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Colleges decline to compete against UND because of Fighting Sioux nickname

UND's Fighting Sioux nickname violates NCAA rules.
UND's Fighting Sioux nickname violates NCAA rules.

The University of North Dakota's athletic teams will be known as the Fighting Sioux at least until June, when a referendum may determine whether the school keeps the nickname permanently.

But, referendum or not, some of UND's traditional competitors have already had enough of the Fighting Sioux, and are refusing to compete against the school until the nickname is changed.

Regardless of what you think about the controversial nickname, the fact of the matter is that the NCAA sanctions schools with tribal logos and/or nicknames, including UND, that are deemed to be "hostile and abusive."

Such nicknames can only be used if a school gets permission from the relevant Native American communities. In UND's case, that means getting approval from both the Standing Rock Sioux and the Spirit Lake Sioux, but so far, the Standing Rock tribe has refused to consent.

So, in using the Fighting Sioux nickname, UND is currently violating NCAA rules. And as Valley News Live reports, some athletic programs have already refused to compete against UND until the Fighting Sioux is no more.

Softball with Wisconsin is off the books, a track meet with Iowa won't happen, as is a men's hockey game at Wisconsin. A cross-country meet at Minnesota and women's basketball with Iowa have been canceled. The Valley News reports that "men's hockey with Minnesota could also go by the wayside."

Brian Faison, UND's athletic director, said that banishing UND from Division One hockey because of the nickname controversy "would be disastrous" for the school's athletic department.

Leave Division One or change the nickname? That seems to be the choice facing UND, regardless of the referendum's outcome.

Related coverage:
-- UMD hockey fans warned after "smallpox blankets" chant during Fighting Sioux series
-- Fate of UND's controversial Fighting Sioux nickname may be determined by referendum


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