ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: UI Soccer coach weighs in on Chief

By Staff Report

Illini athletics are still at a crossroads. After more than a year, the Illinois athletic programs are still barred from hosting postseason events. This came from last August’s controversial ruling by the NCAA, which stated that the University’s symbol, Chief Illiniwek, is hostile and abusive toward Indian groups. Other universities have been lifted from this list, most notably Florida State. After many appeals, the Chief’s fate is still in doubt. Soccer coach Janet Rayfield feels that the NCAA has gone too far.

“I think that their intent is in a very positive fashion…I think the extent to which they’re trying to extend their control over institutions is reaching beyond the mission of the NCAA.”

The Board of Trustees will decide the fate of the Chief, but until they do, it is the smaller sports that suffer, in that football and basketball’s postseason tourneys are at neutral sites. Rayfield thinks that the smaller sports are getting the raw deal.

“The ability to play at home during an NCAA tournament and the home field advantage that that provides is definitely a disadvantage to us that is caused by the situation.”

The team remained undefeated at home yesterday with a 4-1 win over #12 Utah.