LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Herbie Husker is about to become official.

The University of Nebraska makes millions of dollars a year from royalties paid by sporting apparel companies and other manufactures to use registered trademarks such as the Herbie Husker cartoon character and terms like ``Husker Power.''

However, a recent legal decision noted the school's Board of Regents has never formerly adopted the trademarks and trade names that are earning the school big bucks, and should do so to avoid possible legal troubles.

``It is in the nature of dotting an `I' a crossing a `T' to make sure that there has been the requisite approval ... from the highest authority within the university,'' the university's attorney Richard Wood said Thursday.

There is big money at stake.

Following the football team's 1995 national championship, for example, the university received $3.3 million in royalties from such sales, according to athletic department records.

The judge's ruling had its genesis in 1996, when the university decided to open a store called ``Huskers Authentic'' next to Memorial Stadium. The university tried to register the name with the Secretary of State's office but was rejected because it had failed to post the required public notice.

Brent White, owner of a downtown Lincoln T-shirt shop that sold Husker apparel, then tried to register a very similar name, ``Husker Authentics.'' He sued after the university said his actions were violating the licensing agreement that allowed him to sell Husker items.

Lancaster County District Judge Steven Burns ruled in December that neither side had a case, noting the Board of Regents had never formally approved registering school trademarks.