Want To Take Issue?

By Brian Curtis - October 10, 2006

In our By the Numbers last week, we took a look at the NCAA's review of mascots and identified North Dakota as one school who has appealed the organization's decision to ban UND teams from hosting postseason games or wearing the school's Fighting Sioux mascot logo. Well, a few days ago, the state Attorney General sued the NCAA on the grounds that they overstepped their powers in banning the mascot and for a breach of good faith and illegal restraint of trade. OK, now things are getting serious. The Florida State Seminoles, Central Michigan Chippewas and University of Utah Utes all successfully won their appeals and can keep their nicknames.
The NCAA was wrong to grant those schools' permission to keep their names and the state of North Dakota is wrong to sue them--both for the same reason. Native American nicknames are offensive to some, and that's enough. There are segments on all of the campuses who want the nicknames removed, and that's enough for me. I buy the argument from some that we wouldn't accept any nickname that made reference to any other ethnic, religious or racial segment of our population, so why allow the Native American nicknames to continue?

I am the first guy to put a coach on the hot seat, and I certainly believe that job speculation is part of the territory for highly paid football coaches. But I think fans and the media get a bit carried away with the men who coach sports. Take for example the embattled Larry Coker at Miami. Before the Hurricanes' game last week at home, disgruntled fans paid for a planes to fly over the Orange Bowl with three anti-Coker banners, including a "Fire Coker" sign. It reminds me of a few years back when Illinois basketball coach Bill Self was considering a move to Kansas. Illini boosters flew a plane with sings imploring the coach to stay during his family vacation in Florida, and Illinois fans lined the streets upon his return to plead their case.

In an eight page letter to NCAA President Miles Brand, Representative Bill Thomas, Chairman of the US House Ways & Means Committee, asked 25 different questions, many with multiple parts. The purpose of his correspondence was to try and get answers to questions about the purposes, finances and administration of the NCAA. You see, currently, the NCAA is exempt from paying federal taxes, despite the fact they take in millions upon millions through sponsorships and television deals. Here is one example of a question that the Committee wants answered by the end of this month: "From the standpoint of a Federal taxpayer, why should the Federal government subsidize the athletics activities of educational institutions when that subsidy is being used to help pay for escalating coaches' salaries, costly chartered travel, and state-of-the-art athletic facilities?" Should the NCAA still get a free pass from the federal government?

And Men's Fitness Magazine came out with its rankings of the fittest college campuses in America. Ole Miss was one of the many schools who finished outside the Top 25, which writer Polly Allen in the Daily Mississippian tells us surprised school fitness leaders and many students-and, in fact, surprises many male visitors to the school who routinely rank the Ole Miss coeds among the nation's hottest. (I have never gone.) The Director of Campus Recreation points out that the school offers many fitness-related classes, including Badminton, Golf and Bowling. Uh, maybe that's the problem.

Posted by Brian Curtis at 02:02 PM on October 10, 2006
Comments (1)


I'd like to know how in the world you can vote Cal over Tennessee in your latest AP poll. Do you even watch the games? UT punished Cal in the opening game, and just hung 51 on Georgia in Athens for the first time in 10 years. What has Cal done? Beaten an overrated Oregon team at home? Gimme a break...you should wake up.

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