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North Dakota Supreme Court OKs public vote on Fighting Sioux nickname

North Dakota Supreme Court justices refused to block a June vote on the University of North Dakota's controversial team name. The NCAA says it will sanction the university if it keeps the nickname, while the Legislature has passed a law requiring the university to keep it.
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North Dakota Supreme Court justices refused to block a June vote on the University of North Dakota's controversial team name. The NCAA says it will sanction the university if it keeps the nickname, while the Legislature has passed a law requiring the university to keep it.

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North Dakotans vote to retire Fighting Sioux nickname

Backers of the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux logo may finally have to give up the fight. Residents voted Tuesday to let the university end its use of the nickname. The NCAA has threatened sanctions against the school if its sports teams continue using the name and symbol.

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The North Dakota Supreme Court is being asked to hear the case. A court spokeswoman told the Associated Press the court has yet to decide whether to take it. Supporters of the nickname filed a petition asking for a public vote.

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The NCAA has threatened sanctions against the University of North Dakota for keeping its Fighting Sioux nickname. While that threat has not yet led to disappearance of the controversial name, it has prompted several other schools to drop North Dakota from their athletic schedules.

University of North Dakota to use 'Fighting Sioux' despite NCAA threats

The move comes after supporters of the controversial nickname filed petitions to put the issue before a statewide vote. The university's president said the school will continue to use the name and logo out of respect for the state's referendum process. The NCAA has told the school it could face sanctions.

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The Fargo Forum reports petitioners are within 1,000 signatures of the 13,500 needed to put the debate surrounding the University of North Dakota nickname on the November ballot. The deadline to gather and file the signatures is midnight Tuesday.

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The Legislature last year passed a law requiring the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname. The state Attorney General believes the law is unconstitutional. Now the Board of Higher Education has voted to challenge it with a lawsuit.

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