This is more of a non-story than anything since this mascot is unlikely to become official. In fact, the university has a panel looking into Native American imagery.
As someone who lives in Champaign-Urbana, the Chief Illiniwek debate is one that refuses to die. Older fans have yet to and likely will never accept the NCAA ban, and I do not think the university will choose a new mascot because they fear the backlash. Being told how “respectful” a white kid from suburban Chicago dressed up as an inaccurate depiction of a Native American Chief really is gives you a lesson of how clueless a person can really be. Chief Illiniwek has been gone for 15 years, and it’ll probably be 15 more before the university no longer fears the alumni and fan response to a new mascot.
FWIW, I kinda liked the Alma Otter idea from last year.