GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA—The University of North Dakota retired its Fighting Sioux name at the end of 2012 and is still contemplating a new name for its sports teams.
This seven years after the NCAA passed stringent rules for its collegiate members from using American Indian imagery. Since then the school simply uses its name at sporting events.
However, students have been reluctant to drop the Sioux name. Fans still are seen with the “Fighting Sioux” logo. At the end of the national anthem at UND hockey games, they replace “home of the brave” with “home of the Sioux.”
Now the NCAA has told University of North Dakota officials that if fans resumed using Sioux or Fighting Sioux, there may be sanctions against the university.
“Schools can be held accountable for their fans’ actions/behavior at school events,” NCAA Associate Director of Public and Media Relations Gail Dent told the university. “Schools have also found ways to proactively deliver public address announcements and other forms of written and verbal messaging to their fan/alumni/student base to deter various types of behavior.”
(UND spokesman Peter) Johnson said in an interview he considers this a friendly warning from the NCAA, and while the school will campaign to have the new nickname accepted by the public—whatever it is—there are no plans to limit what fans do, say or wear, according to the Forum News Service.
“The president has said pretty consistently that people can certainly wear what they want to wear and say what they want to say within the bounds of, well, the kinds of things you can say,” Johnson said.