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Wooly Mammoths? Bison Slayers? UND narrows school nickname list

At first, there were 1,172 different nicknames suggested for the University of North Dakota's replacement of "Fighting Sioux."

Now there are 63.

We suspect the new UND nickname will not be the Bison Slayers, Warriors of the North or Wooly Mammoths, which are among the survivors.

A consulting firm hired by the school suggested 27 of the nicknames and a committee put together by the college, which includes Twins president and UND graduate Dave St. Peter, added another 36.

According to the Grand Forks Herald: "The committee went through this first round of elimination by viewing each name quickly and voting yes or no; if even one committee member voted 'yes,' it was kept for consideration."

So someone liked "Fighting Sundogs."

The committee eliminated "Flickertails," which was the school's nickname up until the 1930s.The Herald reported that the most-submitted nickname was simply "North Dakota," which was the choice of 1,005 people who made a suggestion during April.

Before the process continues, the school is looking into whether "Nokota" can stay on the list after it was originally placed among those that were considered inappropriate or legally unavailable.

The Herald reported "Committee member and United Tribes Technical College President Leander 'Russ' McDonald said the word 'Nakota'—spelled slightly differently—is a Native American tribe and UND General Counsel Julie Evans said it was excluded because of NCAA stipulation that prohibits the use of Native American imagery."

But the Nokota is a breed of horse that was designated as the state's honorary breed in 1993 and, as long ago as 2007, a North Dakota sports blog was touting the choice in the event a change was necessary.

One letter, big difference.

After the list narrowed further, the finalists will be put to a public vote. You can read the Herald report, which includes the full list of nickname candidates, here.

Above: A Fighting Sioux logo on the University of North Dakota hockey arena in 2006. Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune file

Yes, Randy Moss was at a small-town Minnesota graduation Friday

So if you go to the website of the weekly newspaper in Pelican Rapids you'll find a great photo under this headline: "Special guest, former NFL football pro Randy Moss attends Pelican Rapids High School graduation."

The web site isn't spilling all the details. You'll have to get next week's print edition for those.

The quick version is that early in his career Moss met Kassi Spier at an autograph session at training camp in Mankato. The two stayed in touch and Moss made a promise to attend her high school graduation in the city of 2,500 people about an hour from Fargo.

Spier has seen more tough times than anyone, especially a young person, should have to face, according to this story by Hayden Goethe of the Fargo Forum.

And Sean Jensen, the former Vikings beat writer for the St. Paul newspaper, provides some cool details about the friendship between Kassi and Moss in this blog post.


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