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Nebraska AD Trev Alberts and Matt Rhule update the status of the Go Big Project

On3 imageby:Sean Callahan07/27/23


INDIANAPOLIS – What is the status of Nebraska’s Go Big Project? The Huskers report for Fall Camp Sunday and begin practice on Monday.

It’s been a race to the finish to get the locker room and other key football elements ready for the 2023 season, and athletic director Trev Alberts is optimistic the move into the building will happen sometime in August. At a minimum, NU would like to be in the locker room by next month. Other parts of the project could extend deeper into the calendar year.

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“It’s going well. It’s also been a challenge,” Alberts said of the status of the new football facility during an interview at Big Ten Media Days. “I had to remind myself: We have 315,000 square feet. It’s a massive facility. One of the things we are trying to figure out, and Coach (Matt) Rhule is very passionate about it – we don’t want to do anything that disrupts the football team.

“There are certain areas that are completed, and some others that we are waiting on a couple of things. Whether we all get in prior to camp or we wait until after camp breaks. We are working on that final date. We just don’t want any disruptions. It’s soon. The rest of the stuff like the training table is maybe more at the end of the calendar year. It’s a herculean task. Everybody is all hands on deck. Our partners in the construction and project management and internal management team are working really hard to do it appropriately. Obviously being the first year and everything, we don’t need anything to disrupt the team, and obviously we have great facilities where we currently reside.”

And as much as head coach Matt Rhule would like to be moved in right now, he’s also very realistic about the process.

He understands how important this project is to the future of his football team.

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“As much as I want to get in, I also want it to be done right,” Rhule said. “I don’t want to get in and have things around us. As you guys know, Trev’s a visionary, and he keeps us up to date with all of those things. I think at some point in training camp we will probably move the players in. We were hoping before. I walked out on the field the other day, and I see two beautiful grass fields and the turf being laid, and I said, ‘you know what, sometimes you have to be a little bit patient to wait for things to be done and done right.’

“The coaches, we’ll probably stay over in our offices for now, and maybe at some point in the fall or during training camp we’ll move in. The biggest thing is I want the players to be able to move into the locker room, the training room and the recovery room, because the recovery room is going to be phenomenal. So probably some point during camp.”

Oct. 5 regents meeting looms large for the future of Memorial Stadium

We also got an update from Alberts on the future of Memorial Stadium. Over the last year, NU has been working behind the scenes on a new plan to update and modernize the 100-year-old stadium.

It’s been a long process since Alberts and NU President Ted Carter addressed last September. The project is estimated to cost between $300 and $500 million according to numbers shared with the NU Board of Regents.

One of the key areas that is expected to be updated is the south end zone, which could mean a complete demolition of that side of the stadium.

“The really interesting thing about the Go Big Project is it’s really opening a world of opportunities over at the stadium,” Alberts said. “It’s really been the catalyst to re-think some of those that are being vacated.

“On Oct. 5, we have a Board of Regents meeting. Our job is we are tasked with presenting a vision, a plan and an opportunity to execute a vision of Memorial Stadium that we will present to Ted Carter and the Board of Regents on Oct. 5.”

A big part of the plan will be built around the space in the stadium that will open up once the football team moves over to the new facility. The stadium’s entire east and north sides will have a lot of new space for the athletic department to work with.

“Part of why it’s a herculean task is we aren’t just talking about the stadium itself, but you are talking about the backfill from the Go Big Project,” Alberts said. “So if you think about 315,000 square feet coming online, there’s a significant amount of programming that’s leaving the stadium. So how do we rethink that?

“I’m really interested in how we can activate Memorial Stadium for more than seven Saturdays a year. I think a lot of us in college athletics are thinking that way, looking for new entrepreneurial revenue streams—the outdoor volleyball match, the Garth Brooks concert – those types of things. We’ll have a good plan. We’ve made good progress. I’m guessing it will be public shortly before that board meeting.”

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