February 19, 2007
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
Committee on Equal Opportunity
EQ.07.01 EQ Committee Intervention on HR 5289
Representative Tim Johnson, along with then-Speaker Hastert and three other congressmen, proposed what they named the "Protection of University Governance Act" or HR 5289. It states that "an entity that regulates intercollegiate sports shall not impose any penalty or sanction on, or deny any benefit to, an institution of higher education by reason of the team name, symbol, emblem, or mascot of any intercollegiate sports activity of such institution." It further stipulates that such a regulating entity may be subject to a legal injunction and financial damage claims. Representative Johnson has made it clear that the submission of this act was a response to the NCAA's punitive measures against the University of Illinois athletic program because of the Chief.
Representative Johnson organized a hearing on the bill at Parkland College on December 14. Aside from Representative Johnson, three other congressmen who were not sponsors of the act participated in the hearing. Only those invited to do so by Representative Johnson were permitted to speak or to react in any audible way to what was said. I was not invited to speak nor was I permitted to do so when I made a request a few days prior to the event. However, as Chair of the Equal Opportunity Committee, and with the agreement of that committee, I did present the following letter to each of the representatives who participated in the hearing. Congressman Johnson's staffer assured me that the letter would be entered into the official record.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
A. Belden Fields, Chair