UND Athletic Department Preparing For Nickname TransitionThursday's nickname retirement means a big shift for the UND athletic department including the possibility of joining a new sports conference.
Thursday's nickname retirement means a big shift for the UND athletic department including the possibility of joining a new sports conference.
Brian Faison: "It's a sad day walking away from an 80-year tradition."
With that the athletic department is looking forward but not forgetting the Sioux history. However this does open the door for UND to be admitted into the summit league, something that could not be done until the issue was resolved.
Brian Faison: "It's clear the one barrier that they would not entertain our membership without a resolution is gone so now the process is in place."
UND's athletic director says he expects their application into the league to be re-activated within the next week, and they could even be admitted during a June meeting of the summit league board of presidents.
Faison says UND needs a stronger conference affiliation to keep costs down, increase the fan base, and recruit athletes. Something coaches say has been evident.
Brian Jones: "If there's something that might help this burden of change in the logo this might help a little bit now that we'll know who are opponents are and be able to establish a relationship with them."
Gene Roebuck: "The Summit league would give us stability it would lessen our travel and expenses."
Retirement also brings some initial challenges for UND athletics. They have until August 2011 to transition many of the Sioux logos off of jerseys, fields, apparel and in many campus buildings including the Ralph. Faison says fans won't accept this change easily.
Brian Faison: "There's no question there will be a push back and this is a very emotional issue for a lot of our fans and to what extent we don't know."
Faison says the sooner they can be admitted into the league the better it is in terms of scheduling.