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Huskers are inaugural member of LGBT SportSafe program

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 15:32:20-04

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is one of three universities partnering with the LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program. 

The programs uses a 3-Peat Model to help administrators understand how to implement inclusive programming, policies and public awareness initiatives within their respective athletic  communities.

The program launches in partnership with the University of Oregon, Northwestern University and UNL.

Each partner institution has displayed the LGBT SportSafe medallion at the bottom of their athletic department website.

Co-founder of LGBT SportSafe and former Husker Eric Lueshen said this project has been a long time coming. 

"It almost brought a tears to my eyes, I finally felt like all of my work in advocacy for LGBT sports is kind of coming full-circle," said Lueshen.

His experience spurred on his fight to make the LGBT college athlete life smoother and more accepting for universities across the nation.

"Being openly gay in the last 90s early 2000s and then going into Nebraska football in 2003, was incredibly difficult not knowing how my teammates would accept me," said Lueshen.

Nebraska Athletics senior associate athletic director Keith Zimmer said they already practice diversity inclusion skills but this is just another resource for them to use.

"Sends a message to the prospective student athletes, current student athlete-you will be accepted, you will be supportive and we care about you," said Zimmer.

Zimmer went on to say, "In my 30-year tenure serving the Nebraksa Athletics Department and helping develop student-athletes, we frequently speak of the 'Nebraska Way', which has and always will be to treat every student-athlete with respect while embracing differences.

Nebraska takes great pride in providing the same services, resources and support to all student-athletes no matter what their background, sport or status might be. Throughout my tenure, I have witnessed Nebraska working diligently to be a pioneer and eventually among the nation."

UNL Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst said, "Nebraska Athletics is honored to be an inaugural member of the LGBT SportsSafe Inclusion program. This affiliation reaffirms Nebraska's commitment and desire to be a leader in diversity and inclusion, providing the very best resources to our student-athletes and staff."

Once the program solidifies their presence in college and professional sports they plan to take the program to high schools.