Designer of Illinois' Illiniwek logo wants it back

Updated: April 5, 2007, 11:45 PM ET
Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The man who created the Chief Illiniwek logo for the University of Illinois -- which depicts a controversial mascot that the school recently retired -- wants it back, 27 years later.

Chief Illiniwek
Jack Davis says he sold the logo for $210 back in 1980.

But the board of trustees said last week that it would retain ownership of the circular, orange-and-blue logo, even though it decided to stop using the chief's image, name and regalia.

An attorney for Champaign graphic artist Jack Davis sent a letter to the university on March 14 asking for the return of the logo.

Davis said he sold the logo to the university in 1980 for $210. According to the letter from attorney Robert Auler, Davis "offered" the logo for the university's use "as long as it would be used as a permanent symbol of Illinois athletics."

In a written response, the university asked for documents supporting Davis' claim and said it believes Davis has no right to the logo.

Reached at his office Thursday by The Associated Press, Davis declined to comment further. Messages left at Auler's office were not returned.

The logo, licensed to makers of T-shirts and other merchandise, has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the university, school officials have said.

The university did away with its mascot after two years of NCAA sanctions. Some American Indians and other activists saw Chief Illiniwek as demeaning.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press