Minnesota advisory committee won’t reconsider North Dakota games

Grand Forks, North Dakota (AP) 10-07

A University of Minnesota policy discouraging the school’s athletic teams from competing against the University of North Dakota in any sport except hockey will stand, an official says.

The school’s Advisory Committee on Athletics said in February that it would reconsider the policy, which was prompted by UND’s Fighting Sioux nickname. Committee chairman Douglas Hartmann now says that will not happen.

Hartmann told committee members that he sees no reason to reconsider the policy because there have been no significant developments in UND’s court battle against the NCAA or in the wider debate about American Indian team nicknames.

UND is suing the NCAA over a 2005 policy that bars the school from displaying its Indian-head logo or nickname in postseason play or hosting playoff games. The two sides have been working toward a settlement, with trial scheduled to begin Dec. 10.

Betty Ralston, UND associate athletic director, said the Minnesota committee’s decision was unfortunate but not surprising.

“It’s unfortunate that a (NCAA Division I) school that’s so close to us geographically is not going to become a rival other than in hockey,” she said. “It’s their institution’s decision, and just like we don’t want people to come here and tell us what to do, we can’t impose things on those other institutions.”

The Minnesota committee did not vote on the decision, but Hartmann said no members objected. A settlement or a verdict in the legal case might prompt the Minnesota committee to reconsider, he said, though he was skeptical.

“That committee has students, student-athletes, faculty and alumni, so people are coming from all over the place on this issue,” Hartmann said.

Some people consider UND’s nickname and logo offensive. UND says it uses the name and logo with respect.

Minnesota’s 2003 policy discourages the school’s athletics department from competing against all teams with Indian mascots and nicknames.

UND last year began a five-year transition to NCAA Division I athletics in all sports. The school already plays hockey in Division I, and has a long-standing rivalry with Minnesota in men’s hockey.

Information from:
Grand Forks Herald,