Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My questions to the NCAA

I didn't get my phone call returned by the NCAA last week. When I checked in today, they basically told me they felt they were done talking about it, but if I wanted to submit questions via e-mail for further disapproval, I could. So I did. Here's the text of the e-mail I sent. So far as I know, I'm the only person talking about the issues I raise in questions 2 and 3. I've seen other commentaries mention the issues in questions 1 and 4, but I haven't seen any NCAA comment on them.

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Here are the questions I would like to ask someone to comment on regarding the new policy against “hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames and imagery.”

1. Why did the executive committee limit the ban to mascots, nicknames and imagery and not include the names of schools? For example, is it the assertion of the committee that it is more hostile and abusive for Central Michigan to wear uniforms with the word “Chippewas” on them than it is for fellow Mid-American Conference member Miami University to wear uniforms with the word “Miami” on them?


2. Since this is only in effect for NCAA championship events, can we assume that the NCAA will no longer enter into sponsorship agreements for those events with companies that use hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin names and/or logos? The specific example that comes to mind is Pontiac, which is a major sponsor of the Final Four. Pontiac is the name of an Indian chief who led raids on Ohio Valley settlers and the company logo is an arrowhead. If it were a member institution and not a company, it would certainly be in violation of this policy.


3. Why is Central Michigan, which has no Indian mascot or imagery – only the nickname Chippewas, forced to cover up its nickname as hostile and abusive, but the University of Mississippi Rebels, which disposed of its Confederate imagery in the 80s (if I recall correctly), gets to continue to display its nickname? I would hazard a guess that “Rebels” is considered at least as hostile and abusive to some African Americans as “Chippewas” is to Indians.


4. This is a broadly written policy, but for now anyway, narrowly enforced. Can we assume that other racial/ethnic/national origin mascots will be included eventually as well, such as Highlanders, Spartans, Trojans, Vikings, and Fighting Irish (to name a few)?

3 comments:

Paul Dewey said...

Great points about Pontiac and Rebels!

Besides the absurdity of the NCAA's recent policy, what also bothers me is that I find many other nicknames and imagery far more offensive than those that are supposedly "hostile and abusive" when it comes to racial, ethnic, or national origin.

For example, what about nicknames that glorify violence? Isn't "promoting" violence potentially far more damaging than displaying "Chippewas" on your jersey? Here's just a few of some of those violence-related offensive nicknames:
Vandals, Raiders, Marauders, Pirates, Buccaneers, Vikings, and even Crusaders. (Review your world history if you think any of these groups were NOT big fans of violence.)

Now that I've offended many of you Christians out there who may think the Crusades were great, here's a peace offering for you. :-) What about offensive nicknames that mock your religion? For example: Blue Devils, Sun Devils, Demons, and Deamon Deacons! Don't those names glorify your evil Satan?

Do what you must, NCAA, but at least try to be consistent and fair when you go after "hostile and abusive" nicknames, mascots, and imagery. Thank you.

Jerry P. Palm said...

good points, and really, not that far fetched in a hyper-PC world.

Cory said...

Isn't the NCAA headquarters in Indian..apolis?