Arkansas State chancellor forms committee to solicit ideas for new mascot

JONESBORO, Ark. -- The chancellor at Arkansas State said Wednesday the school would retire its Indian mascot, targeted by an NCAA ban on mascots that are ethnically or racially hostile or abusive.

Chancellor Robert L. Potts named a Mascot Selection Steering Committee to solicit ideas for a new mascot. He did not release a timetable for when American Indian imagery would be retired or when a new mascot would be announced.

A Mascot Review Committee unanimously endorsed dropping the Indian mascot. Potts said the search for a new mascot should be as broad as possible, saying he had taken note of letters to newspaper editors, media contests, e-mails and other communications received at his office.

"I believe that a broad-based group should be assembled to solicit and winnow suggestions from all ASU constituencies and the public but that a small steering committee will be needed to guide the process from its start to its conclusion," Potts said. He named nine people to the panel.

The new committee is also charged with establishing steps to retire the current mascot and develop a timeline.

The NCAA in 2005 announced a ban on ethnically or racially hostile or abusive nicknames, mascots and imagery at championship events. Arkansas State was one of the schools found in violation of the policy.