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September 09, 1986

Nebraska football Coach Tom Osborne said that violations that led to the suspension of 60 Cornhusker players weren't serious enough to warrant an eligibility penalty. The suspensions for up to two games, which Nebraska will appeal to the NCAA, were punishment for the misuse of players' game passes last year.

"Our position is simply that that type of offense is not an eligibility matter," Osborne said. "We are hoping we can convince them of that."

The NCAA announced its suspensions last week, but before the NCAA agreed to delay the penalty pending appeal, Nebraska considered forfeiting Saturday's opening game against Florida State. The Cornhuskers won 34-17.

Osborne said a forfeit still is possible if the appeal is denied. He said he would prefer that players who violated the ticket rule be allowed to perform community service rather than be suspended.

The NCAA's ticket rule permits players to give away their complimentary game passes only to relatives and students. Osborne said violations of the rule could be widespread.

"If the players will come forward, it will be a problem at every school in the country," Osborne said. "When you have a sold-out situation and your parents want to have somebody drive down to the game with them, and the parents say, 'Put these people down as aunts and uncles,' and you're 20 years old, you do it.

"And if you have a girlfriend that you care about, and you want to get her in the game and she can't buy a ticket, you put her down as a relative," he said.

Osborne said he doesn't condone the violations, but he said he felt it more important that players are kept from scalping tickets. He said the NCAA's four-month investigation uncovered no evidence of money changing hands.

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