Bradley University has appealed last month’s ruling by an NCAA staff review committee that would ban its Braves nickname in postseason play starting next year, university officials said.
A committee of 15 presidents and chancellors from NCAA Division II colleges will consider Bradley’s appeal, then make a recommendation to the NCAA’s 19-member Executive Committee for a final decision, NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said.
Williams said there is no timetable for a ruling. Bradley spokeswoman Kathy Fuller said the university does not expect a decision until early next year.
The 6,100-student school was one of 18 colleges deemed by the NCAA in August to have nicknames, mascots or logos that are “hostile or abusive” to American Indians. Schools are not required to drop the imagery, but are barred from using it during postseason play beginning Feb. 1 and cannot host postseason events.
“The university continues to dispute the characterization of the Braves name as being hostile or abusive,” Fuller said.
In its decision two weeks ago, the NCAA staff review committee commended Bradley for dropping its American Indian mascot and logos about a decade ago, but said the private university could have sent a clear signal of respect by also retiring its nearly 70-year-old nickname.
Bradley has argued that the nickname now symbolizes attributes of bravery such as courage and honor. The school also contends the NCAA was inconsistent when it applied the ban, allowing eight schools to keep the nickname warriors because they have dropped mascots and logos, like Bradley.
The University of Illinois, whose Chief Illiniwek mascot has stirred debate for years, and Newberry College, a South Carolina school nicknamed the Indians, are still awaiting rulings by the review committee.
So far, the committee has approved three schools’ bids to be removed from the NCAA’s list and rejected two, including Bradley’s.
The Florida State Seminoles, Central Michigan Chippewas and Utah Utes were allowed to keep their names and imagery because of support from local American Indian tribes. An appeal by the North Dakota Fighting Sioux was rejected because it did not have the backing of Sioux tribes in the state. Like Bradley, North Dakota has appealed to the NCAA’s Executive Committee.
— Associated Press
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