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Steven M. Sipple: An intriguing NIL matter to ponder; Bolt strikes again; and an AD prediction

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Indiana vs. Nebraska, 10.26

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) greets fans before the Huskers hosted Indiana on Oct. 26, 2019, at Memorial Stadium.

Husker Extra Podcast: Updating Nebraska's AD search and draft season for NU's Banton, Schwellenbach

Things I know, and things I think I know: 

Plenty of people are in the process of learning how extensively student-athletes' use of their name, image and likeness to make money will impact collegiate sports.

We're in a remarkable period in history.

Lincoln businessman Rick Hamann, executive vice president of Sartor Hamann Jewelers, made mention of an aspect of NIL last week on "Early Break" (93.7 FM) that perhaps ranks as a significant concern to universities all over the country.

"I'm not against sponsoring a kid at all because it allows mom and pop businesses — the smaller sponsors — to get in on this deal as opposed to going through the university itself, which is massively expensive for a business," Hamann said.

In other words, this part of the NIL world ultimately could impact certain athletic departments' revenue totals if small businesses opt to spend money on student-athletes instead of cutting major deals with universities.

"We're a family business," Hamann said. "We're not First National Bank and Ameritas and all that. When we were sponsors at the University of Nebraska, which we're not any longer, it was a huge amount of money and a big leap for us to be a full partner. Because we're small."

Make no mistake, there's ample value in a small business partnering with an athletic department that has the reach of Nebraska's. The name of the business gets splashed in sold-out arenas and on the department web site and various media channels.

Life in the Red: Husker QB Adrian Martinez's NIL marketability on display already

"It's a big deal," Hamann said. "But if you sponsor a kid, I want just 10 tweets in six months that you came into our store and bought your girlfriend a diamond." 

That seems like good business to me. People have shouted for years that that's where the money should be directed — to student-athletes such as Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez or high-profile cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt, who put their necks on the line on autumn Saturdays.

"If you pay a kid five grand to do 10 tweets over a period of six months, that's a good deal," said Hamann, noting the importance of a student-athlete having a sizable social-media following. 

Hamann also noted the favorable impact a business could incur from having a prominent player make a personal appearance to sign autographs or whatever. It's easy to imagine a business paying Martinez $5,000 for an afternoon, Hamann said.

By the way, say what you want about Martinez's on-field play in recent seasons, it's difficult to find many players on Nebraska's roster to whom a business might turn before it solicits business from Adrian. 

The kid's a winner, and he's already benefiting financially in the new collegiate athletics world. 

That part of NIL makes perfect sense.

* The eye-opening news arrived during an otherwise sleepy Sunday: Rob Childress is coming back to Nebraska, set to join the Husker baseball program in a couple of weeks as director of player development.

Will Bolt strikes again. Brilliant hire. Bolt's hot streak continues.

Childress' wide range of experience and success in collegiate baseball is well-documented, as is his relationship with each of the Husker coaches. 

After sizing up the news, I had one lingering question: Would the 52-year-old Childress be open to becoming a head coach again down the line? 

"I don't have any idea, honestly," he told me. "My whole focus is coming up there and serving those coaches and pouring into the players and doing whatever I can to help that program." 

The momentum in Bolt's program was absolutely a factor in Childress' decision to take the job. 

"That staff has done an amazing job in a short period of time," Childress said. "I mean, you can see the product on the field. They play together. They play with a chip on their shoulder. They've got that thing headed in a positive direction, certainly." 

* Should Jeff Christy, Nebraska's pitching coach, be looking over his shoulder given Childress' background guiding pitchers? Absolutely not. Childress is intensely loyal and wouldn't dream of undercutting someone in whom he has so much respect. This is a unified Husker staff. A staff with ample history together, with Childress being a major part of that history. No way Childress would want to throw a wrench into that unity. 

That said, "Childress could turn a broom handle into a good right-hander," a friend cracked Sunday.

Good one.

* It's been 16 days since Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos' tenure ended with a rather awkward retirement.

NU's search parties, according to sources, have contacted multiple athletic directors around the country, most notably Iowa State's Jamie Pollard, who chose to stay put. It's no surprise NU is gauging interest in and/or interviewing national candidates or potential candidates. 

The more I hear, the more I think Nebraska ultimately will stay "inside the family" for the next AD. 

John Cook? Trev Alberts? Ed Stewart? Matt Davison? Garrett Klassy? Each would bring plenty to the table. 

The most steam seems to be behind Cook and Alberts. 

Take that (educated) guess for what it's worth. I've talked to a ton of sources. But I should mention that I haven't read this situation all that well to this point.

* Don't overlook NU system President Ted Carter's significant involvement in the hire, even though UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green has been more prominent in headlines.

Carter is the university's chief executive officer and was an admiral in the U.S. Navy — not to mention a Top Gun pilot. He clearly knows what good leadership looks like. 

* Just spent some quality vacation time in the great state of Florida, where my mom and older brother live. They like to show me what I'm missing. For instance, my Harley rides could occur in Florida without a helmet. Something to think about.

Spring post-op: Catch up on our position-by-position look at where the Huskers stand after spring

What did we learn from the Huskers' spring? What about the things we still need to find out? Plus, a look at "stock-risers" and more.

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The series continues with offense this week. No better place to start than quarterback, right?

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NU's safeties benefited from the extra year of eligibility, as Marquel Dismuke and Deontai Williams both return for sixth seasons.

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Cam Taylor-Britt has ascended into a face-of-the-program type player and perhaps the best player on the roster. But is there enough depth?

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Luke Reimer, Chris Kolarevic and Nick Henrich are a strong trio at the top. But this is the Big Ten. Who can be the fourth man? The fifth? 

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You followed along all spring. Who's your standout player from the outside linebacker group? How about the "stock-riser?" Compare notes with us.

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Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti said he has at least six players he can trust and potentially seven, but it’s unclear if any of NU’s next wave of players will crack the rotation this fall.

Contact the writer at or 402-473-7440. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


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Husker sports columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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