Lincoln, Neb. — Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson was fired Monday, two days after the school's once-mighty football team was rocked with its worst home loss in nearly a half-century.
Pederson, along with coach Bill Callahan, has been heavily criticized after a series of one-sided losses this season. The most recent was a 45-14 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday with former Cornhuskers coach Tom Osborne and his 1997 national title team in attendance.
Callahan's job apparently is safe for now. Chancellor Harvey Perlman said the next athletic director would decide the fate of the football staff.
Over the past two weeks, the Huskers (4-3) have lost by a combined score of 86-20, dropping a 41-6 decision at Missouri two weeks ago.
"There is no joy in my heart for having to do this," Perlman said. He said it would cost at least $2.2 million to buy Pederson out of his contract.
At the end of the July, Pederson's contract was renewed for five years, but this season has been a nightmare for the most part. Even in victory - a 41-40 nail-biter against Ball State - the Huskers' defense was far from the force it used to be.
For the first time in its 118-year history, the Cornhuskers have allowed at least 40 points four times in a season.
"You make the best decision you can with the information you have," Perlman said.