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Published March 31, 2011, 02:38 PM

Despite Nickname Dispute, NCAA Sells Sioux Merchandise in Online Store

With the UND men’s hockey team playing in next week’s Frozen Four, the NCAA’s online store is selling Fighting Sioux apparel. The decision has some wondering how the NCAA can promote selling the apparel yet reached a settlement with the university to retire the logo and nickname.

By: Ryan S. Clark, Forum Communications

FARGO – Forgive fans of the University of North Dakota if they’re feeling short-changed by the NCAA these days.

With the UND men’s hockey team playing in next week’s Frozen Four, the NCAA’s online store is selling Fighting Sioux apparel. The decision has some wondering how the NCAA can promote selling the apparel yet reached a settlement with the university to retire the logo and nickname.

The NCAA determined the logo and nickname to be offensive to Native Americans.

“According to the NCAA, they feel the Sioux nickname is hostile and abusive,” said 28-year-old Grand Forks resident Jake Bondy, “So why would they sell hostile and abusive gear? It would be like me selling Fords and telling people how bad Chevys are and then I went out and bought a brand new Chevy.”

The NCAA, college athletics’ governing body, and UND have had a long-standing battle over the nickname and logo. The end result was that UND and the NCAA agreed to retire the nickname and logo on Aug. 15.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson wrote in an email to The Forum that no more products with the Sioux logo and nickname will be sold on the Web site after Aug. 15.

“The university is authorized as part of the court settlement agreement until the deadline, which includes the use of that logo as part of the championship product,” Christianson wrote.

When asked if the NCAA was hypocritical for selling Fighting Sioux apparel on its Web site, Christianson wrote, “It is not hypocritical – it is part of the settlement.”

A phone call was made to North Dakota’s athletic department seeking comment from athletic director Brian Faison, who was not available.

Though the nickname is set to disappear, there are still some willing to voice their disappointment with the decision.

Perhaps the Frozen Four being nationally televised by ESPN could provide a venue to display those frustrations. Bondy said talking about the nickname could gain some traction if it is discussed on national television.

Scott Haider, a 26-year-old UND alumnus and law student, said that ESPN and other national media might not have a choice given how many Sioux fans will travel to St. Paul.

“SiouxSports.com currently has an open thread discussing sign ideas for the Frozen Four,” Haider said. “Many are trying to find a way to work in ESPN to be seen on TV.”

Clark is a reporter at the Fargo Forum, which is owned by Forum Communications

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