http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070216/SPORTS/702160525 IndyStar.com Sports Illinois will drop Indian mascot Associated Press URBANA, Ill. -- The University of Illinois' American Indian mascot, Chief Illiniwek, will no longer perform at athletic events at the school's main campus after Wednesday -- the last men's home game of the season, officials said. The move makes the school eligible to host postseason NCAA championship events. The NCAA in 2005 deemed Illiniwek -- portrayed by buckskin-clad students who dance at home football and basketball games and other athletic events -- an offensive use of American Indian imagery and barred the university from hosting postseason events. "The Chief Illiniwek tradition inspired and thrilled members of the University of Illinois community for 80 years," Board of trustees chairman Lawrence Eppley said in a statement. "It was created, carried on, and enjoyed by people with great respect for tradition, and we appreciate their dedication and commitment. It will be important now to ensure the accurate recounting and safekeeping of the tradition as an integral part of the history of the University." American Indian groups and others have complained for years that the mascot, used since 1926, is demeaning. Supporters of the mascot say it honors the contributions of American Indians to Illinois. The NCAA's sanctions thus far have prevented Illinois from hosting only two postseason events, both in low-profile sports.