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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Mascot decree has some schools on war path

The governing body for more than 1,000 intercollegiate sports programs has received another sharp response to its recent pronouncement characterizing some mascots as offensive and banning their presence at postseason events.


Shools impacted by the NCAA's August 5th pronouncement regarding American Indian mascots and nicknames:

[Carolinas schools denoted in bold.]

Alcorn State (Braves)
Arkansas State (Indians)
Bradley (Braves)
Carthage College (Redmen)
Catawba College, NC (Indians)
Central Michigan (Chippewas)
Chowan College, NC (Braves)
Florida State (Seminoles)
Illinois (Fighting Illini)
Indiana U.-Pennsylvania (Indians)
Louisiana-Monroe (Indians)
McMurry (Indians)
Midwestern State (Indians)
Mississippi College (Choctaws)
Newberry College, SC (Indians)
North Dakota (Fighting Sioux)
SE Oklahoma State (Savages)
Utah (Utes)

University of North Dakota President Charles Kupchella said his school will appeal an NCAA edict that UND's Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian head logo demean American Indians.

But first, Kupchella said in a Friday letter to NCAA President Myles Brand, the school wants the NCAA to provide specifics on why it considers the nickname and logo to be unacceptable.

"In considering how to appeal, we find it exasperating that we can't tell what the basis for your initial decision was, and how you singled us out in the first place," the letter says.

If the NCAA rejects the university's appeal, a lawsuit may be forthcoming, Kupchella said during a Friday news conference.

On August 5th, the NCAA included UND on a list of 18 member schools with Indian nicknames, logos or mascots that are considered "hostile" and "abusive." The logo, which was unveiled in 1999, was designed by an artist who is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Two North Carolina schools are on the list, Catawba College (Indians) and Chowan College (Braves), as is South Carolina school Newberry College (Indians).

But another North Carolina school, UNC-Pembroke, which uses the nickname Braves, was exempted. The exception was justified, Brand said, because the school's student body has historically admitted a high percentage of American Indians and more than 20 per cent of the students are American Indians.

Other affected schools, including Florida State University (Seminoles)and the University of Illinois (Fighting Illini), have vowed to fight the NCAA's decision. The dictate has been lambasted as "outrageous and insulting" by FSU President T.K. Wetherell, who said he will sue the organization.

Asked for comment Friday in light of Kupchella's letter, an NCAA spokesman sent a statement saying the organization's decision "was the result of an exhaustive four-year process that considered information from many sources." Each affected college, the statement says, "has a clear road map for appealing" by Feb. 1.

In March, UND is hosting the NCAA West Region men's hockey playoff tournament at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, which has thousands of logos as part of its decor. The new rules would require the arena's logos and Fighting Sioux references to be covered during the tournament.

Kupchella said such a move would signal that UND is ashamed of its logo and nickname.

"I can't even comprehend, even fathom, asking the Engelstad Arena to do that," he said. "Not because of any physical impossibility or difficulty, but because of the very idea. It would just imply all kinds of things that we're not willing to have implied."

The NCAA's logic would not allow UND teams to call themselves the "Dakotans," Kupchella said.

"We were stunned, I must say, by the charge of 'abusive' and 'hostile,' then we were angry that this was being done in such an indiscriminate way," he said.

Kupchella said the university has presented the nickname and logo in a respectful light. UND offers 25 programs tailored to American Indian students, including initiatives to encourage study of medicine, nursing and clinical psychology, he said.

"What stings me as president is, I've spent a lot of my personal time and energy at trying to live up to this notion of what we do respectfully," Kupchella said. "And nothing that I've seen tells me that we've had any violation of that that's gone unchallenged or unaddressed here, since I've been here as president."

From staff and Associated Press reports.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:27 PM


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