Who can use the Indian?

“If anyone�s earned the right to use the Indian logo, it�s UNC-Pembroke,” said alumnus Bruce Barton to Frontpage.

Pembroke, originally the Croatan Normal School, was founded at the request of the Lumbee tribe in 1887. The school received a letter from the NCAA earlier this year demanding that it justify its “racially offensive” logo and team name, the Braves. Pembroke’s case will be heard by the NCAA in late January.

“We�re going to fight this because it is not appropriate for the NCAA to order us to remove it because the American Indians cherish having the brave emblem,” said Pembroke Chancellor Dr. Allen Meadors. “It�s political correctness run amok.”

The more intesting angle is in the backstory, involving St. Cloud president and NCAA Division II officer Roy Hirofumi Saigo, who began his crusade against Indian mascots while teaching at Berkeley and is responsible for the NCAA’s recent anti-Indian policies. “Someday our children and grandchildren will look back and say, ‘Of course we got rid of the practice of American Indian mascots’,” said Saigo at a conference on mascots held at St. Cloud last year.

Saigo made his case to the NCAA in March of 2001, claiming that the NCAA’s values “are not served by the perpetuation of derogatory and stereotypical American Indian mascots, logos and nicknames as representatives of some of the organization’s teams.” And the result of his lobbying are bullying letters of the sort received by Pembroke.

Given issues like drug use among athletes, academic standards, Title IX, the continuing commercialization (and professionalization) of college sports, and spiraling athletic costs at many member schools (not to mention antitrust exemptions…), doesn’t the NCAA have better things to do with its resources than pursue an unpopular quest against an institution generally favored by those it allegedly injures the most?

So who’s against Indian mascots, then? Saigo cites (same link as above) these groups: the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Jewish Committee, the National Organization of Women, and the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Well, in that case…