Friday, January 6, 2012

Fighting Sioux No More

It's game over in Grand Forks. They still have hockey, but the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux are no more.

After years of wrangling, arguing and suing both for and against the longtime nickname and iconic logo, the change was mandated for Jan. 1 by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education.

The change was made in compliance with a settlement agreement with the NCAA, after UND couldn't get the approval of both the Standing Rock and the Spirit Lake Sioux tribes to keep using the name and image. The NCAA had previously ruled that North Dakota had to retire both the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname if it wanted to have the ability to host any NCAA Championships

All UND teams, which compete at the NCAA Division I level, will now be known simply and solely as "North Dakota", and will feature an interlocking ND as their primary logo. The women's hockey team debuted their new uniforms in a 14-0 win over Lindenwood on Jan. 4.

As part of the rebranding effort, affiliate organizations such as the Fighting Sioux Sports Network and the Fighting Sioux Club have also been renamed with "North Dakota" in their monikers. Not all the Sioux logos at Ralph Engelstad Arena, however, such as those embedded in the floors, will have to be removed. There will also be no strictures against fans wearing Sioux apparel or cheering for the Sioux at future contests.

The Sioux's last official hockey series was on Dec. 30-31 against visiting Harvard, while a new athletic nickname and identity is expected to be chosen by 2015. UND won seven men's hockey national championships and 15 WCHA Association titles while it skated as the Fighting Sioux.

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