Skip to comments.NCAA nixes nicknames (Central Michigan and Saginaw Chippewas balk)
Posted on 08/05/2005 10:34:48 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan
NCAA nixes nicknames
Use of Native American mascots, logos banned in postseason play
By MATTHEW B. MOWERY
Sun Sports Writer
In response to yet another outside body trying to influence whether or not Central Michigan University and other schools should employ Native American nicknames, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe issued a sharply-worded rebuke: Stay out of our business. Advertisement
After the NCAA announced Friday afternoon that it would prohibit its member institutions from displaying mascots, nicknames or imagery during any of its 88 postseason championship tournaments, the Tribe issued a joint press release with CMU.
The rich relationship that the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe has with CMU cannot be determined by an outside entity without contacting the institution and the government involved, said Tribal spokesman Joseph Sowmick in the release. Any arbitrary decision made from an outside source regarding the university-Tribal relations is not acceptable, and certainly the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe would welcome a dialogue to discuss this further.
Since the school adopted the Chippewa nickname in 1942, there have been several attempts to force it to be changed, but always from outside sources, never from the two primary parties in what has been a long-standing, mutual agreement.
The university has revisited the issue several times, always keeping the nickname in place, pending the continued approval of the Tribe. This time is no different, with the school reserving the Board of Trustees right to make that decision again, as it did last back in 1992.
"CMU's continued use of the name is dependent on whether the Chippewa people in our region continue to feel that CMU's use of the name is in fact a proud reflection and is used with dignity and respect," the university said in the joint statement.
Other than the nickname, the school eliminated the majority of the other potentially-derogatory references to Native Americans in 1989 or earlier, changing the logo, eliminating all mascots as well as depictions of spears from the football teamms helmets, the football field, and the basketball floor.
Every CMU athletic media guide has a carefully-written note about the nickname, urging the mediams help in maintaining the delicate agreement with the Tribe by eliminating linappropriate and inaccurate images of Native Americans.
Only four teams last year even had the Chippewa name on them - football's home and away jerseys, and alternate jerseys for softball, baseball and women's track and field.
Other than to say, "We need more information from the NCAA before we respond further," CMU athletic director Herb Deromedi didn't comment further, given the timing and rapidity of the NCAA's announcement of its decision late Friday afternoon, and the lack of clarity about its exact effects.
The NCAA ruling only applies to postseason play, the portion of competition that the governing body has closest control over, and only after Feb. 1. Major college football is not impacted, as there is no NCAA Division I-A tournament or playoff.
"What each institution decides to do is really its own business. What we are trying to say is that we find these mascots to be unacceptable for NCAA championship events," said Walter Harrison, the chairman of the NCAA executive committee.
The NCAA plans to ban schools using Indian nicknames from hosting postseason events, and will prohibit them from displaying names or logos at postseason games on cheerleader and band uniforms starting in 2008.
Along with CMU, at least 17 other schools have mascots were on the released list that the NCAA deem "hostile or abusive," including Florida State's use of the Seminole name, and the use of Illini by Illinois.
Not all schools with Indian-related nicknames are on the list.
The NCAA stated that some schools that use Warriors as a nickname, but do not use Indian symbols, would not be affected. North Carolina-Pembroke, which uses the nickname Braves, was exempted, as well, because of the high percentage of American Indians in its student population, according to NCAA president Myles Brand.
The NCAA left open the possibility to appeal, but some schools are taking it further.
Florida State President T.K. Wetherell threatened to take legal action after the ruling.
"That the NCAA would now label our close bond with the Seminole people as culturally "hostile and abusive" is both outrageous and insulting," Wetherell said in a written statement.
"I intend to pursue all legal avenues to ensure that this unacceptable decision is overturned, and that this university will forever be associated with the "unconquered" spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida."
Much like CMU, Florida State has received permission from the Seminole tribe in Florida to use the nickname. The NCAA, however, made its decision based on a different standard.
"Other Seminole tribes are not supportive," said Charlotte Westerhaus, the NCAA vice president for diversity and inclusion.
Nor are all Native Americans.
Vernon Bellecourt, president of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media, was pleased with the postseason ban but had hoped for even stronger action.
"We would have hoped the NCAA would have provided the moral leadership on this issue, but obviously theymve chosen to only go halfway," said Bellecourt, a member of the Anishinabe-Ojibwe Nation in Minnesota.
The NCAA two years ago recommended that schools determine for themselves whether the Indian depictions were offensive.
This reminds me of the Eastern Michigan Hurons case where whites demanded a name change, and the Hurons themselves balked.
Bellecourt is just pissy no-one wants to be known as the Minnesota Anishinabe-Ojibwes.
I find the NCAA nameto be offensive asthey are clearly NOT national.
I find the NCAA name to be offensive as they are clearly NOT national.
This sort of garbage doesn't unify but succeeds in agitating and causing friction.
That's PRECISELY what they want.
I rather thought that too.
I'd be more offended by names like "Smokers", "Evos", or "Pit Bull Owners"...
Indians and indian tribes are used as "mascots" becuase of their example of bravery as warriors...how could anything other than that be construed as the meaning?
Interesting. Another school, Marquette University, on the other side of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, former home of the Braves (now of Atlanta), once had the nickname Warriors for their teams. The multi-cultural mullahs got it changed; now they are the Golden Eagles. Back then it was bad, now it is OK?
LOL, Good one Khurkris!
I really wish some athletic department would have the nerve to show up for an NCAA title event sans any references to their normal Indian nickname but play the game in blackface.
Sure, it'll never happen but it would certainly give those crybaby liberals their just desserts.
I went through this mess years ago, when my beloved old college, Miami, Ohio capitulated to the political correctness pressures of the time.
Woody and Ara's Miami "Redskins" were no more.
