This Just In: News that Stays News
The new Chief, now called "Attorney" Illiniwek, arrives at midfield in a silver Lexus, dressed in a three-piece suit with neat braids running down his back, dark sunglasses, a cell phone in one hand and a briefcase in the other. He still stomps up and down the sidelines, but now, instead of war whoops, he’s apt to respond to a questionable call on the field by shouting “I object!” Occasionally, he’ll go face-to-face with a ref and “serve him papers,” saying curtly, “I’ll see you in court.” When the Illini score a touchdown, he swings his briefcase in the air, performs a series of back flips, and places a cell phone call to a lucky fan.
The football fans have surprisingly taken to this new “Indian” mascot. A group of twelve University of Illinois seniors have bought up the seats behind Attorney Illiniwek’s customary position and have dubbed themselves “The Jury.” They call Mr. Illiniwek variously “The Prosecutor” or “The Attorney for the Defense,” depending on whether the Illini have the ball or not. Illiniwek will occasionally plead his case to them; they signal their verdict with thumbs up or down.
Other schools are responding to the NCAA’s edict in similar ways. The Bradley University Braves, for example, now feature a Native American installation artist as their mascot. At a recent game, "Ms. Teters," as school officials call her, built a satirical installation that parodied the other team’s offense, an anachronistic Texas Wishbone, so effectively that the embarrassed quarterback could not concentrate on calling the plays. Bradley won the game 63-0.
These early triumphs augur well for the new regulation’s success, though not everyone is pleased. The Southwestern College ”Moundbuilders” thought, given their nickname, a contemporary Indian architect could serve as their mascot. Fans, however, were less than enthused when the dapper, if slightly tousled, mascot ignored the game and spent two and a half hours building an intricate scale model of the stadium instead.