Grow, Tide grow may be in our future
Leada Gore, Editor
In third and fourth grade, I attended Wright Elementary School in Birmingham. Our mascot was the Warriors, a name chosen after Indian artifacts were found in the area.
Fast forward to 2005. It seems the Wright Warriors were offensive and I didn't even know it. At least, that's what the NCAA, college athletics governing body, says, albeit they are talking about colleges and not middle schools but you have to wonder if that will be next.
This week, the NCAA banned all "hostile or abusive" mascots from postseason tournaments. The schools can keep the mascots during the year, but if they perform well, they have to ditch their politically incorrect mascots for any tournaments.
This ruling mainly affects schools using any sort of Native American mascot, including Florida State University and its famous Seminole. Other schools will be affected, too, including the Utah Utes and Illinois Fighting Illini (quick – raise your hand if you know what a Ute or an Illini is…) and the Louisiana-Monroe Indians (although, if you saw them play Auburn last year, you know you don't need to worry about them playing in any football championships in the next 100 years or so).
You have to wonder what the NCAA – already a group that's made more than its share of questionable decisions – was thinking. You also have to wonder who gets to decide if the mascot is "hostile or abusive." I imagine there is someone sitting in a room giving a rubber stamp to the Wisconsin Cheesemakers but vetoing the Georgia Bulldozers because clearing land might be offensive to environmentalists.
Who gets to decide if the mascot is hostile or abusive, anyway? They sure didn't ask me. I would have said I found the Tennessee Volunteers offensive. Volunteers are offering their service for war and I find that offensive and therefore they should be banned from all postseason play. And, they make their dog Smokey sit out in the hot sun and that's animal abuse and therefore that has to go, too.
There are plenty of important problems the NCAA should be worrying about: graduation rates, equity among the sexes in college athletics, steroids. What they shouldn't be worrying about is what mascot a team chooses.
This recent ruling is just the tip of the iceberg. Soon, all animals or anything that might appear slightly menacing will be gone. Then, Alabama will be known as the "University of Alabama Trees (Grow, Trees, Grow!) and Auburn University the Good Vibrations (We're feeling them!) But the Wright Warriors? They better leave them alone. There are some things you don't mess with.