As the pundits of political correctness ravage the Land of Cotton and as the old times there are being forgotten; heritage is slowly fading as southerners continue to look away, look away, look away down south in Dixie.

By David C. Daniels, Editor and Publisher

On February 4th, John Thompson, President of the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced that they will change its name to the USA South Athletic Conference.
The change will be completed by June 30th.

According to Thompson, the possibility of a name change had been discussed on a presidential level within the Conference for the past year-and-a-half. The athletic directors proposed the name to the Presidents and it was approved unanimously. "The energy and dynamics of the Conference have been transformed in the past couple of years with the addition of a fulltime Commissioner, Sports Information Director, sports and institutions. These positive forces of growth led us into discussions for the selection of a new name that would be reflective of our national reputation in the NCAA Division III, show respect and sensitivity to all members and denote our regional geographical location."

Ted Kinder, athletic director of Ferrum College is quoted "…there does seem to be a negative association with 'Dixie,' and if it's offensive, it's probably best to change the name."
"We thought it was in our best interest to have a name that was better descriptive and didn't hold a potential for
controversy," Shenandoah president James Davis said.
"There were comments regarding the name 'Dixie' and how it brings forth some of the racist-type issues that come up in association with maybe the Confederate

flag and those kind of things," Kinder said. "It's the same

type of thing as we're seeing with Indian mascots across
the country, those kind of issues."

"A lot of people didn't really think about it, to be honest with you, until it was brought to their attention. Some people said, 'Now that you mention it, it does kind of reflect badly,'" Kinder said.

Paul Trible, President of Christopher Newport University and Chairman of the Conference Presidents Council added, "Our new name, USA South Athletic Conference, honors our national reputation, underscores our location and is more appropriate to America in the 21st century."

Members of the Dixie Conference include Averett, Chowan, Christopher Newport, Ferrum, Greensboro, Methodist, N.C. Wesleyan and Shenandoah. Peace College will join the conference for the 2003-04 season.

Though this particular change is not earth shattering to those of us that live in Cookeville, it is just another assault on our heritage and a caving in to those of "political correctness".
Other instances of "Dixie" bashing include a 1999 occurrence when the song "Dixie," was led by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist in front of a Hot Springs conference of judges and lawyers. The National Bar Association called the song a "symbol of slavery."

Also, in 2000, Virginia Military Institute punished two members of its pipe and drum band for playing a few bars of "Dixie" at a ceremony because VMI spokesman Mike Strickler said the song was "offensive to black cadets."

So, look out Dixie Chicks, Winn-Dixie and Dixie Carter, your next; and if it weren't for the oxymoron of North in North Dixie Avenue, as in the Cookeville street name, could we also not expect a change in that?



© 2003 The Highlander Dispatch and the Dillard-Judd Camp