Colleges That Have Changed Their Nicknames and/or Due To Public Pressure
With Native American groups crying foul, universities have changed their nicknames so that they
will no longer be perceived as insensitive
At the turn of the 19th century, many professional and collegiate universities sought to unite their teams and fan
bases behind a particular nickname and mascot brand.  Many schools and teams chose generic Indian names while
others saluted particular tribes.
  • Arkansas State Indians are now the Red Wolves
  • Colgate Red Raiders became the Raiders
  • Dartmouth Indians became the Big Green
  • Louisiana-Monroe Indians became the Warhawks.  They also sent “Chief Brave Spirit” packing
  • Marquette Warriors became the Golden Eagles in 1994.  They also retired their mascot “Willie
    Wampum” in 1971.
  • Miami University changed from the Redskins to Redhawks in 1996
  • St. Johns Redmen became the Red Storm in 1995
  • Stanford Indians are now the Stanford Cardinal
  • Syracuse Orangemen became the “Orange”.  They also retired the mascot known as the “Saltine
  • UMass Redmen became the Minutemen in 1972
Too Late to Free Willie
Marquette University was once known as
the Warriors.  In 1961 a mascot known as
Willie Wampum made his first appearance at
a Marquette basketball game.  Willie had a
10-year mascot rein before he was retired.  
The university held onto the Warriors
nickname until becoming the Golden Eagles in
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College Football
Nicknames &
Notable Colleges That Have Made Nickname Changes

Fired Mascots: Due to public pressure, these collegiate mascots were given their walking papers by their
respective universities.

  • Illinois: Chief Illiniwek
  • Tennessee Chattanooga: Chief Moccanooga
  • University of Oklahoma: Big Red
  • Ole Miss: Colonel Reb
  • Syracuse: The Saltine Warrior
FBS Universities Still Sporting Native American Nicknames:

  • Central Michigan Chippewas
  • Florida State Seminoles
  • San Diego Aztecs
  • Utah Utes
Colonel Reb Was Demoted
This beloved costumed mascot first took
the field for Ole Miss in 1979.  However
as officials at the University have
continued to separate Ole Miss from its
Confederate traditions, Colonel Reb was
removed from the sidelines and from his
official role as an Ole Miss mascot.
Former Illinois Mascot
Chief Illiniwek
Although the University's mascot is the
"Fighting Illini," Indian groups branded the
mascot as a misappropriation of
indigenous cultural figures and rituals.  
The NCAA piled on in 2005 and labeled the
mascot as "hostile or abusive."  The
NCAA went on the warpath against the
school and banned Illinois from hosting
postseason events as long as Chief
Illiniwek continued to be employed.  The
Chief's final performance was at a
February 21, 2007 basketball game.  As a
sign of mourning their mascot, fans
donned black shirts during the second half
of the game.
The Saltine Warrior
In 1931,an Indian dressed mascot
began appearing at Syracuse
University sporting events.  The
costume was donned by Lambda Chi
brothers for a 4-decade run before
other students were allowed to
participate.  As time passed by,
there was pressure from Native
Americans to retire the Saltine
Warrior.  This mascot tradition was
retired by the school in 1978.