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  • The Northern Illinois Huskies are the athletic teams that represent Northern Illinois University. The Huskies are a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I and the Mid-American Conference. The athletic program is made up of 7 men's sports and 10 women's sports. The football team competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Northern Illinois began athletic competition in 1899 and were nicknamed the Profs. In the 1920s, they were referred to as the Cardinals. During the 1930s they were called Evansmen after George "Chick" Evans. The Huskie mascot and nickname used today were officially chosen in 1940.