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Former University of Texas President Larry Faulkner

Former University of Texas President Larry Faulkner (Courtesy photo)

Turns out, the well-documented rift between the universities of Nebraska and Texas doesn't extend much past the football field.

UNL supporters were quick to cry foul when they learned Larry Faulkner, former president of The University of Texas at Austin, chaired the membership review committee that voted unanimously to boot Nebraska out of the Association of American Universities.

Nebraska and Texas had been at odds for years in the Big 12 Conference. A controversial end to the 2009 Big 12 football title game didn't help things, nor did Nebraska's decision to leave for the Big Ten.

But an email sent by UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman suggests Faulkner tried to save Nebraska's AAU membership.

"Regarding the Texas issue," the chancellor wrote in a May 5 email to a UNL alumnus, "I have had unconfirmed reports from persons in a position to know that Larry Faulkner, former president of Texas, was actually trying to help us but was, in the end, going against the tide. Not sure enough about that to say it publicly."

Faulkner declined to speak with the Journal Star.

Texas conspiracy theories take another hit in an email Perlman sent to UNL faculty members. The message suggests the current UT president supported Nebraska's membership in the AAU. Perlman wrote that every Big 12 president in the AAU supported Nebraska.

-- Mitch Smith

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