The fight against American Indian imagery in college athletics continues.
A group of 90 individuals from numerous universities’ faculties and human rights organizations recently sent a letter to all Division I-affiliated institutions. The letter urged athletics programs to refrain from competing against schools that violate a new NCAA policy, which prohibits “NCAA colleges and universities from displaying hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery at any of the 88 NCAA championships.”
The letter, organized by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Stephen Kaufman, encouraged institutions to join two other schools – the University of Iowa and the University of Wisconsin – in implementing a university policy that boycotts intercollegiate competition against schools that violate the new NCAA policy.
A secretary for Temple director of athletics Bill Bradshaw said last week that Bradshaw had not received the letter, but was aware of the new NCAA policy.
A majority of the letter’s signees are faculty members at either Illinois or the University of North Dakota, two schools under NCAA scrutiny. Kaufman said in a telephone interview last week that he encourages both administrators and students to support the NCAA policy.
“We are trying to involve students at Temple and other institutions to take a stand and encourage their faculty to make a policy [similar to policies at Iowa and Wisconsin],” Kaufman said.
The NCAA executive committee found 18 schools to be in violation of the NCAA’s new ruling when it released the policy in August. Temple’s men’s gymnastics team is the only university team scheduled to appear this season against any of the original institutions subject to the NCAA ruling. The Owls are slotted to face Illinois on Feb. 11, 2006. Illinois has appealed the NCAA ruling.
“Temple already has committed to the Feb. 11 gymnastics meet and will participate, regardless of the outcome of the appeal by Illinois,” Temple Chief Communications Officer Mark Eyerly said in an e-mail response.
Eyerly added that Temple would compete in the postseason against any school the NCAA deemed eligible for postseason competition.
Three universities – Central Michigan University, Florida State University, and the University of Utah – have won appeals claiming they have the blessing of the tribes their mascots represent. They have been removed from list of schools violating the ruling. North Dakota, which goes by the Fighting Sioux, lost its appeal.
The policy, passed Aug. 5 by the NCAA executive committee, bans any violating institution from hosting an NCAA championship. It also forces such institutions that have already been awarded a championship site to cover up any abusive or hostile imagery at the championship. Both rulings are effective Feb. 1, 2006.
John Kopp can be reached at email@example.com.