The University of Oregon and Oregon State University departments of athletics have mutually agreed to no longer refer to Oregon-Oregon State rivalry games as the “Civil War.”
The decision, announced Friday, is effective immediately and includes all athletic competitions in the 2020-21 academic year and in the years ahead.
The schools made the decision following mutual discussions as well as conversations with university officials and input from current and former student-athletes from both schools.
“Today’s announcement is not only right but is a long time coming, and I wish to thank former Duck great Dennis Dixon for raising the question and being the catalyst for change,” Oregon Director of Athletics Rob Mullens said in a statement.
“We must all recognize the power of words and the symbolism associated with the Civil War. This mutual decision is in the best interests of both schools, and I would like to thank (Oregon State Director of Athletics) Scott Barnes for his diligence as we worked through this process. We look forward to our continued and fierce in-state rivalry with Oregon State in all sports.”
Barnes also noted that a number of Oregon State student-athletes, alumni and friends have questioned the use of the term Civil War in our rivalry series in recent years.
“We initiated discussions with our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) about the possibility of eliminating the name ‘Civil War’ from our series and with their leadership, we are moving forward,” Barnes said in a statement. “We will embrace members of the university community, alumni, student-athletes, and friends of Oregon State to assist in a collaborative process with the University Of Oregon to consider other names for this historic rivalry.”
UO President Michael H. Schill said in a statement that the need to make the change is “to align the words and symbols we use around athletic endeavors with our shared campus values of equity and inclusivity.
“While the name of our annual game might change, it will absolutely continue to be one of the great rivalries in college sports,” Shill said.
OSU President Ed Ray said in a statement that changing the name of the rivalry “is overdue as it represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery.
“While not intended as reference to the actual Civil War, OSU sports competition should not provide any misconstrued reference to this divisive episode in American history. That we did not act before to change the name was a mistake. We do so now, along with other important actions to advance equal opportunity and justice for all and in recognition that Black Lives Matter.”
The football series between Oregon State and Oregon continues with the 124th annual game on Nov. 28 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, ranking this rivalry fifth in college football for the most games played in the series.
The Oregon-Oregon State series holds the collegiate record for the most men’s basketball games played with 354.