Nor were my annual contributions to the college!
It does seem that these liberals have a penchant for destroying all that is good and enjoyable in this Nation!
Am I missing something?
I have some nicknames that aren't being used that would be fine with the NCAA: The Boobs, Dorks, Tin Foil Hatters, Wingnuts, Pistachios, etc.
Nope; offensive to democrats.
My wife went to CMU(Fire Up Chips!). I spent a lot of time on campus with her over her last 18 months or so. CMU has a number of effective outreach programs to maintain and develop ties with the local tribe. The Chippewa tribe in turn is very appreciative.
Frankly, many of the poor Chippewa people themselves are very appreciative for any kind of recognition, be it a kind word or smile. My wife was a Poly Sci major, and loved to work on campaigns.
She co-managed a campaign for local lawyer running for judge. They were substantially outfunded by the top candidate, so they tried to make up for it with shoe leather. My wife hit every Indian door in the district while the other campaign ignored them. She was continually struck by how grateful many of the Indians were to see this chipper, freshly scrubbed student on their doorsteps.
They won the campaign by less than 500 votes, and did very well in the Indian precincts, which normally had very low turnout.
Marquette changed from "Warriors" to "Golden Eagles". Should all patriots be offended because they are demeaning a cousin of our national bird?
Should all farmers be offended by the Nebraska "Cornhuskers"? Especially the way they have that mascot bounce around on the field?
Where is PETA, with all the rodents in the Big Ten and other loveable critters (Ducks, Beavers, Tigers, Buffaloes, Cougars...) that must also be victims of this crime?
If selecting a name is demeaning to the group you have selected, why doesn't any team use names like "Nazis", "Terrorists", "Murderers", "Rapists", "Pedophiles", or "Cowards"? Seems like that would be a great way to furhter insult all these later groups that deserve our disdain.
How about the Florida State Condoms? That might be pc enough?
A few years ago my brother was lead plaintiff's counsel against the NCAA in an anti-trust case involving assistant BB coaches. (he won big) At the trial, the NCAA lawyers wore bowties and did a p*ss poor job of cross examining the witnesses. There were something like five of them. Not very pretty.
Why don't teams just pull out of the NCAA? And form their own governing body.
The NCAA prohibited Mississippi State from hosting a basketball tournament because of Mississippi's state flag. These guys are out of control.
Some Indians 'insulted' by the FSU football program and all of its national attention? But they are 'proud' of the gambling casinos, smoke shops and alcoholism on the reservations?
Next some liberal will say that he has talked to wolverines and buckeyes and they also feel insulted, and I'm only half joking.
"Other Seminole tribes are not supportive," said Charlotte Westerhaus, the NCAA vice president for diversity and inclusion.
I see, so basically, the standard is if a small minority or even if only one person is offended, you can't use the nickname. I'm part Irish, perhaps part Viking (maybe?), can I now get the NCAA to ban the Fighting Irish and Viking mascots? Why not Trojans, Spartans, Cowboys, or any other mascot based on a person. I'm sure SOMEBODY is offended by all of them.
Does anyone in their right mind think that schools choose nicknames and logos to be 'abusive and hostile' to Native Americans? Does a nation design a flag for hostile and abusive reasons or does it represent all that is implied by its nickname: "Old Glory"
Nicknames and logos are chosen to associate the school with positive virtues such as courage and steadfastness which are deemed to be part of Native American culture.
When was the last time CMU was selected for the NCAA basketball tourney, or played in the (division II or III) football playoffs? I'm not trying to be smart, but I suspect that this is aimed more at Florida State (Seminoles). I also wonder how the NCAA proposes to keep the fans from donning warpaint, team logo's and performing the hugely annoying "Tomahawk Chop"?
It's already been done: USC = Trojans!
Fortunately, there is an antitrust suit currently against the NCAA. Don't know what we could do to support it (it would break up their monopoly of college sports), but maybe other FReepers could advise.
I didn't need to see that! My eyes, my eyes, oh, the burning...................
Actually "Chippewa" is a mispronunciation of "Objibwa." It's not my tribal affiliation, but just a piece of trivia I read somewhere.
But as an American Indian myself, I find it silly that so many tribes are offended by the depiction of "Natives" with war garb and spears as team mascots.
I am proud to be depicted as fierce and someone to be reckoned with!! Isn't that part of the sporting event anyway, to psych out the opposing team. (By the way, are the fighting Irish offended by that little Leprechaun image?)
Ooops! Didn't see post number 22 when I wrote that!
Enjoy Myles Brand, people.Don't miss him here.
But the decision should be made jointly by the college and the representative ruling body of tribe -- not by disgruntled individuals.
2003 I believe. That's a shorter drought than the Michigan Wolverines. CMU benefits from a very large in-state basketball talent pool, so even the leftovers from the Big 10 aren't that bad.
Football is another story. I'm not sure when their last bowl game was(they are Division 1, MAC).
This reminds me of a story a while back about the University of North Dakota team, the Fighting Sioux...some activists have been demanding that the name be changed, but apparently the Sioux have no problem with the name. The activists are either from other tribes or non-Indians.
CMU last made the NCAA men's basketball tournament in 2003, and played Duke in the second round. This would be the last time that the nickname got play on national TV. Other squds (softball, gymnastics, wrestling, men's track and field) have been in the NCAA postseason since then. Football was last in the playoffs in 1974, when CMU won the Division II national title. The thing to remember is that only four teams at CMU even had the 'Chippewa' name on their uniforms.
The NCAA can't really aim that hard at FSU, either, because any bowl game that the Seminoles would play in for football, are NOT affiliated with the NCAA. (there is no official NCAA postseason tournament in Division I-A football). This is just heavy-handed politics by the NCAA, trying to back-door a solution that they WANT but don't really have the power to make happen.