NCAA: University of North Carolina at Pembroke Exempt from American Indian Nickname Ban
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, a school founded to serve American Indians, is the only college in the nation exempted from a ban on using American Indian nicknames and mascots in postseason tournaments, an NCAA spokesman said last week.
UNCP uses the nickname “Braves” and includes the bust of an American Indian with a hawk in its logo. The new rule won’t apply to the school because “based on the foundation of the school, the history and its union with the Native American community, the NCAA determined that Pembroke’s use of Braves was appropriate,” NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said from his group’s headquarters in Indianapolis. The school’s athletic director, Dan Kenney, said the exemption made sense, based on UNCP’s history.
“Even though this goes against what most people think is the right thing to do, they have told us in this community, ‘Do not take away that link to our past,”’ Kenney said.
UNCP’s Web site even explains that its “athletic teams have had the nickname, Braves — a term, which echoes our Native American past — since the 1940s.”
Schools had to send materials backing up requests to the NCAA to use American Indian imagery. Included in UNCP’s packet was a petition signed by 2,500 local residents, Kenney said. The school is located in Robeson County, about 100 miles south of Raleigh. The county is home to the headquarters of the Lumbee American Indian tribe, a state-recognized tribe with 40,000 members.
— Associated Press
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