Monday, August 08, 2005

The NCAA descends into silliness 

Our illustrious university presidents have voted to ban the use of Native American mascots at NCAA tournaments. They may still be used elsewhere, though the football bowls are looking at banning them in their games too. Scrappleface heads down reductio road.

The NCAA is abjectly silly. If the names were offensive, why would this be true?
Not all schools with Indian-related nicknames are on that list. NCAA officials said some schools using the Warrior nickname do not use Indian symbols and would not be affected.

North Carolina-Pembroke, which uses the nickname Braves, will not face sanctions. NCAA president Myles Brand explained said the school's student body has historically admitted a high percentage of American Indians and more than 20% of the students are American Indians.

That warrior ruling will really upset Learned Foot. And how can it matter that UNC-Pembroke has high Native American student enrollments and not face sanctions, while an agreement with the Seminole tribe does not indemnify Florida State?

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.

Florida State is looking into legal action. It should, because this is a highly inconsistent decision. Either ban them everywhere and always -- and compensate the schools for your taking of their millions invested in their brand names -- or butt out.

The leader of this silliness is none other than our university president, Roy Saigo.

On Jan. 28, 2002, Saigo spoke to the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee and urged it to curb the use of American Indian mascots and logos.

"Our society has phased out many other discriminatory customs and laws that once were considered acceptable but now are considered shameful. I believe this evolution will and should continue," Saigo said.

After his speech the NCAA commissioned a study of the issue and has made various reports and recommendations since.

The speech he gave is here. Not coincidentally, the North Dakota logo and nickname (they have no mascot at sporting events) is for a team in direct competition with St. Cloud State. Thankfully the chatters on that story on the Times website get the idea.