UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS' 81-YEAR-OLD TRADITION WILL COME TO AN END WEDNESDAY
CHAMPAIGN - Chief Illiniwek, the revered and reviled symbol of the University of Illinois for more than 80 years, will dance for the last time next week.
Larry Eppley, chairman of the U of I's board of trustees, said Friday that the Chief's last halftime performance will take place Wednesday, when the Illini face Michigan in the last home game of the men's basketball season.
Eppley said deciding to bench the Chief had been only a matter of time since April, when the NCAA banned the U of I from hosting postseason tournaments until the Chief stopped performing. The university subsequently lost two appeals seeking to overturn the sanctions. . .
Reem Rahman, a Chief opponent and director of the U of I's chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said stopping the Chief dance "has been a big part of making the community more inclusive."
"But it's not a complete step," she said, since the Chief remains the university's official symbol.
"We'll have to see what happens," she said.