The Fighting Illini have played in their last NCAA Tournament:
The NCAA banned the use of American Indian mascots by sports teams during its postseason tournaments, but will not prohibit them otherwise.
The NCAA's executive committee decided this week the organization did not have the authority to bar Indian mascots by individual schools, committee chairman Walter Harrison said Friday.
Nicknames or mascots deemed "hostile or abusive" would not be allowed by teams on their uniforms or other clothing beginning with any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1, said Harrison, the University of Hartford's president.
"What each institution decides to do is really its own business" outside NCAA championship events, he said.
At least 18 schools have mascots the NCAA would deem "hostile or abusive," including Florida State's Seminole and Illinois' Illini.
Of course, the NCAA in it's infinite stupidity once again misses the point. Chief Illiniwek is a respectful symbol, not a mascot. Perhaps they never noticed but Chief Illiniwek only makes one appearance at any event, leading the crowd in the singing of the Alma Mater and then doing a short traditional dance. The Chief does not prowl the sidelines, interact with opponents in any way, or perform any silly antics. I can only assume that anyone who thinks Chief Illiniwek is disrespectful has never actually witnessed him. Either that, or they are so mind-numbingly blinded with their own peculiar hatred that they are unable to distinguish between acts that honor our shared heritage and acts that demean it.
I certainly will not deny that there are some abusive sports nicknames out there, e.g., the Washington Redskins, but jeez, what does the NCAA have against the Irish, since Notre Dame can apparently keep using and hence reinforcing a vicious, mean-spirited stereotype of Hibernians?
This whole things beggars an analogy to the overreach of our federal judiciary today. Asshole activists can't convince the community to do what they want, so instead they manage to convince a small group of oligarchs to impose their will over the idiot proles. As for a replacement name for my beloved Fighting Illini, may I suggest the Illinois Screwed Yet Again by NCAA Prudes as the team name? My, oh my, I look forward to the halftime shows now.
And for old times sake, here's a few pictures of the Chief in action doing the traditional dance at football and basketball games. Here's a place where you can learn more about the positive attributes of Chief Illiniwek from a source with a firmer grip on reality.
Oh, and not that it matters one bit, but I am part Cherokee.
DOWNDATE: If Illinois and Florida State should both qualify for next year's NCAA Tournament, perhaps they could adopt team names of Thing 1 and Thing 2 for the duration. Let's face it, it could only improve Billy Packer's color commentary.
DOUBLE DOWNDATE: And while they are at it, is the NCAA also going to prohibit the use of state names that might just as well be deemed offensive like Illinois, Iowa, and ... gasp ... Indiana from being used? Anyway, we all know Hoosier is a term of endearment here in the Midwest, don't we?
TRIPLE DOWNDATE: And since the NCAA seems so interested in promoting the self esteem of the hypersensitive, may I also suggest that they stop keeping score? I remember the pain and depression that set in after Illinois lost the National Championship game to North Carolina in April vividly. No one should ever have to experience that. I call upon the NCAA to make us all winners, just like their commercials say.