The top brass at University of Nebraska at Omaha may be smiling and glad-handing its accepted invitation to join the Summit League, but a few area athletes are going to be left out of the excitement.

The top brass at University of Nebraska at Omaha may be smiling and glad-handing its accepted invitation to join the Summit League, but a few area athletes are going to be left out of the excitement.

UNO director of athletics Trev Alberts announced earlier this month that the school planned to drop its football and wrestling programs in order to move up to Division I and join the Summit League of which the University of Missouri-Kansas City is a member.

The Nebraska Board of Regents voted to accept the invitation on Friday and the move affects several athletes with area ties, including current Blue Springs wrestler Keenan Hagerty.

Former Wildcats football player Boston Higgins and Fort Osage graduates Nathan Hancock and Kamryn Tillmon will also be affected. All three played football for the Mavericks this past fall.

 “I’m just shocked that we didn’t receive some kind of warning,” Tillmon said shortly after the plan to drop football was announced. “It feels like I got stabbed in the back, but oh well, when one door closes another one opens.”

UNO has gone on record stating that they will honor all existing scholarships and will try to help student-athletes find another school if they decide to leave.

“As far as where I’m going next year, I’m still trying to figure all that out,” Higgins said earlier this month. “What it boils down to is who can give me the most money for my academic career and where I can start as quickly as possible and be on a team that wants to get things done.  

“As far as the whole football program being taken away from us, I think it’s possibly the worst decision our athletic director and chancellor of the school could have ever made. They just put 150-plus players out of a scholarship and not to mention all the coaches that will be losing their jobs.”