Saying Nebraska is fully committed to its men's and women's basketball programs, NU Athletic Director Tom Osborne Wednesday outlined what the athletic department has done and still plans to do to enhance recruiting, improve results and increase crowds.
The $18.7 million Hendricks Training Complex - begun last July and scheduled for completion next October - is the centerpiece of a strategic plan to support Nebraska's men's and women's basketball programs.
"Our administration is committed to Doc Sadler and Connie Yori, and we are working diligently with both head coaches to help transition their programs to the Big Ten Conference in 2011-12," Osborne said.
Osborne said the new practice facility is designed to reinforce recruiting and boost performance which, in turn, could bolster attendance.
Osborne said the program has been a high priority since he became Nebraska's athletic director in 2007.
"We've spent a lot of time and energy and made a significant financial commitment to position basketball for the future," Osborne said. "Basketball is vital to our athletic program overall, and we would hope our commitment to strengthen the sport is viewed positively. Within the next three years, our basketball facilities will be among the very best in the country."
Nebraska Head Basketball Coach Doc Sadler said: "From the first time I visited with Coach Osborne, he made it clear to me that he wanted to do everything he could to help us become a consistent team, playing in the NCAA Tournament.
"Unlike many situations, our administration hasn't paid lip service. They have given our program everything I have asked for, including building a new practice facility that, when finished, will be one of the best facilities in the country. This is just one example, but a very important one.
"Now, all that needs to be done is for us to win, and that is my responsibility because I have not been denied one request from Coach Osborne as our athletic director," Sadler said. "We all know that winning is the best resource for building a home-court advantage, and that a game-day experience is very important. We are always looking for things to help us achieve this. We are not that far off and will continue to keep working to improve until we have a championship atmosphere that everyone will want to be a part of."
The decisions Nebraska has made in recent years to enhance its basketball programs include:
- Construction of the Hendricks Training Complex which includes two basketball practice courts, new dressing rooms, new offices for the men's and women's programs, a new weight room and expanded athletic medicine facility
- A commitment to play in the new 16,000-seat Lincoln downtown arena beginning in 2013, and support for the arena ballot initiative
- A strong commitment from Nebraska staff to be a part of the planning process for the new arena to ensure the best possible fan experience for Husker basketball for years to come
- An increased financial commitment to Coach Sadler's revamped coaching staff
- A renewed emphasis on getting more students to attend Nebraska home games through affordable ticket prices and a Big 12 Conference ticket package
- Basketball players reaching out to UNL students in dorms and Greek houses to encourage them to attend basketball games
- A plan to have students seated on three of the four sides of the court when the Huskers move to the downtown arena for the 2013-14 season
- Maintaining ticket prices that are among the most affordable in the conference
- Replacing 1,800 B-level seats at the Devaney Center with plans to replace the remaining seats as the building is transformed when Nebraska moves into the new arena
- A commitment to improving basketball parking once the new arena is completed, and finding the best possible solutions to parking and traffic issues in the mean time
- Osborne said the athletic department plans to survey basketball season ticket holders following the season for suggestions on ways to improve the overall fan experience.
"We believe that there is always room for improvement, and we will do all we can to accommodate our fans as we transition to the Big Ten Conference."