University of Texas Colt McCoy celebrates a win 13-12 against Nebraska during the Big 12 Championship game on Saturday in Arilington, Texas at the Cowboys Stadium December 5, 2009. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman)

BEVO BEAT Football

Was Texas responsible for the downfall of Nebraska football?

Posted May 26th, 2016


Excerpts from a new book chronicling the term of former Kansas State president John Wefald seem to lay blame for Nebraska’s football struggles at the hands of University of Texas officials, specifically former school president Robert Berdahl.

A copy of the new book “The Transformative Years at Kansas State: The Years of President Jon Wefald from 1986 to 2009” was obtained by the Kansas City Star. Wefald alleges Berdahl put in place the decision to prevent “non-qualifiers” from being admitted to Big 12 schools and that policy was strictly to hamper the Nebraska football program.

“It was aimed directly at Cornhusker football,” a passage from the book states. “By the late 1990s, this new Big 12 rule has seriously damaged the quality of Nebraska football. In fact, you could say it brought the era of Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne to a close.” The school has not won a conference title in football since 1999 and has had four or more losses in every season since 2004.


The rule in question had to do with Proposition 48 that was enacted in 1986 by the NCAA that set minimum standards on college athletes for entrance exam scores and grade point averages on core high school courses. A “non-qualifier” student met neither the exam nor GPA standard. While a “partial qualifier” student met only one of them. The former Big 8 conference did not have a league-wide policy on admission of students who didn’t qualify.

Wefald also states in the book that Berdahl wasn’t done crippling Nebraska after leaving the 40 Acres. He was the president of the Association of American Universities in 2011 when Nebraska was voted out of the prestigious group. Wefald said Berdahl could have used his influence to a vote calling for Nebraska’s ouster.

“The truth is no outside academic leader has dented Nebraska’s athletic and academic standing over the years more than Bob Berdahl,” Wefald wrote.

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