Some Mavericks welcome move to Division I

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March 16th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – There have been a lot of questions and controversy about the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s proposed move to a Division I Conference. The news has sparked protests by the wrestling and football teams which are slated to be cut. But what’s been less reported on is the excitement some student-athletes are feeling as they get ready to compete at the highest level.

Men's basketball Assoc. Athletic Director, Josh White, and his team are cautiously optimistic about the move to Division I. (Photo credit UNO Athletics

The news of the offer was bittersweet. The Summit League offered the official invite to the athletics program last Friday. On Sunday, Athletic Director, Trev Alberts, and UNO Chancellor, John Christensen, announced the move to join the conference. They also laid out the controversial decision to cut the football and wrestling programs, despite UNO’s wrestling program taking home its third-straight Division II National Championship on Saturday. The switch will also replace the wrestling and football programs with men’s soccer and golf.

Although the news came as a surprise and has since been a hot topic around town, some are welcoming the change with cautious optimism. John White is the Associate Athletic Director for men’s basketball. He says the excitement is “tempered”. However, the opportunity to move to the Division I Conference is welcomed by many of the coaches and student-athletes. “This was an institutional decision for the next 20 to 30 years of UNO,” says White, “and when you look around, we are a Division I campus competing at a Division II level. Down the road, knowing that Division I is where we’re headed, is a great success in men’s basketball.”

Meanwhile, the University is waiting on an official decision by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Alberts hopes that ultimately the move would bring financial stability to UNO athletics and bring new opportunities for student-athletes.

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