Oregon vs. Oregon State Football Rivalry Will No Longer Be Called 'Civil War'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2020

Oregon cornerback Mykael Wright (2) runs the ball to score a touchdown off a 98-yard kickoff return during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)
Amanda Loman/Associated Press

Oregon State University and the University of Oregon announced Friday games pitting their sports teams against each other will no longer use the term "Civil War" to describe the rivalry.

OSU president Ed Ray released a statement about the decision:

"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. 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."

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens also commented on the change:

"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. Thanks also to our current student-athletes for their leadership and input during this process. 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 [OSU AD] 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."

The schools' rivalry dates back to a 1894 meeting between their football teams. The Beavers and Ducks have faced each other an NCAA-record 354 times in men's basketball.

Oregon owns a 66-47-10 lead in the all-time football series, including three straight victories and 11 wins in the past 12 meetings dating back to 2008. The next matchup is scheduled for Nov. 28 at OSU in Corvallis.

With both programs part of the Pac-12 Conference, all of their men's and women's teams typically meet at least once on an annual basis.

Eliminating the Civil War moniker comes amid the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement, which has included widespread protests over the past month since George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed while in Minneapolis police custody in May.

The schools didn't immediately announce a new name for the rivalry, with Barnes saying they'd go through a "collaborative process" to develop one.