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The Fighting New Nicknames

Greetings readers,

I know this has been an issue I’ve talked about many times on my blog, but it’s time to see another school switching their nickname. I’ve mentioned many times about Miami University switching names (from Redskins to RedHawks) and how Wright State switched logos and mascot suits (but kept the name Raiders). There’s several other colleges and schools that have done this process, like Oakland (Michigan) did when they went to Division I (Pioneers to Golden Grizzlies) and Saint Bonaventure in 1992 (from Brown Indians to Bonnies, eventually turning into a wolf in 1999.)

The University of North Dakota is up next to change.

The most well-known sport at UND is their hockey team. With a logo that is similar to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Sioux jersey is one of the most recognizable in college hockey. With seven national championships under their belt, it is arguably one of their most successful sports.

Currently named the Fighting Sioux, UND is looking for a new image after several years of being pressured by the NCAA and other groups and teams.

The University of North Dakota decided the final straw was failing to get the Standing Rock tribe to vote (they asked another tribe, and the Spirit Lake tribe voted to keep the name.)

Another reason North Dakota is shedding the name is to be accepted into the Summit League (formerly the Mid-Con/Mid-Continent.) Currently in the league, along with other teams, is South Dakota (in 2011-2012 anyways), North Dakota State, and South Dakota State. Those three schools have animals as their mascots, such as the NDSU Bison, the SDSU Jackrabbits, and the South Dakota Coyotes. Current member Centenary College (Louisiana) is the only one in the Summit League without an animal as their nickname (Gents and Ladies). However, the smallest D-I school will be dropping to Division III play soon.

Granted, UND isn’t in the Summit League, but they are looking to jump into the league no later than 2013.

The NCAA has been cracking down on schools with names that are linked to Native Americans, because they are seen as hostile and abusive. I remember reading about this around 2005 and it had a list of all the schools that still use those names. While some tribes have said “don’t use our tribe name for your team name,” some are okay with it.

While I’m on the subject: why is it not okay for colleges to use images linked to the Native Americans, but high schools and professional teams can? I know it’s different outside of Ohio, but there are several high schools I can think of that use names like Indians and Redskins. I know that those three levels are different too, but it often struck me as something to question.

Back to the topic at hand, UND has 0ver 2,400 logos of the Sioux in their hockey arena. Not all of those logos can come down, however. The NCAA expects the school to get rid of some of the logos by 2015.

No matter how many times a school changes the nickname, there will always be some people that will wear articles with the old logo/names. It looks like UND students will still be allowed to wear the Fighting Sioux gear after all is said and done.

The sources are Grand Forks Herald and NHL.Fanhouse.com.

Until next time,

-Lee

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