Monday, August 03, 2015

Being North Dakota Doesn’t Violate Settlement Agreement

This summer, there's been a lot of discussion regarding UND and simply being North Dakota. Obviously, some fans, me included, would rather see UND remain North Dakota then adopt a silly and moronic nickname like Sundogs.

Some have said that would violate the settlement agreement between UND and the NCAA. That's not true at all. I reached out to the UND leadership to get clarification. Here's the response that I received.
Eric, thanks for the email and the support for our university. The NCAA says there would not be a violation of the settlement agreement as far as they are concerned if UND didn't adopt a new nickname. However, the NCAA did say that if fans resumed using Sioux or Fighting Sioux, the NCAA believes other schools will complain and that, in turn, would very likely result in sanctions. The NCAA does seem to believe that UND has done its best to comply with the settlement agreement.

Peter Johnson
Executive Associate Vice President for University Relations
(701) 777-4317

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Fargo Forum: It's getting foolish at UND

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
Our friends to the south just can't help themselves. They fall all over themselves coming up with suggestions for UND and what they should do when it comes to the UND nickname. Don't do it, worry about your back-to-back-to-back-to-back NCAA FCS championships.Seriously, that's an impressive feat, no doubt about it. That being said, I don't recall any of us asking for their help.

Per the Fargo Forum:
A new nickname at UND is a nice idea, but many backers of the school don’t want one. Many feel if they can’t have Fighting Sioux, then go with nothing. There is so much animosity towards Kelley and the NCAA, and so much passion for the Fighting Sioux, that it will be tough for a new nickname to be accepted. Some hope that by going with no nickname now, the Fighting Sioux nickname will eventually come back. That’s not going to happen.

It will look foolish to people outside of North Dakota, but if UND fans don’t want a new nickname, then there’s no point of having one. More of the mess that needs to be sorted out is who gets to vote, and how the ballot is worded. Voters should be asked if they want a new nickname or keep UND/North Dakota. If more than 50 percent say yes to a new nickname, then they should vote on the final five choices.
Everyone has a solution to UND's nickname issue.

UND Nickname: A Couple of Ideas

150
This summer, the University of North Dakota has been moving towards selecting a new nickname. There've been various people weighing in on what UND should select for a new nickname. Daniel O’Shea from Grand Forks wrote a letter to the editor and suggested that UND be the Pride of the North.

Per O'Shea's letter to the Grand Forks Herald:
In my view, the nickname to replace the Fighting Sioux already is in use, in that UND has been using it to introduce the Marching Band at football games. It is the Pride of the North.

However, this name didn’t go very far in the nickname committee’s view. But perhaps now it is more worthy of reconsideration.

What better name would support UND and all of its students and alums

Steve Molvig of Lovelock, Nevada suggested that there's no harm with UND simply being North Dakota. There's quite a few people that feel the same way.

Molvig's letter to the editor:

As mentioned earlier, finances and expansion at UND have been OK since the Sioux logo was retired. It seems that not much was lost. What things have not come UND’s way because they had NO logo or a never existing mascot (except the Farce’s Kermit). In every poll conducted and published in the Herald, the North Dakota option has been the overwhelming choice. However, this top vote getting superior results has been passed off as somehow hanging on to the Sioux identity or sour grapes.

Why can’t it be that North Dakota option supporters are just that proud of the state, its residents, and they want UND’s recognition nationwide to be the great qualities of North Dakota?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Grand Forks Herald Letter: Sioux people deserve seat at UND nickname-selection table

I know I am a couple of day late on this. I did find this letter thought provoking. Rich Becker, a Republican, from Grand Forks, ND says the Sioux people should have a seat at the UND nickname selection table. What do you think?
Becker from the Grand Forks Herald:
I have visited with members of both the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock tribes, and they feel their voices now have been ignored twice regarding their gift to UND of permission to use the Sioux name.

First, they were ignored by the NCAA, which some legal experts believe did not have the authority in its bylaws to demand the nickname change in the first place.

Second, they were ignored by former Board of Higher Education and UND leaders, who have neither visited tribal leaders on their reservations nor asked them to come to UND to be involved in the naming discussion.

