Junior Jess Kiesel
Nov. 23, 2005
By Peggy Shinn, Ski Racing magazine
As the fall collegiate sports season got under way, the University of Utah learned it can keep using Utes as a nickname. The NCAA accepted the Utes' appeal of a policy set in early August that prohibited colleges and universities from displaying hostile and abusive mascots, nicknames or imagery. The policy listed 18 schools with potentially hostile nicknames, including Utah.
In the ski world, this mandate affected only Utah, whose athletic teams are called the Utes, in honor of the American Indian tribe for which the state of Utah is named. Dartmouth used the Indian unofficially as a mascot until 1974, when the college's trustees formally discouraged the use of the Indian symbol. Now Dartmouth goes by the term Big Green.
The University of Utah has used the Ute nickname since 1972 with the approval of the Ute Tribal Council. Like Florida State University, which uses the nickname Seminoles with permission from the Florida tribe, Utah appealed the NCAA policy. The NCAA had agreed to hear appeals if a "namesake" tribe had formally approved of the use of the mascot, name and imagery by the institution. On Aug. 23, the NCAA took Florida State off the list because the Seminole Tribe approves of the nickname, and the organization removed Utah (and the Central Michigan University Chippewas) from the list for the same reason.
"For many years, the Ute Tribe and the university have maintained an effective partnership," stated Maxine Natchees, chairwoman of the Tribal Business Committee, in the group's support documents. "The Tribe, the university, and their members and supporters are proud of the Ute name and the culture it represents. Indeed, the Ute name and culture are the predicates of our state's name: Utah."