UND Officials Take Hope From NCAA Ruling
GRAND FORKS, N.D.
University of North Dakota officials are encouraged by the NCAA’s decision to allow Florida State to use its Seminoles nickname in postseason play.
“It appears they’ve set a precedent that we feel pretty good about,” said Phil Harmeson, a senior associate to UND President Charles Kupchella.
The NCAA removed Florida State from a list of 18 colleges with American Indian nicknames that it had restricted earlier this month. Based on the NCAA ruling, teams on the list, including UND, may not host NCAA postseason tournaments or use the American Indian imagery in NCAA tournaments after Feb. 1.
The association said Tuesday it recognized the relationship Florida State has with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. It also said it would handle reviews from other schools on a case-by-case basis.
North Dakota tribes have been split over the Fighting Sioux nickname. The Spirit Lake tribe, which is nearest the UND campus, has supported it, while the Standing Rock tribe has opposed it.
“That’s something the NCAA will probably have to deal with if they decide that’s the controlling factor,” Harmeson said. “We will be arguing that that is not the controlling factor — it is a factor, but not the controlling factor.”
The university has asked the NCAA to clarify its Aug. 5 ruling but has yet to receive an answer, Harmeson said. The school may go ahead with an appeal based on the Florida State decision, he said.
“I think that it gives all of us hope that every school will be evaluated on a case by case basis,” said Don Kojich, UND’s new executive vice president for university relations.
— Associated Press
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