NEWBERRY COLLEGE NICKNAME HISTORY
School Colors: Scarlet and Gray
Newberry College has played intercollegiate athletics in a variety of organizations dating back to an 1899 baseball team.
The Stylus, a student publications, reported in 1900 that baseball uniforms had been ordered; the colors were scarlet and garnet. Team colors were also reported in the publication as scarlet and silver gray in 1902 and scarlet and gray in 1903.
But why scarlet or garnet?
Benjamin Bedenbaugh's Centennial History of Newberry College wrote, "It was during the Cromer administration that the College colors were chosen. President Cromer invited the few girls in the student body to come to his home and examine the large supply of colors and shades that he had assembled. The girls preferred scarlet and gray because no other school seemed to be using these colors, and these became the choice of the College."
The use of "Indians" as the College nickname dates back to the early 1910s.
President James C. Kinard gave a version of the story in his November 1939 Newsletter that has been told many times over the years. He commented:
"The question has often been raised as to how the Newberry athletes became to be known as the 'Indians'. The story seems that back in the first days of college athletics a group of students decided to form an athletics association. They went to work and cleared off the punes back of what is now Carnegie Hall (editor's note: this is where the McClurg building is now). They sold forty-eight cords of wood and the proceeds were used to equip the field and the team. Having organized their baseball team, the boys now went in search of uniforms. They inquired of many sporting goods houses and finally located a firm that had on hand some flaming red uniforms which some major league team had bought but could not meet the payments. The Newberry boys got these uniforms at a low price and the brilliant red inspired the sports writers to call the Newberry players the 'Redmen', hence the name 'Indian'."
The first reference to "Red Men" or "Indians" in student publications came in the May 1909 The Stylus with the statement, "We do so with a full realization that the Red Men of '09 compose the best college team of the State."
The April 1914 The Stylus commented that "The Indians played nine (baseball) games during the season." The 1916 Newberrian reported "The 'indian' aggregation played thirteen games, meeting every inter-collegiate basketball team in the state at least one game and many of them twice, and on every occasion they left the court with the scalp of their opponents dangling from their girdle." The 1916 yearbook also used the first artwork picturing an Indian.
2005: "Hostile and Abusive"
In August 2005, Newberry College was placed on a watch list by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) along with 17 other schools which deemed the use of “Indians” as hostile and abusive, and prohibited the use of Native American nicknames, mascots and imagery in postseason competition.
In September 2005, Newberry College appealed to be removed from the list of schools which were declared unable to host postseason play on the basis that none of the institutions uses of “Indians” were hostile and/or abusive toward Native Americans.
The next month, the NCAA rejected Newberry’s appeal.
2006: Agreement reached with NCAA
On November 12, 2006, just hours before Newberry learned it had qualified for the NCAA Division II football playoffs and earned a home game, the College and the NCAA agreed on the status of the Indians nickname.
Newberry College President Dr. Mitchell M. Zais announced an accord had been reached with the NCAA that would allow the institution to host NCAA postseason contests on campus, should the College qualify.
The College had been under a postseason hosting ban since the NCAA instituted sanctions against any institution using Native American mascots, nicknames and/or imagery. The College informed the NCAA the intiation of a process of examining its nickname with the goal of resolving its dispute with the NCAA by the fall of 2008.
The NCAA has lifted the hosting ban and the College’s athletic teams will be able to use the Indian nickname and all current imagery until the fall of 2008.
2008-10: No nickname resolved
In accordance with the ruling by the NCAA, the College abandoned the use of all Indian nicknames and imagery. While no agreement had been reached, the College's teams were without a nickname for two academic years.
Summer 2009: Progress announced
The Newberry College Nickname Committee met June 18, 2009, to begin narrowing the scope of suggested nicknames.
Twelve months prior Billy Walker, chair of the Newberry College Board of Trustees, announced the formulation of the Newberry College Nickname Committee. This 11-member committee, chaired by Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina Marshall Prince, was responsible for investigating, deliberating and recommending a new nickname for Newberry College.
"During the past year, the committee has been very diligent in our quest to arrive at a recommendation that not only will be approved by the Board of Trustees, but will be embraced by the entire Newberry College family," said Prince.
In order to have a better understanding of where Newberry College's constituents stood on the nickname issue, approximately 16,000 questionnaires were sent to alumni, students and friends of the College in August 2008. Since that date, the nickname committee undertook their own independent investigation and pored over the responses and vetted each and every suggestion received from the questionnaires.
The committee adopted the following criteria when considering each nickname/mascot suggestion:
1. The new nickname and accompanying mascot must allow continued use of the school colors, scarlet and gray.
2. The new nickname and accompanying mascot must be something indigenous to the Newberry area or consistent with the College's history.
3. The new nickname and accompanying mascot must be easily marketable.
At the time of the announcement, the committee had narrowed their focus to a handful of remaining options and announced they would proceed to solicit final input from alumni and students before making a final recommendation to the board.
"We gave ourselves 24 months to come up with a new nickname, and we are right on track," said Chuck Wendt, vice president for institutional advancement. "The process has been slow and deliberate. I am very happy with the strides the committee has made."
2010: Wolves officially adopted as nickname
On June 7, 2010, athletic director Brad Edwards announced Newberry College had officially adopted "Wolves" as the nickname for the College's athletic teams.
"We're very excited to have this historic decision behind us," Edwards said. "I'm especially pleased that the nickname the Board of Trustees ultimately decided on was one that was suggested by the Newberry College student body."
In the interim timeframe between the Indians and the Wolves, Newberry was one of three colleges nationwide which competed without a nickname.