NCAA: Mississippi College Can Keep Choctaws Nickname
The NCAA has ruled that Mississippi College will be allowed to keep its Choctaws nickname without fear of penalty because a local tribe has endorsed its use.
The NCAA staff review committee removed the Clinton, Miss.-based Division III school from a list of colleges with objectionable nicknames because the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians granted approval for the school to use the nickname, mascot and other related images.
“We are very appreciative of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ support of our use of the Choctaw name, and look forward to continuing our mutual relationship of respect and cooperation,” says school president Lee Royce.
Bernard Franklin, the NCAA’s senior vice president for governance and membership, says the committee respects the tribe’s decision to permit use of the Choctaws name.
“The NCAA recognizes that there are, and will be, disagreements among Native American individuals, groups and tribes concerning the use of mascots, nicknames and imagery in sports.
“In those instances in which a tribe endorses the use of its name and associated imagery, the NCAA defers to the judgment and will of the tribe,” Franklin said in a statement.
The NCAA ruled last August that schools cannot wear uniforms with Native American references at NCAA championships. Schools with nicknames deemed offensive by the NCAA were prohibited from hosting those events as of Feb. 1.
Some schools, including Florida State University, whose nickname is the Seminoles, have successfully appealed to keep their current nickname.
— Associated Press
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