A Louisiana tribe’s blessing won’t save the University of Louisiana-Monroe’s Indian mascot from the NCAA’s displeasure, so a new committee will study the mascot’s future.
ULM was one of 18 schools which the NCAA has ordered to stop using American Indian mascots, images and logos in February 2006. The league allowed Florida State to remain the Seminoles because the tribe approved.
But NCAA official Bernard Franklin has told ULM that “the use of a generic Native American reference like Indians or Braves cannot be mitigated by the concurrence of any Native America Tribe,” university President James Cofer wrote alumni and other supporters.
Cofer said ULM asked Louisiana’s three federally recognized tribes — the Tunica-Biloxi, the Chitimacha and the Coushatta — to support the university’s current mascot. Only the Coushattas did so.
Franklin said that if the university’s mascot was the Coushattas, the tribe’s support probably would be enough to keep it. However, he wrote, “it does not suffice as an endorsement of the use of the generic term Indian.”
ULM supporter Scott McDonald said Cofer’s letter was a vast improvement over what happened in 1999, when the school in Monroe changed its name from Northeast Louisiana University without any notice.
“Communication allows people to see that this is a transparent process,” he said. “It’s important because a lot of people didn’t think that happened in the name change. The biggest distinction with the name change is that it was something that our administration at that time chose to do. This change is being forced upon us.”
The mascot committee will hold its first meeting Jan. 8, chairman George Luffey said. The committee includes athletes and other students, coaches and other faculty, alumni and members of the ULM Foundation, L Cub, Indian Athletic Foundation and Alumni Association.
ULM is also setting up a mascot Web site.
— Associated Press
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com