Mississippi College keeps Choctaws nickname

JACKSON, Miss. -- Mississippi College is allowed to keep its Choctaws nickname without fear of penalty because a local tribe
endorsed its use, school and NCAA officials said Friday.

The NCAA staff review committee removed the Clinton, Miss.-based
Division III school from a list of colleges with objectionable
nicknames because the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians granted
approval for the school to use the nickname, mascot and other
related images.

"We are very appreciative of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Indians' support of our use of the Choctaw name, and look forward
to continuing our mutual relationship of respect and cooperation,"
school president Lee Royce said.

Bernard Franklin, the NCAA's senior vice president for
governance and membership, said the committee respects the tribe's
decision to permit use of the Choctaws name.

"The NCAA recognizes that there are, and will be, disagreements
among Native American individuals, groups and tribes concerning the
use of mascots, nicknames and imagery in sports.

"In those instances in which a tribe endorses the use of its
name and associated imagery, the NCAA defers to the judgment and
will of the tribe," Franklin said in a statement.

The NCAA ruled last August that schools are barred from wearing
uniforms with their Indian references at NCAA championships.
Schools with nicknames deemed offensive by the NCAA were prohibited
from hosting those events as of Feb. 1.

Some schools, including Florida State -- which uses Seminoles as
its mascot -- have successfully appealed to keep their current