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Nebraska football program ends red balloon tradition amid global helium shortage

Nebraska football is ending one of its biggest traditions, announcing it will no longer release red balloons following its first touchdown at Memorial Stadium.

The school had carried on the tradition since the 1960s, but will not release any balloons this season amid a global helium shortage, Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts said.

"Acquiring helium in today's day and age, some of the production of it is really challenged, and it's been hard to get," Alberts said on his radio show. 

"So we've been asked by the university, the helium that we are getting as a university, we need to use for medical purposes in Omaha.

"And so we are this year not going to be providing the red balloons for the first time at Memorial Stadium."

The helium shortage comes as the United States placed heavy sanctions against Russia, a major world helium supplier, for that nation's war in Ukraine, according to reports.

But while the shortage is being blamed for ending the Cornhuskers' tradition now, Alberts said that he has been made aware of environmental concerns over the last several years, as well.

In 2016, a Nebraska man sued the school, claiming the balloons were a health hazard to animals and children once they deflated and fell to the ground.

Nebraska's student government voted to end the balloon tradition in November, though that body has no authority over the school or football program.

(Nebraska Football)

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