Tuesday, January 31, 2006

University of Illinois Mascot Battle

I read today that the U of I is appealing the NCAA committee's ban on the use of Indian mascots and nicknames which it deems offensive. U of I's mascot has been controversial for years. Continuing to use the Chief, as he is affectionately known, means the U of I cannot host any post-season tournaments. The U of I has long limited their use of the Chief Illiniwek mascot to home venues only--he doesn't travel to road games. They've removed him from their uniforms, equipment and banners and they now use the big orange "I" seen to the left. They do continue to have the Chief dance during half-time at home games. With all those concessions to those who are offended by the Chief, one has to conclude that the NCAA is still not satisfied and feels it can sanction universities into complying with their particular view of political correctness. That seems a bit over-reaching to me.

The battle over Chief Illiniwek and the use of the Indian Head with Headdress seen in the right of the blog, has been ongoing on the U of I campus for years . For people who don't care one way or the other, it's a ridiculous fight. Personally I've never been interested enough in the argument to have a side. I would compare the passions on either side to how Democrats hate Bush and how Republicans hate Clinton. Neither side is willing to give in and so far there have been an even number of trustees who fall on each side so they University has done nothing but postpone voting on the issue over and over. Just to add more detail, the Illini Indians don't actually exist anymore, as I understand it. They died out long ago, but they originally populated the area of Illinois where the U of I is located.

In happier and less contentious news, I noted that Illinois is now ranked number 6 in the AP and Coaches' polls. Our record is currently 19-2 which is the same as Duke's record. I'm not making an assertion that we are as good as Duke. I can't know that unless/until we play them. I was surprised to see Duke drop to the number 2 spot, I need to read more sporting news because I have no idea what caused UConn to pole vault into the number 1 spot in the polls over Duke.

**Update** Illinois beat Wisconsin at Wisconsin. Woohoo! That puts Illinois in first place in the Big Ten and that's the second time Illinois has beaten Wisconsin in their house in two years. Illinois is the only team to beat Wisconsin at home in the last five years! Yippee! The only aggravating part of this news is that ESPN showed the darn game and I missed it because I didn't know it was coming on until I opened up this week's TV Guide. I couldn't find the stupid magazine at the grocery store on Saturday and so I bought it today at Target--too late to kknow about the game so that I could dvr it. Rats and mice! Oh, I wished I'd sprung for Full Court. I was too cheap.

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