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Illinois board chairman writes letter to USA Today

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.

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.