Do We Have to Change the State Names?

The NCAA has effectively banned the use of "hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery" at NCAA events.  Apparently, despite the broad language, the rules are aimed narrowly at teams named using Native American imagery, since "Fighting Irish" is not on the hitlist, despite the fact that Notre Dame has no formal approval from Ireland to use the name, while "Seminoles" is on the hitlist, despite the fact that Florida State has the Seminole tribe's blessing to use the name.  The "Dutch" and the "Dutchmen" are apparently OK, as are other teams named after non-Indian peoples such as the "Gauchos", the "Highlanders", the "Quakers", the "Norse", the "Scots", the "Swedes", the "Trojans", the "Vandals", the "Vikings", and of course, the "Nads" (Go Nads, go).  Complete mascot list here.  As a resident of Phoenix, can I sue the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay for denigrating me?

So I started to think about the University of Utah Utes, who are also on the hitlist.  Apparently, using a name derived from the Ute Indian tribe is no longer Kosher in the NCAA.  Which leads to the obvious question - can the University of Utah even use the name Utah any more at NCAA events, since it is derived from the Ute tribe?  Instead of "Utah" on their uniforms, will they have to have something like "that state between Nevada and Colorado"?  Same with Missouri, Illinois, and both the Dakotas, all state names derived from local Indian tribe names.  And don't even get me started on the 40 or so state names (including my own Arizona) derived from Indian words.  How about Indiana, which means "land of Indians"?  Or Oklahoma, which is Choctow for "red people".  If we can't put "redskin" on a NCAA jersey, how can we put "Oklahoma"?  Coming soon: The Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. The Far North Texas Sooners.

The FIRE website has more, noting the irony of university presidents suddenly chafing under the same type of vague and arbitrarily enforced speech code that they have blithely imposed on their own students for years.

Update #1: I heard an interesting interview on this topic with an NCAA spokeman on the Dan Patrick Radio Show.  The host pressed the NCAA figure on why FSU can't use the "Seminole" name, when the Florida Seminole tribe had given their blessing.  The response from the NCAA official was typical of a lot of elitist thought nowadays.  It boiled down to "its for their own good, even if they don't agree".

Update #2: Being from Texas, I knew that calling Oklahoma "Far North Texas" would incite some response.  I have gotten several emails.  The conclusion to an email from reader Dale was typical:

So,
from one fellow libertarian to another, can you do me a favor?  Henceforth,
please refrain from associating my Sooners with anything texas-like.  Thank
you.

 

  • Fred

    Yup. If they are going to open a can of worms they should be prepared to eat them all.

  • http://voidwhereprohibited.typepad.com David

    I should think that UNO would be in trouble since Omaha is a tribal name.

    University of Nebraska across the river from Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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  • http://www.therattler.net The Rattler

    "Kansas" is also derived from the name of the Kansa tribe that was located in the area...

  • http://politics.lel-hosting.com/ Matt

    I read about this yesterday. I'm still laughing.

  • Abby

    When will this be in place? http://chompy.urizone.net/mascots.php