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NCAA mascot, nickname ban is confusing


Aug. 10, 2005
Let's face reality. There is no place in the world of sports or in the game of life for insensitivity. There should be respect for all, both on and off the field.

The NCAA has introduced a new rule to ban "hostile" and "abusive" American Indian mascots and nicknames from its postseason events. I salute the NCAA for trying to do something for those who have taken offense. This rule is to help fight against insensitivity toward Native Americans.

The NCAA should be concentrating on bringing more sanity to the term student-athlete.
Among the 18 schools affected by this decision are Illinois and Florida State. These 18 schools have an American Indian nickname or logo, and the NCAA will now prohibit those schools from displaying those logos in postseason events. The names will not be allowed on team uniforms, and the mascots will not be allowed to perform at games (despite their popularity). Band members and cheerleaders will be barred from using American Indians on their uniforms beginning in 2008.

I am totally confused by this. Why wouldn't this ban be for the entire season? If it's because conferences have a say, then why don't they step up to the plate and make the same call, if these names and logos are deemed offensive? In the regular season FSU cheerleaders can do all the chants they want, but not in the postseason?

I know that Florida State is upset with this ruling and is considering legal action. From what I understand, the Seminole Indians are happy to receive recognition from the Tallahassee-based school. Some are honored to have their named chanted.

If Florida State is fortunate enough to be part of the Big Dance, why can't the school use the word Seminoles? I am confused about the NCAA's reaction to this.

While NCAA officials admit they cannot force schools to change nicknames or logos, they want to make a statement. The 18 schools will not be permitted to host future NCAA tournament games, and if events have already been awarded to those schools, they must cover any logos or nicknames that appear.

The NCAA should be concentrating on bringing more sanity to the term student-athlete -- because in this situation, some Native Americans claim the nickname is OK, while others say it is not.

If the NCAA really wants to be strong in its statement, why wouldn't it make sure these names aren't used at any time of the year? I find this hard to comprehend. It is confusing, confusing, confusing.

I feel for anyone who is offended by a cheer, a team nickname or a mascot.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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