Some Bend, No Break, On NCAA Ban

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association has shown some flexibility in its new policy branding American Indian team names "hostile and abusive" and banning their use in the college sports tournaments it oversees, but don't look for a major retreat on the issue.

The association will remove Florida State (Seminoles) from the hit list of schools, citing the "the unique relationship Florida State has long enjoyed with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which assists the university with its pageantry and celebration of its culture and supports the school's use of its name."

But it says it  "continues to believe the stereotyping of Native Americans is wrong."

The NCAA, which has said it will discourage broadcast and cable rights-holders from using the Indian names of now-17 schools with team names like Utes, Indians, Braves, Savages, and Illini, will review those other schools on a case-by-case basis.

Florida State threatened to sue almost immediately after the policy change was announced earlier this month.

“The NCAA position on the use of Native American mascots, names and imagery has not changed," said NCAA senior VP Bernard Franklin, "and the NCAA remains committed to ensuring an atmosphere of respect and sensitivity for all who participate in and attend our championships."

Effective this month, 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.

NCAA spokesman Bob Williams has also said that the association will encourage broadcast and cable outlets that carry its college sports championships not to use the Indian-related team names, and ESPN has said it will have to at least have a conversation about the issue.

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