Monday, May 08, 2006

It pays to have friends in high places 

The NCAA's push to eliminate Native American mascots has caught the attention of the one group you don't want attention from. Five Congressmen are sponsoring a bill to limit the NCAA's power against places like the the University of North Dakota or the University of Illinois.
The Act, HR 5289, is called the Protection of University Governance Act of 2006. Original cosponsors, besides Reps. [Denny] Hastert [R-Ind., the Speaker] and [Timothy] Johnson [R-Ill.], are Allen Boyd, D-Fla.; Dan Boren, D-Okla.; and Jerry Costello, D-Ill.

The bill limits the NCAA�s ability to impose sanctions on member institutions by reason of a team name, symbol, emblem or mascot. The bill would allow any college or university that is penalized for those reasons to sue the NCAA and seek a court order to stop the decision. The institution could also seek damages, including reasonable attorneys� fees, for the revenue lost from not being allowed to host an athletic championship.

�Local economies across the country would be impacted if the NCAA�s recent decisions are allowed to prevail unchecked. As indicated by the sponsors who have signed on and who will continue to sign on, this is not a Republican grievance or a Democratic grievance,� Rep. Johnson said. �The NCAA�s presumed authority is a grievance against us all.�
Earl Pomeroy, Democratic congressman from North Dakota, doesn't think the plan "belongs in the political grist mill." Johnson's rationale is that the NCAA brought it on itself.
The NCAA was established as a sports management association. The organization has since assumed the mantle of social arbiters. They need to go back to scheduling ballgames and leave the social engineering to others.
I do not necessarily see it as social engineering, but as a way to get a leg up on the competition. SCSU, who's president has spearheaded the mascot ban, stands to gain from barring UND from hosting NCAA D-1 hockey events.

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