10.8.05

GANDER. SAUCE. GOOSE. College sports programs shelter felons who demonstrate athleticism, notes Phil at Market Power. But the real crime is hostile and abusive mascots, which will be banned -- as, apparently, will be hostile and abusive team names -- from National Collegiate Athletic Association tournaments. Robert at The Torch hopes that some university administrators will take a lesson from the basting they are about to receive.
The irony of this situation from a FIRE perspective is hard to miss. The NCAA, whose Executive Committee is made up of university administrators (presidents and chancellors), is ordering other university administrators (at the eighteen blacklisted schools) to abide by a ill-defined speech code or face a severe penalty (being locked out of NCAA tournaments). Those who dissent from the decision are expected to sue. This is no different from hundreds of FIRE cases in which students who run afoul of administrative speech restrictions are threatened with severe punishment—and are given no recourse except an appeal to the public or a lawsuit. It’s a very uncomfortable position in which to find oneself. If nothing else comes of this controversy, we can at least hope that being subjected to a vaguely defined and therefore unreasonable speech code will give college administrators some sympathy for the students they regularly torment with similar policies.
Inside Higher Ed offers a history of the mascots most likely to be viewed as hostile or abusive (that sneer on Wisconsin's Bucky Badger is apparently safe for the moment) as well as news reporting that recognizes potential ambiguities in applying the policy. Marquette Warrior sees lawsuits on the horizon, and King at SCSU Scholars sees inconsistency in naming names. The Education Wonks toss a challenge toward the NCAA's inquisitors. Scrapple Face proposes the limiting case of mascot nomenclature. Or does he? Suppose a school receives 27 consecutive digits of e. Would that not suggest the school transcends others?

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