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UND won't add 'no nickname' option to ballot; voting rules set

The University of North Dakota will choose a new nickname for its athletic teams in October and the option to not have one, and simply be known as "North Dakota," will not be among the choices.

The no-nickname option was eliminated last month by an 11-member committee charged with nickname options after the school retired "Fighting Sioux" three years ago under pressure from the NCAA and many American Indians.

The five choices recommended by the committee are Fighting Hawks, Nodaks, North Stars, Roughriders and Sundogs. "No nickname" had been eliminated by a 7-4 vote, with Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter, a UND alumnus, in the minority.

Soon after, however, school president Robert Kelley said he would consider adding "no nickname" as a sixth option on the ballot.

But he wrote on Friday in the Grand Forks Herald: "As I look back over the events and discussions of the past several years, one thing is clear to me: Our past is important — but our future is even more important. As president of UND, I believe that having no nickname — remaining 'North Dakota' only — is not in the long-term best interests of the university."

In an interview with the Herald, Kelley said that just being known as North Dakota or UND is "not a nickname. That’s who we already are. And if we put that onto the ballot, it would be a default position and people would say ‘Well, we don’t want a nickname’ and go to that. Many, many, many people that I’ve talked to — students, faculty, staff, community members, state citizens — they want a nickname for the university. So I weighed all of these considerations and in my best judgment, not putting that option on the ballot was the best way to go.”

Here's a look at some of the reaction on social media, compiled by the Herald.

Rules for the voting also were announced by the school:

If none of the five choices get at least 50 percent on the first ballot, a run-off will be held between the top two finishers. The complete election rules are here.

Current UND students, faculty and staff will be eligible to vote, as will alumni, retirees, season-ticket holders and donors. To be on the list of voting-eligible donors, a person needs to give money to UND by Monday.

So any of us can vote on North Dakota's future -- for a price.

Watch Miguel Sano's massive home run that wasn't

Twins rookie sensation Miguel Sano banged what looked like a massive home run against Tampa Bay on Thursday night, a ball that appeared to be headed way, way beyond the wall in left-center field ...

... until it crashed into a catwalk that encircles the field.

"I didn't think a human being could hit a baseball that far!" announcer Dick Bremer exclaimed.

Here's what it looked like:

Sano didn't score after Trevor Plouffe flied out to end the fourth inning and the Twins ended up losing by one run, 5-4, to the Rays to end a six-game winning streak.

Tropicana Park ground rules state that a ball that hits the stadium's middle catwalk are in play, the assumption being that most balls hit that high aren't going to go as far as Sano's was headed -- well over 400 feet, according to people who watch more Tampa Bay games than we do.

"I'm sure that over time they have concluded that the ground rules that are in place are best suited for the facility they have,'' manager Paul Molitor told La Velle E. Neal III after the game.

And Twins fans who are steaming at the injustice should probably keep in mind these three words: "Remember the Metrodome." More than once, the Twins were aided by the quirks of their former indoor home.

Here's a bit more from La Velle on that issue.

So enjoy the majesty of what should have been and try to decide how far that ball would have gone if it had been hit at Target Field. Nordeast, maybe?

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