Illinois board chairman writes letter to USA Today

Updated: August 16, 2005, 9:41 PM ET
Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The University of Illinois is criticizing the NCAA for the rhetoric it used in its recent decision to sanction universities using American Indian nicknames and mascots for their sports teams.

American Indian Mascots
   Alcorn State
   Central Michigan
   Florida State
   Arkansas State
   Fighting Illini
Other mascots in lower divisions: Catawba College (Indians), Midwestern State (Indians), Indiana University-Pennsylvania (Indians), Carthage College (Redmen), Chowan College (Braves), McMurry (Indians), Mississippi College (Choctaws), Newberry College (Indians), North Dakota (Fighting Sioux), Southeastern Oklahoma State (Savages)

Illinois board chairman Lawrence Eppley wrote in a letter to USA Today that the NCAA's use of the words "hostile" and "abusive" to characterize Illinois' Illini and Chief Illiniwek was disappointing,

Eppley's letter, which has yet to be published, is a response to an essay by NCAA president Myles Brand published in the newspaper last week.

In the essay, Brand called the NCAA's decision a "teachable moment" aimed at initiating a national discussion about how American Indians have been characterized.

Eppley wrote Brand's rhetoric retards debate on an important issue.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press