NCAA to UND: Fighting Sioux jerseys will result in forfeits

A referendum may decide the fate of UND's Fighting Sioux nickname this June, but the NCAA is already out of patience.
A referendum may decide the fate of UND's Fighting Sioux nickname this June, but the NCAA is already out of patience.

The NCAA is officially out of patience when it comes to the University of North Dakota's controversial Fighting Sioux nickname.

In a letter sent to the UND provost yesterday, Bernard W. Franklin, the NCAA's chief inclusion officer, wrote that UND "must forfeit competition" if it does not scrub the "hostile and abusive" Fighting Sioux name and Indian head logo from gear worn by athletes, school band members, cheerleaders, dancers, and mascots.

UND had been planning to use the name and logo until a possible June referendum that could result in the school dropping the Fighting Sioux for good, but it's possible that the NCAA's hard-line letter will prompt UND administrators to drop the nickname sooner.

Here, in full, is the NCAA's letter, which was sent to UND Provost Dr. Paul LeBel:

Dear De. LeBel:

President Robert Kelly recently informed me that the University of North Dakota was resuming its use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and imagery in connection with its athletics program. I noted in my discussion with you and Mr. Brain [sic] Faison that this action by the university means that your athletics programs are subject to the NCAA's policies concerning participation in NCAA championships. Please allow me to reiterate the limitations that are in effect immediately:

1. No University of North Dakota team may host an NCAA championship round. If a North Dakota team is selected as the lower-seeded team in a championship competition, North Dakota would be designated as the "home" team but would be assigned to play at the higher-seeded institution's venue.

2. If the university accepts an invitation to participate in any postseason competition, the NCAA policy requires that student-athletes, band, cheerleading, dance and mascot uniforms and paraphernalia not have hostile or abusive racial/ethnic/national original references during the NCAA championship competition.

3. If an invitation is accepted and the university must forfeit competition because it has not adhered to this requirement, the NCAA reserves its right to seek reimbursement for expenses incurred by the Association for travel, per diem or other expenses in connection with the championship.

It is the spirit of the NCAA's championship policy that the competing student-athletes not be distracted of disrupted during the championship by debates about when and where your institution's Native American imagery or nickname may be displayed or worn. Therefore, we ask that the university take measures to minimize or eliminate the presence of the imagery or nickname brought to an NCAA championship venue.

Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.


Bernard W. Franklin

Executive Vice President of Membership and Student-Athlete Affairs/Chief Inclusion Officer

With postseason hockey right around the corner, UND has little time to act on the NCAA's demand. And if administrators don't act, the letter suggests that not only will the school forfeit games, but it'll also have to reimburse the NCAA for travel and per diem expenses usually covered by the association. Let me try and help you out, UND officials -- how about the University of North Dakota Oilers?

Previous coverage:
-- Colleges decline to compete against UND because of Fighting Sioux nickname
-- 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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