The games for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team in 2022 will look a little different. The team is stopping a major tradition, which is releasing balloons following its first touchdown at home, according to athletic director Trev Alberts. The tradition will be put on hold due to the global helium shortage.
"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, per ESPN. "So we've been asked by the university, the helium that 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 also said the marketing department is working on different ways to celebrate touchdowns, including digital renderings. The helium shortage and supply-chain issues stem in part from sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. "As we looked into it as an athletic department, it became very clear that with a very limited supply of helium, it was going to be hard to get," Alberts said.
Nebraska will have its first home game of the 2022 season on Sept. 3 against North Dakota. However, the Cornhuskers will start the season on Aug. 27 against Northwestern at Avia Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. In April, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost talked about improving after the team went 3-9 last year.
"If you believe you're doing things the right way – which we do – I think drastic changes are a mistake," Frost said on his monthly Husker Sports Radio call-in show, per the Omaha World-Herald. "Tweaks are what you need. Not being stuck in your ways, but looking for ways to improve, ways to do things a little bit different.
"We can't change the basis of what we do and how we do it – because I've seen it work before, it has worked, it will work, it does work. Particularly as close as we were in almost every game last year, we're always looking for one little way to get that much better. Major, drastic changes probably aren't what you need."