Officials at the University of North Dakota thought the long battle over the college’s Fighting Sioux nickname was finally over when they reached an agreement last year to retire the mascot. Then, the North Dakota legislature passed a law this year forcing the university to keep the name.
The new law, signed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple, has left the university in a difficult position: defy the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which has mandated that all American Indian mascots be dropped, or break the law. The legislative debate has reopened wounds over retiring a beloved mascot that has graced hockey jerseys and pennants across the state for years.
University officials hope that a meeting later this month in Indianapolis between Mr. Dalrymple, legislative leaders and N.C.A.A. officials will help resolve the conflict. As it stands, if the university continues to use the name after Aug. 15, its athletics program would face penalties that could jeopardize much-lauded plans to join the Big Sky Conference.