Thursday, September 27, 2012
Some Sioux Imagery Spared in New NCAA Agreement
Sports venues used by the University of North Dakota will be allowed to retain some Fighting Sioux imagery and still host NCAA postseason events, according to a new settlement announced Wednesday.|
Though the school has decided to replace its long-standing nickname, thousands of Native American warrior logos appearing in brass medallions on seats and — most noticeably — in a 10-foot lobby floor design within Ralph Englestad Arena, home of the UND hockey programs, will not have to be removed as was originally mandated by a 2007 agreement between the school and the NCAA. However, six “Home of the Fighting Sioux” references must go, as does carpeting bearing the Indian-head imagery once the carpeting wears out.
The agreement applies to both Ralph Englestad Arena and its adjacent Betty Englestad Sioux Center, where basketball and volleyball are played. An Associated Press report did not make it clear if the latter venue’s name will be changed. A display will be added to the sports complex depicting the Sioux Nation’s history and contributions to North Dakota.
“I’m very pleased that the NCAA was willing to show flexibility in its policy,” said North Dakota attorney general Wayne Stenehjem, according to the AP. An NCAA statement reads, “The agreement by Ralph Engelstad Arena to reduce the nickname and Native American mascot imagery, and to place the imagery in an historic context, is consistent with the NCAA policy for the University of North Dakota to host NCAA championship events at that site.”
The agreement seemingly settles seven years of debate that included lawsuits, legislation and a statewide vote regarding the Fighting Sioux moniker. While the NCAA was willing to grant reprieve to some of the original 19 member schools identified in 2005 as having “hostile and abusive” mascots if they had the endorsement of their namesake tribes, North Dakota’s Spirit Lake Sioux and Standing Rock Sioux tribes remained split on the subject. That said, the AP notes that the State Legislature has determined that a new nickname cannot be chosen for three years.