Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gophers Avoiding the Sioux

As sports fans know the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) announced this year that universities under their jurisdiction must phase out the use of sports nicknames that utilize "American Indian mascots" such as the "Fighting Sioux" (www.fightingsioux.com) at the University of North Dakota (UND).

Now I am descended from German-American farmers (why don't we use this title like African-Americans?) so I am probably not sensitive enough but I have to think that "Fighting Sioux" is a term of respect especially based on the Native American Indian history that I studied during my years as a Boy Scout -- we were taught respect for their heritage not racist thoughts but I digress :-) Last week I read that the University of Minnesota's (UOM) Advisory Committee on Athletics asked the Minnesota Gophers athletic department (www.gophersports.com) to "make every effort to avoid scheduling HOME EVENTS with schools that use American Indian mascots".

The Gophers' athletic department then announced that the UOM would not compete with UND in any sports "EXCEPT FOR MEN'S AND WOMEN'S HOCKEY because of the school's Fighting Sioux nickname." Well..............................so the Gophers can play a football game in Grand Forks, North Dakota or a hockey game in Minneapolis against the Fighting Sioux but playing a basketball game against the Fighting Sioux IN Minneapolis is verboten ("forbidden" for you non-German speakers)!!!!

What a crazy, patch work quilt athletic policy!!! My speculation is that this exception exists simply because hockey games generate CASH and the other sports don't for the UOM thus allowing the Gophers to make a statement against "racist nicknames" but can still improve their balance sheets.

I am waiting for an official response from the UOM's Athletic Department so I can post their comments here but a follow up question I have for them is -- so will you ban your fellow Big Ten Conference university, University of Illinois "Fighting Illini " (an Indian tribe for readers that don't know) from competing against the Gophers in Minneapolis unless they change their nickname?

You can't be half-pregnant Gophers,


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