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OSU Pres Ray and UO Pres Schill agree to end athletic “Civil War”

About time. Hundreds of millions of donor dollars, and hundreds of “student-athlete” concussions will be saved by ending this annual battle and the football teams it requires.

Just kidding, they’re only going to rename it. The wasteful spending and blood will continue. Thanks to a reader for forwarding OSU’s statement. There’s discussion on the “Things overheard at OSU” facebook page here.

Members of OSU community,

I am writing to share that Oregon State University and the University of Oregon have agreed that effective immediately the term “Civil War” will no longer be used to promote any athletic competition between the universities.

As you likely know, “Civil War” has been used for football and basketball games — and other sports competition — between OSU and UO since the phrase was first referenced in the 1930’s.

Changing this name 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.

In recent years, some students, faculty, alumni, student-athletes, OSU stakeholders and community members have questioned the appropriateness of this term. 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.

President-elect King Alexander and I are in full agreement with this decision. So is UO President Mike Schill, OSU Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes, and UO Athletics Director Rob Mullens, as well as numerous current and past student-athletes from both universities.

In the months ahead, OSU and the University of Oregon will engage collaboratively to involve their respective students, faculty, staff, student-athletes, alumni, donors, community partners and athletics sponsors to consider other, more appropriate names, if any, to call the athletics rivalry between our two great universities.

I encourage your support and engagement in this naming transition, as we work to identify other areas where our references, practices and norms do not represent our values of diversity and inclusivity.


Edward J. Ray, OSU President


  1. Fishwrapper 06/26/2020

    Platypus Games. ‘nuf sed.

    • Tug o' the Forelock 06/26/2020

      Chef’s kiss.

  2. honest Uncle Gangsta 06/26/2020

    So now the American Civil War was fought to perpetuate slavery. I had always thought that the consequence was to end slavery. The Gettysburg Address, the Second Inaugural, all that stuff. Glad that the two Oregon pres are setting things straight. And that they are signaling that these two great universities are not about perpetuating slavery.

    Maybe they will sleep better knowing that their hazardous rivalry is no longer associated with the “peculiar institution.”

    • uomatters Post author | 06/26/2020

      Wow – you actually read Ray’s letter. Nice catch:
      “Changing this name 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.”
      Sort of odd to call the war that preserved the union and freed the slaves “divisive”. Secession was divisive. Letting the slave-holding states leave would have been divisive. The “War to Save the Union” was an effort to preserve unity – and, as a success, it was the opposite of divisive.
      BTW, both sides in the real Civil War paid their soldiers. It’s true that the Union paid its Black soldiers less, but it was still about $300 in today’s money – and all soldiers got pensions and widows benefits – pretty good compared to what UO and OSU pay their players.

      • honest Uncle Bernie 06/26/2020

        Yes — but the Oregon generals are handsomely paid.

        Yes, I often read the crap these people put out, their thought processes hold a morbid fascination. They kind of remind me of academics in the Chinese cultural revolution. But of course, Schill and Ray and Conover are better paid.

        The academics in Germany also interesting for comparison, and the USSR too.

        I’m still waiting to hear the results of the ongoing investigation of who the statue perps are. Our ace police force surely will succeed.

        • uomatters Post author | 06/26/2020

          I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Pres Schill is not exactly pressuring Chief Carmichael to arrest the good citizens who rid UO of these troublesome statues. This seems more likely:

    • Fishwrapper 06/26/2020

      hUG typed:

      So now the American Civil War was fought to perpetuate slavery.

      Now? Always. It was, in fact, predicated on the perpetuation of slavery. The conflict was started by states who wanted to maintain their institution of slavery – look at what they wrote on their way out in their instruments of secession. The hostilities were started against the United States of America by those treasonous secessionists, and the fighting continued until they finally gave up on their cause. Of course, the joke is on the Union, as the racists never truly gave up the fight…

    • Fishwrapper 06/26/2020

      Additionally – who in this nation, when you say the phrase, “Civil War,” does not flash on the actual, historical Civil War? And so, when you hear that phrase to denote a sportsball event, let me ask you this: Which side is your team on?

      • honest Uncle Bernie 06/26/2020

        I always thought that calling it the “Oregon Civil War” kind of trivialized things, as happens so often in Oregon. But virtue signaling in the current instance, basically denying that the real Civil War had anything to do with ending slavery, is a moral travesty. Cheap and meretricious as it is.

