Charles Kupchella, Great American

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The president of the University of North Dakota, the Fighting Sioux, takes a 2×4 to the NCAA and its "abusive" nickname policy.

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  1. Whack ’em again Charley. Whack ’em til the 2×4 breaks. And when yer done whack ’em one more time for the Georgia fans.

    Nice work Jeff–they need to give you a raise.

  2. IMO, this letter parralels the states rights argument.

    “Or does a committee in Indianapolis trump the Office for Civil Rights here, on the ground, in North Dakota?”

    Replace “committee in Indianapolis” with “Government in Washington D.C.” and “Office for Civil Rights here”, with “State Governments”.

    Fucking commie bastards.

  3. …and from the state where I live! Who’da thunk it?

  4. It’s too bad that North Dakota doesn’t exist. 😉

  5. No, don’t you all understand- naming something after something else is automatically derogatory! The Washington Monument is of course intended to belittle George Washington, the New York Yankees are actually a confederate plot to mock all northerners, and the USS Ronald Reagan is just another example of the Navy using aircraft carriers to shame the memory of former presidents.

  6. A lot of small towns have faced this too. A couple of years ago there was a civil rights lawsuit filed in the town of Marshall, Michigan. I believe the school board caved before any actual court battle, but in the midst of it I wrote the board and the community a letter (click on my sig) to get them thinking out of the box.

    They didn’t take my suggestion, but it’s still out there for anyone else.

  7. Maybe we just need to get rid of names alltogether for sports teams and replace them with numbers. Heavens forbid someone out there should get their panites in a bind because well-financed, attention-grabbing sports groups that get more public attention than the hard-working students at the same institution would be named after them.

    How about we just use numbers? Oh no, that would imply that the “Team One” is of greater significance than “Team Forty-seven.” How about letters? No, because there are far more than twenty-six teams out there, so we’ll have to start doubling and tripling the letters, and our children might be forced to watch “Team HO” or “Team ASS” which would corrupt their innocent minds.

    To remedy the problem, we should simply get rid of college sports altogether. The colleges, I suppose, would have to redistibute the massive gobs of cash they put into atheletics into the actual education of students. (Oh wait, I just went over the sarcasm line… that last suggestion actually sounded like it might be a good thing…)

  8. I think the NCAA is downright demeaning. The name implies nationality and athleticism therefore it creates an abusive atmosphere of hostility against those who are either athletic and of other nationality or are not athletic. I think we should boycott the NCAA until it changes its abusive and hostile name.

  9. Some Saturday optimism…

    From today’s Washington Post:

    “It was a creative legal argument — perhaps brilliant, some said — and after a brief reflection, a Fairfax County judge bought it, declaring that key components of the state’s drunken driving laws are unconstitutional.

    In a decision that could prompt similar challenges nationwide, Judge Ian M. O’Flaherty cited a decades-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling when in the past month he dismissed charges against three alleged drunk drivers.

    O’Flaherty, one of 10 judges who preside over traffic cases in Fairfax County District Court, ruled that Virginia’s law is unconstitutional because it presumes an individual with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher is intoxicated and denies a defendant’s right to the presumption of innocence.”

  10. The colleges, I suppose, would have to redistibute the massive gobs of cash they put into atheletics into the actual education of students.

    Between Divisions I-A, I-AA, and II, the NCAA put more than 41 million fans in seats just for football games in 2004 alone. And basketball? My goodness! I have a hard time believing that all of that extra income has a net negative effect on schools. (pdf here).

    Now go read some Hayek and stop planning other people’s affairs.

  11. The University of Northern Colorado, predominantly American Indian, calls their team “The Fightin’ Whities.” Their logo is a 1950’s-era clip-art image of a white guy. As a white guy, I think it’s brilliant and wouldn’t ask them to change a thing. Fair’s fair. In fact, I own one of their t-shirts.

    To play devil’s advocate here, if those who object do so because they feel that these images are merely paying lip service to a vanquished culture (and here I’m referring only to American Indian opponents, not guilty white liberals), I can certainly understand their viewpoint. Could you imagine the University of Berlin calling their athletic teams “The Rabbis”?

  12. And no, just for the record, I don’t object to the logos in use by schools like North Dakota.

    The” tomahawk chop” at Braves games, though? Please. Or maybe I just hate Braves fans.

  13. The U of N. Colorado’s mascot is the Bear.

  14. The Fightin’ Whities are an intramural team.

    The guy in their logo looks like he could be a neighbor of “Bob’s”!!

