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University of Illinois leader says no new mascot pick yet

Illinois Fighting Illini fans cheer against the Norfolk State Spartans during the game at Assembly Hall on December 11, 2012 in Champaign, Illinois. | Joe Robbins/Getty Images

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A top University of Illinois official says a new campus committee won’t be choosing a replacement for the school’s former Chief Illiniwek mascot.

The new Commission on Native Imagery: Healing and Reconciliation met for the first time Thursday on the Urbana-Champaign campus. It was established following the September release of a university report suggesting adoption of a new sports mascot and traditions to replace the Chief Illiniwek portrayal that was dropped in 2007 after complaints from American Indians that it was offensive.

The News-Gazette reports Chancellor Robert Jones says the commission could recommend a process for picking a mascot, but would also look to “honor and partner” with Native American tribes.

The commission includes former Illinois athletes, trustees, Chief Illiniwek portrayers and Native Americans.