Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Champaign-Urbana News Gazette

Champaign-Urbana News Gazette

Board chair blasts NCAA stance



Published Online August 16, 2005


CHICAGO - The NCAA's actions earlier this month against schools with "hostile or abusive" American Indian imagery is "a giant step backward" in the debate over use of such imagery, said University of Illinois Board of Trustees Chairman Lawrence Eppley.

Eppley said he was disappointed by the organization's use of the terms "hostile" and "abusive."

"A lot of us locally have seen how unhelpful that has been," he said. "We've spent a lot of time getting that out of our (discussions)."

Eppley on Monday sent a letter regarding the NCAA decision to USA Today, in response to a commentary by NCAA President Myles Brand that was published Aug. 11.

The NCAA's recommendations included prohibiting schools using what it deemed "hostile or abusive" American Indian imagery from hosting national championship tournaments, and from using such imagery, nicknames or mascots at NCAA postseason events.

Brand called the NCAA's decision a "teachable moment" aimed at initiating a national discussion about how American Indians have been characterized.

"This is not about an effort to be politically correct. It is about doing the right thing," Brand wrote. "It is time to bring such practices to an end."

Rather than a "teachable moment," Eppley said in his response that the "uninformed use of inflammatory rhetoric ... instead retards meaningful discussion and debate on an important issue, especially in the communities of the 18 institutions 'branded' by the NCAA as politically incorrect."

The board of trustees has been trying to reach a consensus solution to the Chief Illiniwek issue, which Eppley said has moved the discussions from "harsh rhetoric" to "constructive dialogue." But he said the NCAA's use of the terms "hostile" and "abusive" could mean a loss of common ground.

Chief opponent and UI cell and structural biology Professor Stephen Kaufman said Eppley is attacking the NCAA's choice of words while he and the other trustees have failed to resolve the issue. This gives them "no quarter to complain" when the NCAA reviews the issue and takes a stand, he said.

"If the Illinois trustees do not have the courage to retire Fighting Illini and their fake chief, they should at least welcome the NCAA's initiative and willingness to take the heat on this," Kaufman said.

The NCAA's objections to uses of American Indian imagery include "Fighting Illini." In July, the board of trustees approved guidelines on the issue that called for keeping the name "Fighting Illini."

"We've been focused on the Chief. There are viewpoints that wrap them together (but) at least historically, there is a significant disconnection between the two," Eppley said, noting the name "Illini" predates the Chief, and "Fighting Illini" referred to UI students and alumni who fought in World War I and was used to help raise money for Memorial Stadium.

"The evidence we're seeing and weighing is the names ought to be taken out of the discussion," Eppley said.

He has discussed the recommendations with UI President B. Joseph White, Chancellor Richard Herman and Athletic Director Ron Guenther. He said they are going over the information they have received from the NCAA, and they have not yet decided whether to appeal the ruling.


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check it out if something like this interests you.
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They just released IPOS for NCAAB this week, so there are alot of good deals there.

Hope that helps

1:09 PM  

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