Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo on Monday announced the introduction of a new Battle of I-75 Trophy to be presented annually to the winner of the football game between the two schools.
The trophy will replace the Peace Pipe Trophy that had been used in the football rivalry since 1980.
The new Battle of I-75 Trophy, which is sponsored by Taylor Kia Automotive Group, was designed by Jeff Artz, who also designed the Biletnikoff Award Trophy, which is given annually to the top collegiate wide receiver in the country. The Peace Pipe Trophy will be permanently housed in the UT football trophy case as the Rockets won the most recent battle for the Peace Pipe, a 33-14 victory in 2010.
The two Mid-American Conference rivals have been playing each other in football since 1919 and will meet again at noon on Saturday at Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green. The two campuses are located just 25 miles apart, with most of that distance covered by I-75.
The schools agreed to change the trophy after conversations with members of the Native-American community. Taken into consideration was the spiritual symbolism of the peace pipe to the Native-American community, as well as the NCAA’s initiative to remove inappropriate Native American nicknames and symbols associated with member’s athletic teams.
“After discussing the issue with Native American leaders, as well as with BGSU athletic director Greg Christopher, we felt it was best to discontinue awarding the Peace Pipe to the winner of our annual football contest,” UT Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said. “We also felt this decision was consistent with the NCAA’s position regarding the use of Native American nicknames and symbolism. We look forward to a new chapter in our great football rivalry with the Falcons. We think the Battle of I-75 Trophy will serve as a great symbol for this rivalry for years to come.”
“Our fans, teams and the media have been identifying with the ‘Battle of I-75’ for several years so the name change will connect immediately," BGSU athletic director Greg Christopher said. "Mike O’Brien and I considered the sensitivity and we know this is the right thing to do. We are thrilled with the new trophy and it looks terrific. I would like to thank Jeff Artz for the work he did in creating an outstanding piece.”
Diane Bishop, the director of the Native American Women’s Alliance (NAWA) and a UT graduate, said the discontinuation the Peace Pipe Trophy was a positive step toward combating Native American stereotypes.
“I applaud both the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University for their open dialogue regarding concerns about the Peace Pipe Trophy, and their voluntarily discontinuing a trophy that perpetuated a stereotype of the past,” Bishop said. “Dialogue and education are the roads to understanding, and both universities led the way with their quick and respectful response regarding this issue.”