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Published January 03, 2012, 08:49 PM

Big Sky Head: Return of Sioux Nickname Would Harm UND Athletics

(WDAZ-TV) - The Commissioner of the Big Sky Athletic Conference is warning people that, if the Fighting Sioux nickname comes back, it will likely have a negative affect on the UND athletic department.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

(WDAZ-TV) - The Commissioner of the Big Sky Athletic Conference is warning people that, if the Fighting Sioux nickname comes back, it will likely have a negative affect on the UND athletic department.

Doug Fullerton's comments come as supporters circulate a pair of petitions that would force UND to keep the nickname.

Fullerton says if people think forcing UND to use the nickname will not affect athletics they are wrong.

The latest effort to bring back the now-retired Fighting Sioux nickname and logo comes from the Spirit Lake Tribe's Committee for Understanding and Respect.

They are circulating two different petitions that would bring the issue to a state vote.

If either one were to get on the ballot, and pass, it could mean trouble for UND's new affiliation with the Big Sky Conference.

Fullerton says if the nickname issues persist it will likely damage the UND Athletic Department.

"We already see the beginnings of the problems the University of North Dakota would have if they continue use the logo," Fullerton said.

He says NCAA sanctions that would come with continued use of the logo include UND not being able to host NCAA post season tournaments.

"As we watch it unfold we are concerned about a couple of things. Number one we have seen people cancel contracts with them. We have seen some many protests start to blossom," Fullerton said.

Fullerton says NCAA sanctions also could affect recruiting efforts.

He also says the Big Sky Conference will be patient, but if UND is forced to bring back the nickname and continues to be penalized by the NCAA, it will be a problem.

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