It may be hard for some to understand the sorrow and hurt that so many American Indians feel toward the university and state for the dropping of the Sioux name. Yes, the tribes have many negative issues that tribal members must overcome -- issues such as a lack of education, job and housing opportunities. But over the years, the members have found a steady and vital source of hope and encouragement in the association of the Sioux name with UND.

Now, for argument sake, Dr. Leander “Russ” McDonald, three-time UND alumnus and President, United Tribes Technical College is an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Tribe and was the Tribal Chairman.
McDonald is an enrolled citizen of the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota and served as the tribe’s chairman. “We were very deliberate in conducting a national search to get the best qualified candidate,” said Tex G. “Red Tipped Arrow” Hall, United Tribes’ board president. “It came down to five who were qualified with post-doctoral level certification.” (Link to the rest of McDonald's Bio)
One could ask, why weren't more Native Americans on the UND Nickname Selection  Committee?  Hind sight is 20/20, but, should the committee included more Native Americans?

Herald Letter: Nickname not just about athletes

Apparently, UND Alumnus Ralph Sollom didn't appreciate Mike Jacobs op-ed the other day.  Thoughts?
Per the Grand Forks Herald:
The people of North Dakota built the University of North Dakota and alumni from all over the world support it in many ways. Students attending UND and people who work there all have a stake in UND. If they are interested in picking a nickname for UND, they should have an opportunity to vote. Picking a nickname is not something for only “active athletes.” Everyone who has a stake in this should be able to choose to vote. Many huge agencies and corporations conduct extensive voting procedures involving a worldwide constituency … I’m sure UND can do this, too.
When I first read Jacobs letter, I thought it was odd that the former editor of the Herald would suggest that only active athletes be allowed to vote on the new nickname. My first thought was that if you did something like that, you would alienate a whole swath of people.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fargo Forum: Faux Egalitarian Exercise to Select a Nickname Has Become Cartoonish

Wow! Are we entertained yet? I think the fight is only going to get nastier as time goes on. First, UND can't pick a nickname until they define the parameters for selecting one. Second, Kelly has already said he's going to wait to pick a nickname in the fall. That makes sense, wait till the students return to campus.


Per the Fargo Forum and here.
Silly, right? Well, no sillier than attempting (and ultimately failing) to be fair to all when it was crystal clear from the beginning that there was no way “all” could ever come to agreement, or even consensus, about a new nickname. And of course, the mossbacks who cling to the retired nickname will continue to do so no matter what.

Leadership requires leading. It means making unpopular – but right – decisions. The faux egalitarian exercise to select a nickname has become cartoonish. Purpose has been sacrificed to process. A nickname in and of itself isn’t much. But as a vessel, a reflection, an image, it’s very important. The character of athletes, the conduct of fans and the earned reputation of a university will define the nickname, whether it’s Ducks, Gophers, Mud Hens or Cobbers – or whatever at last emerges for UND.
Mud Hens? If you're a duck hunter you will know this one. I kind of like that one. I don't remember that showing up in the initial vote.

Finally, if you're bored with the nickname issue, former All-American forward Zach Parise is celebrating his birthday today.

Classy Move by David Backes



Classy move by one of my favorite former WCHA players. Former Minnesota State Maverick forward David Backes has written a nice check to his former school.
Mankato, Minn. --- Captain of the St. Louis Blues and former Minnesota State Maverick men's hockey forward - David Backes - announced Monday at the school's Annual Blue Line Club Dan Meyer Golf Classic that he and his wife Kelly are donating $100,000 to Minnesota State Athletics that will serve as the lead gift in completing the David Backes Strength and Conditioning Room in the newly-remodeled Maverick Hockey wing at Verizon Wireless Center.

Backes, who has played nine full seasons in the National Hockey League, has served as team captain for the Blues since 2011. Selected by St. Louis in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2003 NHL draft, he made his NHL debut Dec. 19, 2006 when he suited up for St. Louis in a game at Pittsburgh. The Blaine, Minn., native is a two-time member of the United States men's hockey Olympic Team where he won a silver medal in 2010.

"I had a fantastic college hockey experience at Minnesota State and thanks to my coaches and support staff, I learned the value of hard work, teamwork and life skills," Backes said. "These skills helped me tremendously as I prepared for my career in the NHL. As a thank you to everyone at Minnesota State who has assisted me on my collegiate journey, we wanted to donate something back that would make a difference and help ensure the long-term success of the program."

