Halftime show will look the same without Chief Illiniwek

CHAMPAIGN Ill.
The University of Illinois
halftime show will go on.

No drastic changes are being made to the halftime show at
Illini football games this year, despite the loss of the school’s longtime
mascot, Chief Illiniwek. The school shelved the mascot earlier this year after
decades of debate over whether it was a racist symbol or an honored tradition.

Illini Marching Band Director Peter Griffin said the
halftime show will look a lot like it did before, despite the the Chief’s
absence.

Band members will play the Three-in-One music and form the
letters I-L-L-I-N-I on the field.

“It will look as it always has, except there will be no
gap between I-L-L and I-N-I,” Griffin said.

University Chancellor Richard Herman said he made the
decision to stick with the familiar halftime shows after consulting with former
Chiefs and faculty and staff on campus.

“I’m not going to say the decision was unanimous, but I
do think it’s a good thing,” he said.

Herman said the university has no plans for a new mascot or
symbol.

The chief debuted in a homemade American Indian costume
during an Illini football game in 1926 and has been a subject of turmoil for
decades.

Supporters view the dancing mascot and his elaborate costume
as an honored symbol of both American Indian tradition and Illini sports.
Meanwhile, critics say the chief and his dance are racist and insulting.

Removing the chief freed the university of NCAA sanctions
after the organization deemed Illiniwek portrayed by buckskin-clad students who
dance at home football and basketball games and other athletic events an
offensive use of American Indian imagery and barred the school from hosting
postseason athletic events.

Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com

– Associated Press



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