Chief Illiniwek has been a tradition at the University of Illinois for more than 80 years. He wasn't always controversial. Chief Illiniwek debuted in 1926, at a U of I Pennsylvania football game. In 1975, the Chief logo was removed from official university stationary. Fourteen years later in 1989, students would protest on campus against the chief. In 1990 trustees vote to keep Chief Illiniwek as a symbol of the school. Then in 1997, debate over the symbol grows when the documentary "In Whose Honor" airs on public television. Three years later, descendants of the Illini tribe ask the University to stop using the symbol. In 2001, there was little hope for compromise. In 2003, a proposal to retire Chief Illiniwek was withdrawn. In the next two years, the trustees move to honor the state's Native American heritage. But in 2005, the NCAA bans the U of I from hosting post season play. A year later, the school's appeal is rejected. Several teams had to travel elsewhere to play in championship tournaments.
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