Mississippi College Choctaws
|Mississippi College Choctaws|
|Conference||Transitioning to Gulf South Conference|
|NCAA||NCAA Division II|
|Athletic director||Mike Jones|
|Football stadium||Robinson-Hale Stadium|
|Basketball arena||A. E. Wood Coliseum|
|Colors||Blue and Gold|
The Mississippi College Choctaws are the athletic teams of Mississippi College. On July 11, 2014 the NCAA approved entering their second year of NCAA Division II candidacy. The Choctaws are in the process of becoming full members of the Gulf South Conference. The college sponsors teams in football, basketball (men's and women's), baseball, softball, tennis (men's & women's), golf (men's & women's), soccer (women's), volleyball, track and field (men's outdoor & women's indoor & outdoor), cross country running (men's & women's), equestrian (women's), and table tennis (men's & women's). In the second year of transition, the Choctaws compete against members of the Gulf South Conference. They will become full members of NCAA Division II and a full Gulf South Conference member in 2016-17.
The philosophy of intercollegiate athletics at Mississippi College is much the same as the vision statement of Mississippi College. The vision statement reads: "Mississippi College seeks to be a university recognized for academic excellence and commitment to the cause of Christ.”
For years Mississippi College was a dominant force in NCAA Division II athletics. MC won the Division II National Championship in 1989, however, Mississippi College's football tournament participation, along with its NCAA Division II national football championship, were vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions for recruiting violations.
The Board of Trustees of Mississippi College voted in March 1995 for the university to become a member of Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the fall of 1997.
Mississippi College currently sponsors 16 sports. Since their transition to Division III in 1997, the Choctaws have won 25 American Southwest Conference championships. In 2007, the College won conference championships in women's cross country and men's basketball.
Mississippi College's biggest rivalry is with Millsaps College in nearby Jackson. After a more than 40-year hiatus, the two teams began meeting on the football field again in 2000. The rivalry is dubbed the Backyard Brawl.
In the summer of 2005 Mississippi College opened new athletic practice fields which support soccer and football. Plans include expansion in the near future which will add an extra practice field as well as two new intramural fields for student flag football, soccer, and general student use.
In a letter dated February 17, 2006, Mississippi College received word that the NCAA has removed its policy restrictions in the use of the name Choctaw for MC athletics. The school did stop using the former mascot, Chief Choc.
Lee Royce, president of the college said, "We are pleased with the ruling from the NCAA giving their approval of our request to remove Mississippi College from the list of institutions subject to the policy’s restrictions. We are very appreciative of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ support of our use of the Choctaw name, and look forward to continuing our mutual relationship of respect and cooperation."
Rev. Montie Davis of Pascagoula, MS came up with the mascot name "Choctaws" while attending college at Mississippi College. Prior to being named the Choctaws the schools football team was called the "Collegians." The 1921 football teams went 7-2-1 with wins over Tulane University and the University of Mississippi and also a tie with the University of Florida. After this great year the students at Mississippi College decided that the name Collegians just did not fit the team and decided to hold a contest for where students could submit possible nicknames which would be voted on. Rev. Davis found that an old Choctaw trail crossed the campus and it was part of the original Natchez Trace, so he entered the name "Choctaws." His suggestion, plus three other --- Yellowjackets, Dutchies, and Warriors --- were among the final four to be voted on. Rev. Davis was quick to point out to his fellow students why three of the names would not be acceptable. "Yellowjackets," he said, "were good only in dry weather" and just the week before the football team had played on a muddy and wet field. Dutchies was in honor of the president of MC, Dr. J.W. Provine, and wouldn't mean anything to people outside the school. Warriors? What Warriors? Rev. Davis let the students know that the Choctaws were known for their bravery, fair play, had speed to burn, could run like deer, and could swim like a fish if needed. After the final vote was cast, the name "Choctaws" was the clear winner and the school has been called that ever since the 1921 season. 
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