Students at the University of Illinois plan to revive controversial retired mascot Chief Illiniwek Saturday after the school's football team plays Ohio State.
A group called Students for Chief Illiniwek has rented an on-campus hall for a performance for students and the public in an event not sponsored by the university, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Last year, the university retired performances of the chief, leading the NCAA to lift sanctions that had barred Illinois from hosting postseason sports since 2005.
The NCAA had deemed Illiniwek — portrayed since 1926 by buckskin-clad students who danced at home football and basketball games and other athletic events — an offensive use of American Indian imagery.
The student group had to create a replica of Illiniwek's costume because the university locked up the original, the Tribune said. Last year, a group of former chiefs held tryouts for a new Illiniwek, choosing then-junior Logan Ponce.
"Chief Illiniwek is a big priority," Roberto Martell, a 20-year-old junior and president of Students for Chief Illiniwek, told the Tribune. "It inspired me to be a complete man."