ESPN Grapples with UNO Wrestling

You want to get ESPN’s Outside the Lines to visit Nebraska? Wrestling is the key. The program, let’s call it 30-minutes of “60 Minutes”-style stories for sports, was back in Omaha for a story that debuted last weekend on the downfall of UNO wrestling and football. The last time OTL visited was for “Naked in Nebraska,” the story of the two UNL wrestlers who were booted from the team after appearing on a gay porn site. This time the story was called “Wrestling with the Truth” and ESPN definitely wrestled with it. Did they find it? That would have been difficult, considering Athletic Director Trev Alberts and Chancellor John Christiansen declined to be interviewed. The football staff was prohibited from doing so by the terms of their severance package. So what did ESPN uncover? A bunch of emotion, naturally. Tearful wrestling coach Mike Denney played the phone message he received hours after UNO had won its seventh national title. Alberts said he had “very difficult news.” Senior-to-be Esai Dominguez also spoke. He’s hanging around UNO to complete his degree next year rather than looking to wrestle elsewhere. The human element remains difficult to watch but we’ve already seen that locally. On the financial side, OTL didn’t go into great detail other than to say UNO’s claim that the football program was losing $1.3 million was based on factoring in the student fees needed to support the sport. Without those fees, football was only $50,000 in the red last year while wrestling, as Alberts admitted the day of the announcement, makes money. Add it all up and what we have is a difficult decision, with unfortunate consequences for a number of student athletes, that was as much about boosting UNO’s profile as it was about the money. I thought we already knew that. --The Omaha Vipers are switching leagues under the team’s new majority owner, Warren Ferris. Ferris, who told the World-Herald the club lost nearly $1 million last year, will move the Vipers to the Professional Arena Soccer League next season. The PASL is home to 16 teams, including clubs from Canada and Mexico. The good news for local soccer fans is that there will be professional soccer next year. The bad news? Mayor Suttle’s continued mentions of an outdoor team look a lot less viable given the Vipers struggles.

posted at 01:10 am
on Thursday, May 12th, 2011


(We're testing Disqus commenting (finally!); please let us know if you have trouble.)

comments powered by Disqus


« Previous Page

Bud Rising

When Terence "Bud" Crawford defends his WBO lightweight title June 28 at the CenturyLink Center, he'll fight for himself, his tight-knit family and a boxing community that's not seen anything like...

more »


Bo Pelini behaved as if he had coached his last game at Nebraska, based on his sideline and post-game decorum, or lack thereof. That was the assumption.

The evidence was far from subtle. But it...

more »

Attention to detail

If not for Sam Burtch, the most dramatic play of this Nebraska football season might never have happened.

If not for Burtch, Ron Kellogg III might not have gotten the opportunity to heave the...

more »

Sack leader

As David Santos remembers it, Connor Cook was rolling out and he was pursuing the Michigan State quarterback when Nebraska teammate Randy Gregory “blew right past me.”

Gregory, a defensive end,...

more »

Accepting the challenge

Michigan State is next up for the Nebraska football team.

And the task is daunting.

The Spartans are a “tough team,” said Tommy Armstrong Jr.

How tough? They rank first in the nation in...

more »

Advanced Search