Letter: Chief alternatives

Now that the NCAA has responded with anticipated prejudice against Illinois, there are several paths to be considered by our state school. Since the NCAA has approved a more warlike persona for Indian “symbols or mascots,” the University could mount Illiniwek on a white horse and have him throw a flaming spear into the ground. This is already accepted. Or, perhaps, given the vast new financial strength of our Indian brethren, perhaps we should just update him a little. I suggest we have the Chief lead the band on to the field in a Mercedes while the band follows in the shape of a giant slot machine. Cheerleaders could also throw oversized, spongy dice to the crowd during the game and the school could have various skills competitions during the game to offer “comps” to some participating venue.

If the Chief must go and gut the school of much of its heritage, I suggest we look to another mascot with regional appeal. Most of the Illinois students are from Chicago with its colorful gangster past and Italians have accepted being insulted with foul mouthed murdering personas like the Sopranos for years so there would likely be no protest whatsoever. You wouldn’t want to call the University team the Capones, because that might encourage students to contract syphilis, which could drain the school with lawsuits from unhappy parents.

I think something sleek like the “Acardos” might be one to choose. Then we could have a Big Tuna patrolling the sidelines with a Tommy Gun. This would honor one of Chicago’s great crime figures and provide plenty of side show activity. The lead cheerleader could present the opposing coach with a dead fish wrapped in brown paper just before kickoff, letting them know that they were about to “sleep with the fishes.” The crowd could utter obscene language and gesture without the guilt normally associated with these type of cheers and every team that came into the stadium would be intimidated by the knowledge that they were about to get “whacked.”

We just have to reach a little to replace the beloved Chief. Just pick some people who can handle a little fun and stay away from anything that gets Jesse Jackson involved.

Steve Orton

University alumnus