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Mascot Review Committee completes
recommendation on selection process

July 16, 2007 -- Arkansas State University’s Mascot Review Committee today concluded its charge by approving a recommendation to Chancellor Robert L. Potts on the action steps that should be taken toward selecting a new nickname and mascot for the athletic teams.

The committee had voted at its June 18 meeting to recommend that ASU retire the Indians and Indian Family as its athletics nickname and mascot.

Through its decision today, the committee endorsed a recommendation to Dr. Potts that includes four key action steps: selection of a Mascot Selection Committee to manage the process and to seek broad input from all ASU constituencies; hiring a sports marketing firm to assist with issues associated with implementation, such as research, branding, and trademarks; setting a timeline of Fall 2008 for implementation of new imagery; and conducting a proper retirement ceremony with input from various ASU constituencies.

Committee Chair Jim Pickens of Little Rock, a trustee emeritus, thanked the committee members for their involvement in the review process.  While the decision was not easy, he said he believes the committee has reached the conclusion that change is in the best interest of the university and its student athletes. He noted that the committee has completed its responsibility, and it will now be up to the university's administration whether to act on the recommendation and its various provisions.

(The background, key points, and June 18 resolution are included below.  Additional information about the review process and recommendations is available on the Mascot Review Committee web site,


A Process for the

Selection of a New Mascot

 For Arkansas State University


In the spring of 2007, the Chancellor of Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, Dr. Robert L. Potts, appointed a 34-member Mascot Review Committee (MRC) to review and consider the continued use of the name “Indians” and associated Native American imagery in connection with the university’s intercollegiate athletic program.  This review was prompted by the Executive Committee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s adoption of a policy declaring the use of Native American imagery by its member institutions to be “hostile and abusive.”  The policy further imposed certain limitations and restrictions on member institutions that continue to use such mascots, nicknames, and imagery.

The Chancellor also requested that if the MRC determined that it was in the best interests of ASU to recommend a change, it accept the further responsibility to develop key points to be considered in the process.

After thorough review and discussion, the MRC adopted a resolution on June 18, 2007, a copy of which is enclosed, recommending to the Chancellor that ASU-Jonesboro officially retire the name “Indians” and Indian Family together with all Native American imagery associated with the intercollegiate athletic program.

The following key points are recommended to the Chancellor by the MRC in fulfillment of his charge to the group.  It is important to note that a “mascot” and a “university symbol” are two separate images even though they are sometimes used interchangeably by the general public.  The university symbol of ASU-Jonesboro may be considered to be the block ASU with the slanted first letter and the torch and flame which appears on certain items to reflect the University’s academic purposes.   The mascot is associated with the University’s athletic teams and is the primary image used to promote athletics although it is used on other applications associated with student or alumni activities as well.  This recommendation concerns the selection of a mascot for the University to replace “Indians” and the “Indian Family.”



Key Points for the Selection of a New Mascot   


The Mascot Review Committee further recommends the following items be considered should the Chancellor agree with the committee's conclusion that it is in the best interest of Arkansas State University-Jonesboro to change its athletic mascot:

  • A Mascot Selection Committee (MSC) should be appointed by the Chancellor of Arkansas State University-Jonesboro to develop an open and transparent process for the selection of a new mascot and to forward a recommendation to him for consideration. This process should include provisions to secure a wide range of input from a variety of ASU constituencies to advance suggestions for consideration in addition to evaluation of potential mascot choices.

  • A national or regional marketing firm with expertise in sports marketing should be retained.  The firm would assist the MSC in the development, marketing, research and branding of the imagery associated with the selected mascot along with ensuring that potential mascot imagery is in keeping with the highest standards and professionalism of ASU and that the University's image is enhanced by the process.  University officials retain the final authority in naming a new athletic mascot.  

  • The new mascot and imagery should be introduced with a goal of implementation by the 2008-09 academic year.

  • An honorable, official retirement of the name Indians and the Indian Family should be conducted with input from various ASU constituencies. 

This suggested plan is hereby adopted and offered as a recommendation to Dr. Robert L. Potts, Chancellor of Arkansas State University-Jonesboro

Adopted July 16, 2007

Jim Pickens, Chair
Mascot Review Committee



 A Resolution

WHEREAS the National Collegiate Athletic Association has adopted a policy declaring the use of Native American mascots by its member institutions to be hostile and abusive and further declaring that member institutions using such imagery will not be allowed to host any NCAA post season championship event; display such imagery at championship events, and references to Native American mascots can not be displayed or used by other groups associated with member institutions, such as cheerleaders, dance teams, bands, spirit groups, etc., at such events, and

WHEREAS other difficulties (e.g., athletic scheduling, university image, student and faculty recruitment, etc.) may affect institutions that continue to use such Native American imagery, and

WHEREAS Arkansas State University is a voluntary member of the NCAA and, as such, is subject to this policy, and

WHEREAS Arkansas State University seeks to continue its participation in NCAA intercollegiate athletics at the highest level and without sanctions, and

WHEREAS Arkansas State University “Indians” and Native American imagery, including Chief Big Track, the Indian Brave and Indian Princess (Indian Family),  have constituted ASU’s mascot brands since 1931, and

WHEREAS Arkansas State University desires to ensure an atmosphere of sensitivity and respect for all its students, faculty, staff, and other constituencies, and

WHEREAS the Mascot Review Committee is mindful that it has been charged with seeking a recommendation that is in the best long term interest of the University and has considered the question of “retiring” ASU’s Indian mascot and associated Native American imagery and has attempted to involve representatives of the entire ASU constituency in this process,

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Mascot Review Committee recommends to the Chancellor of Arkansas State University, Jonesboro that this University officially retire the name “Indians” and Indian Family – together with all Native American imagery connected to the intercollegiate athletic program.  Such action to be effective on a specific date to be determined by the board of trustees;  and that the University seek written assurance from the NCAA that upon that date and as a result of this action, Arkansas State University will be immediately removed from the list of “non-complying” institutions as currently published by the NCAA.   Further, the committee recommends that “retirement” observances as appropriate for the Indian Family be held with dignity and honor on dates and occasions to be determined; and displays and/or exhibits be developed at suitable locations on the Jonesboro campus, to ensure this tradition (i.e., the Indian Family, nickname, etc.) is remembered as part of the history of Arkansas State University. 

Adopted June 18, 2007

Jim Pickens, Chair
Mascot Review Committee

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