Husker AD Trev Alberts on Fan Survey, New Football Staff, Facilities and More

Trev Alberts, director of Nebraska Athletic, joined the Huskers Radio Network Wednesday night to discuss the return of the men’s and women’s basketball program, the Memorial Stadium fan survey, the Huskers’ new offensive football coaches and more.

*** Alberts said he is proud of Nebraska’s medical staff, team, coaches and student-athletes on the men’s and women’s basketball teams as they came back from an attack of COVID-19 that shut down every program and every two games was rescheduled.

Both basketball teams will return to action against Wisconsin on Wednesday for a double-header at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The men play at 4 p.m. and the women play at 8 p.m. Alberts also said he was grateful for the flexibility of Wisconsin’s programs.

Alberts said he is grateful to the fans who have stuck with both programs and are flexible with rescheduling and adjusting the matches.

Alberts said they decided to schedule the men’s game at 4pm because Head Coach Fred Hoiberg thought it would give them more time to rest before playing against Rutgers on Saturday.

*** Alberts said it was a route-COVID test required by the university for all students and staff to get tested when they return for sophomore semester. He said some student athletes were unaware they had COVID.

*** He said he was happy with the way the Big Ten is handling the games that need to be moved. Alberts said he’s happy the conference is moving matches rather than seeing them as a no-contest.

*** Alberts said he wanted to thank the fans and said the best way to support Husker athletics is to attend competitions, including non-income sports such as women’s basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, track and field and more spring sports.

*** Alberts said they are approaching 20,000 people who have completed the Memorial Stadium fan survey now that it is open to the general public. He said it will take some time to sort the data and plan to make the changes.

He brought a list to the radio booth to read an immediate change they are making to the stadium for 2022. Nebraska is expanding the seat width in the end zone from 18 inches to 20 inches or more. Alberts said to do this, the rows could go from 27 to 24 seats. He said that while it will affect the capacity, he said they want to respond quickly and make sure the fans are comfortable.

He said Nebraska will make all results public after the department reviews and organizes all the data.

*** Alberts said tickets for the Spring Competition will go on sale to season ticket holders on February 1 at 10 a.m. Tickets to the general public go on sale until the following day, February 2 at 10 a.m.

Tickets for Nebraska’s game against Northwestern in Ireland will go on sale Friday, January 28, and will be available to the general public beginning at 8 a.m. Monday.

*** Alberts said when he played for Nebraska, they were playing in Tokyo, Japan against the state of Kansas and both teams were flying on the same plane which was inconvenient.

He said Nebraska is not thinking about traveling to another game after Ireland at the moment. Alberts said there’s a lot up in the air when it comes to planning in college football. He mentioned the possible future alliance with the ACC and the PAC-12 and the College Football Playoffs.

*** Iowa’s athletic director, Gary Barta, said the Big Ten is considering breaking down divisions within the conference. Alberts said the leaders in the Big Ten have talked about planning and that getting out of the divisions could be an option.

“I expect there will be quite a significant change in what the schedule looks like going forward,” Alberts said.

*** Alberts said the outdoor track is progressing well and the track is ready. He said the rail project was split into two phases due to the pandemic and construction costs. The first phase was about $10 million.

The second phase, including the stands, is still in the works as Nebraska had to turn down its sole bid for the project because it excused their $6 million budget.

*** Alberts said they are investigating whether the men’s basketball team will be required to wear a mask during their game on Thursday. He said that because many of the COVID health and safety protocols in the Big Ten rely on local protocols, there is confusion and inconsistency about what to do.

He said they have a “wonderful” relationship with Pat Lopez, the director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County health department, and that they work “day in and day out” with UNMC’s experts.

*** Alberts said they are deciding where the student section will be located in 2022. He said they will think carefully about the changes, but have not yet decided whether the student section should move or not.

*** A caller asked about artificial grass or a grass pitch. Alberts said they are replacing the current pitch with new synthetic turf. He said that if he could choose what he wanted to play on, he would prefer natural grass.

However, Alberts said that upon researching the cost of natural grass, he realized it would be an $8 million investment. He said they were considering the other events being hosted on the pitch, such as possibly more concerts/events, fan days, graduations and more, to come to their decision to stick with grass.

*** Will Shields, a former teammate of Alberts, was at the Outlander Trophy Ceremony in Omaha recently. Alberts said it was great to see him and he wants to find a way to get Shields involved in the athletics department because he’s “intelligent and loves this place.”

*** Alberts said he thought Scott Frost did a “great job” getting his new offensive staff together.

“I think football has a lot of momentum right now and I give Scott a lot of credit for that,” Alberts said.

He said offensive coordinator Mark Whipple brings a lot of perspective and experience. Wide receiver coach/associate head coach Mickey Joseph brings passion and he had an infectious personality as a player.

Alberts said Joseph was a little older than him, but he remembers him from when Joseph was the quarterback in Nebraska. Alberts said he wasn’t surprised that his efforts on the recruitment path proved that.

Offensive line coach Donovan Raiola has a different approach, as Alberts said, but it has resonated with the team.

Alberts said the coaching staff made a “great, big effort” in the transfer portal.

*** Alberts said Frost is healthy after testing positive for COVID-19 and is back on the hiring path.

*** A fan called and asked Alberts about the possibility of alcohol on campus and at sporting events. He said it’s a challenging decision because they have strong opinions on both sides of the argument.

Alcohol was part of the fan survey sent out, but Alberts said he and his team haven’t been able to search all the data yet.

He said that this decision is not only and is the athletic departments, but also the entire universities and stakeholders. He said they’ve read academic papers on the impact of alcohol use in games, talked to other Big Ten schools, and researched the potential revenue increase.

*** Nebraska hired Marquita Armstead as their new senior women’s clerk as Pat Logsdon retired after 43 years in Nebraska.

Alberts joked that despite John Cook, Nebraska volleyball was successful thanks to Pat Logsdon. He said it was difficult to hire someone new after Logsdon spent so much time in Nebraska and has become a staple of Nebraska athletics.

However, he said that Armstead still has a lot to learn but that he thinks she will do a great job.

*** A caller inquired about upgrading the swimming and diving facilities. Alberts said he had a talk with head swimming and diving coach Pablo Morales about that possibility. He said there was a vision for an upgrade before he became AD.

Alberts said they are focusing on what they can do today to improve those facilities. He said he “recognizes and understands that improvements need to be made.”

“The challenge is, if you don’t do anything for a long time, you dig yourself into a whole. In athletics you never stay the same. You either make progress or you fall behind. And the truth of the point is that in some of those we areas have fallen a little behind and that we need to fix it,” said Alberts.

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