Mascot Drama

For 81 years, Chief Illiniwek performed halftime “tribal” dances for the University of Illinois, but this is no longer. Protests from Native American groups were no match for the University, which allowed the performances until it finally decided to adhere to NCAA rules. In 2005, the NCAA prohibited universities with American Indian mascots from acting as hosts for postseason events, and University of Illinois should have done away with the mascot much sooner than just retiring Chief Illiniwek last Wednesday.

There are some at the University of Illinois who were severely broken up about the forced retirement of the Chief. Two students even asked a judge in Champaign Count Circuit court for a court order banning the University from “capitulating to the NCAA by announcing the retirement of Chief Illiniwek” which was denied, thankfully. So why is the University of Illinois so slow on the uptake?

St. John’s University took the precaution over thirteen years ago in 1994 when the Redmen nickname changed to the Red Storm because, “colleges nationwide were becoming more sensitive to mounting Native American concerns in reference to collegiate and professional team nicknames that reference Native American culture,” according to St. John’s Web site stjohns.edu
This all seems rather pointless. Considering that many colleges like St. John’s addressed this issue in 1994, the University of Illinois should have been done much sooner to avoid all this controversy and hoopla.