The University of Illinois has decided to stop using its iconic “War Chant” music at sporting events. From The News-Gazette:

Athletic spokesman Kent Brown confirmed the decision today after several UI students said they were told to stop playing the drum chant at Thursday’s Illini soccer match by a representative of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“Midway through the first period, a DIA rep came over to tell us it was no longer allowed,” said Sam LeRoy, a member of the Illini Pride’s “Hotshots” student support group. He said they were playing the drum during a corner kick, as they had many times before.

“We were blindsided,” LeRoy said.

Athletic officials hadn’t publicized the decision, which has apparently been in the works for a year or more.

During an appearance on WDWS radio today, Brown said the chant — played for years at Memorial Stadium when football opponents face third-down situations — was not getting the response from fans that the video board does.

“We’ve used it less and less,” he said.

It’s the latest step by the school to eliminate or reduce the use of Native American imagery by the athletic department.

In 2007, the school retired Chief Illiniwek, a controversial symbol portrayed by students who danced during halftime of football and basketball games.