NCAA: Don't Bring Fighting Sioux Name To Playoffs

Ann McClure's picture
Friday, March 2, 2012

niversity of North Dakota teams risk forfeiting any post-season games if their athletes, cheerleaders or band wear or display the school's Fighting Sioux nickname and American Indian head logo, an NCAA official said Wednesday.

Bernard Franklin, an NCAA executive vice president, said in a letter to university provost Paul LeBel that the university "must forfeit competition" if "it has not adhered to this requirement" in any post-season games that UND teams have been invited to play in.

"We ask that the university take measures to minimize or eliminate the presence of the imagery or nickname brought to an NCAA championship venue," Franklin's letter says.

The NCAA has long said the nickname and logo are hostile to American Indians and that the Grand Forks school's teams may not wear uniforms that have the nickname or logo during post-season contests. But the Franklin letter's mention of forfeiting games is a new development.

The university's women's hockey team, which is ranked fifth in the nation, may be the first affected by the sanctions. The team still could win a high enough seed to host the first round of the NCAA's post-season tournament, but the nickname penalty will bar the team from doing so in any case.

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