06. August 2005 · Comments Off on NCAA = No Cognitive Activity Anywhere · Categories: General Nonsense

I earned my degrees at two different universities: Florida State and the University of Illinois. Question – what do these two schools have in common?

Right! They both have American Indian mascots – the Seminoles and the Illini, respectively. And they are both under threat now by the NCAA.

The presidents and chancellors who serve on the NCAA Executive Committee have adopted a new policy to prohibit NCAA colleges and universities from displaying hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery at any of the 88 NCAA championships.

Lovely. Eighteen colleges have been singled out for shame, including my two Alma Maters (they’re by far the largest two colleges of the eighteen). How did this happen?

The recommendations stemmed from discussions in June at the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee (MOIC) meeting in Boston. Those recommendations were forwarded to the Executive Committee [sic] Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity Issues earlier this week.

The Gender and Diversity Subcommittee is who you should complain to that there aren’t more pasty, skinny guys with german-sounding last names playing college football.

Here’s another laughable quote from the NCAA:

member institutions are encouraged to educate their internal and external constituents on the understanding and awareness of the negative impact of hostile or abusive symbols, names and imagery…

Right. How can Notre Dame continue to push the stereotype of “Fighting Irish”? Or University of Louisiana-Lafayette, which continues to call its teams “The Ragin’ Cajuns.” And what about schools that make fun of religious groups, like the “Demon Deacons” of Wake Forest? Oh wait! None of those schools is on “the list.”

… and to create a greater level of knowledge of Native American culture through outreach efforts and other means of communication.

So the NCAA is clearly ignoring FSU’s incredible relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which has given its full approval for FSU’s use of the Seminole mascot.

Fortunately, FSU’s President T.K. Wetherell (my new hero) immediately repudiated this idiocy by the NCAA:

Florida State University is stunned at the complete lack of appreciation for cultural diversity shown by the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s executive committee, which announced today a policy banning schools using Native American names and symbols from hosting NCAA championship events. That the NCAA would now label our close bond with the Seminole Tribe of Florida as culturally “hostile and abusive” is both outrageous and insulting.

The rules as we understand them would have us cover the Seminole name and symbol as if we were embarrassed, and any committee that would think that is a proper and respectful treatment of Native Americans should be ashamed.

If the U of I has responded, I haven’t been able to find it. I’m not surprised. Every single issue of the alumni magazine contains some navel-gazing discussion of the school’s Illini mascot and whether or not we should get rid of it. I fear that, unlike Florida State, the U of I may cave in to the NCAA and change its mascot. Hopefully, the alums will pitch a fit.

The contrast between the two schools couldn’t be more stark.

[Hat tip: Southern Appeal]

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