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Wednesday November 15, 2000

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C'mon, enough with the mascots already

By The Wildcat Opinions Board

College football fans, pay attention - the Miami Angels have passed the Florida State Goodguys for the second spot in this year's Bowl Championship Series rankings. If things stay true to form, the Angels will play the Oklahoma Smiles for the National Championship in January.

Sound farfetched? Maybe so, but the Angels, Goodguys and Smiles are all examples of neutral, good-spirited, nonconfrontational mascots. Call us insensitive, not compassionate or uncaring, but we don't understand all the renaming going on at colleges and universities across the country right now.

Officials at Wheaton College in Illinois changed their mascot from the Crusaders to the Thunder in March. The move came after critics claimed that the college, which is a non-denominational Christian institution, glorified medieval crusaders who killed heretics and others who did not believe in Christ.

Last month, the administrative council at Nebraska's Wesleyan University renamed their mascot the Prairie Wolves. Administrators at the university, formerly called the Plainsmen, thought the new name was more sensitive in regards to both gender and ethnicity.

For those wondering if these two examples are isolated examples in a country with thousands of higher educational institutions, they're not. Other schools, including the San Diego State Aztecs and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chief Illiniwek, are also considering a change in mascot. In both cases, critics say the mascots are disrespectful to Native American groups.

Granted, university and college administrators across the country certainly do not want to alienate large groups of people, including minorities. But this is getting out of hand. If every college that had a mascot considered by some group as potentially offensive was forced to change its nickname, there would be few mascots left to choose from.

What about the Miami Hurricanes? Haven't hundreds of people been killed in the past 20 years from devastating hurricanes like Andrew, Hugo, Irene, Iniki and Gilbert? Certainly the families of these families are outraged that the University of Miami has stuck with the natural disaster as its mascot!

And what about the Pepperdine Waves? All across the country, people lose their lives in bodies of water, whether it be oceans, lakes or, sadly enough, even bathtubs.

And lets not forget the Arizona State University Sun Devils! Those punks up north have chosen Satan's most popular tool to represent the 50,000+ students who attend university in Tempe. (Although lets be honest here, this is unfair to Satan, because we all know that hell is a far-better place than Tempe.)

While we are on the subject of in-state mascots, we would feel safe betting that wildcats have been responsible for some human deaths throughout the years. And Lumberjacks? Surely Paul Bunyan laid a hand on a few people.

You get our point. No matter the nickname, every college mascot has the potential to offend. In most instances, though, we do not believe that is the intent. In an era where ethnic sensitivity is an issue important to nearly everyone, college mascots have likewise been tossed into the political correctness arena. They don't belong there.

Maybe a hurricane will help bust them out . . .

This editorial represents the collaborative stance of the Arizona Daily Wildcat Opinions Board.