Saturday, August 20, 2005

NCAA On Appeals of Mascot Issue

From the Red State University blog:

A good discussion of the NCAA procedures for allowing appeals from schools who have been forbidden to use their Indian nicknames or mascots in post-season play on the grounds that they are “hostile or abusive.”

The process will give a lot of weight to whether local Indian tribes claim to be “offended” by a particular nickname. But as blogger Michael Sever points out:
What if a school’s nickname is “Braves” or “Indians?” There isn’t really a national Brave tribe to consult. Say for instance though that approval from the local Native American tribe is needed. What happens if the local tribe in Illinois decides it doesn’t have a problem with Bradley University calling itself the Braves, but the tribe in Louisiana says they do have a problem with Alcorn State calling themselves the Braves? Would the NCAA be prepared to admit that a name is offensive or “hostile and abusive” in one case, but not in another....even if the name in question involved the same word?

The same could be said for “Indians.” What happens if the local tribe says it is OK for Arkansas State to use the Indian moniker, but Newberry College is not granted the same permission?
Such an outcome would, of course, show how utterly arbitrary this whole business is. If tribal leaders, for their own political reasons, want to be “offended” they can kill a nickname. If other tribal leaders take a different view, then the name is acceptable.

And of course, “Indians” is really just tribal leaders, not rank and file Indians who overwhelmingly have no problem with Indian nicknames and mascots.

Sever concluded:
This appeals process to me shows that the NCAA knows it overstepped its bounds, but is trying to backtrack without looking like total fools by creating a patchwork quilt of approval.
Most certainly. This foray into political correctness by the NCAA has been vastly unpopular, and prudence would suggest they should back off.

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