The funny thing is I was going to write about this last night but just didn't get around to it, I'm glad my conspiracy theory wasn't off base. Let me explain further why I think it makes sense.
Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne (who I like and respect) knows a lot about politics and he knows how to get what he wants. I still believe he single handedly got Steve Pederson fired by working silently behind the scenes.
The UNO situation is another behind the scenes deal. Osborne has invested a lot of time in creating and molding the culture he wants in Lincoln. Back to his coaching days it was a badge of honor to be a Nebraska kid to walk on and then earn a scholarship for 2 or 3 years. There was not another in-state threat for competition like we see in Iowa with the Hawks, Cyclones and yes even the panthers. Nebraska could get away with not offering a kid a scholarship. Osborne knows full well that Husker Football is a way of life and he can get away with asking a kid to pay for 1, 2 or even 3 years before giving a scholarship. This frees up scholarships to kids in California, Texas and Florida. It's brilliant and it works!
Osborne may have lost his bid to become governor a few years back, but like I said he knows how to play politics and he knows how to do it behind the scenes.