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Illinois Fighting Illini
The Fighting are the intercollegiate athletic teams of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The university offers 10 men's and 11 women's varsity sports. The University operates a number of athletic facilities, including Memorial Stadium for football, the State Farm Center for both men's and women's basketball, the Atkins Tennis Center for men's and women's tennis, and Huff Hall for the women's, the men's wrestling, and the men's teams. The Fighting Illini lay claim to over twenty-five National Championships dating back to 1900. The University's Division of Intercollegiate Athletics administers the official athletics teams of the University. All of the University's athletics teams participate in the NCAA's Division I, and form the Big Ten Conference with 13 other primarily midwestern universities. The football team participates in a subdivision within the Division I known as the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
A symbol of the University's athletic teams was, from 1926–2007, a Native American figure, Chief Illiniwek, who sparked significant controversy beginning in the 1980s. Critics of the Chief claimed that it was a racist stereotype and a symbol of the oppression to Native Americans that took place in past American history. Supporters claimed that it was inoffensive and a source of pride and reverence to the Native American heritage of Illinois Past Sioux elder, Frank Fools Crow, who made and sold an authentic ceremonial costume and headdress to the university. Recently, the Oglala Sioux tribe demanded the costume and headdress back from the university. A grandson of Fools Crow has stated he disagreed with the way the University used his grandfather's gift. The University was (and is) deeply divided on this issue; while some of the faculty condemned the symbol, the administration remained supportive of it. The University Board of Trustees announced on February 16, 2007, that the Chief's last public performance would be the final home game of the 2006–2007 Men's Basketball season.