Sports

Too Controversial: No More TransCanada at Nebraska Football Games

| by Alex Groberman

In the old days, college football was a safe zone from various political and social issues that plague the headlines. It was an escape of sorts, if you will.

Unfortunately, as the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ recent decision to cut ties with TransCanada indicates, there is no escaping the far-reaching arms of political turmoil anymore.

According to the Associated Press, the Nebraska athletic department has opted to end its sponsorship arrangement with TransCanada.

As it stands, the company is currently awaiting approval from President Barack Obama’s administration regarding an Alberta-Texas pipeline that would go through Nebraska.

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Part of the apparent problem that Nebraska has with TransCanada’s current exploits stems from environmentalists lobbying for the White House to reject the proposed pipeline due to resulting greenhouse emissions. That, coupled with the fact that a spill could threaten the Ogallala aquifer, makes it a hot-button issue for all involved.

Furthermore, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman and the state’s two U.S. senators also oppose the bill. At the same time, oil industry groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would like to see a speedy approval of the $7 billion project.

While Nebraska’s athletic director, Tom Osborne, made it clear that the department isn’t taking a stance on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline either way, the fact that it has become so “increasingly politicized” has turned both the university and the athletic program off from advertising anything that may even be construed as an endorsement.

Up until this point, as noted by the Omaha World-Herald, the program had a deal in place with TransCanada for advertising specials to be run on huge video screens at the football games. It appears as though this will no longer happen, as per these most recent developments.

Rep. Lee Terry, recently spoke up on why the Huskers’ AD may have decided to get involved in matters.

“Last week at the [football] game, I was there when the TransCanada advertising sign came up. There was booing. And I am sure that probably concerned Tom [Osborne].”

While the school and athletic program generally make it a point to steer clear of any sort of political positions, Osborne is a former Republican member of Congress from Nebraska. During his six-year stint, he represented the state’s 3rd district.

TransCanada officials admitted that they were “disappointed” with the school’s decision, however, that the development would not alter their pursuit of White House support in any way.