:: Running from the Thought Police ::

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:: Monday, October 24, 2005 ::

Looking For More Patterns

I, and many other bloggers, have commented ad nauseam about how all the successful appeals of the NCAA's ban on Native American imagery all hinged on getting the tribe involved to approve the nickname/mascot/whatever. Bradley University's nickname, the Braves, was on the list as well, and their appeal was denied. Some parts of the press release regarding Bradley's rejection, I think, may prove illuminating in regards as to how the NCAA will treat UIUC's appeal.
The review committee does not mandate that Bradley University change its nickname, but as a member of the NCAA, Bradley is expected to adhere to the NCAA’s principle of non-discrimination and promote an atmosphere of respect for and sensitivity to the dignity of every person. At an ever increasing rate of occurrence and volume, Native Americans have expressed their objection to the use of names, terms, imagery and mascots associated with athletics teams. The term ‘Braves’ is among those many Native Americans find objectionable in athletic settings. The Executive Committee’s policy and the staff review committee’s application of the policy have consistently held that good intentions and well-meaning efforts by schools cannot by themselves overcome the objection of those being characterized by such terms.

The NCAA’s position on the use of Native American mascots, names and imagery has not changed, and the NCAA remains committed to ensuring an atmosphere of respect and sensitivity for all who participate in and attend our championships.
Alright, let's dissect this along the lines of the UofI's appeal (.pdf file).
1. Autonomy
The NCAA seems to have found itself some legal wriggle-room here, in that it hasn't specifically mandated that any institution make a specific change - it just threatens a world of pain if they don't do what the NCAA wants them to. If this sounds familiar, it should be: this is the exact same thing the Federal government does when it ties millions of dollars of transportation funding to the states passing new laws. There goes one grounds for objection.

2. History of "Illini" and "Fighting Illini"
3. Chief Illiniwek
The NCAA doesn't seem to care about nickname/mascot history, findings from ten years ago, or traditions that are "artistic expressions shared with audiences." What they do seem to care a lot about is the current situation. With the ever-increasing levels of enmity between the pro- and anti-Chief crowds, the ongoing review by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and the abuse that even non-Native American anti-Chief students take, the present situation ain't all that great. If the NCAA does respond to these counts, it'll probably be along the lines of "So what? It's still Hostle and Abusive now."

4. Improper Procedure
This is the only one I don't know about, and the only one I can't take a bearing off of from the Bradley press release. Someone in the Chambana blogosphere with a good understanding of the NCAA bylaws needs to comment on this, because while the university's stance may be complete crap, there's still a chance that they may have a point with this one.
So, only the last of the objections really has a shot at working. If it does, it'll be sad that the university would've won the decision on a technicality rather than on the merits, because that'll just make our fair institution look even worse.

:: The Squire 2:14 AM :: email this post :: ::


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