Good afternoon, Atlantic Coast Conference and college sports fans. Jeffrey Fann is on vacation this week and he has graciously give me the opportunity to post this week on All Sports Discussion. This is a great sports blog and I appreciate the opportunity Jeff has given me.
Seven years ago, UND was told by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to retire the Fighting Sioux logo or risk severe penalties (UND, for example, would lose the opportunity to host NCAA regional hockey championships). UND appealed the NCAA’s decision – lost – and then sued. UND settled the lawsuit with the NCAA in 2007. UND agreed that Fighting Sioux logo would be retired in three years, unless the three major tribes in North Dakota approved of its use. Please see more about the legal battles here. Under the terms of the settlement, the NCAA gave North Dakota three years to obtain permission from two major Sioux tribes. One tribe approved, but the second never voted on the request. Thus, in December 2010, UND was forced to take actions to drop the logo. The logo, however, was un-retired the first time in March 2011 after state lawmakers passed a bill requiring UND to use the logo. In November 2011, the North Dakota legislators changed course and retired the logo again. In February 2012, logo supporters then gathered enough signatures to force the statewide vote.
About three weeks ago on this site, I made a pitch on this site to North Dakota voters to vote “Yes” and retire the Fighting Sioux logo. My major arguments were that UND would lose its invite to the Big Sky Conference, see its athletic revenue would decrease significantly, become isolated from athletic and academic partnerships, and basically become a little brother to North Dakota State University.
Let me tell you – those North Dakota voters have some sense – they voted by a 70-30 margin to retire the Fighting Sioux logo. Under the terms of the vote, UND cannot pursue a new nickname/logo until January 1, 2015 (this will ensure that a cooling off period is in place).
Yet, even with this 40 point loss, there are still some supporters that plan to bring forth a vote on an amendment to the North Dakota Constitution to require use of the Fighting Sioux logo. Tomorrow, in part two of this segment, I’ll outline what the UND athletic world would look like if it were forced to retain the Fighting Sioux logo. Specifically, I’ll develop a travel itinerary for Sean Johnson, spokesman for the Spirit Lake Committee for Understanding and Respect (and a lead supporter of the constitutional amendment I spoke of above). He will need to know the most cost effective travel methods to get to Newark, NJ for that new heated rivalry with the New Jersey Institute of Technology.