Whittingham supports university's new memorandum of understanding with Ute Tribe

Published: Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:40 p.m. MDT

Little Miss Ute Tribe Sundae Pargeets watches as University of Utah President David Pershing, center, and Ute Tribe Chairman Gordon Howell, right, finish signing a memorandum of understanding Tuesday, April 15, 2014, between the tribe and the school. The new agreement allows University of Utah sports teams to continue using the Ute name and the drum and feather logo. In exchange, the university will provide scholarships for Native American students, create an unpaid part-time position to advise Pershing on Native American affairs and its athletes will take part in outreach events with Native American children.

Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Tuesday’s “Memorandum of Understanding between the Ute Indian Tribe and the University of Utah” was huge. The agreement encourages the university to use the “Ute” name for its sports programs with the full support of the tribe.

“We’ve been the Utes forever and that’s our mascot, our logo,” Whittingham said. “… I wasn’t really in on any of the discussion, obviously, but to be able to get things lined up and everybody on the same page, I think, is a big positive.”

Whittingham expressed hope that after hearing things off and on for the past several years about being able to use the circle and feathers logo that it can be put to rest — at least for the time being.

“So that’s a good thing,” Whittingham said. “That’s part of the heritage of the university and the football program.”

As for talk of a commemorative jersey to be worn by the football team each November, Whittingham was aware of the discussion.

“I’ve heard things to that effect,” he said. “I haven’t seen or heard exactly what’s going to take place, but I have heard that that’s going to happen.”

Whittingham added that he supports it.

“Sure. Absolutely. No question.”

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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