National Collegiate Athletic Association spokesman Bob Williams confirmed Wednesday that the NCAA will encourage broadcast and cable outlets that carry its college sports championships not to use Indian-related team names, including Braves, Indians, Savages, which the NCAA has concluded are "hostile and abusive."
Williams said some already use the school name rather than the team name when calling the action, but that it will ask the rest to follow suit. For its part, an ESPN spokesman said Tuesday that the network would have to at least have a conversation about the issue.
The NCAA has asked 18 teams, which include the Florida State Seminoles, the Illini of the University of Illinois, and the Utah Utes, to change the names, though Williams emphasizes that the decision is up to the individual school.
The decision on how play-by-play or color commentators identify them on, say, CBS broadcasts of March Madness basketball games or ESPN college football games, is also up to the rightsholders, said Williams, since there is nothing in their current contracts about the issue.
He had no comment on whether the next contracts could include some provision limiting use of the names, but that may not be necessary if the schools take action first in the wake of the NCAA crackdown on the names.
The NCAA executive committee last week took several steps to expunge the names from its championships and dissuade their use at games involving all its 1,000-plus member schools.
Effective immediately, the affected schools must either change uniforms or obscure the names and logos if they are participating in an NCAA tournament.
Starting in February 2006, no school with an Indian team name will be able to host a tournament.
And starting in August 2008, no band or cheerleading squad or drill team, may sport the name, and no mascot may appear during those championships.