Mascots Should Be The Least Of NCAA's Worries

Phillip Marshall takes a look at the latest decision by the NCAA to ban Native American nicknames and mascots.

The NCAA, in its never-ending quest to make the world safe for student-athletes, has come out against team nicknames and mascots that depict Native Americans.

It seems to me the boys in Indianapolis came up a little short. They shouldn't have stopped with Florida State and the other 17 wayward schools. And why just Native American nicknames?

What about these?

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish. If it's offensive to call a team the Seminoles, it surely follows that it is offensive to call a team the Irish. It's just a different ethnic group. Of course, it would probably be really difficult to find someone on the NCAA executive committee with enough courage to tell Notre Dame its nickname is unacceptable.

The Pennsylvania Quakers. Hey, everybody knows Quakers are all about being peaceful. Can you imagine a Quaker making a wide receiver pay for going across the middle?

Miami Hurricanes. We all know hurricanes are bad things. They destroy property and lives. Calling a football team the Hurricanes might bring back bad memories for some folks.

Ole Miss Rebels. A team named after Confederate soldiers is obviously offensive to some north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Tennessee Vols. Get this. The Volunteers of Tennessee were famous for an attack on Creek Indians, for crying out loud. Surely the NCAA's nickname police will leap into action if they know that.

South Carolina Gamecocks. Are you kidding me? How can a university be allowed to promote illegal cock fighting.

Duke Blue Devils. This one obviously must go. The devil is the epitome of evil.

East Carolina Pirates. Don't they know that a lot of people's ancestors were preyed upon by pirates?

The University of Illinois will not be allowed to have its Fighing Illini logos in NCAA postseason play.

Once the NCAA executive committee is done making sure no one has an offensive nickname, I have some real suggestions of things it might consider.

The members might ask themselves …

* Why is it fair that athletes required to jump through academic hoops no other student is required to jump through?

* How can the NCAA president, Myles Brand, say college athletics is not a business when his salary of almost a million dollars a year comes almost totally from NCAA basketball tournament revenue?

* Why would it be so bad to add a week to the 2006 season so football players won't, in many cases, have to play 12 consecutive weeks without a break?

* Who would be hurt if they added one more game after the bowls to at least come closer to choosing a true Division I-A national champion?

* Based on recent outcomes, why would any school under investigation cooperate with the NCAA enforcement staff?

* Why is it OK for basketball players to put their names in the NBA draft, then change their minds and it's not OK for football players?

* When football coaches are virtually unanimous in their support for giving players five years of eligibility and doing away with redshirt years altogether, why not do it?

* Instead of worrying about mascots and nicknames, would it not make more sense to worry about the embarrassingly miniscule number of African-American head coaches in a game dominated by African-American players?

* Considering the problems many schools are having with athletes being arrested, were athletic dormitories really such a bad thing?

* How fair is it that athletes are asked to give so much of themselves physically and mentally, yet they are allowed just one training table meal per day?

* Why is it cause for hand-wringing when an athlete doesn't graduate, considering close to 50 percent of incoming freshmen in any year won't graduate?

* With cost-cutting always high on the list of priorities, why do NCAA committees meet at the plushest resorts they can find?

Maybe there's something I'm not seeing, but those questions seem a lot more important to me than nicknames and mascots.

Until next time …


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