The Win-Win Of Illiniwek Proposal Lost On University

Saturday’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) In life, there are precious few win-wins.

But when one does actually come along? Well, it’s a shame to not take advantage of it.

Nevertheless, that appears to be the path that the University of Illinois is choosing to take when it comes to the issue of Chief Illiniwek, who could return as a reinvented tradition that would be a win-win for all stakeholders – alumni, students, fans, the university and, most significantly, the members of the Peoria Tribe.

But instead, based on comments made this week by university leaders following a meeting in Chicago, they seem to be lost on that point.

And, sadly, their mindsets seem to be stuck in neutral.

Early last month, news broke that the Council of Chiefs – a group comprised of the men who once portrayed the university’s banished symbol – had submitted a plan to the U. of I. administration that would bring back an adapted version of Chief Illiniwek for twice-a-year, on-field appearances for a two-year trial basis.

The twist to this new proposal was that the Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma – one of the original Native American tribes of Illini Confederation – had expressed willingness to be involved with adapting the Chief tradition, if the university was on board the idea.

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