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Published November 30, 2010, 05:18 PM

NCAA: Spirit Lake Request Won't Stop UND Logo Retirement

The NCAA said Tuesday that the University of North Dakota and the state Board of Education have decided to change the school's Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, so the issue is settled despite a recent request to reconsider.

By: Associated Press,

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The NCAA said Tuesday that the University of North Dakota and the state Board of Education have decided to change the school's Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, so the issue is settled despite a recent request to reconsider.

Spirit Lake Sioux Nation members who favor the university retaining the Fighting Sioux nickname sent an e-mail to the NCAA on Monday asking it to re-examine a 2007 legal settlement that led to the logo and name's upcoming retirement.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said Tuesday that the change was already decided.

"The issue is already settled," Christianson told the Associated Press. "The university and the state board of higher education have determined there will be a change to a new nickname and logo."

The state Board of Higher Education said it would retire the nickname if the school didn't obtain permission from the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes. Spirit Lake endorsed the nickname; Standing Rock did not.

The Grand Forks Herald reports that Eunice Davidson and nine other tribal members e-mailed NCAA President Mark Emmert on Monday, noting that members authorized use of the Fighting Sioux name by a nearly three-to-one margin.

Davidson said she and other members are hoping there's still a chance to preserve the name and logo.

"At least, we want our voices at Spirit Lake to be heard," she told the newspaper. "We're hoping there's a good response from the NCAA."

Duaine Espegard, a member of the State Board of Higher Education, said he thought it unlikely that the Spirit Lake letter would change anything.

"I do think it is a moot issue," he said. "I understand what they are trying to do, but it's pretty late in the action. We have a lawsuit, we have a settlement, and we have to follow it."

The university's athletic teams continue to use the 80-year-old nickname this academic year, but the university has formed committees to find ways to honor the name as it is retired and plan for the possible selection of a replacement. Also, a timeline has been set for the ending of licensing agreements concerning Fighting Sioux merchandise.

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