Download our Mobile App                  

  Search The Site
Top News Stories...
TheMat.com moving to USOC website platform with new look and functionality

This week, TheMat.com will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....

Terry Shockley named Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Shockley will succeed long-time chairman Jim Keen. Sr. as Chairman of the Board....

Iowa's Tony Ramos determined to finish career with NCAA title

The Hawkeye senior will battle Virginia Tech's Devin Carter in the NWCA All-Star Classic on Saturday....

NCAA announces finalist cities for its championships for 2014-18, including wrestling at all levels

Cleveland, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia & St. Louis are Div. I finalists. Div. II and III finalists also announced....



Newberry College's response to the NCAA's appeal rejection



Below is Newberry College's response to the NCAA's rejection of Newberry College's appeal regarding its Native American mascot as articulated by College President Dr. Mick Zais.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We stand by our position as articulated in our appeal to the NCAA. The heart of our appeal follows:

"Newberry College celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2006. It was during the first decade of intercollegiate sports that our nickname had its unique origin. Our baseball team purchased red uniforms that originally were ordered by a local semi-pro team but were never paid for. By adoption of the student body, the College nickname became the Indians. This name was not chosen in order to demean, mock, or belittle Native Americans; institutions will rarely pick a mascot or a nickname they do not respect and that does not represent admirable and indomitable qualities. Our nickname honors the history and culture of the American Indian, his bravery and tenacity in battle. In all cases, it is used with dignity and with respect for Native American heritage ... We understand that the NCAA may be embarrassed by some schools' use of a mascot or nickname in such a way that stereotypes or demeans a race or group of people. Newberry College is not one of those schools. There is no sentiment, either in our own or the communities in which we compete, to change our nickname. Instead, there is a groundswell of alumni and supporters who are enraged with the perceived heavy hand of the NCAA and its condemnation of Newberry's 'Indian Pride'."

Newberry College has no intention of changing its nickname. Changing at this time would indicate that we did not truly believe in the validity of our appeal, or that our moral compass was subject to be swayed by the collective opinion of the NCAA Executive Council.

We are disappointed in this unjust, coercive, and perhaps illegal ruling from the NCAA. Our participation in postseason play will not be affected since we have uniforms that do not bear what the NCAA deems "offending" or "offensive" marks. We are sorry that the NCAA feels that Newberry is unfit to host postseason play because of a nickname that our athletic teams have borne for nearly a century.

(The full text of Newberry's appeal letter is below.)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
September 12, 2005


Myles Brand, Executive Director
Executive Committee
National Collegiate Athletic Association
P. O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Dear President Brand:

The purpose of this letter is to appeal the August 4 decision of the NCAA Executive Committee. We request that the NCAA immediately remove Newberry College from the list of censured schools because neither the name "Newberry Indians" nor any imagery that the college uses is "hostile or abusive" or disrespectful.

The NCAA's recent allegation that this college's nickname is "hostile and abusive" is insulting to the thousands of alumni who proudly claim the title "Newberry Indian." As one pastor recently wrote to me, "I will be a Newberry Indian in Heaven."

The evidence is clear. While Native American activists are opposed to Indian mascots and nicknames, they do not speak for the majority. According to the March 4, 2002, issue of Sports Illustrated, a Harris Research poll showed that 81 percent of Native Americans support the use of Indian nicknames in high school and college athletics, and 83 percent support them in professional sports. Sports Illustrated concluded, "Although Native American activists are virtually united in opposition to the use of American Indian nicknames and mascots, the Native American population sees the issue far differently."

Another poll reported in September 2004 by the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey produced almost identical results. These consistent findings show that Native Americans overwhelmingly understand that use of mascots, nicknames and logos is in no way intended to offend the courageous and proud people represented.

The fact that a number of American Indian tribes have close working relationships with schools using their nicknames is evidence of this support. As I am sure you are aware, such relationships exist, for example, between the University of North Carolina-Pembroke Braves and the Pembroke tribe, the Seminoles and Florida State University, and at Arapahoe High School in Littleton, Colo., and the Arapahoe tribal members. The NCAA's removal of Florida State University, Central Michigan University, and the University of Utah from its list of censured schools is further evidence of the overwhelming support by Native Americans for the use of Indian nicknames and mascots.

