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Saturday, December 31, 2011

North Dakota drops game, nickname

Kansas guards Travis Releford, front, and Elijah Johnson hound North Dakota guard Jamal Webb during the first half Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guards Travis Releford, front, and Elijah Johnson hound North Dakota guard Jamal Webb during the first half Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas head men's basketball coach Bill Self addressed the media after defeating North Dakota, 84-58, on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Saturday was a historic day for the University of North Dakota men's basketball team, but not just because UND played its second game in Allen Fieldhouse or made its first appearance on an ESPN network.

The Fighting Sioux's 84-58 loss to No. 17 Kansas University marked the final time the school would compete with its nickname intact.

Beginning Sunday, all of UND's athletic teams simply will be known as the University of North Dakota. No mascot. No nickname. And, really, only part of its 81-year identity.

"It was special to us," said UND coach Brian Jones of his team's final competition as the Fighting Sioux. "I talked about going out and representing not only our program, but representing our former athletes and alums who have a lot of passion for this. Understand that there has been a lot of tradition behind that. We just wanted to go out and represent our community and our university in a proud way. The score was big, but we really played hard. We played together and we played within ourselves, which we really wanted to do."

UND's mascot — originally the Sioux in 1930 and changed to Fighting Sioux during the 1960s — has come into question because of its tie to the various Native American tribes of the Sioux nation. For years, athletic teams at all levels have been involved in legal battles regarding the use of Native American mascots and nicknames, with many going as far as to change them to end the squabbling.

Despite documented support from several Sioux leaders, that's what UND is doing here in an effort to appease the NCAA, which officially has dubbed the nickname — and others like it — offensive.

According to reports, continued use of the moniker would expose the Grand Forks, N.D.., university to NCAA penalties, including a ban on playing host to postseason competition and complications in its effort to join the Big Sky Conference in 2012.

Lawmakers in North Dakota have fought for UND to keep its Fighting Sioux name, even going as far as to propose an amendment to the North Dakota state constitution that specifically addresses UND's ability to use the name. But the NCAA has persisted, so the school has agreed to drop it, effective Sunday.

"It's been getting brought up for a while now," junior forward Jordan Allard said. "We have a great community up there that has been behind that name for a while. But if it causes issues with anybody that will affect our program, we'll be all right without it."

UND guard Aaron Anderson shared Allard's point of view, but admitted that moving forward without a name would be weird.

"It'll be different," Anderson said. "But you put the school first. I've heard a lot of people want us to keep the name, but we really have no control over it."

For much of Saturday's loss to Kansas, the Fighting Sioux embodied their soon-to-be old nickname. They scrapped and made KU work hard for everything in the first half.

"This opportunity, for us, was a big one," Jones said. "And I was really proud of our effort and our resiliency against a team (like) that. They're talented in many ways."

In the second half, KU took over, led by a monster game from junior forward Thomas Robinson, who finished with career-highs of 30 points and 21 rebounds.

"Tape and DVDs do that young man no justice with the size of his body and strength," Jones said. "You just have to keep mixing up your coverages on him. But he's a tough matchup because he can handle it, he scores in the open floor, he goes to the backboard and he's so patient."

North Dakota's next game — and its first as a team without a nickname — comes Wednesday against Mayville State. Kansas (10-3) also will play Wednesday, at home against Kansas State.

Comments

OldOldHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

I agree that the whole thing is silly. America is absolutely laden with Native American names. The NCAA is ridiculous from top to bottom, I am not surprised that they exhibit that characteristic with reference to this issue.

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kerbyd 2 years, 3 months ago

Just a quick check of state names shows that over half (26) were derivatives of native american names or tribes.

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OldOldHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Detroit is a French word. Memphis is named for a city in Egypt of the same name.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 3 months ago

If the NCAA truly wanted to be politically correct, think of the number of city, county, river and state names they'd have to ban as well: Ex. Shawnee County (one of many in Kansas, alone), Kansas, Illinois, Delaware, Detroit, Memphis, Etc.

