"I appreciated Tom's willingness to step in as interim athletic director during a very difficult time for the athletic department," Perlman said. "His presence and his decisions have significantly reduced the controversy surrounding the department and particularly the football program."
The decision to ask Osborne to serve as NU's permanent athletic director is based on timing.
"It is now beneficial to provide the department with stability in leadership, so it can take full advantage of the progress that already has been made," Perlman said.
"I don't think conducting a search for a permanent athletic director would serve the university's interests at this time," added Perlman. "That's why I offered Tom the opportunity to remove 'interim' from his title and invited him to accept an appointment as athletic director for a term of approximately 2 1/2 years until June 30, 2010."
Perlman and Osborne agreed that a search for Osborne's successor will begin in early 2010 with the intention that Osborne will both assist in the search and help with the transition of a new athletic director.
Osborne, 70, accepted Perlman's offer to direct the department on an ongoing basis and will continue to work as athletic director under the same terms of his original contract, signed on Oct. 24. Perlman and Osborne finalized the new agreement Tuesday.
"When Chancellor Perlman asked me to lead the athletic department and to help unify the state, he gave me the responsibility and the authority to do whatever needed to be done," Osborne said. "We've made some great strides over the last two months, but the chancellor and I agree that these next two years are crucial to keep our program moving forward.
"I have never been enamored with titles," Osborne said. "At the same time, I think it's important for our entire department to realize that we will continue moving down the same path we're already going. Change always breeds at least some uncertainty, and if removing 'interim' from my title helps everyone understand that we'll continue to be consistent in our approach, I'm all for that.
"Everyone associated with the program - coaches, student-athletes, administrators, fans and alumni - want what's best for
"My focus is on working together and giving our best, so the athletic department can continue to improve in every way possible."