Mike Jacobs: Limit UND nickname vote to active athletes

In today's Grand Forks Herald, former Herald editor Mike Jacobs suggests that the current athletes pick the new UND nickname. I could live with that, but you're going alienate a bunch of fans. So, I don't see that happening.

Now, if they UND used this method to select a new nickname, there's a very good chance that we wouldn't end up with the moronic nickname Sundogs. Right?

Per the Grand Forks Herald.
The best, most credible constituency to vote on a new nickname is the university's active athletes.-- the people who will wear the name on the ice, on the field, on the track, in every athletic venue.

In other words, they are the one who will represent the university.

Their opinion matters more than the opinion of any other potential voters. I am speaking as three times eligible, as a North Dakotan, an alumnus and a UND donor.

I am willing to forfeit these interests in favor of a credible constituency that can bring an end to this long-running controversy. We've been arguing about the nickname and logo for 20 years. It's time to end the fight.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Say What?

English: V. I. Lenin Français : V. I. Lénine -...
I was reading this letter today, and one thing that the author wrote caught my eye.

So, if I am reading this right, now it's a newspaper's job to help people move forward.

A newspaper's job is to inform the masses via news stories. I don't think so Tim. We live in a democracy. This line of thinking would Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin very happy.

Correct me if I am reading this wrong. Feel free to chime in.

Per Herald Letter: Bottom line: UND needs a nickname, not 'no nickname'
And that's a shame, because we generally rely on editorials to represent the views of the "adults in the room." The Herald needs to help people move forward on this issue.

As a supporter of the nickname, I realize that UND and the state fought hard to keep it, but they ultimately lost. I am baffled by the opposition; have people not been following this for years? Did they really expect a nickname committee to choose "No Nickname"?

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Tues., Oct. 13Tampa BayDetroitNBCSN7:30 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 14ChicagoPhiladelphiaNBCSN8 p.m.
Tues., Oct. 20DallasPhiladelphiaNBCSN7:30 p.m.
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Tues., Oct. 27Tampa BaySt. LouisNBCSN8 p.m.
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Tues., Nov. 17MinnesotaPittsburghNBCSN7:30 p.m.
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Wed., Nov. 25ChicagoSan JoseNBCSN10 p.m.
Fri., Nov 27N.Y. RangersBostonNBC1 p.m.
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Wed., Dec. 30N.Y. RangersTampa BayNBCSN8 p.m.
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Thur., Jan. 14ChicagoMontrealNBCSN7:30 p.m.
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Thurs., Feb. 4AnaheimLos AngelesNBCSN10 p.m.
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Wed., Feb. 10N.Y. RangersPittsburghNBCSN8 p.m.
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Mon., Feb. 22San JoseSt. LouisNBCSN8 p.m.
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Wed., Feb. 24PittsburghBostonNBCSN7:30 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 24San JoseColoradoNBCSN10 p.m.
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Wed., March 9ChicagoSt. LouisNBCSN8 p.m.
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Redwing77's Endorsement and Prediction

by Redwing77

Let's Recap:

Nickname Committee failed in many ways (not all of the ways listed by Goon or myself, but I'm not going to sling mud at what is now a defunct committee).  There was, predictably, uproar about the omission of the "North Dakota" option.  President Kelley rebutted that he'll consider re-adding the option to the vote.  Stakeholders backed off.

The Prediction

President Kelley isn't going to be UND President in 4 months time.  He just has to keep the status quo until the new guy comes in.  It would not be unbelievable to have him drop something of a bit of a PR mess in the lap of the next President...especially if he feels that his replacement is someone who is a threat to his legacy.  Remember, pettiness runs hand in hand with bureaucracy.  Therefore, until it is actually re-added, I think his "consideration" of readding the "North Dakota" option will end with his consideration.  He will not re-add the "North Dakota" option to the ballot.  Here's the list of reasons why:

1.  He's afraid that the public will overwhelmingly vote for this option and force the past year or so to be considered a waste of time, energy, and worst of all, money.
2.  People aren't remember for changing nothing.  They're remembered poorly for only changing it partially.  It's all or nothing when it comes to politically motivated legacies.
3.  The mere consideration of doing so was simply just a PR ploy to get everyone just to back the hell off.

