Call it political correctness; call it cancel culture; call it whatever you want. It has struck again. George Washington University in downtown Washington DC has decided to change its nickname. No longer will athletes at GWU play as “The Colonials” because some folks have decided that name:
“… had a negative connotation regarding violence toward Native Americans and other colonized people.”
So, in our newly enlightened age and in our new perspective on history, what are we going to call those thirteen entities that declared independence from England in the 18th century? Maybe call them the Co-Ops?
George Washington lived in a part of the world that was – – take a breath here – – a colony. Changing the nickname of a university named for him will change exactly nothing that George Washington did or that anyone of George Washington’s contemporaries did. This is nothing more than platinum-plated virtue signaling.
The ever-so-well-meaning folks at GWU started out with a list of 10 possible name changes and have evidently reduced that list to 4 “finalists”:
- The Ambassadors: I am no historian, but I do not recall any time when George Washington was an ambassador to anywhere.
- The Revolutionaries: Washington led an army of revolutionaries so this name might make a smidgen of sense – – but those revolutionaries inflicted violence on lots of other folks.
- The Sentinels: Washington was a general in charge of the Continental Army; he never stood watch as a sentinel; sentinels stood watch to protect him.
- The Blue Fog: Seriously, think about how irrelevant and stupid the other six potential nicknames must have been to get whacked from the original list of 10 possibilities and yet, The Blue Fog remains in contention.
The school mascot will not be changed – just the team name. The mascot is a guy in a costume appropriate for – dare I say it – colonial times with a white wig. Now imagine that guy running out of the team locker room and onto a basketball court leading a bunch of other guys known as The Blue Fog.
One other loose end that the visionaries at GWU might want to consider is this. The school newspaper is The Hatchet. Just maybe, some of those “colonists” used hatchets to perpetrate less-than-amicable acts upon “Native Americans and other colonialized people.” Maybe that newspaper needs rebranding when bathed in the light of modern awareness. If and when that level of awareness dawns at GWU, let me suggest that the new name for the paper be The Asshat. No connotation about violent acts toward anyone with that label but it does seen to relate to current thinking at the university.
Moving on … There is a much more interesting story related to collegiate athletics than the ongoing nickname saga at GWU. A lawsuit has been filed against the Ivy League asserting that the Ivy League’s policy of not giving athletic scholarships – – only “need-based scholarships – – violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act because that policy amounts to price-fixing. The complaint here says:
“The Ivy League Agreement, in short, has stymied competition that would have lowered, and would lower, the net cost of attendance. These injuries are particularly unfair given what is required of Ivy League Athletes and how their services benefit their schools and the Ivy League brand.”
In response, this is the statement from the Ivy League regarding this complaint:
“The Ivy League athletics model is built upon the foundational principle that student-athletes should be representative of the wider student body, including the opportunity to receive need-based financial aid.”
If these are the opening salvos in this action, it seems to me that neither side wants to acknowledge fundamental questions about their own position:
- No Ivy League Athlete is forced to play a varsity sport; that is a free choice made by those athletes.
- No Ivy League Athlete was a victim of bait-and-switch where they thought they would get an athletic scholarship from the school but then found out that no such scholarships existed.
- The Ivy League statement rests on the league’s model that has been in place for about 70 years – – but does not address the possibility that it has been in violation of extant law for any or all of that time.
I have no idea if this complaint will gain traction; the plaintiffs are seeking to make this a class action lawsuit. However, this is much more interesting to me than the nickname change at GWU.
Sticking with college stuff today, this is the weekend of the Final Four and I find the betting odds interesting. UConn is the favorite to win it all on Monday night but only as a tepid favorite.
- As of this morning the futures odds for UConn to be the national champion range from minus-125 to minus-130.
- As of this morning, the longest future odds are on FAU at +650.
My pick has been UConn since the first weekend of the tournament. What I would like to see is a UConn/San Diego St. game matching good offense and good defense. We shall see…
Finally, I began today with what I consider to be the absurdity of changing the nickname of George Washington University, so let me close with these words from the philosopher, Thomas Hobbes:
“The privilege of absurdity; to which no living creature is subject but man alone.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………
4 thoughts on “College Stuff Today …”
Well done. Multiple LOL laugh lines, especially on the GW issues.
Thanks. I think the folks at GWU have gone waaaay off the rails…
Back in the 80s the St. John’s Redmen were a major force in the Big East, even hot #1 nationally briefly in the Chris Mullin days. They renamed the team the Red Storm. They have not been significant since.
May the erstwhile Colonials be oppressed by the other teams in all their conferences for decades to come.
It has been a while since GW has been “relevant” so I doubt the name change is going to have much of an observable effect.
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