The University of Cincinnati will remove Marge Schott’s name from its baseball stadium, citing the late Cincinnati Reds owner’s “record of racism and bigotry.”
The university’s board of trustees on Monday unanimously voted to remove Schott’s name from the stadium and from the university’s archives library. The decision is effective immediately.
Former Bearcats outfielder Jordan Ramey started a petition earlier this month to remove Schott’s name. On Tuesday, the petition was approaching 10,000 signatures. University president Neville Pinto also had recommended the removal to the board.
The university’s baseball facility was named Marge Schott Stadium in 2006 after the school received a $2 million donation from the Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation.
Marge Schott died in 2004. In 1996, Major League Baseball banned Schott from Riverfront Stadium and day-to-day operations of the Reds following her comments about Adolf Hitler. The decision led to Schott selling her controlling interest in the Reds in 1999.
MLB also banned Schott for the 1993 season due to racist comments toward Black players and team employees.
“Marge Schott’s record of racism and bigotry stands at stark odds with our University’s core commitment to dignity, equity and inclusion,” Pinto said Tuesday in a prepared statement. “My recommendation to the board to remove her name is grounded in the firm belief that speaking out against exclusion is as essential as speaking up for inclusion. I hope this action serves as an enduring reminder that we cannot remain silent or indifferent when it comes to prejudice, hate or inequity. More than ever, our world needs us to convert our values into real and lasting action.”
There had been several other campaigns to remove Schott’s name from Cincinnati’s stadium in recent years. Current players including Nathan Moore, as well as program alumni including Kevin Youkilis and Josh Harrison, had advocated for the removal.
Youkilis said the university had approached him about a donation and renaming the baseball field after him, but he didn’t want his name associated with Schott’s.
“We stand with President Pinto and our campus community in our collective fight to end racism, inequality and indifference,” the board of trustees said in a statement. “The change we want to see starts with us.”
Earlier this month, Saint Ursula Academy in Cincinnati decided to remove Schott’s name from a science, language and arts building that was constructed with the help of her donation. It’s also renaming its athletic facility, which was called “Schottzie Stadium” in honor of Schott’s dog.
Schott’s foundation has encouraged discussions about naming rights. “While we cannot make excuses for the rhetoric made by Mrs. Schott decades ago, we can ask you to learn from Mrs. Schott’s mistakes as well as her great love for Cincinnati,” the foundation said in a statement this month. “We appreciate what these great organizations bring to Cincinnati and we fully support the decisions made by the organizations who have received grants from the Foundation.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.