Bradley not removed from ‘hostile and abusive’ list

By Courtney Linehan

The NCAA announced Friday that Bradley University and its ‘Braves’ nickname will remain on the list of schools with ‘hostile and abusive’ mascots, logos and nicknames.

The decision to keep Bradley on the list came because that university’s appeal offered no information that had not been present in the initial report the school sent the NCAA in May. Bradley, located in Peoria, Ill., was one of 32 NCAA member institutions required to report to collegiate sports’ governing body on their uses of American Indian mascots, logos and nicknames.

“Clearly, no Native American tribe ‘owns’ the word ‘Braves’ in the same way it owns the name of a tribe, and therefore cannot overcome the position that the use of such a name leads to a hostile or abusive environment, which they cannot fully control, and fans, opponents and others can and will exhibit behaviors that indeed are hostile or abusive to Native Americans,” Bernard Franklin, NCAA senior vice-president for governance and membership, said in a statement released Thursday.

Franklin said the review committee commended Bradley for its work to remove American Indian imagery from its sports programs, to educate students on multicultural issues, to recruit American Indian students and to “educate its constituents on the meaning of the term ‘Braves.'” But the complete elimination of the term, the NCAA said, would send a clearer message of respect for American Indians.

“The term, ‘Braves,’ is among those many Native Americans find objectionable in athletic settings,” Franklin said.

Bradley was the fourth school to appeal its inclusion on the NCAA list. Florida State and the University of Utah appealed and won based on support from namesake tribes. University of North Dakota appealed but was denied based on some Sioux tribes’ disapproval of the “Fighting Sioux” nickname.

Three schools, including Illinois, appealed after Bradley. The NCAA has not decided those appeals yet.

Schools on the NCAA list of member institutions with hostile and abusive American Indian mascots, logos and nicknames will not be allowed to host post-season competitions or display their American Indian-based imagery at post-season events starting Feb. 1.

“The review committee does not mandate that Bradley University change its nickname, but as a member of the NCAA, Bradley is expected to adhere to the NCAA’s principle of non-discrimination and promote an atmosphere of respect for and sensitivity to the dignity of every person,” Franklin said.

Initial appeals are sent to an NCAA staff review committee. Bradley, and any other schools whose appeals are denied, can choose to send a written appeal directly to the NCAA Executive Committee.

Bernard said that despite the volume of appeals – seven of 18 schools on the initial list have appealed – the NCAA has no intention to change its blanket policy.

“The NCAA’s position on the use of American Indian mascots, names and imagery has not changed, and the NCAA remains committed to ensuring an atmosphere of respect and sensitivity for all who participate in and attend our championships,” Franklin said.