Thursday, August 11, 2005

NCAA Gets It Right

Summer simply goes by too fast. While your superiors spent the last six weeks sailing the Paraiso around the Island of Ithaki in the Ionian Sea, the people you wish you were couldn't help but feel badly that we hadn't had the chance to maintain the blog you can't live without during our extended vacation. Needless to say, summer is over and it's time to get back to business.

Upon my return to stately Pinhead Manor, I was immediately greeted by one my drones who informed me that the NCAA had finally acted to punish the several subpar universities who insult native American heritage with their mascots. Before long, racist monikers such as "Fighting Sioux", "Illini", "Braves", and "Seminoles" will, like the Boston University hockey program, become things of the past.

Although collar-ups can all agree this is hardly enough, the NCAA announced that schools with "hostile or abusive" mascots or nicknames will not be allowed on team uniforms worn in any NCAA tournament after February 1, 2006. Since NCAA Divison 1 football does not have a tournament, it's unlikely football programs such as Florida State, Illinois, or Utah (all with derogatory native American nicknames) will be affected.

One program that appears to be right in the cross-hairs of the NCAA scrutiny is the University of North Dakota. Although located in Southern Canada, UND and their "Fighting Sioux" mascot is, perhaps, the most offensive in America. Since they are scheduled to host a regional in the 2006 NCAA hockey tournament, UND will be forced to cover approximately 6,000 "Fighting Sioux" logos, which features an offensive image of a native American's profile.

North Dakota's "Fighting Sioux" logo will be reinstated at Englestad Arena when its hockey program gives a scholarship to a player born in the United States and is under the age of 25.

North Dakota's battle with the NCAA over their nickname and logo is hardly a new one. When former Fighting Sioux goaltender and admitted Nazi sympathizer Ralph Englestad underwrote the financing for their new arena, egomanically called "The Ralph Englestad Arena", he installed thousands of "Sioux logos" throughout the building as incentive for the school to not change its nickname. Although Englestad has gone to the "Great Reich In The Sky", it's delicious irony that while he now shares a cave with Hitler and Himmler in eternal damnation, his arena will be removed of its distasteful images.

North Dakota's original logo and nickname was deemed "not offensive enough" and was quickly scrapped by Englestad and the UND administration.

Mascots and nicknames are supposed to be fun and a point of pride among the university. Supporters of the native American nicknames will point to the "heritage" of the area and the dillusional point that nicknames such as "Seminoles" honor the original residents of the area. Many school's mascots and nicknames do recognize proper heritage without resorting to hate. Navy "Midshipmen", Florida "Gators", and Pittsburgh State "Gorillas" come to mind.

Boston University's "Terrier" mascot honors the physical attributes of BU coeds since the school's inception in 1867.

Pinhead Nation raises our flumes to the NCAA, who have taken the first major step into making their organization a collar-up society. Though many insignificant universities have changed their nicknames to reflect the times we live in, U.Mass-Lowell changing from "Chiefs" to "Riverhawks" comes to mind, your superiors hope that eventually legitimate universities in America will follow suit.

Some mascots, like UMass-Darmouth's "Angry Pirate" appear to promote homosexuality, but have yet to be deemed offensive. Your superiors aren't sure what a "Corsair" is, but it is clear you don't want to bend over in front of one.

Collar Up.

- DW


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