Posted on Thu, Aug. 04, 2005
NCAA to discuss American Indian mascot issue today
By Steve Ellis, Tallahassee Democrat
T.K. Wetherell doesn't think it will come to this. But if the NCAA Executive Committee decides to ban the use of American Indian nicknames or symbols, the Florida State president wouldn't be afraid to strike back.
"I would not rule out a legal fight," Wetherell said. "Would we go to court under certain situations? Absolutely. Would the tribe? I'm certain that they would. We've been assured by (NCAA President) Myles Brand it won't happen, so we'll see.
"I don't think they are going to ban anything or penalize you."
But according to NCAA.org, Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee Chair Robert Vowels noted after a July meeting that he "expects things to change and to change quickly." That group did not recommended a ban in its report to the Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity Issues.
The NCAA Executive Committee will hear recommendations from the Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity Issues today.
The Executive Committee could come up with its own steps for addressing the issue, follow the recommendations of its subcommittee, leave it up to the institutions as it does now or delay any action.
"We think it is an institutional issue," Wetherell said. "We feel good about our relationship. The tribe feels good about the relationship. We just feel there are more important things for the NCAA to deal with and move on with it."
The tribal council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida passed a resolution June17 to reaffirm that support.
Posted on Fri, Aug. 05, 2005
NCAA bans Indian mascots during postseason
INDIANAPOLIS - The NCAA banned the use of American Indian mascots by sports teams during its postseason tournaments, but will not prohibit them otherwise.
The NCAA's executive committee decided this week the organization did not have the authority to bar Indian mascots by individual schools, committee chairman Walter Harrison said Friday.
Nicknames or mascots deemed "hostile or abusive" would not be allowed on team uniforms or other clothing beginning with any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1, said Harrison, the University of Hartford's president.
"What each institution decides to do is really its own business" outside NCAA championship events, Harrison said.
"What we are trying to say is that we find these mascots to be unacceptable for NCAA championship competition," he added.
At least 18 schools have mascots the NCAA deem "hostile or abusive," including Florida State's Seminole and Illinois' Illini. The full list of schools was not immediately released.
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 percent of the students are American Indians.
Schools on the list could still appeal.
"I suspect that some of those would like to having a ruling on that," Brand said. "But unless there is a change before Feb. 1, they will have to abide by it."
Major college teams also would not be subjected to the new rules because there is no NCAA Divsion I-A tournament or playoff.
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 they've 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.
Florida State, for example, has received permission from the Seminole tribe in Florida to use the nickname. That, however, will not suffice.
"Other Seminole tribes are not supportive," said Charlotte Westerhaus, the NCAA vice president for diversity and inclusion.
Among the schools to change nicknames in recent years over such concerns were St. John's (from Redmen to Red Storm) and Marquette (from Warriors to Golden Eagles).
The NCAA plans to ban schools using Indian nicknames from hosting postseason events. Harrison said schools with such mascots that have already been selected as tournament sites would be asked to cover any offensive logos.
Such logos also would be prohibited at postseason games on cheerleader and band uniforms starting in 2008.
Other measures approved this week include stronger penalties for schools that repeatedly fall below the NCAA's new academic cutline. Harrison said schools would receive a warning letter the first year; restrictions on scholarships, recruiting and playing time the second year; and a postseason ban the third year. If a school fails to meet the standard four consecutive years, all teams at that school would be ineligible for postseason play.
"I'd fully expect that we never get to the fourth year," Harrison said. "A school should take stronger action before that. But I think this should send a message that there will be real, serious consequences if you don't."
Schools also would receive a bonus point if a player returns to school to complete his or her degree.
The board also approved a two-year contract extension for Brand. His deal was to run through Dec. 31, 2007 and now includes an indefinite two-year rollover.
Posted on Fri, Aug. 05, 2005
Statement from Florida State University President T.K. Wetherell
Florida State University President T.K. Wetherell released this statement after the NCAA decision was announced:
"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 people as culturally "hostile and abusive" is both outrageous and insulting.
"On June 17, the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida spoke unequivocally of its support for Florida State University in its use of the Seminole name and related symbols. Accordingly, 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.
"National surveys have shown in recent years that an overwhelming majority of Native Americans are not offended by the use of Native American names and symbols. In making its decision, the executive committee has been swayed by a strident minority of activists who claim to speak for all Native Americans. It is unconscionable that the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been ignored.
"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."
Hmm...What about baseball regionals, etc? I'm a little confused. Someone help me here.
i think that the college world series and all regional n super regional are considered NCAA division 1-A playoff games so No Mascots for them, which i think is the stupidest thing ever. i dont believe that FSU or any other school with an american indian mascot means to degrade the american indian name. i think that they have that mascot out of respect for the tradition of their heritage n tradition
im an avid LSU fan, and it really doesnt pertain to me but that just sux
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