FSU President T.K. Wetherell has issued the following statement in response to action August 5 by the National Collegiate Athletic Association banning the use of American Indian mascots during NCAA championship games. In taking the action, the NCAA deemed FSU’s use of the Seminole name and symbols as “hostile or abusive,” despite the recent formal endorsement by the Seminole Tribe of Florida for their use.
STATEMENT FROM FSU PRESIDENT T.K. WETHERELL
Florida State University is stunned at the complete lack of appreciation for cultural diversity shown by the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s executive committee, which announced today a policy banning schools using Native American names and symbols from hosting NCAA championship events. That the NCAA would now label our close bond with the Seminole Tribe of Florida as culturally “hostile and abusive” is both outrageous and insulting.
On June 17, the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida spoke unequivocally of its support for Florida State University in its use of the Seminole name and related symbols. Accordingly, I intend to pursue all legal avenues to ensure that this unacceptable decision is overturned, and that this university will forever be associated with the “unconquered” spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
National surveys have shown in recent years that an overwhelming majority of Native Americans are not offended by the use of Native American names and symbols. In making its decision, the executive committee has been swayed by a strident minority of activists who claim to speak for all Native Americans. It is unconscionable that the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been ignored.
The rules as we understand them would have us cover the Seminole name and symbol as if we were embarrassed, and any committee that would think that is a proper and respectful treatment of Native Americans should be ashamed.