  15. A bear! Isn’t that denegrating to Russians?

  16. I have a theory that explain the Braves’ poor play-off luck. They are cursed. The only World Series they’ve won was against the Cleveland Indians, whose Chief Wahoo logo is even more offensive than the Tomahawk Chop is annoying.

  17. What on earth would lead the president to posit that the jackoffs at the NCAA are “good, well-meaning people“?

    As for “decoupling intercollegiate athletics from its corruption by big budgets“, as long as the NCAA remains the apotheosis of an institution corrupted by big budgets I would not hold my breath.

  18. What on earth would lead the president to posit that the jackoffs at the NCAA are “good, well-meaning people”?

    He could have meant it as an insult…?

  19. No doubt there is a fine line between sycophancy and subtle derision, but given the nature of the relationship and how much money the NCAA means for everyone except the “amateur” athelete, I think he was sucking up .

  20. I don’t care a whit about sports but this whole thing is stupid, thinking that naming your team after a given group is meant to show disdain for said group. People name their teams after things they ADMIRE, not things they want to insult. That’s why a certain college team in Mississippi calls itself the “[Confederate] Rebels” rather than the “Niggers.” These teams with Indian names no doubt chose those names because in their minds, the Indian names were associated with traits the teams admired–strength, valor, fighting spirit–all the stuff that athletic teams are supposed to care about.

    By the way, don’t the Boy Scouts also use a certain amount of Indian-name imagery for their groups? If such names were meant to show derogatory feelings, then the Boy Scout groups would chuck the Indian imagery and give themselves names like the “Homos,” the “Atheists” and the “Girly-Men.”

  21. Dear Mr. Kupchella,

    The term is indigenous American, not American Indian, asshat.

  22. My distant blood relation to the Cherokee tribe leads me to observe that, the very tribe that was considered “civilized” must never have been overwhelmed by political correctness.
    There’s Chiefs Doublehead, Bushyhead and Old Tassel. And some Cherokee evidently named a river, Withalacoochie. What’s up with that? A French trapper probably made him do it.
    Okay, maybe you had to smile if you addressed Chief Bushyhead in person, but that couldn’t have been hard to do.

  23. “If such names were meant to show derogatory feelings, then the Boy Scout groups would chuck the Indian imagery and give themselves names like the “Homos,” the “Atheists” and the “Girly-Men.””

    Jennifer,
    Many years ago I earned the Beaver merit badge. I was in Troop 69.
    Coincidence?

  24. Indigenous Americans?

    Someone forgot to tell these people – http://www.aimovement.org/.

  25. There was a big powwow at General Butler State Park in Carrolton, KY, this weekend. Anybody hear about that or attend?
    I felt guilty driving by without stopping, but such is life.

  26. I don’t understand what the big deal is.

    The NCAA has the right to make its own rules.

    If UND doesn’t like them, they’re free to quit and form their own sports league.

  27. The NCAA is a private organization. Let the market place decide whether membership is worth the costs.

    There was some interesting findings about the NCAA in its tangle with Jerry Tarkanian. I forget what the findings were. Sorry, but if some one could refresh my memory, it would be appreciated.

  28. Goddammit. I was going on a three-year streak of hating the president of my university, then he went and did something cool.

    Also, Kupchella’s letter really doesn’t do UND’s situation justice. In 2001, Ralph Engelstad, a man originally from the area who made his fortune in construction and casinos, gave UND $100 million to build a new hockey arena. Around the same time, the nickname controversy had welled up again and UND considered changing its team name. Mr. Engelstad responded by threatening to halt construction on the arena and for good measure chucked in some extra Sioux logos (some classes have students try to count them all as a project), including a giant hedge row that spells out “Fighting Sioux.” We joke that you can see it from space. Here’s the Ralph Engelstad Arena website so you can get an idea how much money would be involved in changing the team name: http://www.theralph.com/ Ralph really went out of his way to make sure this thing was worth pissing off a few Indians and all the hippies in the state.

    Will the NCAA be giving us a few million dollars to remodel the REA? Or possibly to build a new arena, because I wouldn’t put it past the Engelstad Foundation to have left some stipulations on the team name in the contract with UND to use the arena.

    Maybe we can cut funding to the multitude of programs for American Indian students to pay for the renovations to the arena. Maybe do away with the tuition waiver program we have going for “culturally diverse” students. Money’s tight enough everywhere else.

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