The College of Knowledge is looking for a new mascot, as I reported earlier this week.
But Judge Lou Campbell from Botetourt County kicked me a note, reminding me that a few years ago, Prof. George Grayson of the William & Mary government department issued a modest proposal that would have resolved the controversy of the day: What to do with the two feathers on the W&M “Tribe” logo.
A quick recap: The NCAA was leaning on any member school with a logo or nickname that was deemed offensive to Native Americans. Years ago, the W&M teams were known as “the Indians.” The name was chosen to honor the early link between the college and the nearby tribes. The Brafferton Building, one of the original structures in the W&M front campus, was built as an Indian school in 1723. Sometime later, the school adopted “The Tribe” as its team name.
The University of North Dakota and Florida State University successfully cited history and local tribe support to the NCAA to keep their names, the “Fighting Sioux” and the “Seminoles,” respectively.
Down in Williamsburg, W&M tucked it tail feathers between its legs, thanks to then-President Gene Nichol, and plucked the green and gold feathers from the logo. W&M adopted a logo that looks a lot like the one you’ll see on garbage trucks owned by a local waste management company, but that’s another story.
Back to Grayson: One of the five proposed mascots up for consideration is a wren. In his op-ed piece, as a way to resolve the feather controversy, Grayson proposed that the school change its team name to the William and Mary Wrens.
The wren was considered “the king of birds” in medieval Europe, Grayson wrote. He added, “These bold and resourceful creatures with their perky tail-feathers are avid insectivores. This would enable W&M to devour the mushy Spiders of the University of Richmond.” Hear, hear.
The historic Wren Building? Grayson said that it “logically would become the new nesting place for the Athletic Department” once the Wrens ruled the roost on campus.
Here’s guessing we can count on the good professor for at least one vote for the wren as mascot.