August 5, 2005


NCAA embarks on slippery slope with decision (JIM MASHEK, 8/05/05, Knight Ridder Newspapers)

Something interesting is going to take place next spring during the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments.

Florida State might make it to the field of 65, but the Seminoles will not. Utah could earn an at-large tournament berth, but the team will not be known as the Utes. And, closer to home, if Alcorn State takes the Southwestern Athletic Conference tourney championship, the school will be represented by a nickname and mascot to be named later. Instead of the Braves.

The NCAA's executive committee has decided use of American Indian mascots will be banned from postseason tournaments starting next spring, but otherwise, they'll be permitted.

This is sort of like saying, use whatever nickname you like, but don't expect us to recognize it. The NCAA has ruled that nicknames or mascots deemed "hostile or abusive" cannot be printed on team uniforms or other apparel in any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1, 2006.

The decision affects at least 18 NCAA member institutions.

Traditionalists aren't going to like this one bit. American Indian groups figure to be more supportive, although the Seminole Tribe of Florida has continually given its blessing to Florida State, which adopted the nickname when the school began accepting male students in the late '40s.

Tribal councilman Max Osceola told the Tampa Tribune earlier this year, "We feel that it is an honor and a reflection of the university to represent the spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida."

Note that Notre Dame is not affected.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 5, 2005 10:09 PM

There's a reason a friend of mine who played football at Nebraska called them the "N.C. Double-A**holes."

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 5, 2005 10:38 PM

I have a dream, that some day we shall all have the wisdom of the Seminole tribal spokesman, who understands that we honor those for whom we name our sports teams. I have a dream that some day, we shall have a basketball team called the Zulus.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 6, 2005 12:15 AM

Sounds like based on this, someone with Irish lineage should file a nuisance lawsuit against the NCAA to add Notre Dame to the list, just to see Miles Brand have to testify why the NCAA passed this assinine rule in the first place.

Posted by: John at August 6, 2005 12:34 AM

Good idea, John, and maybe PETA can join in and challenge the Wolverines.

Posted by: Peter B at August 6, 2005 5:22 AM

Keep PETA outta this. I want the Badgers to eat the Gophers.

Posted by: AllenS at August 6, 2005 8:24 AM

I'm surprised women haven't objected to "Trojans".

Posted by: ratbert at August 6, 2005 9:09 AM

the big schools should withdraw from the ncaa. what value does membership in that obsolete and pc infested organization bring ? you telling me that football fans won't watch their favorite schools without the ncaa imprimatur ? right. viewership would go up.

Posted by: cjm at August 6, 2005 9:40 AM

All cartels need a neutral enforcer.

Posted by: Chris B at August 6, 2005 10:01 AM

If Florida State does decide to knuckle under, I just want to go on record saying that I would have no problem with the Florida State "Jews." Hava Nagila would make a great fight song.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 6, 2005 10:36 AM

go 'brews :)

Posted by: cjm at August 6, 2005 10:39 AM

Isn't Yeshiva The Fighting Maccabees?

When Colgate wanted to do away with Red Raiders I suggested The Scrappy Baptists, but it was rejected.

Posted by: oj at August 6, 2005 10:49 AM

What about the Idaho State Vandals? Doesn't that name insult barbarians and criminals everywhere?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 6, 2005 11:07 AM

OJ, Whitman College has the "fighting" Missionaries, a name whose continued survial has much to do with their irrelevance.

Posted by: mike beversluis at August 6, 2005 11:40 AM

I went to the U. of Illinois my freshman year, almost 30 years ago. Chief Illiniwek was universally honored and respected, and appeared only at halftime of both football and basketball games, to do his authentic wardance, passed down from a real Illini tribe. The student chosen to be the Chief knew -- everybody there knew -- it was considered one of the highest honors at the university.

Bunch of racist bastards!

So, I've got a question. If this is considered "hostile and abusive", what does "honoring a memory" look like?

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at August 6, 2005 11:50 AM

Sports Illustrated did a poll that showed that only slightly more than 20% of American Indians objected to these names and mascots showing once again that this is about feelings of white guilt and little else.

Annecdote Warning: I spent 4 years as a manager at a large Indian casino in WA. and the tribal members found this kind of stuff ridiculous. I refer to them as Indians because that is what they call themselves. None of the hundreds that I know referred to themselves as "Native-Americans" though they did refer to me as "Walking Eagle" - too full of "it" to fly.

Posted by: Patrick H at August 6, 2005 1:14 PM

David Cohen:

Assuming they could play on Saturdays, it would definitely be interesting to see FSU replace the arrows on their football helmets with Stars of David, and (presumably) adopt yarmulkes as their official headgear.

Downside: Every time FSU wins, their opponents will say it's because they secretly control the NCAA.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 6, 2005 1:30 PM

In my opinion, "Bugeaters" was definitely an insult to my Nebraska forebears, which stayed in place until the team changed it's name to "Cornhuskers." For information on sending reparations, please drop me an email.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 6, 2005 1:39 PM

I remember hearing once that the Cleveland Indians originally adopted their nickname after a much-beloved Native American player retired after a long career. Has anyone told this to Russell Means and the others who want them to change their nickname?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 6, 2005 2:28 PM

Oh, please, Patrick--what's the big idea letting reality intrude into this discussion???

Seriously, in regard to the preferred use of "Indians", you could have mentioned this group*, to which your WA tribal casino owners undoubtedly belonged. Not only do they call themselves "Indians", they use the word "Tribe", too!

(*for those who can't click: it's the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.)

Posted by: Kirk Parker at August 6, 2005 2:31 PM

Why are Buckeyes, Hoosiers and Sooners so self-hating as to name their universities' teams after themselves?

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at August 6, 2005 3:11 PM


Lou Sockalexis was beloved. His career was short and his end was sad, unfortunately.

Posted by: Brian (MN) at August 6, 2005 6:02 PM

Tommy Lasorda was given that same nickname (Walking Eagle) by his players. Before he went on the Slim-Fast he was also known as "The Face That Lunched a Thousand Shrimps."

Posted by: joe shropshire at August 6, 2005 6:20 PM


Wow. Thanks for the info.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 6, 2005 6:31 PM

Bob Hawkins:

And then there are some states, or rather state (which shall remain unnamed), in which the process was reversed and the state motto was changed to reflect the football team's popularity.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 6, 2005 6:41 PM

Bob Hawkins:

Excuse me -- state nickname, not motto.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 6, 2005 6:42 PM

A Buckeye is a tree (a kind of horse-chestnut). I think we are safe for the time being.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 10, 2005 3:02 AM