On Wednesday, everyone inside the Assembly Hall will witness the chiefs very last dance. Friday morning, the University announced its decision to retire the Chief.
The University says it made the decision to be taken off the NCAA's list of schools with hostile and abusive mascots. They say the chief tradition will be discontinued and no reference to Chief Illiniwek will be allowed in connection with the University.
The board of trustees did not take a final vote on the matter. Board Chairman Lawrence Eppley says that wasn't necessary.
He met individually with fellow trustees to discuss the matter and says they've exhausted all other options..
"This is a rule..we don't always bring resolutions to the board to say should we comply with the rule..this is a rule we're subject to a policy."
Chief supporters say, it's a sad day. And those against the chief believe it's a day that's been long overdue. Molly Springer is a member of the nation of Oklahoma. She says this is a significant day, but not the end.
"I wouldn't say we're 100 percent entirely ready to stand up and cheer. Racism is still an issue on this campus and although this is a time to reflect and is a positive day, we're just now scratching the surface of issues that are affecting our student population."
Nonetheless, it's a big step for those against the chief. For years, the Native American House has been voicing its opposition to the chief. During that time, the University Board of Trustees has been going through its "consensus process" to reach a resolution. But a year ago, he NCAA stepped in and that's what made the board act today.
Eppley says, "we were unable to come up with some other way of complying with the NCAA sanction despite countess numbers of conversations and investigations."
The NCAA banned the University from post-season play, saying the chief was a hostile and abusive mascot. The University stepped in and made the decision to get rid of the chief, after two appeals to the NCAA failed. The University says it doesn't want student athletes to miss out. Students for the Chief, like Paul Schmitt, say the move was not in the best interest of the University
"What's more important...something that has been inspirational and a historic part of institution for over 80 years. Or playing and hosting post season tournaments."
The University says it made the decision so athletes wouldn't miss out on post-season opportunities. It claims any pressure from the state legislature had not impact on the decision.