ND board: Fighting Sioux nickname is retired

Ralph Englestad Arena
Images of the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux mascot are inside and out at the Ralph Englstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. The North Dakota Board of Higher Education has determined that the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux nickname is retired.
MPR Photo/Dan Gunderson

The University of North Dakota athletic department plans to hold a press conference Friday morning to discuss the selection of a new nickname and logo.

A state Supreme Court ruling and a Board of Higher Education decision have retired for good the school's Fighting Sioux nickname after a four-year legal battle.

The court ruled Thursday that the board had the authority to retire the nickname at any time. The court rejected an appeal that sought to delay action.

University of North Dakota Spokesman Peter Johnson said it is unclear how long the process of changing the nickname and logo will take.

"There has been...80 years of tradition here with the nickname," he said. "We will just have to try to do our best to find a way to be as inclusive as possible to help everybody move forward and retire the current nickname."

A group of eight Spirit Lake Sioux tribal members who support the nickname had wanted the courts to bar any decision before a Nov. deadline set in a settlement agreement involving the NCAA, the education board and UND. Calls to the group's attorney were not returned.

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