Friday, May 05, 2006

As Ward Shank would say, "This is just Bunk."

NCAA declines appeal on Chief Illiniwek

ASSOCIATED PRESS Friday, Apr. 28 2006

The NCAA's executive committee on Friday rejected an appeal by the University of Illinois to continue using its Chief Illiniwek athletic symbol but removed Bradley from a list of schools with imagery the organization deems "hostile" and "abusive."

The ruling means Illinois will not be allowed to host NCAA championship events unless the school drops its long-debated Indian figure, a fixture at the Urbana-Champaign campus since 1926. School officials criticized the ruling and said they would explore what to do next.

Bradley won its appeal to move off the NCAA's list of schools with banned nicknames. The executive committee noted that Bradley dropped its Indian mascot and logos more than a decade ago and now uses only the generic nickname Braves. The committee also said Bradley has demonstrated its ability to provide an environment of diversity, respect and sportsmanship.

The Peoria school will be placed on an NCAA watch list for five years "to assure that circumstances don't change," according to a written statement from the NCAA. Bradley is the first school in the nation to earn that distinction.

"Bradley University has used the Braves name since 1937 and we are pleased that the many generations of Bradley athletes to come will continue to bear that name, representative of the pride and tradition of our university," Bradley president David Broski said in a written statement.

Illinois officials said the university will review its options regarding the executive committee's ruling, which it says will make it difficult for the school to recruit top student-athletes and coaches.

"By branding an 80-year tradition `hostile and abusive,' the NCAA inappropriately defames generations of Illinoisans and University of Illinois supporters," Illinois board of trustees chairman Lawrence Eppley said in a written statement.

Last fall, the university persuaded the NCAA to drop "Illini" and "Fighting Illini" from its list of banned nicknames, but the university appealed again in January after NCAA said it still found Chief Illiniwek hostile and abusive. Illinois officials called the decision "arbitrary and capricious" and criticized the process by which the policy was created.

The NCAA's executive committee also rejected similar appeals Friday from North Dakota and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Friday's actions leave seven of the original 18 schools on the offenders list.

Schools such as Florida State, Central Michigan and the University of Utah were quickly removed after officials submitted written documentation from nearby tribes that demonstrated support to continue using their nicknames.

Officials at North Dakota, nicknamed the Fighting Sioux, initially said Thursday they had the support of the two major Sioux tribes to continue using the name -- an assertion later challenged by a tribal chairman. The committee said Friday it gave more credence to the chairman who said the tribal council didn't approve using the name.

Five schools have changed or agreed to change nicknames. Another school, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., nicknamed The Tribe, has been added to the list after submitting a self-evaluation in October. No decision has been made on that yet.

In the eight months since the NCAA sent the message about what it considered unacceptable American-Indian nicknames, mascots and imagery, nearly all the original 18 listed offenders have filed appeals.


At 11:02 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

Thanks for the kind words. The color scheme is part of an annual January tradition where I will use the colors of the NHL team that I predict to win this year's Stanley Cup. Hopefully , Ottawa can pull it off, but from the looks of game 1 they'd be better off with me in net. Also, at least they didn't outlaw Illiniwek altogether. What mascot could possibly replace that?


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