Coaching great Tom Osborne to give up his Nebraska skybox

Photo of Coaching great Tom Osborne to give up his Nebraska skybox

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) College Football Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne is giving up his large skybox at Memorial Stadium, saying the Nebraska athletic department should sell it to someone else rather than have him continue to use it for free.

The 80-year-old Osborne coached the Cornhuskers for 25 years, retiring after the 1997 season with 255 wins and all or part of three national championships three of his last four years. He was the school's athletic director from 2007-12.

''I don't know anyone who is a former administrator who keeps a large skybox,'' Osborne said Thursday. ''That thing seats 25-26 people. That's worth money. I feel the athletic department should be the beneficiary of that box. My family and I have benefited from it, and it's worth a fair amount of money, so I just felt it was time for it to go back to the athletic department and they be allowed to receive some compensation for it.''

The Lincoln Journal Star first reported that Osborne notified Nebraska officials that he would give up the box.

Osborne said similar skyboxes were valued at $70,000 to $90,000 a year when he was athletic director and that it probably would bring in more than that now.

David Witty, senior associate athletic director for marketing and communications, said the athletic department had no immediate comment.

Osborne said he had entertained former players and other guests in the box over the years but that he didn't see himself doing as much of that if he had kept it.

Osborne has not been much of a presence around the football team since Mike Riley was hired by athletic director Shawn Eichorst after the firing of Bo Pelini after the 2014 season. Osborne had hired Pelini. Since leaving the athletic director's job, Osborne has devoted much of his time to the mentoring program he and his wife founded in 1991.

''I don't want anyone to read anything into this,'' Osborne said. ''It has nothing to do with any problem with the university or athletic department. I'm fully supportive.''

Osborne has continued to attend most home games, and he plans to continue to do so this season. He said his health is good and that he's confident he will be able to find tickets.

''I think there are a few people who will let me sit with them,'' he said.

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