While there is no namesake tribe to support our use of the Indian nickname, the data show that Native Americans as a whole are not opposed to representation through athletics. In fact, we believe it is the height of arrogance for the NCAA to presume to speak on behalf of all Native Americans. Not only is this ruling an affront to our alumni, but to the thousands of Native Americans who support the use of the name "Indian" and associated imagery. The NCAA is, in effect, trying to eradicate all tributes to the brave people who originally inhabited this country before the European conquest.

Newberry College, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2006, has been playing baseball since 1901, and football for more than 90 years. It was during the first decade of intercollegiate sports that our nickname had its unique origin. Our baseball team purchased red uniforms that originally were ordered by a local semi-pro team but were never paid for.

By adoption of the student body, the College nickname became the Indians. This name was not chosen in order to demean, mock, or belittle Native Americans; institutions will rarely pick a mascot or a nickname they do not respect and that does not represent admirable and indomitable qualities. Our nickname honors the history and culture of the American Indian, his bravery and tenacity in battle. In all cases, it is used with dignity and with respect for Native American heritage.

Pay a visit to Newberry. You'll not find a student dressed in headdress and Indian garb, dancing and gyrating as if possessed. It has been 20 years since any athletic team had a mascot. You won't find silly cartoons or demeaning caricatures on hats, uniforms, or playing surfaces. Our primary and secondary logos are a spear and arrowhead. The spear is nearly identical to the one used by Florida State University, an institution no longer on your blacklist. While we have worked to "take the face off the Indian," we continue to honor the legacy and dignity of America's first people and the centuries of successful civilization the various tribes created across these United States.

The worst thing that could happen for Native Americans is that their proud history and traditions fade from public awareness to be replaced only by images of casinos and tax-free cigarettes.

Furthermore, by ignoring Newberry College's self-study on this issue and including us on the list of offending schools, the NCAA has declared us incapable of making a fair and ethical decision. Newberry College officials and supporters are perplexed by this affront. The thousands of graduates who live all over the world cannot fathom why, after almost 150 years of tradition and success, we have to change what we have chosen to call ourselves. We find the NCAA's decision arbitrary and capricious and frankly discriminatory to our College.

What's next? A proscription against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as demeaning to persons of Irish descent? Condemnation of all schools with Crusader nicknames as insulting to Christians or Muslims? Censure of the blue hose-wearing Highlanders of South Carolina's Presbyterian College as offensive to people of Scottish ancestry?

Already the animal rights groups are lobbying for our nearest neighbor, the University of South Carolina, to remove the "Fighting Gamecock" as its mascot. South Carolina's legislature recently enhanced the penalties for participating in cockfighting. It's legal only in Louisiana and New Mexico, two of the fifty states. This mascot pays tribute to unlawful behavior, ostensibly sanctioned by the NCAA. If the NCAA continues along these lines, it won't be long before special interest activists voice sufficient outrage against the use of any particular mammal, bird, reptile, insect, tree, or weather disturbance to shift that object to the banned mascot list.

We understand that the NCAA may be embarrassed by some schools' use of a mascot or nickname in such a way that stereotypes or demeans a race or group of people. Let me assure you that Newberry College is not one of those schools. There is no sentiment, either in our own or the communities in which we compete, to change our nickname. Instead, there is a groundswell of alumni and supporters who are enraged with the perceived heavy hand of the NCAA and its condemnation of Newberry's "Indian Pride."

In summary, Newberry College requests the Executive Committee to remove Newberry from the list of institutions accused of using "hostile and abusive" names and imagery. The accusation is neither fair nor supported by the facts.

Respectfully,


Mitchell M. Zais, Ph.D.
Brigadier General, U.S. Army (ret.)
President, Newberry College
Untitled Document
   
© Copyright 2000-2014 USA Wrestling, All rights reserved.
Contents of this site may not used without the expressed written consent of USA Wrestling.