Dropping the nickname Rebels would cost UNLV over $10 million

Nevada lawmakers are expected to discuss a bill that require public school districts to bar the use of racially discriminatory names. 

The bill could include language that would include universities and colleges in Nevada, putting the nickname Rebels back on the chopping the block. But UNLV might escape this potential bill because of money.

Howard Watts is the Nevada Assemblymen proposing the bill. Watts told the Associated Press that UNLV claims it would lose between $11.6 million and $16.9 million over the course of five years if they had to drop the name Rebels. 

The bill might still include universities and colleges though. 

“I’ve had a meeting with UNLV to listen to their concerns and I’m working to try and address them in the legislation,” Watts said. 

UNLV would probably like for it to not be addressed anymore, but they may have no other choice. 

This is an interesting juxtaposition to new UNLV president Keith Whitfield’s letter in January where he officially retired Hey Reb!, but kept the nickname Rebels alive. 

“Personally, I have always viewed the term “Rebels” as a strong, nationally recognized brand synonymous with UNLV,” Whitfield wrote. “I believe the word “rebel” represents an attitude or spirit. It captures the essence of an iconic city that is unconventional and celebrates its independence, tenacity, and resiliency. Rebels have a purpose or motivation for a greater cause and are not afraid to take risks to make incredible things happen.”

It is a believable pivot. Las Vegas is a rebellious city. But the potential $16.9 million hole might have inspired that pivot more than anything else. 

The nickname Rebels is in danger again, but it might survive simply because no one wants to force UNLV to spend over $10 million. 

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