        • Fishwrapper 06/26/2020

          The reasons stated for the south to leave prominently featured their desire to maintain slavery. The reason the north responded in kind to the fighting was to preserve the union. Fighting to “end slavery” came later in the conflict; indeed, the Emancipation Proclamation, to which so many incorrectly point as the moment slavery ended, only officially ended slavery in the rebel states. Ed Ray’s choice of words are historically accurate, and correct, and do not otherwise deny that an outcome of the conflict was, ultimately, the abolition of slavery, regardless of whether they fit a modern definition of virtue signaling.

          • honest Uncle Bernie 06/26/2020

            It takes a really perverse mind to say what you just said.

            It would actually be more accurate to say that WWII was fought to promote antisemitism.

            • Fishwrapper 06/26/2020

              I’ll bite: What was not accurate in my statement? You do know why the southern states seceded, yes? You do remember President Lincoln stating, in his first inaugural, after those states seceded, that we must fight to preserve the union, right? Even after the initial exchange of fire and more states joined the cause to preserve slavery, Lincoln tried to assuage the border states with assurances that the conflict was not to be about slavery or blacks rights, to keep them in the Union fold.

              Slavery was absolutely at the root of the Civil War – I think we agree on that (I hope), but the hostilities commenced to preserve it. Northern generals thought it was annoyed uprising; all they had to do was put it down, get the boil down to a simmer, and kick that can down the road. Lincoln arrived in office against slavery, but he could not press the defense of the union on that point – until later in the course of the war. The north was late to the slavery cause when it came to that war; fortunately, the north ultimately prevailed, and all vestiges of slavery and its cultural descendants were wiped from this continent. Yes, you’re right, I’m wrong – it was fought to end slavery, and the north won. Got it.

              • honest Uncle Bernie 06/28/2020

                See my sentence about WWII and antisemitism.

                To repeat: it takes real perverseness — a university president — to state that the Civil War was fought to promote slavery.

                • Fishwrapper 06/29/2020

                  It takes real perverseness to suggest the Civil War was not fought to preserve slavery. Fortunately, that cause lost the fighting war; unfortunately, that war was not the end of the underlying symptoms.

            • admiring anon 06/27/2020

              Fishwrapper is cool!

              • Observer 06/28/2020

                Let’s just say the American Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery. And certainly it is not the only civil war ever fought — but for the vast majority of Americans, if you say “Who fought in the Civil War?”, they won’t say, “The Civil War of which country?” They’ll give you an answer referring to the American Civil War. So any allusion to “the Civil War” will be taken as an allusion to the one centered on slavery. The point is that calling a sports event a “Civil War” trivializes the American Civil War, as if an event in which hundreds of thousands defended slavery, and 750,000 Americans died, is nothing more than a light-hearted, semi-fantastical skirmish that we can play like a game of tag. You may not agree with all this, but let’s be clear on what the objections are.

                • Fishwrapper 06/28/2020

                  Observer is cooler.

        • anon 06/27/2020

          Out of respect for all your foreign students, perhaps calling it ‘a civil war’ and not ‘THE civil war’ is appropriate: to students from china civil war means something very different. Indeed scholars of war …….heck, just see wikipedia :
          Odd but I thought the civil war analogy quite appropriate and not at all linked to the US Civil war. But virtue signaling lives on its own world.

          • anon2 06/28/2020

            Totally agree. However, I think it has always been called just “Civil War” and when mentioned as ‘the Civil War game’ it was making reference to that specific game in the schedule.

            But let’s face it….this was always an advertising gimmick and nothing more. The virtue signalers, who are now legion, are all-in on gimmicks and symbolism, lacking basic common sense.

          • ODA 06/29/2020

            As an Oregon transplant, when I first arrived here and heard for the first time about the “civil war’, I worried that it may be one of those turn of the century nods to slavery. Then there was this statue with a bull whip in his hand, and no oxen or cattle to drive? So I did some digging and found Vannport and the Oregon constitution;Fortunately, I did not see any dixie flags flying when the game finally did come. Now on trucks in the southern part of the state…

            • Fishwrapper 06/29/2020

              On trucks as far south as Philomath…

  3. Former Duck, Current Beaver 06/26/2020

    I’m excited for the annual Phil Knight Showdown!

  4. thedude 06/26/2020

    Everyone knows the revolutionary war was fought to preserve colonialism.

  5. Townie 06/27/2020

    The NCAA should allow the AD to separate from UofO and become an independent entity.

    The AD/Ducks Athletics can share revenue amongst themselves and pay their own way when it comes to scholarships (unless they are fully endowed) .

    Give UofO oversight when it comes to branding decisions.

    UofO shouldn’t be in the sports business. Academics do not know anything about business and are generally poor leaders, but good boot kissers, sorry!

  6. Sadness 06/28/2020

    why not call game ‘…between the vineyards”?

    alternatively: “the western front”, nah. too militaristic.

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