'North Dakota' nixed as UND's list of potential nicknames gets trimmed to 5


The popular nickname to replace the University of North Dakota's retired Fighting Sioux moniker has been cut from the list of potential names.

Green Hawks and North Dakota – the name many alumni seemed to favor – were cut from the list Tuesday night when UND's nickname committee trimmed the list of potential names from seven down to five.

Remaining on the list:

  • Fighting Hawks
  • Nodaks
  • North Stars
  • Roughriders
  • Sundogs

The list of five will be passed to Robert Kelley, president of the university, who will be able to cut or add names before putting the final list up for a public vote – a process for that hasn't been decided yet.

The committee also gave Kelly a few recommendations that he could take into consideration.

Among them: not holding the vote until students return to campus for the school year; limiting the people who can vote to those with ties to the university or are citizens of North Dakota; and establishing and enforcing a one-vote-per-person policy.

Names whittled down

The original nickname list started with more than 1,100 suggestions submitted by the public before being cut down to 64 in May. It was then trimmed to 15, and then narrowed down to seven last month.

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 name.

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" or "North Dakota” since.

Many alumni remain in favor of keeping North Dakota as the school’s nickname, and it was the most popular suggestion when the public submitted names this spring.

The Grand Forks Herald notes the decision to eliminate North Dakota from the list didn't please everyone on the committee, with some wanting to let the public decide if the school should move forward with no new nickname. Others, however, say committee members were encouraged to choose a new nickname because UND will always be known as North Dakota.

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