Fate of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname rests in hands of state voters

5 Comments

They may be Great West Conference champions, but the North Dakota Fighting Sioux are in for another battle.

Their nickname, the Fighting Sioux, is under review in the state’s primary Tuesday and, depending on the outcome, we could see another instance of a team forced to change its name after being deemed “hostile and abusive” by the NCAA.

We’ve seen teams change names in the past, notably the St. John’s Redmen becoming the Red Storm, and Marquette changing from the Warriors to the Golden Eagles.

The North Dakota state legislature repealed a law that required the school to continue using the nickname, meaning that a “yes” vote would likely call for a name change, though supporters of the moniker have vowed to resume the battle this fall.

North Dakota alumni vice president has voiced his concern over what keeping the nickname could mean for the future of the school’s athletic program.

“I think that over the course of time our case has gotten stronger and stronger,” O’Keefe told the Associated Press. “Listening to the coaches last week tell the story about the reality of how they are being impacted by scheduling and recruiting … the facts are the facts.”

The Fighting Sioux won the Great West title this past season, defeating NJIT, 75-60, in the title game.

The Great West does not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, though the Fighting Sioux went on to compete in the CIT. They lost to Drake in the first round, finishing the season with an overall record of 17-15.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_