Editorial -- Majority still favor the Fighting Sioux
Dickinson and southwestern North Dakota are about as far removed, geographically speaking, as you can get from Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota. Even though we reside in the opposite corner of the state from our chilled brothers and...
Dickinson and southwestern North Dakota are about as far removed, geographically speaking, as you can get from Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota. Even though we reside in the opposite corner of the state from our chilled brothers and sisters, there remains a distinct connection to them, their city and the Red River Valley.
This connection is evidenced by the poll question that's been on The Press online home page the last few days. The question was "Should the University of North Dakota give up its lawsuit against the NCAA and remove its Fighting Sioux nickname?"
As the State Board of Higher Education was voting Friday in Grand Forks to accept a settlement in UND's lawsuit against the NCAA, the poll results produced a strong message. Of the 217 poll participants, 82.49 percent answered the question with a resounding no. Just 17.51 percent of the participants answered yes.
This isn't the first time we've polled our Web visitors about the UND nickname and logo. Not surprisingly, the outcome always has rejected the idea of having UND end its Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
This latest poll was brought forward given the length of time that UND and the NCAA already have spent in court chambers going back and forth during the court case. The NCAA ruled the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo were "hostile and abusive" and UND challenged the process by which the NCAA arrived at its conclusion. A trial date on the matter had been set for December.
Even with what many could perceive as a negative atmosphere surrounding the lawsuit, the support for keeping the UND nickname and logo appears to be as strong as ever - at least outside any of our state tribal reservations. Previous stories on this matter have also revealed there is some support within some of our state's tribal reservations for the UND nickname and logo.
Now that the SBHE has accepted this settlement with the NCAA, it comes down to UND having until Nov. 30, 2010, to get approval from the Devils Lake Sioux and Standing Rock Sioux tribes. Lacking such approval by then, the settlement states the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo must be retired. If approval is initially given by the tribes, and one tribe later withdraws that approval, the waiver from the NCAA also is withdrawn.
What process will be used to determine whether overall approval exists on either of these reservations is a serious question. Given the history of this discussion, the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo is likely destined to become a collector's item within three years.
And given the ongoing polling associated with this matter, that isn't going to sit well with the overwhelming majority of this state's residents.