:: Running from the Thought Police ::

Reality-Based Thoughts, Ruminations, and Unsolicited Opinions of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student alumnus and employee.
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:: Friday, March 31, 2006 ::

Obfuscate! Obfuscate!

Yesterday the News-Gazette ran a story about the UI's rebuttal (pdf) to the NCAA's response (pdf) to the University's appeal of the NCAA's decision to keep it on the "Hostile and Abusive mascots" list. (Follow all that? Good, 'cos the News-Gazette apparently didn't, since it failed to run a story about the NCAA's response.)

Before I go any further, I need to head off the screams of pro-Chief fanatics who constantly say, "It's not a mascot, it's a symbol!" If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, chances are it's a duck. Likewise, if it is associated with the university like a mascot, engages in mascot-type behavior, and evokes the emotional responses from small-brained people typical of mascots, it's a mascot. Deal with it.

Personally, I find the University's arguement that the policy in question constitutes legislation to be weaker than the NCAA's stance that the policy flows out of other responsibilities of the Executive Committee as established in the NCAA constitution. Then again, I'm no lawyer, so I can't say much more on the topic without devolving into incoherent rambling. (Yes, yes, I know, too late.) This seems to be something that Keith Olbermann would be uniquely suited to handle, though.

What I would like to focus on is Part III of the UI's rebuttal, specifically Section A, in which BoT chair Eppley manages to whine (for the umpteenth time) that the NCAA ignored the 1995 findings of the Office of Civil Rights. Thing is, the UI's rebuttal does absolutely nothing to contradict the NCAA's statement that the Office of Civil Rights' findings (as well as those of a court case also brought up by the UI) were issued within the narrow range proscribed by law. In the case of the OCR findings, this had to do with impact on access to education, and not to the larger issue which, not coincidentally, the NCAA is looking at. Chair Eppley also ignores the NCAA's remark that, regardless of any outside reports, the BoT's continual involvement with the divisive issue indicates the large scope of the problems surrounding the Chief.

I also find it interesting that the University includes the North Central Education Association as an "Interested Advocate" opposed to the University. That the University is/was unaware of the evidence presented by the PRC, its own accrediting association, and other groups is also suspect, at least in my mind. The BoT has been fielding this issue for years, it's not like any of this stuff is new.

In all, I find it quite telling that the Board of Trustees' strongest argument remains procedural, rather than resting on the nature of the Chief himself. The NCAA's position is clear that it's not prohibiting such mascots, merely excluding them from NCAA championship venues, and that the University is already largely in compliance with the stipulations of the policy. It's as if the Board of Trustees is fighting not the policy itself, but the stigma of being placed on such a list, in fear that it will tip its imagined "consensus conclusion" from the status quo towards open rejection of our University's mascot.

:: The Squire 1:56 PM :: email this post :: ::


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