OSU and OU drop sports rivalry nickname 'Civil War'

Universities must be careful to not make "any misconstrued reference" to the actual Civil War.

OSU and OU have announced that their sports rivalry will no longer be refereed to as the "Civil War."

Oregon State University President Edward Ray said in a statement that Oregon State University and the University of Oregon have decided that “the term ‘Civil War’ will no longer be used to promote any athletic competition between the universities.”

The rivalry must be renamed because “it represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery.” Even though it is not meant to allude “to the actual Civil War,” the universities should not “provide any misconstrued reference to this divisive episode in American history.”

While community members have demanded in the past that the rivalry no longer be called the “Civil War,” the universities are now taking action “in recognition that Black Lives Matter.”

[RELATED: UF to end ‘Gator Bait’ chant, mandate racism training for students]

Oregon Director of Athletic Rob Mullens and UO President Michael Schill both agreed that this is a necessary change to promote a more inclusive campus climate. According to Mullens, this “catalyst for change” came from Dennis Dixon for speaking out on this controversy. 

Universities have a responsibility to “recognize the power of words and the symbolism associated with the Civil War,” Mullens and Schill said.


“We need to make this change to align the words and symbols we use around athletic endeavors with our shared campus values of equity and inclusivity,” Schill said. 

“While the name of our annual game might change, it will absolutely continue to be one of the great rivalries in college sports,” he added.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KestecherLacey