Pigskin Preview

College football, hereabouts, kicks off on Saturday with UCLA (6-5 last year) playing San Diego State (4-8 last year) at Qualcomm. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

We need to clear the decks, people. There's a lot of chickenshit to swamp out of the hen house by game day. As you've probably surmised, I'm talking about the NCAA mascot situation.

Football fans are familiar with the NCAA's recent ban on mascots. Here's their official communiqué: "The presidents and chancellors who serve on the NCAA Executive Committee have adopted a new policy to prohibit NCAA colleges and universities from displaying hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery at any of the 88 NCAA championships."

Show your ethnic mascot and go to jail or, at least, be barred from competing in 88 NCAA national championships, being on national TV, and taking home large manila envelopes filled with somebody else's money. The NCAA not only listed 18 schools in violation of their new policy, but printed the name of each school's abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascot alongside its sponsor.

I can tell you it was ugly, adults-only reading. Still, after I recharged my chakra with a bacon burger, I discovered that all the criminal universities had one thing in common -- their banned mascots were connected to Native Americans. From the generic ("Indians" -- seven universities) to the specific (Chippewas, Utes, Chocktaws, Seminoles, Illini) on down to the unique ("Savages," which, I grant, appears to be a bit over the line), all offending mascots had to do with Native Americans.

I am appalled by this myopic, parochial list. Yes, I agree, ill-named mascots are a maggot-infested open wound; indeed, ill-named mascots are a national emergency that requires legislation and police oversight. Sports fans and their children attend collegiate sporting events, watch collegiate sporting events on TV, listen to collegiate sporting events on the radio, and let's not forget those diminishing few who read about collegiate sporting events in newspapers, magazines, and on the Internet. Here's the point: All of us are having our minds destroyed by unregulated hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots 24-hours-a-day. AND IT'S STILL GOING ON AS YOU READ THIS!

Funny, don't you think? That the NCAA Executive Committee list of criminal university mascots only include American Indian mascots while overlooking every other racial/ethnic/

national origin group on the face of this earth! Coincidence? I think not.

What about the "Fighting Irish of Notre Dame"? As an Irishman, I am sickened by this ongoing calumny, perpetuated by the NCAA, that says Irish-Americans are quick with their fists and, let's say it out loud, quick to fisticuffs due to their love of drink. This slander has cost me employment opportunities and deserved promotions. Yet, the NCAA doesn't care about my situation. I can't stress this enough.

How about the Ithaca College Bombers? The NCAA takes care of their Native American pals while allowing terrorist mascots to run free, befouling the minds of friend and foe alike.

Here's another mascot from the terrorist crowd. Regard, the Millersville University Marauders. Marauder, the dictionary says, is someone who attacks in search of booty. NCAA wants this message sent into every sports-loving living room in the country: "IT'S OKAY TO ATTACK IN SEARCH OF BOOTY." How long are we going to put up with this?

And while we're at it, what about the North Carolina Wesleyan College Battling Bishops? Are we going to fight the whole separation of church and state thing on the playing fields of America? Civil war. Is that what this is about?

University of Dallas Crusaders is not the mascot image we want to show to the voters of Iraq. And what the hell is this? The Alverno College Inferno. What kind of devil-worshiping, party-on message does this communicate to our teenagers? And Humpback Whales. The University of Alaska-Southeast Humpback Whales. Now they're killing whales on the campuses of America.

Why can't we all get along? Why can't criminal university mascots be like the Whittier College Poets or the Heidelberg College Student Princes? Wouldn't it be a better world?

Some criminal universities have appealed the executive board's judgment and others are considering an appeal. Florida State University won their appeal after the Seminole Tribe of Florida said they were honored to be associated with the school.

The NCAA Executive Committee, which, at first glance, appears to be made up of nonnative Americans, might have asked Native Americans associated with university mascots what they thought about the use of their name before deciding what was good for them, but that would have shown respect.

Which brings us back to San Diego State University and their Aztecs, which got a pass from the executive board because, according to wire reports, the board could not find any organized tribe or group related to the Aztecs. In other words, San Diego State can keep their mascot because nobody cares.

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