Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts announced Monday that the university will no longer provide red balloons to fans to release at home football games due to a helium shortage.
The tradition of releasing the balloons after the Cornhuskers first score at home began in the 1960s. However, a global helium shortage will prevent the Big Ten program from continuing the celebration at Memorial Stadium this fall.
“While we’re still concerned about the environmental impact of the balloons, the reality is acquiring helium in today’s day and age given some of the challenge and some of the production of it is really challenged and it’s been hard to get,” Alberts said on his radio show Monday, per KMTV Omaha. “And so we’ve been asked by the university that the helium we are getting as a university we need to use for medical purposes at [University of Nebraska Medical Center] in Omaha. And so, we are this year not going to be providing the red balloons for the first time at Memorial Stadium.”
Alberts, a former Nebraska linebacker, explained that the logistics of acquiring enough helium to fuel the tradition would simply be too difficult for the university. He said that the athletic department is looking into a possible alternative celebration, which could include a digital rendering of the red balloon release.
“As we looked into it as an athletic department, it became pretty clear that there’s a very limited supply of helium and was going to be hard to get,” Alberts said. “So we made the decision to end that tradition this year.”
Nebraska will host its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 3rd against North Dakota.
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