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UI declines to invite ‘Fighting Sioux’ over mascot flap

[ 11 ] February 27, 2012 |

The University of Iowa decided against inviting the University of North Dakota to compete in an upcoming track meet because of their use of the Fighting Sioux mascot.

UI policy prohibits the athletic department from scheduling competition with schools or attending tournaments hosted by schools using Native American mascots unless those mascots have been approved by the NCAA.

According to UI’s Associate Athletic Director Mark Abbott, officials at UND contacted UI in December about participating in the Musco Twilight XIII track meet on April 21 in Iowa City.

At the time, UND had stopped using the Fighting Sioux as its mascot amid heated debate about the nickname.

However, the school re-instated the controversial mascot earlier this month, at which point UI officials decided not to issue an invite to the track meet, Abbott said.

“There was some discussion about it, but the policy on not competing against institutions that use Native American mascots came into play,” Abbott said.
The University of Illinois, whose Fighting Illini mascot also has come under fire, is exempt from the policy as “a result of our contractual obligations within the Big Ten Conference…”

Competitions that UI has no control over scheduling, such as bowl games and NCAA or conference-sponsored competitions are also exempt, as are competitions with institutions that have NCAA approval for the use of Native American mascots.

Reach Emily Schettler at 887-5412 or eschettler@press-citizen.com.

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