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NCAA sets two-year review on Indian mascots
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is directing its member universities to review their use of Indian mascots, the organization announced this week.

The decision by NCAA's executive committee, which came at an August 8 meeting, stops short of banning controversial mascots, logos, nicknames and other Indian themes. Instead, schools will be given until August 2005 to conduct a "self-analysis" and report their findings.

"The committee declined to approve a recommendation that would have required the elimination of all references to American Indian mascot names, nicknames and logos in NCAA publications and announcements," NCAA said in a statement yesterday. "The executive committee agreed that action would not properly take into account the results of the institutional self-analysis."

The NCAA's Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity Issues, which has been studying mascots for more than a year, will develop guidelines for the self-analysis by August 2004. If accepted, the material will be distributed to participating universities the following month.

The NCAA gave no account of how many of its member schools have Indian-related mascots and symbols. But one of the more famous, and contentious, is the University of North Dakota, whose "Fighting Sioux" nickname has been opposed by Sioux tribes, Native students and school faculty.

The school was in the process of an internal review while the NCAA was weighing its stance. Before UND President Charles Kupchella could announce a decision, he was trumped by the North Dakota Board of Higher Education, which forbade any change to the nickname.

Despite the lack of immediate change, a Native activist who is litigating a court case against the Washington Redskins professional football team, said NCAA's decision is to be lauded. "I believe that when educators really look at this issue, that they can't conclude a continuation of racism," said Suzan Harjo of Washing