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UND nickname votes for sale online as second round of voting starts

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Schurkey Swanke is "trolling for idiots," as he puts it. Swanke lives in Grand Forks and qualifies to vote for the University of North Dakota's new nickname because he has donated money to the school, but he said he's so sick...

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Schurkey Swanke is “trolling for idiots,” as he puts it.  

Swanke lives in Grand Forks and qualifies to vote for the University of North Dakota’s new nickname because he has donated money to the school, but he said he’s so sick of hearing about it that he’s selling his vote online.

“UND is not an institution of hockey, and UND is not an institution of football,” he said. “I enjoy hockey, but if there were any money savings that could be devoted to education, I’d cancel the hockey program in a heartbeat. It's a diversion from the real core of what UND was supposed to do.”

Swanke isn’t the only person advertising votes for sale. As of Monday afternoon, six nickname vote listings were posted on Craigslist, a popular free classified website. The cheapest is priced at 25 cents with the advertisement claiming none of the options are worth voting for. The most expensive listing is Swanke’s, which asks for $200 for one vote and says “I’m so sick of this nickname crap I could scream.”

No other advertisers responded to attempts to reach them through email.

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A runoff vote among Fighting Hawks, Roughriders and Nodaks for UND’s future athletic nickname began at noon Monday. If none of the options receive more than 50 percent of voter support, a third vote will be held.

UND held its first nickname vote on five options the week of Oct. 19 and while Swanke tried to sell his vote that time as well, he didn’t have any takers.

Swanke said he’s extremely frustrated with the state of higher education in North Dakota. Swanke said in an interview  that he thinks 11 public institutions is too many, the State Board of Higher Education “needs a kick in the pants,” and those responsible for issuing degrees for foreign students who didn’t earn them at Dickinson State University in from 2003 to 2012 should be brought to justice.

But most of all, Swanke said he doesn’t care about the nickname debate. UND is picking a new one after retiring the Fighting Sioux name in 2012 after the NCAA threatened sanctions.

“I see it in newspapers, I see it on TV and I see it discussed by people who really should have more important things to do with their time,” he said.

UND spokesman Peter Johnson said in an email the school is aware some are selling their nickname votes.

“We are glad they recognize their opportunity to vote is valuable, but we're disappointed they would try to benefit from that opportunity,” he said.

 

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