WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published March 01, 2011, 05:35 PM

Big Sky Conference Monitoring Sioux Nickname Bill

Commissioner Fullerton: I won't 'place blame on (UND)'
The Commissioner of the Big Sky Conference says the conference is taking a "wait and see" approach on how a legislative bill would affect the University of North Dakota's membership.

The Commissioner of the Big Sky Conference says a bill requiring the University of North Dakota to keep its controversial nickname and logo is no reason to be alarmed.

Commissioner Doug Fullerton told WDAZ Tuesday that the Big Sky Conference isn't reading too much into the possibility UND having to hold on to their Fighting Sioux identity. Though the politics have changed, Big Sky's feelings have not.

"We're very, very excited about UND," Fullerton said.

Excited about UND and its membership with the division one Big Sky conference, a deal made after plans to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian head logo were finalized.

But now a legislative effort requiring UND to keep the nickname and logo has passed the North Dakota House and may be passed by the Senate.

But is this issue enough to harm UND's membership with the Division-I Big Sky Conference?

"There's so many moving parts to this discussion. It would be foolish of me to begin to start worrying about some of these issues before they even come to pass," Fullerton said.

Commissioner Fullerton says Big Sky has been keeping an eye on this piece of legislation. But, Fullerton says the bill doesn't mean anything negative for UND's membership.

"This is not something UND is bringing on themselves. I don't believe I'll place the blame on them," Fullerton said.

Other Big Sky member schools haven't given any negative feedback and as of now, there is no reason for the conference to lose their excitement about UND.

"This is a political world we live in. Things don't always go in a straight line. We're taking a wait and see approach," Fullerton said.

Fullerton says there may be more discussions about the issue at a meeting in June.