Blog Entry

NCAA, North Dakota in a standoff over nickname

Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:45 am
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:39 pm
 
By Matt Norlander

(1:38 p.m.: Update below.)

Does an argument over a school nickname get your blood cooking on a Monday morning? Hope so, because there's quite the interesting battle going on in the Flickertail State.

The NCAA has for a good while now mandated that the North Dakota Fighting Sioux change its nickname, logo and mascot. A deadline of Aug. 15, 2011, was agreed to long ago, and that deadline is approaching rather quickly. The reason for the mandated change is because the school's moniker goes against the NCAA's policies on using Indian-related mascots and logos. The NCAA is flatly against the practice, considering the use of such logos flirting into the racial and insensitive realm. It's why Illinois had to kill off Chief Illiniwek.

You've seen this fight before.

The University of North Dakota hasn't given in yet because state legislation was passed in March that allows UND to keep its identity. It's basically a government-sanctioned endorsement, something North Dakota hoped would act as a trump card, a power play toward the NCAA. A state senator has asked for more time, and the state's governor, Al Carlson, has even gotten heavily involved.
“I suppose (the NCAA) doesn’t want anybody to think they ever reverse policies. But they also need to listen to what we have to say,” Carlson said. “I do believe they’ll sit down with us, and at least listen ... I think it’s worth a try.”

Carlson said he believed it was important for elected legislators and the governor to make the case for the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. The governor appoints members of North Dakota’s Board of Higher Education.

“It isn’t every day that the governor of a state gets on a plane and goes to talk to the NCAA,” Carlson said. “I think that’s a whole lot different than dealing with a board of regents, or a board of higher ed.”

As you'd expect, thousands of North Dakotans contacted the school and state legislature voicing their vehement support over the school keeping its identity.

North Dakota officials would like to meet with the NCAA in July to discuss the issue. NCAA spokesman Bob Williams told the Associated Press such a meeting isn't planned and would, essentially, be a waste of time. In fact, the NCAA put out a statement on the matter Friday afternoon. It's abnormally direct and uncompromising: change your nickname by Aug. 15 or suffer the consequences of sanctions against your university.

"The NCAA’s Native American mascot policy remains in effect, and we stand ready to assist the University of North Dakota with its implementation of the policy," the statement says. "The Big Sky Conference’s position related to the university's Fighting Sioux nickname and logo is consistent with the spirit and intent of the settlement agreement the NCAA reached with the university to retire the nickname and logo. We have made clear to both the conference and the university that the NCAA has no intention of changing its position. If the University of North Dakota continues to use the nickname and logo past the August 15 deadline due to state law, it will be subject to the parameters of the policy. This means the university could not host any championships or use the nickname and logo at any championship events."

You see the Big Sky mentioned in the NCAA's statement, that's because UND is scheduled to move to the conference next July. It's in complete compliance with the NCAA's stance. Bluntly: It doesn't look good for North Dakota. There's a lot of stalling and hey-why-can't-we-talk-about-this-a-bit-more going on. It's unfortunate. The majority of schools with Indian-inspired mascots and logos have tremendous pride and respect for what they represent. The PC-doused NCAA doesn't want individuals, in this sense. It has taken a hard-line stance against any controversial mascot, whether that controversy is perceived only in-house or not.

UPDATE: The president of the university came out on Monday, saying the school has to wave the white flag, accept the name change and move forward.
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: June 21, 2011 2:28 am
 

NCAA, North Dakota in a standoff over nickname

I'm a student at Southern Utah, which is moving into the Big Sky with UND next year and I've heard there's a strong chance that if UND blows this, then Utah Valley will get its invite. That would be interesting.

Either way, keeping "Fighting Sioux" is rough on UND's competition too. I mean a couple of years ago SUU hosted UND for its homecoming football game and T-shirts were being sold as "Thor's Fighting Sioux Burgers" ... as you can see, that didn't work out to well with people. 



Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: June 21, 2011 12:08 am
 

NCAA, North Dakota in a standoff over nickname

I have a few North Dakota shirts.  I hope the "Sues" remain!



Since: Jul 18, 2007
Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:14 pm
 

NCAA, North Dakota in a standoff over nickname

I also heard that the school has a major T Boone Pickens type who when he made his donations specified  the Sioux nickname must be kept or the money returned to him.  The NCAA thinks they can pick on a smaller school like North Dakota, why don't they tackle Notre Dme or Florida State?



Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 6:40 pm
 

NCAA, North Dakota in a standoff over nickname

Here is a faceoff between NCAA and a state. The school, caught in the middle, is trying to be in compliance with the NCAA. The state legislature and governor have decreed differently. What is a puzzle is the inconsistent position of the NCAA between schools. I get that native American names might be an affront to some of those tribes. I also get that voting by the tribe to support a school is still not complying because if ANY member of the tribe is uncomfortable with the name it violates the PC. Then we go on to mascots who are likewise depicted without any NCAA support. That would include the Irish. Perhaps in the spirit of PC also included should be the Ducks, the Lions, the Tigers, the Gamecocks, the Bears, the Wolves, the Bulldogs and many more.   Most of these animals at one time or another were revered by native American tribes. It is a slippery slope, folks.

That brings us to the question of education in the USA. So much has been done in the guise of PC that much of our history is hidden and untaught. This is showing up in the national history testing of 4th, 8th and 12th graders. Should we be a bit more concerned with the underlying education than in the symbolism of the nation's colleges? The NCAA is not helping this by focusing on political rather than educational issues.

As for North Dakota, I hope they hold their ground. (I doubt that they will.) Isn't it time that someone told out of state Here is a faceoff between NCAA and a state. The school, caught in the middle, is trying to be in compliance with the NCAA. The state legislature and governor have decreed differently. What is a puzzle is the inconsistent position of the NCAA between schools. I get that native American names might be an affront to some of those tribes. I also get that voting by the tribe to support a school is still not complying because if ANY member of the tribe is uncomfortable with the name it violates the PC. Then we go on to mascots who are likewise depicted without any NCAA support. That would include the Irish. Perhaps in the spirit of PC also included should be the Ducks, the Lions, the Tigers, the Gamecocks, the Bears, the Wolves, the Bulldogs and many more.   Most of these animals at one time or another were revered by native American tribes. It is a slippery slope, folks.

That brings us to the question of education in the USA. So much has been done in the guise of PC that much of our history is hidden and untaught. This iss showing up in the national history testing of 4th, 8th and 12th graders. Should we be a bit more concerned with the underlying education than in the symbolism of the nation's colleges? The NCAA is not helping this by focusing on political rather than educational issues.

As for North Dakota, I hope they hold their ground. (I doubt that they will.) Isn't it time that someone told out of staters bureaucrats to take a hike? Isn't it time for states to begin to take back their identity and the governance over their citizenry? It will be fun to watch if they do.


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