Nebraska’s traditional release of nearly 5,000 balloons after the team’s first touchdown of the game will be put on hold because of a national helium shortage, reports the Lincoln Journal Star‘s Jordan Pascale.
The tradition started in the 1940s, Pascale reports, but for the team’s season opener with Southern Mississippi, there will be about half as many balloons as usual. After that, the Cornhuskers plan to have one tank of helium — which can fill around 300 balloons — for each home game.
The program is considering things like a “Touchdown Balloon Kid of the Game” to keep alive the tradition, Pascale reports.
“We want to be good stewards,” Ethan Rowley, NU director of athletic marketing, told Pascale. “We don’t want to take away helium from hospitals and industries that need it more than we do right now.”
Popular Mechanics reported on the helium shortage in June. For more, read here.