MIAMI – The recent decision by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (search) to ban American Indian nicknames, logos and mascots from its postseason tournaments was intended to eliminate offensive or racist images from major college sports.
But the NCAA's ruling has left some college administrators furious.
“Well, the NCAA, in our minds, has made a stupid decision,” said Florida State University (search) President T.K. Wetherell, whose school is one of 18 affected by the ruling.
Florida State’s teams are nicknamed the Seminoles. Their mascot, Chief Osceola, has charged to midfield before every Florida State home football game for the last 27 years.
The NCAA ban doesn’t force schools to change mascots, but it does limit their use. In addition to the immediate postseason ban, school band members and cheerleaders would be prohibited from using war paint and other Indian images on their uniforms by 2008.
The NCAA took the action after two Seminole Indians from Oklahoma demanded the ban.
“It's completely offensive and I think it’s something that needs to go away,” said Dave Narcomey, a citizen of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma (search). “This is certainly along the lines of racism; it’s demeaning to native peoples.”
But others are saying this is a case of political correctness run amok. The Seminole Tribes of Florida and Oklahoma have said that they support Florida State.
And so does Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (search).
“God, I mean how politically correct can we get?” asked Bush. “To me, I don’t know. Those folks that make those decisions need to get out more often.”
The NCAA, which has taken a public relations beating and is no longer talking publicly about the decision, has admitted that it underestimated the support for Florida State and the other schools, which now have six months to appeal the mascot ban.
Click in the Video box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Orlando Salinas.