William & Mary to Appeal NCAA's Dictate

Thursday, May 18, 2006

William & Mary plans to appeal an NCAA ruling that has determined its logo, which consists of the nickname "Tribe" flanked by two feathers, is discriminatory.

The NCAA ruling, rendered in a two-page statement released Tuesday, represented a split decision for the college, which had argued that its nickname conveyed "ennobling sentiments of commitment, shared idealism, community and common cause." NCAA officials agreed in part, ruling that "Tribe" itself was not objectionable but that linking "Tribe" to an image of two feathers was. As a result, William & Mary has been retained on a list of schools subject to penalties because of what the NCAA deems to be "hostile and abusive" nicknames or mascots.

The NCAA's executive committee in 2005 ruled that schools that displayed such nicknames, mascots or logos would be barred from hosting postseason games and not allowed to wear uniforms displaying the offending imagery in the postseason. The Florida State Seminoles were granted a reprieve, however, partly because a local Seminole tribe supported the nickname's use.

Bill Walker , associate vice president for public affairs, said William & Mary felt compelled to fight for the right to display its logo. "It's hard for us to understand how the NCAA could approve Florida State's wild representation of an Indian on horseback with the flaming spear and be perturbed about feathers," Walker said.

-- Liz Clarke

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