Gridders face Nebraska in 1989 and 1991

By Dave Tuley

The Athletic Board approved football games with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 1989 and 1991 among other schedule additions at its monthly meeting Wednesday.

The board granted permission to move this year’s football game with Fullerton State from Sept. 5 to Oct. 24. This will move the game off Labor Day weekend when attendance is traditionally low. The change gives NIU one open date in the 1987 schedule, the Saturday before the season finale Nov. 28 at Nevada-Las Vegas.

The games with Nebraska will be played Sept. 9, 1989, and Sept. 8, 1991. Both games will be season openers in Lincoln, Neb.

The board also approved games Sept. 11, 1993 at Indiana and a home-and-home series with New Mexico State Oct. 3, 1992 in DeKalb and Sept. 18, 1993 in Las Cruces, N.M.

Board member Earl Hansen expressed concern about the football team playing so many strong opponents in the opening weeks of a season and risking injury.

Associate Athletic Director Jerry Ippoliti said when making a schedule not only is it considered how the opponents will be in the future but how NIU will progress. He pointed out the games being scheduled for 1989 (Nebraska, Florida and Kansas State to start the season) would be Coach Jerry Pettibone’s fifth year and the fourth year NIU will be allowed to grant 95 scholarships, and the Huskies should be able to compete.

“I think 1987 and 1988 are winning schedules,” Ippoliti said. “In 1989 and 1990, we should be turning the corner.”

Brigham said he is negotiating with other easily recognizable schools but would not reveal any names at the meeting.

During a lengthy discussion about home basketball games being played at the Rockford MetroCentre, Brigham said he will be meeting with officials at the MetroCentre Friday morning to discuss possible alterations in the contract. The current contract states three games will be played in Rockford each of the next two seasons.

Several board members said they were concerned the athletic department would extend the contract without the board’s approval.

“We need to consider the students,” Earl Hansen said, citing many students around campus do not want to make the trip to Rockford for a home game.

University Legal Counsel George Shur said the students are not supporting the team in DeKalb either.

“I’m putting the burden on the students,” Shur said. “Either they come to the games at Chick Evans or stop complaining.”