Yesterday, we brought you readers up-to-date on the decision by voters in the State of North Dakota to retire the University of North Dakota (UND) Fighting Sioux logo. UND is one of the North Dakota’s flagship universities in Grand Forks, ND. Many of you know that I’m from North Dakota (and I attended UND for awhile – still have much family in North Dakota – so I watch over what is happening very closely in my former state). And they did well by retiring it. North Dakotans voted overwhelmingly to retire the logo by a margin of 70% to 30%.
As I mentioned yesterday on this site, there’s a small segment of North Dakota that wants to bring this issue to another vote – one that might enshrine the Fighting Sioux logo in the State of North Dakota’s constitution – and, thus, require its use at UND. I will not rehash the reasons why it would be a terrible decision to overturn the majority vote (and the will of the voters) by requiring use of the logo again (if you’re interested in why it would be a bad idea, please see my arguments against the use of the logo – a post I wrote about three weeks ago on this site).
Anyway, there are two leaders who are leading the faction in support of the Fighting Sioux logo. Sean Johnson, spokesman for the Spirit Lake Committee for Understanding and Respect (and a lead supporter of the constitutional amendment I spoke of above), and Reed Soderstrom, the attorney who represents this committee, need to know the most cost-effective travel options to Newark, NJ. Why am I saying this? Well, if UND is required to once again adopt the Fighting Sioux logo, it will be tossed out of the Big Sky Conference. Athletic conferences can and will take these options if they feel it’s in their best interest – please see what happened to Temple in the Big East – it happens. While Temple’s Big East membership revocation was based on its on-the-field football performance, UND’s Big Sky membership would be revoked for political reasons. Thus, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Soderstrom need to know the most cost-effective travel options to Newark, NJ because the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Highlanders will be UND’s new rival!!!
Using Expedia and the General Services Administration (GSA) web sites as my search tools, here’s what I found for a three-day trip (flying on a Friday and returning on a Sunday):
- The most economical flight (with this most restrictions) is $623 on Delta Airlines.
- I’ve found a pretty good deal on a hotel – apparently, NJIT has a “Highlander Rate” at the Newark International Airport SpringHill Suites by Marriott. At $89 per night, plus taxes, this would cost $200 for two nights. However, that cost could be as much as $250 for two nights.
- Meals and incidental expenses will cost $61 per night as the NY/NJ area is very expensive (we based that estimate off the GSA web site). Here we are looking at $183.
- A car rental for approximately 48 hours will cost $220.
So, at this point, we’re talking almost $1300 for a trip to Newark for that heated rivalry with NJIT. I’m assuming that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Soderstrom will want to support both UND men’s and women’s athletic teams (this is the 4oth anniversary of Title IX, after all), so we could be talking $2600 here for a minimum of two trips. This is real money to most Americans – many would spend this kind of money for a vacation, attendance at a bowl game, the Football Championship Subdivision title game (yes, North Dakota State was in that game last year). However, I don’t think that most North Dakotans would spend this to go to NJIT (and no offense to the Highlanders). But apparently, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Soderstrom support this. I respectfully disagree.