Friday, October 26, 2007


This was bound to happen.

The NCAA and University of North Dakota have settled UND's lawsuit over a nickname ban (of sorts) enacted by the NCAA. The organization asserted that the use of "hostile and abusive" American Indian nicknames and mascots would prevent schools from hosting NCAA Tournament events, and the schools found in violation of the policy would not be allowed to use their logos or mascots at NCAA playoff events.

(That would mean the North Dakota hockey team, for example, could not wear jerseys saying "Sioux" and showing the Sioux logo during the NCAA Tournament.)

From the news article describing the settlement:

The agreement requires the school to win tribal approval for its Fighting Sioux nickname and logo within three years or retire it.

UND must win approval from the tribal councils of both the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake reservations.

If that approval is granted, it may be withdrawn at any time and UND must change its nickname within one year, said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

According to the settlement, the NCAA also must post on its Web site a statement essentially withdrawing its claim that UND is hostile and abusive. Stenehjem said the agreement already has been signed by the NCAA.

If the logo is retired, some of the more permanent Native American imagery may remain on the Ralph Engelstad Arena. UND is suing the NCAA over its ban of American Indian nicknames and logos in postseason play. If UND can convince the state's Sioux tribes to support its nickname, the school could continue to use it in NCAA tournaments.

This settlement was bound to happen, given the fact that Judge Lawrence Jahnke was not willing to unseal documents in the case earlier this week. The news media had requested the unsealing, but one reason to keep documents sealed is because the sides are still discussing a settlement, and the release of the documents could jeopardize their ability to settle.

The settlement is a piece of good news, because now UND can go to work on convincing Sioux tribes in North Dakota that they want to have a relationship and not be recognized as hostile and abusive. The NCAA can work on governing college sports, which is their job, and get away from trying to be socially active.

For fans, it may not mean anything in the end. When October 2010 rolls around, hopefully UND has done the necessary work to keep a nickname that is steeped with tradition in North Dakota.

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