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Go, Team! You Know, You Guys

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Now, a Texas tale of the team with no name. The National Colligate Athletic Association has barred schools with Native American team names from post-season play. So the Southeastern Oklahoma State Savages became the Savage Storm. Some schools got around the ban by getting the tribe their teams are named for to give their approval, so the Florida State Seminoles are still the Seminoles, but not so lucky the McMurray University Indians of Abilene, Texas. After losing an appeal to the NCAA, the McMurray trustees decided that if they can't be the Indians, they won't be anything. Come spring, their teams will have no name. So, McMurray sports fans are at a lost for words.

Mr. DAVID ROBINETT (Sports Director, KTAB) What do I call these people?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: That's David Robinett. He's the sports director at the CBS affiliate KTAB in Abilene. He says his staff is scratching their heads after the decision.

Mr. ROBINETT: You know sports guys, we use nicknames as a crutch quite often, and so we're going to have to figure out a way not to do that anymore. I had thought maybe we could do something with the color of their uniforms. They wear maroon.

SIEGEL: The maroons.

Mr. ROBINETT: Uh-huh. Yeah, call them the maroons.

SIEGEL: That didn't work for the University of Chicago football, but go ahead. Yeah.

Mr. ROBINETT: Yeah, and the people who remember Bugs Bunny from, you know, when I was a kid - yeah, he said what a maroon. And it wasn't a compliment.

SIEGEL: But maroon, sort of like Michigan, go blue or the hybrid crimson. How about maroon? We posed that question to Doty Woolrich(ph), a junior at McMurray.

DOTY WOOLRICH (Student, McMurray University): Like, go maroon?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: Well, that would be, you know - that would be the idea. You'd say go maroon, sort of thing.

Ms. WOOLRICH: Well, the cheerleaders, of course, have cheers that they lead that incorporate the color.

SIEGEL: You don't sound very excited about the maroon.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. WOOLRICH: Well, I just don't really know. I think it might be interesting to see if the students latch onto the color instead of onto a name.

SIEGEL: Well, regardless of what they cheer, Doty assured us that the Indian spirit is alive and well on campus. The college's founder grew up among Indians in the 19th century. Campus social clubs are named for tribes, and they try to honor their tribe's traditions. McMurray may yet have some hope for the NCAA to reconsider. Currently, North Dakota is suing the NCAA to keep their name, the Fighting Sioux, as in the brave Native Americans, not the brave litigate. But until then, cheerleaders in Abilene will just have to get used to Go McMurray! Or the old reliable, generic Go Team! Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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