The Florida State Seminoles football program represents Florida State University. Said football program can claim a long, proud history, seeing as how it has won the national championship on three occasions. Furthermore, it is known for some of its traditions that are very much connected with the Seminoles who serve as its namesake. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about the Florida State Seminoles:
1. This Is Not the First Florida State Football Program
It is interesting to note that the Florida State Seminoles are not Florida State University’s first football program. From 1902 to 1904, the school is known to have fielded a football team called “The Eleven” that played other football teams from other schools.
2. The Eleven Played Its Last Season Because of the Buckman Act
“The Eleven” played its last season in 1904 because of the Buckman Act. In short, said piece of legislation reorganized the six schools that could be found in the state of Florida into three segregated schools for white men, white women, and African Americans. As such, what was then called Florida State College was turned into the Florida Female College and then the Florida State College for Women, with the result that the male football players were forced to transfer elsewhere.
3. The Current Football Program Came Into Existence Because of the Post-War Period
Following the Second World War, the GI Bill meant that Florida schools saw a huge influx in the number of new students. As a result, the Florida Legislature renamed the Florida State College for Women to Florida State University so that men could start going there for the first time since 1905. It wasn’t too long before a new football program started up in 1947.
4. The Students Voted on the Name
For those who are curious, the Florida State Seminoles received their name because of a student vote on the matter. The name choice was supposed to honor the incredible spirit of the Seminoles, who call themselves the Unconquered People because a few hundred survivors eluded capture by U.S. soldiers before retreating into the Everglades and the Big Cypress Swamp following the Third Seminole War. With that said, it is interesting to note that the new football team might have liked the name so much that they stuffed the ballot box to ensure its win.
5. Earliest Images Were Based on Hollywood Stereotypes
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the earliest images used by the Florida State Seminoles were based on Hollywood stereotypes. For example, feathered war bonnets were very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, but said bonnets were based on Plains Indian culture rather than Seminole culture, which saw Seminole men wearing simple turban ornamented with no more than one or two feathers.
6. Better Understanding Starting in the Late 1960s
Starting the late 1960s, Florida State University started getting a better understanding of the Seminoles. Something that was helped by the efforts of a political science professor named Joyotpaul “Joy” Chaudhuri and his American Indian activist wife Jean, who founded an American Indian Fellowship that served as a bridge between the school and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. By the late 1970s, this had resulted in a new determination to do honor to the Seminoles in a respectful manner.
7. Osceola Was Introduced in 1978
Introduced in 1978 with help from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Osceola isn’t a mascot but rather a symbol for the Florida State Seminoles, which is why he is never used for either cheerleading or other traditional mascot activities. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Osceola was a leader of the Seminole resistance who continued in that role until he was captured by General Thomas Jesup when he headed to Fort Peyton for peace talks under a flag of truce. Unsurprisingly, this provoked a furious outcry in the United States and beyond, though that wasn’t enough to prevent the U.S. government from imprisoning Osceloa in Fort Moultrie in the state of South Carolina where he would die of quinsy three months after he was captured.
8. The Use of the Name Isn’t Wholly Uncontroversial
With that said, it is important to note that the use of the Seminole name isn’t wholly uncontroversial. For example, there have been both members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and members of the Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma who have criticized its continuing use by Florida State University. Even now, it is a matter of some contention in certain places.
9. Has an Exemption from the NCAA
In 2005, Florida State University was one of the schools looked at by the NCAA for its use of Indian mascots and Indian names. In the end, the school received an exemption because of its positive relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and other factors.
10. Three Undefeated Seasons
So far, the Florida State Seminoles have managed three undefeated seasons. The first happened under the second coach Don Veller, which was a rather remarkable turnaround because the first coach Ed Williamson had a winless record in his one season.