Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Political Science

First Advisor

Marshall Damgaard

Second Advisor

Gary Larson

Third Advisor

Scott Breuninger


NCAA, Imagery, Mascots


Every sports team is represented by its name, mascot, and logo. For many, the representative of their team is an historical people. Recent pushes for social justice have started questioning nicknames and mascots, leading to many getting changed. In 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) enacted a policy that prohibited universities with hostile or abusive nicknames from postseason participation. Because of this policy, many schools were forced to change names despite efforts to keep them. The University of North Dakota and Florida State University were two schools forced to look at their name, and both fought to keep their mascots. Both North Dakota and Florida State had histories and relationships with their respective tribes. However, the NCAA deemed that Florida State’s relationship with the Seminole Tribe was unique. The University of South Dakota acts as an interesting study of how deep to dig into a nickname and its history, since mascots can no longer be hostile or abusive.



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