- August 10, 2005 at 2:29 pm #4422
Recently, the NCAA has decided to penalize Florida State, along with Illinois, Utah, and 15 other schools for using American Indian nicknames and images. Florida governor Jeb Bush recently came out very strongly against this decision and I believe rightly so. Florida State in particular has worked closely with members of the Seminole tribe to ensure that the image they reflect is respectful of the Seminoles. While there is no doubt that some could find some facets of the Seminole nickname and mascot offensive, the school does work to keep this to a minimum.
Besides, if we are going to punish schools for using American Indian nicknames and images, we should be consistent and also punish Notre Dame (Fighting Irish), Michigan State (Spartans), and all the other schools around the country that use any race, religion, national origin, or other distinct segment of our population for their nickname or mascot. Why should the Seminoles and Fighting Illini be banned but the Spartans and Fighting Irish be allowed?
All of that said, I think Jeb Bush needs to be careful not to get caught up in misinformation. In attempting to defend Florida State, he was caught spreading a popular misconception with the following statement:
“You know what they ought to be worried about? The graduation rates of most college athletes. Maybe if they had some suggestions on that, that universities could apply and could implement, they could be doing a service to all of us.”
In this statement, Jeb Bush is perpetuating the myth that most college athletes do not graduate. The simple fact is that college athletes in fact have a higher graduation rate than the average student population. That’s right. Jeb Bush’s attempt to demean the NCAA backfired on him and showed him as someone who would rather spread misconceptions, which actually happen to be quite demeaning to the average college athlete, than get the facts straight.
- August 11, 2005 at 12:24 am #19028
When Jeb Bush, like many Americans, says college athletes, he means football players and maybe basketball players. I suspect that this is especially true in Florida, Texas, and other football hotspots. Of course football and basketball players may also have a higher than average graduation rate. Although I suspect it’s lower at bigtime football schools such as Florida State.
I worked at San Diego State University when they came underfire for using the nickname “Aztecs.” They took the issue very seriously and a lot of research was done regarding the Aztec people and the university’s use of the name and image. The end result was that something close to 90% of people who trace their roots to the Aztec people had no problem with the nickname.
The most notable change was a the removal of the cartoonish mascot, which was replaced by a more historically accurate headdress. The live mascot, who seemed to be based on a charicature of a generic Native American, was also replaced with a Native American student dressed in a traditional Aztec ceremonial outfit.
Although not college related, the nickname that I can’t believe is still around is the Redskins.
- August 11, 2005 at 3:45 pm #19029Bart wrote:When Jeb Bush, like many Americans, says college athletes, he means football players and maybe basketball players. I suspect that this is especially true in Florida, Texas, and other football hotspots. Of course football and basketball players may also have a higher than average graduation rate. Although I suspect it’s lower at bigtime football schools such as Florida State.
If you narrow it down to top 25 Division 1 programs in one or two sports, maybe you’ll see a lower rate but that is no reflection at all of NCAA athletes in general. You’re talking well under 1% of the total NCAA student-athlete population once you narrow things down that far. To make claims that the NCAA has an issue with graduation rates is blatantly false outside of rare exceptions, which we can find in any portion of the student population. At best, he badly misstated the issue he was trying to make. More likely, he attempted to take a pot shot at the NCAA and, in doing so, got caught spreading false allegations. Either way, his statement did little more than insult and detract from the image of past, present, and future college athletes.
- August 12, 2005 at 4:59 pm #19030
BartMemberRyan wrote:At best, he badly misstated the issue he was trying to make. More likely, he attempted to take a pot shot at the NCAA and, in doing so, got caught spreading false allegations.
It’s hard for me to believe that a member of the Bush family would misstate an issue or spread false information.
- August 22, 2005 at 5:20 pm #19031
Desperate sounding folks – pound away at stupid issues.
- August 22, 2005 at 6:03 pm #19032
Maybe you find this to be a stupid issue. As someone who has had to deal with the false stereotype of the “dumb college athlete” both during and after my college years, I think it’s a very serious issue. Instead of focusing on the fact that I graduated from a very challenging program with honors and worked in the tutor center, where my boss and the students I worked with gave me glowing reviews, some choose to focus on the fact that I was a student athlete and blindly apply the “dumb college athlete” stereotype. This has such a significant effect that I have at times actually chosen not to disclose the fact that I competed in college, even though I believe what I learned while competing in college makes me a more valuable worker.
Or maybe you’re just one of those partisans who would take issue with anything I say about anyone in the Bush family but would have supported my calling out a Kennedy if it were one of them who said this (as I most definitely would have).
- August 23, 2005 at 5:32 pm #19033
Ryan – I would never doubt that you were a top STUDENT/athlete. But while I was in school (University of MN) I had a football player in a bowling class (I needed 1 credit) and he was as dumb as a box of rocks. It took him more time than others to understand how to score in bowling. Not to mention in general conversation he sounded like a typical – pushed through the system athlete with some talent.
The Cinci Bear Cats basketball team have a lower than acceptable graduation rate than even the NCAA allows.
Jeb is right in that there are more serious issues than a name – he never meant to insult you or claim that every single student athlete that ever lived was a flunky.
Simply put graduation rates are more important than a name.
After meeting more and more college athletes – I have noticed that they work harder at sports and academics than the typical student works at his academics.
I am willing to bet that if his last name was anything other than Bush – this would not have been a topic of discussion.
- August 23, 2005 at 7:30 pm #19034Ed 1 wrote:Simply put graduation rates are more important than a name.
Of course that’s true but here’s another statement of fact. Simply put, graduation rates for NCAA athletes are higher than graduation rates for the general student population.Ed 1 wrote:I am willing to bet that if his last name was anything other than Bush – this would not have been a topic of discussion.
I would be willing to take that bet because I would have stated the same thing about anyone, whether Republican, Democrat, or non-partisan. You’re assuming I have an issue with the Bush family when the only issue I have with anything is this thread is with false stereotypes and those who help to keep them alive.
- August 25, 2005 at 4:17 pm #19035
Point is well taken – and any apologies if I have offended you. Most athletes are inteligent and driven – that is why they are athletes.
- September 7, 2005 at 6:43 pm #19036
As an alum of the University of Utah, I have/had a vested interest in this. For over 30 years the U has had a very close relationship with the Ute tribe. So while the NCAA (I believe) overstepped its bounds-especially in relationship to a handful of schools without doing its homework or applying the rule evenhandedly, it is something that needed to be discussed.
Some little school in Oklahoma STILL calls itself the “Savages” Now that one IS offensive.
But all the media play was about Utah and Florida State and one or two other schools, which were much less egregious than 90+% of the rest. They didn’t include the Aztecs-if they had done their homework they would know that they are Native American. Maybe not NORTH American but Native American nonetheless. (This in additon to “fighting Irish” and others)
Was Bush out of line? Perhaps. He certainly overreacted by threatening legal action. Was it effective? YES. I have a problem with the way the NCAA accounts for graduation rates anyway. Because if he/she transfers it goes against the rate of the school the athlete is leaving. How do you account for some of that stuff. (leaving school early for NFL,NBA and others vs. a transfer student?) I certainly don’t have the answer to that one. But there has to be a better way….
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