Retire The Fighting Sioux Logo

This is a topic near and dear to blog contributor @HokieGuru. Read his piece on University of North Dakota.

Many of you know that I attended graduate school at Virginia Tech, but what many of you do not know is that I’m from the State of North Dakota. I attended the University of North Dakota (UND) for a while, before finishing my undergraduate degree at Mayville State University. I still have much pride for the state that I’m from and keep tabs on what is going on there.

On June 12, 2012, North Dakotans have one of the most important votes in the history of the state. On that day, North Dakota residents will vote on the future of one of their flagship universities, UND. Specifically, North Dakota residents will vote on a ballot measure to retire or keep the Fighting Sioux logo. A “Yes” vote will retire the UND logo; a “No” vote will retain the logo.

I urge North Dakota residents to vote “Yes”, which would retire the Fighting Sioux Logo. A “Yes” vote is needed to ensure UND continues its successful progress in the future as  world class research university and an athletic program on the move. A “No” vote would isolate UND from the majority of academia and athletic communities.

If North Dakotans do not vote “Yes”, which would retire the Fighting Sioux Logo, here is what would happen:

First, UND would not receive a 2012-2013 invite to the Big Sky Conference. The Big Sky Conference does not need UND; UND needs the Big Sky Conference. UND is not the University of Notre Dame, as logo supporters would like you to believe. UND cannot be successful as an independent National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I athletics program – UND needs conference membership to be successful. Unlike the University of Notre Dame (the other UND), UND cannot establish a separate contract with NBC Sports to televise its football. A UND football schedule will be abysmal without Big Sky Conference membership. UND will never be in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Series (FCS) playoffs if it is not part of the Big Sky
Conference. UND will also not be part of a conference that has an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament (an independent UND or one that is a member of the Great West Conference will not participate in March Madness as they call it). The extreme arrogance of Fighting Sioux Logo supporters would take these postseason opportunities away.

Second, UND’s athletic revenue would be in complete free fall; it would drop substantially. UND could someday play host to the Big Sky Conference men’s basketball tournament in March. That is revenue that UND will not see if logo supporters have their way. Think about the revenue that UND would be giving up if it were not part of the Big Sky Conference. We’re talking about real dollars from playoff appearances and television/radio contracts. UND’s athletic contributions will decrease if they are not part of the Big Sky Conference because there will be no NCAA postseason opportunities (none, nada, zero). We’re talking about free exposure on national television UND. UND (and the State of North Dakota) cannot afford to give this type of exposure. The NCAA will never allow UND to host another NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Regional Playoff if the Fighting Sioux logo is not retired. Think about this: UND’s hockey facility, the Ralph Englestad Arena (e.g. The Ralph), is one of the finest in the world (it is one that has hosted the World Juniors). This is money that UND and North Dakota would never see. Hosting an NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Regional Playoff is a privilege – it’s not a right – and hosting these events brings a lot of money to the State of North Dakota.

That’s economic development that Grand Forks, ND won’t see.

Third, UND would be isolated from regional athletic and academic relationships. So, I’ve also “heard” that UND has a good hockey program (of course, I’m being sarcastic here – anyone with a pulse knows that the UND is an elite college hockey program with multiple national titles and players in the National Hockey League – several that are playing now in the current Stanley Cup playoffs, including Matt Greene, Zach Parise, and Travis Zajac). Nonconference hockey matchups with the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin are the walking dead – both universities have publically stated that they will not play UND as long as it retains the logo. The University of Iowa has also retracted invitations to athletic events and will do so as long as the logo is in place. I have news for you, too – these Big Ten universities will pay UND guaranteed games – lots of money to play them in early season match ups (all of which feeds into my
second point above). If logo supporters have their way, these regional athletic contests are dead. Additionally, if the logo were retained, UND professors and students would not be invited to regional academic conferences to present research. This is more important than anything because 99.9% of students are at UND to obtain an education – most are not going to play professional sports – and they have to think about what they are going to do after college. If logo supporters have their way, many of these academic opportunities are dead.

Fourth, let’s point out the status of the rival, North Dakota State University (NDSU). NDSU is third in the Capital One Director’s Cup Standings. Yes, that’s third nationally behind North Carolina and Kentucky (and tied with Alabama). Every time I watch a college athletics game on ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU, I am reminded of this accomplishment. NDSU won an NCAA FCS Division I football title this year. NDSU was also in the NCAA Division I softball tournament. In 2008-2009, NDSU played Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. If Fighting Sioux logo supporters get their way at the ballot box, UND will play second fiddle to NDSU when it comes to education and athletics. That would be a hard pill to swallow for many UND alumni – and I know most UND alumni do not want their athletics programs to go to the NAIA, right? Are Fighting Sioux logo supporters looking forward to that great new rivalry with the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders? That’s what will happen if North Dakotans vote “no” on retiring the logo. I don’t think North Dakotans want to start pricing flights to Newark, NJ for that heated hoops game with the Highlanders. Please, I have nothing against the Highlanders, but I think UND students, alumni, fans, and friends of the university would rather see athletic matchups with NDSU.

In short, I urge North Dakotans to vote “Yes” on June 12, 2012 and retire the Fighting Sioux Logo. The nation is going to be watching this vote – and this issue needs to be put to bed. Now.


3 pings

  1. Matt avramis says:

    Last time and everytime for that matter i am reminded by the alumni association that academics (university) and athletics (logo) are two separate entities, so I’m calling bullshit on your academics argument

  2. HokieGuru says:

    That’s your right to think that, Matt – I disagree, though – professors I know have said that they won’t get invited to regional academic research conferences (where graduate students and their professors present academic research) sponsored by the SAME schools (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa) that will not play UND in sports if the logo is retained. If they won’t play us in sports, you can bet that they won’t permit UND to present research.

    Matt, this brings up a question – which logo-supporting schools (those that are the same caliber as UND) did you have in mind that would invite UND professors to present research?

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