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No more Yetis or Zombies: UND nickname list trimmed to 64

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It had a nice ring to it: The University of North Dakota Yetis.

But that potential nickname, along with hundreds of other ideas, was dropped from consideration by the committee overseeing the selection of a new nickname for UND. The new one will replace the old "Fighting Sioux" nickname, which was retired in 2012.

Over the last week, the 11-person nickname committee reviewed the 1,172 suggestions that were submitted by members of the public in April, and narrowed the list down to 64 that will move on to the next round, the Grand Forks Herald reports.

The committee went through the first round by a quick yes or no vote on each name; if even one committee member voted "yes" on a given name, it was kept on the list, the paper explained.

Some of the nickname ideas that will move forward are:

  • Aviators
  • Bison Slayers
  • Blizzard (and Blizzard Dogs)
  • Explorers
  • Flickertails (the school’s original nickname; they’re a ground squirrel)
  • NoDaks
  • North Dakota
  • Roughriders
  • Woolly Mammoth

(See the complete list of 64 names here)

How Woolly Mammoth was kept on the list, but not Yetis, is a bit of a puzzle.

Other suggestions that were dropped include:

  • Abominable snowmen
  • Auroras
  • Dragons
  • Frozen Tundras
  • Zombies
  • Narwhals
  • Fighting Corgis
  • Frackers
  • Nasty Norwegians
  • Sue

According to MPR News, the committee will next review the remaining nicknames and rate them on how well they align with the “desired attributes” laid out earlier:

  1. Be unique, recognizable, inspiring, and distinctly UND’s.
  2. Promote a sense of pride, strength, fierceness, and passion.
  3. Be representative of the state and region in a way that honors the traditions and heritage of the past but also looks to the future.
  4. Be a unifying and rallying symbol.

The nickname committee will narrow down the choices to a short list and put them to a public vote sometime in the next several weeks.

The most popular names suggested during the submission period in April were "North Dakota," "North Stars" and "Flickertails," the Herald notes.

The school retired the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo in 2012, after a long and contentious legal battle over whether the symbols were offensive to local Sioux tribes and other American Indians.

The NCAA threatened sanctions, and eventually UND agreed to drop the Fighting Sioux.

State lawmakers then put into place a three-year moratorium on choosing a new nickname, so the school’s athletic teams have been playing simply as “UND/North Dakota” since then.

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