Faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have sent a letter to the head of the National Collegiate Athletic Association asserting that the university is violating NCAA rules on the use of offensive mascots.
In 2006 the NCAA banned any "hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery" in response to a number of complaints about the use of stereotypical images of Native Americans in mascots and logos at a variety of universities. For many years at Urbana-Champaign, the university's mascot was Chief Illiniwek, until the NCAA rule led to the removal of the mascot. The mascot, however, was not replaced by another, as was the case with many other stereotypical mascots. The letter from the Illinois faculty members said the use of stereotypical imagery and activities still permeates the campus, condoned by the university, in violation of NCAA rules.
"We have explored all known avenues within the University of Illinois to resolve these issues, yet they persist," the faculty wrote. "We sincerely regret having to bring these violations to the NCAA, but we have no option but to refer this matter to you."
The letter accuses Urbana-Champaign of continuing to use a logo depicting Chief Illiniwek, continuing to use the term "fighting Illini" in reference to athletic teams and facilitating performances of the retired mascot at sporting events. The NCAA has not responded to a request for comment on the accusations.