Let's face it.  UND has faced this type of thing before.  Charlie Murphy did the same thing.  He refused to allow his people to vote for the Fighting Sioux nickname, using hardships as an excuse, because he was afraid that his people would vote to approve the nickname.  It was an issue that could have been resolved (for or against) at his reservation with almost no effort nor time commitment.  But, it was indefinitely tabled.

If President Kelley and the University Senate (and the nickname committee) weren't concerned about the "North Dakota" option winning out and instead was simply out there to come up with a short list of acceptable nicknames based upon the parameters laid out by the NCAA and public opinion, this whole broohaha wouldn't have occurred.  There's no harm in having it an option on the ballot if there's no concern about the option winning.

My Endorsement and Recommendation

I am and always will be FOR the no nickname option.  It became that way when they eliminated "Spirit" from contention.  Up until that point, I was willing to look at multiple options (like being happy with something other than just "North Dakota").

Inevitably, my highly cynical and pessimistic outlook predicts that this option will not be available.

So what should we do?

My opinion is this:  Vote for "NoDaks."  It's a lame nickname, sure.  It doesn't even roll off the tongue as well as other options, sure.  But it is the easiest to co-opt and ignore.  Yup.  Vote for NoDaks and simply continue calling us North Dakota.  We cannot expect anything good to come out of the merchandise department nor expect the media to follow our wishes.  The media, in this case, will cover the scandal aspect until that blows over and then simply call UND whatever the UND administration wants UND to be called.

We, as students and alumni (and perhaps staff and faculty as well) can only control what we can control.  Students will eventually become alumni and alumni can do what they feel must be done.  Either shrug their shoulders and move on, or simply stop giving money and time to UND.

I hope common sense prevails and the PC agenda fails.

Friday, July 24, 2015

UND Nickname Opinion

With all of the hustle and bustle in the last week over the list of potential names being downed to the final five, many people have had their opinions on the list of names at hand and many of them were not too positive. The general public was upset over the fact that the committee said that the public's voice would be heard and accounted for, but when the time came to shrink the list to five, the option of staying UND/North Dakota, which was the public's majority pick, was not in that group it made stakeholders furious.

Reports then came out saying UND President Robert Kelley suggested to the committee that if the UND/North Dakota option was not removed, the committee could be disbanded, leaving another big speed bump in this process. This report was the last straw for the public stakeholders and many alumni and current students sounded off with opinion letters to the Grand Forks Herald and over social media.

As for me, the only option I saw as a suitable fit was to remain staying simply as the University of North Dakota. No name, just the same tradition and history of the university. No matter what name is chosen, nobody will be able to back it. However, a friend and I shared some text messages earlier this week when the news broke, and he said that he would choose the Fighting Hawks because when the PA would sound off before games and announcing goals, they would say "Here's your University of North Dakota Fighting...." and when he says 'hawks' we all could scream Sioux and all would be normal. So just an instance of someone with a positive outlook on a touchy subject in UND country.

Any new nickname will be tough to swallow for anyone. I remember when the Sioux logo was dropped towards the end of my freshman year at UND. That was hard to take and I had just started taking in the history and traditions of the university. I eventually got behind this 'temporary' name/identity for the university and maybe someday I can accept the new name too. Well maybe not if it's the 'Sundogs.'

Grand Forks Herald: UND/No Nickname Option Will Be Considered

UND president Robert O. Kelly has done the right thing. In my opinion, this is also a response to the backlash from UND fans that were unhappy with the UND Nickname Committee deciding to remove North Dakota as an option for a final nickname. I believe this is the right decision.

Per the Grand Forks Herald:
UND President Robert Kelley will consider adding “North Dakota” to the list of nickname finalists for the public to vote on, he said in a letter emailed this morning to staff and UND community.

“I will consider the possible addition of “North Dakota” in the vote process,” he said in the letter.

The letter follows public backlash after the UND Nickname Committee earlier this week eliminated “North Dakota” or no nickname, from a list of five finalists for a public vote to replace the “Fighting Sioux” nickname that was retired in late 2012.

The UND Nickname Committee earlier this week decided to remove the option of continuing to play without a nickname, which the school has done since the last nickname was retired.
Of course, there are going to be fans that are unhappy with this move.  Personally, I am unhappy that Sundogs is still one of the remaining nickname choices.