SBD/August 15, 2011/Colleges

North Dakota Gov. Urges Fighting Sioux Nickname Change After NCAA Meeting

UND subject to NCAA sanctions until Fighting Sioux nickname is changed
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said that the NCAA "will not budge" on its demand that the Univ. of North Dakota drop its Fighting Sioux nickname, and he "will ask the North Dakota Legislature in November to delegate authority over the nickname issue back to the State Board of Higher Education," according to Chuck Haga of the GRAND FORKS HERALD. The state Legislature in February "passed and Dalrymple signed a law directing UND to keep the nickname." But after a meeting Friday with NCAA officials in Indianapolis, Dalrymple said that he "was persuaded that retaining the nickname could cause serious harm to the university and its athletic program." He noted that "sanctions against UND, which are to go into effect Monday, would prohibit the university from hosting a post-season tournament and athletes would not be allowed to wear the logo in post-season play." Dalrymple: "I have come to the conclusion that the consequences of not retiring the Sioux logo are too great." NCAA VP/Communications Bob Williams said North Dakota officials "made it clear they were committed to changing the legislative action that required retention of the Fighting Sioux name and logo." Dalrymple said that NCAA leaders "agreed that the transitioning of Ralph Engelstad Arena regarding logos and insignia will be negotiated" by state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and the NCAA. Dalrymple "had no answer" when asked what might happen if the UND Alumni Association Dirs decline to go along with his resolution (GRAND FORKS HERALD, 8/13).

TIME FOR A NAME CHANGE: A GRAND FORKS HERALD editorial stated the North Dakota law commanding UND to keep the Fighting Sioux nickname was a "last-ditch effort against long odds to get the NCAA to change its mind," but "it failed." The "cost of keeping the Fighting Sioux name is too great." UND "risks losing a landmark Division I conference affiliation as well as the chance to play Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and other schools that would boycott" the Fighting Sioux. The sanctions "dramatically threaten UND’s prospects and health" (GRAND FORKS HERALD, 8/14).
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