The Universities of Illinois and North Dakota
A total of 18 colleges and universities were targeted by the NCAA in 2005 as having Native American names, imagery, and/or mascots the NCAA deemed as “hostile and abusive.” Of the 18, only 8 had an actual tribal affiliation, and all fought vigorously to keep their Native identities. Of the 8, only Illinois and North Dakota were denied an NCAA exemption from their dubious policy which was never voted on by the full NCAA member schools. Illinois was denied because the Peoria Tribe did not support Chief Illiniwek. North Dakota was denied, even with support from their Spirit Lake Tribe, because they exclusively were held to a 2 Tribe support standard while all others were held to a single Tribe support standard.
NAGA strongly believes that the NCAA policy has no authority, and is both racist and discriminatory against Native Americans. Logic dictates that teams choose their identities out of a desire to associate with something that elicits positive connotations. Teams with human based identities such as the Fighting Irish, Ragin Cajuns, Mountaineers, Cowboys, Colonials, Spartans, Trojans, among others, were not targeted by the NCAA for sanctioning. The fans of these teams largely take great pride in associating with the admirable qualities seen in these people groups. Only Native Americans were discriminately singled out from continuing to receive that honor.