Nebraska-Omaha dismisses two, suspends one after incident allegedly involving racial slurs

Nebraska-Omaha dismissed two players and suspended a third after all three were ticketed for suspicion of disorderly conduct following an incident in which they allegedly used racial slurs.

Preston Hodge and Matt White were removed from the team and had their scholarships removed, UNO athletic director Trev Alberts said in a news release Friday.

Alex Simonson was suspended pending further investigation into the incident, which occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 3 in Omaha’s Old Market neighborhood.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that witnesses told Omaha police that Hodge, White and Simonson were harassing a group of African-Americans with racial slurs.

Hodge allegedly pushed Lamar Triplett, who told police he responded by hitting Hodge, knocking him to the ground, the newspaper reported.

White threw a punch at Triplett but missed, according to police, and Simonson pushed members of Triplett’s group.

The Nebraska-Omaha athletic department was unaware of the incident until contacted Thursday by the World-Herald.

Alberts’ statement read:

“Late Thursday afternoon, the UNO athletic department was made aware of an incident early in the morning of August 3 involving Preston Hodge, Matt White and Alex Simonson, members of the UNO hockey team. After an internal investigation which included a discussion with the Omaha Police Department, Preston Hodge and Matt White have been dismissed from the UNO hockey team and are no longer on scholarship. In addition, Alex Simonson has been suspended pending further investigation by the athletic department. We are extremely disappointed in the actions of these students; we will not tolerate any misconduct of this nature. We will continue to work diligently to ensure our student athletes understand the importance of tolerance and respect for others.”

White, a forward from Whittier, Calif., was fourth on the team in scoring (34 points) and third in goals (16) as a junior last season.

Simonson, a forward from Grand Forks, N.D., appeared in 18 games as a junior, posting two assists.

Hodge, from Bloomington, Ill., was an incoming freshman defenseman.