operations. "We have the facilities, we have the coaches, we have the fans. In the next couple years, we'll be fighting an even fight. Right now we're not fighting an even fight," Dannen concluded. 

A lot of damage to the ability to compete can be done in two years. It’s clear that Dannen was talking about the future of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but was also ringing the alarm bell about the present. How the university responds to that alarm is still very up in the air.