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Opinion and Views: Reaction to NCAA mascot policy

Reaction to the NCAA's new policy on the use of "hostile and abusive" mascots was swift after the announcement on Friday. Opinions fall on both side of the issue although most appear to oppose the policy rather than support it. Here is a selection of some of the editorials, columents and commentary on the subject.

"Four hundred years ago, middle America was populated by a group of native tribes known as the Illini. They were among history's first underdogs � hunters and farmers outmanned by war, disease and displacement. There were once 12,000 Illini in the area. Today there are none. That is, if you don't count the guy who entertains the University of Illinois sports crowds by pretending to be a whooping Illini chief, dressing like a caricature and dancing like a fool. He's historically inaccurate. He's morally questionable. He's also, finally, thankfully, endangered."
Bill Plaschke: Chief Justice (The Los Angeles Times 8/7)

"Friday, the NCAA said American Indian names, logos and mascots can�t be used in post-season play. Nor can teams using them host post-season events. If events are scheduled � as they are in Grand Forks � logos in arenas must be covered. As a newspaper, the Herald must report these developments. Our reporting must explore what the implications might be. It must reflect the full range of reactions to the NCAA move. But what about the Herald�s editorial voice? Looking back, it�s clear that we hurt ourselves the last time this issue emerged. Second-guessing led us to conclude that we were right to take a position, but that we overdid it and we resolved that our approach would be different if the issue came up again."
MATTERS AT HAND: Let�s wait for clarity on NCAA logo ruling (The Grand Forks Herald 8/7)

"I want that leprechaun put to sleep. Do you hear me, NCAA? I don't want to see that darn leprechaun at Notre Dame's games anymore. No more of that goofy green suit. No more of that hokey hat. Most of all, no more of that offensive, insensitive, insulting, dehumanizing dance. As a proud Irish-American, I demand that you make the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame get rid of that stupefying, stereotypical mascot of theirs. And that little jig of his. And I mean pronto, if you'll excuse my use of Indian lingo."
Mike Downey: No blarney: Leprechaun must go (The Chicago Tribune 8/7)

"Many supporters of the affected schools aren't happy with the decision, which is the next logical step toward an outright ban of the nicknames. But the NCAA hit the schools where it hurt -- right in the wallet. And, more than wins and losses and sometimes even 'tradition,' that's what often matters most in college sports."
Editorial: Ban on American Indian names hits wallets hardest (The Norwich Bulletin 8/8)

"Well, I can think of one good thing about the NCAA's ban on American Indian mascots during its postseason tournaments -- no more 15-yard penalties on Chief Whatshisname for running on the field."
Dan Daly: NCAA's mascot ban was Chiefly logical (The Washington Times 8/7)

"It was good to see the college sports' governing body finally make a move toward eliminating imagery that Native Americans find offensive. Colleges and universities exist, ostensibly, to educate. Respect for people of color, and of different religions and ways of life, is a lesson that still needs to be taught in this country. The NCAA's act was another step in that direction. But the biggest leap that can be made in sports in this continuing education struggle is for the professional football team that I grew up rooting for in Washington, D.C., (Sect. 312 of RFK Stadium) to do the right thing: scrap what is absolutely the most derogatory, degrading, despicable nickname in all of athletics."
Kevin B. Blackistone: NFL needs to join colleges in fight, scrap Redskins' nickname (The Dallas Morning News 8/6)

"The NCAA has taken the 'bold' step of cracking down on what it calls "hostile and abusive" nicknames and mascots. Players and cheerleaders have been stripped of wearing any reference to the likes of Indians and Braves. Not really. Kind of, sort of. Teams are exempt from the new rule in bowl games. Those don't count because the NCAA doesn't control them. For whatever reason, the NCAA chose not to infringe on regular-season events, either. This only applies to the 88 NCAA-sponsored championships. My, how enlightened we've become."
Dennis Dodd: NCAA takes a stand that isn't much of one (CBS Sportsline 8/5)

"The NCAA's stand straddled the fence. If mascots, nicknames or imagery deemed hostile or abusive to racial/ethnic/nationality groups don't belong in NCAA championship events, why do they belong in college sports at all? "They're dodging the issue, basically," said Dr. Joely De La Torre, president of Naqmayam Communications, a Native American public relations %agency and community activist. 'These images and symbols have historically plagued our community. If the NCAA can't see that, I'm really concerned about the direction our society is going.' Well, heck, lady, the NCAA can't figure out how to crown a Division I-A football champion on the field. Asking it to fix societal ills makes as much sense as sequins at a funeral."
Wendell Barnhouse: Just one hostile idea (The Fort Worth Star-Telegram 8/8)

"Some of you who feel warmth to the Redskins and Indians of Woody, Bo and Plunkett-to-Vataha already are rolling your eyes. I didn't. Until, that is, I found the list includes Florida State and the University of Utah. Both the Seminole tribe, which is getting revenge for Andrew Jackson one casino and carton of cigarettes at a time, and the Ute tribe have approved those schools' usage. Theses schools get an ''OK'' and the NCAA can't give the Good Mascot seal of approval? Makes sense. In a BCS way. Which begs the question: If the gender/ethnicity in question isn't offended, should anybody else be? And, how many need to be offended before something is generally offensive?"
David J. Neal: NCAA decision on nicknames begs questions (The Miami Herald 8/6)

"On the surface, this is a good move, but there are a lot more questions unanswered than answered. It's a good move to take Chief Illiniwek out of circulation at Illinois and push Southeastern Oklahoma State University to find an alternative to Savages as their mascot. Both are demeaning and unflattering in their portrayal of Native Americans. However, a definition of 'hostile or abusive' wasn't immediately forthcoming on Friday and could be a source of anguish for both the NCAA and the schools."
Editorial: NCAA ban on mascots a long time coming (The Chillicothe Gazette 8/6)

"When the University of Utah appeared on the NCAA Executive Committee's list of schools needing to change their athletic nicknames because they are 'abusive' or 'hostile' to the Native American culture, I'm guessing the national reaction Friday was something like: "A Ute is an Indian?" The rest of the world figures "Ute" is just short for "Utah," rather than associating the name with anything resembling the spear-throwing mascot of the Florida State Seminoles or the dancing symbol of the Illinois Illini."
Kurt Kragthorpe: Utah begs the question 'What's in a name?' (The Salt Lake Tribune 8/6)

NCAA Announcement:
NCAA Executive Committee Issues Guidelines for Use of Native American Mascots at Championship Events (August 5, 2005)

Relevant Links:
NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee -

National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media -