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Even Nebraska basketball has fans who expect more


Mike Miller

Wait. There are Nebraska basketball fans out there? And they’re willing to dump money into a space where they potentially embarrasses the school brass in support of coach Doc Sadler?

Maybe the Huskers do have the public support to eventually be winners.

The ad, taken out in the Omaha World-Herald by Neal Hawks, a 1984 Nebraska grad whose name is on the Husker players lounge, details the school’s basketball spending and how it compares to other Big Ten programs and in-state rival Creighton. Guess how it stacks up? (Here’s a hint: it’s a negative ad.)

Thus, Hawks’ contention is that school officials ignore the basketball program by not giving it enough money. That’s hardly new and applied to when the Huskers still played in the Big12. Lee Barfknecht, who covers Nebraska hoops for the World-Herald, openly criticizes the school for its laughable hoops tradition. Sadler says his needs are met. Barfknecht says no:

That’s a question we’ve asked Sadler many times, and his reply on the record is always the same: “This university has given me everything I need to succeed.’'

Politically correct? Absolutely. Intellectually honest at a school that has issues on this topic? Not at all.

The evidence on trailing the competition on many fronts isn’t hard to find. To wit: two years ago, Nebraska’s three full-time assistants were paid a combined $379,000. Kansas State, in the midst of a turnaround after a 10-year slide, paid a single assistant $420,000.

That salary discrepancy isn’t all on the school, by the way. Sadler needs to prove he can hire recruiters worth that kind of dough. The results so far show he can’t.

Indeed, why spend money on a coach if he can’t bring in any impact recruits? Nebraska watched as Kansas State made itself into a reputable hoops program without hurting football. Why not find a coach who could match the new facilities around campus that’ll help impress recruits?

Not that luring a solid coach to Lincoln will be easy. It is Nebraska hoops.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.