The deliberations and pronouncements of the National Collegiate Athletic Association have long been a source of dark merriment, and this week's verdict was no exception.
Faced with the threat of a lawsuit by Florida State University, the NCAA has decided that the university's use of the nickname "Seminoles" isn't nearly as "hostile and abusive" as the organization had thought it was last week. Presumably, this means the NCAA also conveys its blessing on the pageant wherein a student pretending to be Chief Osceloa rides a horse onto the football field at Florida State games and hurls a burning lance into the turf at the fifty yard line.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush was delighted with the NCAA's decision. "When you make a mistake, it's important to realize it and move on," he said. "They came to the right conclusion... the Seminole mascot and the tradition at Florida State, is not offensive to anyone..." an assertion that may come as a surprise to the people, including some involved with the American Indian Movement, who've said they do find the mascot offensive.
An even more ebullient response came from Florida State's President, T.K. Wetherell, the man who had threatened to sue the N.C.A.A. Said President Wetherell, "I'm ready to play football, start school, and have classes begin and all that kind of stuff."
There was no immediate response from the professors who preside over the classes that Mr. Wetherell lumped with "all that kind of stuff," but I'm sure those involved with the football program to which the rest of the university is appended were delighted with the president's support.
Officials at the N.C.A.A. have announced a review of the other schools employing mascots they had labeled "hostile and abusive," but the results of that review are bound to be anti-climactic.
If the galloping parody with the flaming spear was okayed, the imaginary wild Indian who delights fans of the Fighting Illini probably has nothing to worry about, and the Utah Utes and North Dakota Fighting Sioux can also expect a pass, as long as they can find a couple of Utes and a Sioux or two to say they feel honored rather than embarrassed by the rendering of their history as a cartoon trotted out for the entertainment of a stadium full of football fans... some number of whom are always "hostile and abusive," even according to the wobbly, mercurial standards of the N.C.A.A.
This program aired on August 27, 2005. The audio for this program is not available.