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NCAA allows Central Michigan to use Chippewa nickname

Observer Staff

9/19/2005 12:00:00 AM

MT. PLEASANT(AP)-The NCAA recently removed Central Michigan from its list of schools with nicknames, mascots or imagery it considered "hostile or abusive."

At issue was the university's Chippewa nickname, which it first adopted in 1942 to celebrate the region's American Indian history. The NCAA included Central Michigan on a list of 18 schools subject to restrictions because they have American Indian nicknames, mascots or images.

The NCAA on Sept. 2 also granted an appeal from Utah to allow it to continue using its Utes nickname.

"The NCAA Executive Committee continues to believe the stereotyping of Native Americans is wrong," the organization said in a statement. "In its review of the particular circumstances regarding Central Michigan University and the University of Utah, the NCAA staff review committee noted the relationship between the universities and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and the Northern Ute Indian Tribe, respectively, as a significant factor."

On Aug. 4, the NCAA said it would ban American Indian images and nicknames by school representatives at postseason tournaments starting in February. Mascots will not be allowed to perform at tournament games, and band members and cheerleaders will be barred from using Indian images on their uniforms beginning in 2008.

The decision prohibits schools with American Indian mascots from hosting future NCAA postseason events. Schools that have already been awarded postseason tournaments would have to cover any Indian depiction in their sports venues.

Central Michigan, with support from the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, filed an appeal to the NCAA committee ruling.

"The university appreciates the NCAA's timely response to its appeal and the university is pleased to put this chapter behind it," Central Michigan President Michael Rao said in a statement. "CMU cherishes its ongoing relationship with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe."

The NCAA also granted an exception to the Florida State Seminoles.