Oregon, Oregon State announce end to ‘Civil War’

The rivalry between Oregon and Oregon State will no longer be promoted as the “Civil War.”

The Pac-12 schools issued a joint statement on Friday after collaborating with university officials and current and former student-athletes.

“Changing this name is overdue as it represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery,” Oregon State president Ed Ray said. “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.”

Protests have swept the nation since last month’s death of George Floyd in police custody in Minnesota, causing college and professional sports programs to reflect and review their long-held traditions, school cheers, stadium names and on-campus statues.

“We must all recognize the power of words and the symbolism associated with the Civil War,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said. “This mutual decision is in the best interests of both schools, and I would like to thank (Oregon State athletic director) 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.”

Oregon and Oregon State have played each other 123 times in football since 1894. The Ducks and Beavers have met a record 354 times in men’s basketball, according to the release.