Arkansas St. committee recommends new nickname

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Arkansas State is one step closer to a
new mascot.

A committee reviewing the school's nickname -- the Indians --
unanimously passed a resolution Monday recommending that it be

"It was very painful, said committee Chairman Jim Pickens, a
former chairman of the school's board of trustees. "Several of us
go back generations as Indians at Arkansas State University."

The recommendation will now be submitted to Chancellor Robert
Potts, who must decide whether to pass it along to the president
and board of trustees. The panel also recommended that the school
use a national marketing firm to help pick a new mascot.

The NCAA in 2005 announced a ban on ethnically or racially
"hostile" or "abusive" nicknames, mascots and imagery at
championship events. Arkansas State was one of the schools found in
violation of the policy.

"We basically had two choices," Pickens said. "We can vote
for change or we could not vote for change and incur ramifications,
implications and sanctions from the NCAA."

The school has conducted a lengthy evaluation process. Pickens'
committee consists of faculty and staff and Jonesboro civic
leaders. Last month, Pickens said his 33-member panel would likely
recommend changing the nickname.