Update from BT media days conference: Day 1

Derek Wetmore

CHICAGO – As part of the Big Ten media days conference in Chicago, representatives from each Big Ten school spoke in succession. Many voiced their thoughts on the future expansion of the Big Ten to include Nebraska. After the coaches were through, the hosts welcomed Bill Carollo and Mark Silverman to speak about updates with their respective programs. Carollo is the Big Ten’s Coordinator of Officials, and Silverman is the president of the cable channel Big Ten Network.

Carollo spoke about the importance of player safety and the high regard to which his officials hold the topic. Part of the training  for officials this season and in future seasons will be centered around concussions and dangerous "high hits" that players receive throughout the course of a game. Carollo said that the program he has in place is implenting things to help with player safety, and he hopes that one day the program will expand and be used on a national level, rather than just within the Big Ten.

One other important topic Carollo touched on and was asked about is the use of replay in Big Ten games. Carollo met with university persidents on Dec. 6 to talk about applications and other areas regarding replay. He said the primary problem has been the technology in the replay booth.

"The technology in the booth wasn’t as good as te technology in your home or in the local restaurants… The people in the bars and around the country had a better vantage point than our guy in the booth."

He said technology has been upgraded to high-definition across the board and that he will also be working with his refs to improve their technological savvy.

Silverman spoke about the progression his television network has made entering its fourth year of existence. The leap to high-definition was certinaly one that helped in many aspects, and he said if 3-D can provide a similar enhanced viewer experience, "we’re going to dive in and make sure we’re able to bring those games in [3-D]".

Silverman refuted that the primary reason for the expansion was in order to expand the Big Ten Network’s reach westward. He said that Nebraska should help net more viewers in every part of the country because it is such a well-known program with followers from around the entire country.

BTN plans to begin some coverage of Nebraska this season, even though they will not officially be absorbed into the conference until the following football season. The addition of Nebraska might one day make it easier – from a financial stand point – to acheive BTN’s goal of being one of the top college football networks in the country, along with ABC, ESPN and the like.

BTN will televise a non-conference game for the first time in it’s four year tenure, when they air Indiana visiting Western Kentucky on September 18.

To conclude the first day’s events, Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne made a brief appearance to pose for a photo with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Penn State coach Joe Paterno.