Maybe they'd rather see mascots named "keisters", "hotdogs" or (heaven forbid) "iconoclasts".

Personally, I see a mascot name as a compliment to whatever it's origins are. (except in the case of "wildcats and tigers")

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manginorh00lz 2 years, 3 months ago

If North Dakota had the political clout of Florida State, this would not have happened. The NCAA is a joke.

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kureader 2 years, 3 months ago

It doesn't seem to occur to the NCAA that the Dakotas can take care of their own issues, assuming there are any.

I'm sure that if the NCAA could, they'd find a way to change the names Sioux Falls and Sioux City.

The morons at the NCAA are the ones who need oversight and supervision.

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kerbyd 2 years, 3 months ago

I was wondering what people thought of the mascot "Jayhawks". There is probably somebody in Mizzery who is upset with our use of that mascot.

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ironhead80 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm a proud Apache/Creek Indian from Kansas and I never minded the native american mascots in fact I am proud that people would want to be called a native american tribe and use the name proudly to represnt there school. Real American Indians do not waste time on this matter, we have a strong since of who we are and don't get caught up in the political correctness BS!

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Beate Williams 2 years, 3 months ago

Very good post Minnhawk84. Informative and targeted. Your dad is a pretty smart guy and I agree the NCAA should do the same; they are so obviously biased in their approach to this type of situation. Actorman you hit the nail firmly on the top and the fact that chriz and Maxhawk are incapable of thinking that liberals (progressives) are capable of thinking logically or holding a job (I have worked for 40 years, never taken a dime from unemployment and served my country for two years) and take offense that individuals such as the two mentioned above are so pathetically right wing they are incapable of considering all sides of an argument but want to immediately want to label anyone who thinks differently from them as someone who is trifling and lazy...I think they are looking at themselves and commenting about their own shortcomings when I read garbage such as that. Sorry, but had to comment. On the other hand I think HCBS has the team moving forward, he needs a couple of the bench players to step up particularly to relieve TRob and Withey for a spell and I think that is the reason Withey had limited minutes on Sat. Withey is the surprise on this team and I think he will be very effective during the upcoming league play.

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cstevenday 2 years, 3 months ago

Ok.....somebody help me out. I cant figure out how to cut and paste a link from my phone, but........YOU ABSOLUTELY have to Google "Scoopgods Fighting Sue" and read that article. Maybe someone can attach the link from their PC.

Its a must read. Hilarious!

Rock Chalk!

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cstevenday 2 years, 3 months ago

Always a way around it if people want to belittle the NCAA. Phighting Sue

Cleveland Engines

Washington Read Skins

FSU Swimmin Holes

What about other names that offend?? Fighting Irish, Vandals, or Wildcats

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refugee 2 years, 3 months ago

I would change to "Fighting Sue" and honor the NCAA and ACLU's lawyers..

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Eybea Opiner 2 years, 3 months ago

The sad, and stupid, thing is that the NCAA would let ND continue with their nickname if the Sioux would approve it. One band has, but another hasn't.

It isn't the Indians that are offended, it's the politically correct NCAA.

In Navajo country, it's my experience that the favorite sports garb are the (Washington) Redskins, (Cleveland) Indians, and the (Dallas) Cowboys.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 3 months ago

One time I made up the username "Matt_Talt" and only got to post one comment before the ljw took away that account. Just say'n...

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sabd 2 years, 3 months ago

Did anyone else see the camera shot of the Native American guy wearing s shirt that said "fighting sioux". Must not be that offensive to him.

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fansincewilt 2 years, 3 months ago

What does that have to do with the NCAA? It's time someone did something about this kind of nonsense. I'm sure the Sioux were proud of this representation. I know I sure would be. McLemore and Traylor have shown they can made the grade. I think the NCAA is out of control. They are interfering too much in good people's lives.

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Hurinfan 2 years, 3 months ago

This is PC BS. I wonder why the NCAA hasn't gone after Notre Dame.... It's because they have money and they're a big school.

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chriz 2 years, 3 months ago

Political correctness is ruining our country.

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