GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A district judge has granted a preliminary injunction to stop the NCAA from banning the University of North Dakota from hosting a postseason game because of its "Fighting Sioux" nickname, state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said.
Stenehjem said judge Lawrence Jahnke alerted him to the decision Saturday night. Stenehjem did not know the details.
UND is among a handful of schools with American Indian nicknames and logos that the NCAA considers hostile and abusive. Those schools are barred from holding postseason tournaments, or from using their nicknames during road playoff games.
Stenehjem, in asking for the injunction, said the ban might cost UND (9-1, 7-1 North Central Conference) home-field advantage in this year's NCAA Division II football playoffs.
With its 33-26 win Saturday over South Dakota, UND is likely to receive a bye in the first round, starting on Nov. 18.
"We should be in good shape to be able to host in two weeks at the Alerus (Center)," said UND athletic director Tom Buning.
Jahnke did not immediately return a telephone call Sunday seeking comment.
Fargo attorney Wick Corwin, representing the NCAA, also did not immediately return a telephone call Sunday.
The NCAA, which designed its policy to avoid a confrontation in court, issued a written statement saying it still expected to prevail.
"We are disappointed in the preliminary ruling, but will continue to defend the NCAA's right and responsibility to enact guidelines in the best interest of our member schools, our student-athletes and our fans," the statement said.
On Sunday the NCAA said Newberry College has agreed to change its nickname from Indians to avoid sanctions.
Stenehjem asked Jahnke during a court hearing Thursday to stop the NCAA from banning the nickname until a full hearing on the case is held.
North Dakota officials sued the NCAA last month, saying the ban is a breach of contract and violates antitrust laws. The NCAA argued that an exemption for UND would deprive the association of authority over its own championships.
Jahnke on Thursday set a tentative trial date in the nickname dispute for April 24. The attorney general's office is handling the case for UND, which is paying for it with private contributions.