The final piece in the rebranding puzzle snapped into place Wednesday when the University of North Dakota unveiled a new logo to go with the new nickname — replacing the one the NCAA said the school’s sports teams couldn’t use because it was insensitive to American Indians.
The visual representation for UND’s new nickname — the Fighting Hawks — is a white hawk’s head with a green “ND” in block letters as its backdrop.
The simple design was revealed at an on-campus ceremony emceed by University President Ed Schafer from UND’s Athletics High Performance Center and carried live online.
Upon the unveiling, Schafer donned a T-shirt with the design. Now the teams will start wearing the new logo as quickly as the jerseys and other gear can be made for each squad. Head football coach Bubba Schweigert said his team will wear the logo on their helmet at Stony Brook in the season opener.
Merchandise for purchase with the new logo, designed by SME Branding of New York City, is expected to become available in mid-August.
Reaction from the public appears to run the gamut, and the pining for the days of the discarded nickname persists.
“I don’t hate it, and I wanted to hate it,” wrote one Star Tribune commenter. “I think it looks sharp. ... The font looks nice,” wrote another.
One detractor posted that “if UND exists in 100 years, fans and students will still be wearing Sioux gear.” While sarcasm motivated another to say, “It’s perfect, a bland manufactured logo to go with a bland manufactured nickname.”
UND announced its new nickname in November. It was forced by the NCAA to abandon its previous nickname, Fighting Sioux, in 2012 because of complaints that it was offensive to American Indians.
Nickname-less in the interim, UND went through an elaborate selection process that ended with Roughriders and Fighting Hawks as online voting finalists.
While Schafer made no mention of the Fighting Sioux nickname in his comments leading up to the announcement, a short video recapping UND’s athletic history did reference the mothballed moniker once while listing the others that athletes have competed under since the late 1800s.
“We are at a historic moment,” Schafer said to the audience. “We’ve played under a number of nicknames and a number of logos. … Our teams will march to victory … with a new look.”
Even though the use of Fighting Hawks by UND took effect last fall, its fans have persisted with their robust “Sioux” cheer as the men’s hockey team skated to the national championship.
As part of an agreement with the NCAA, the Fighting Sioux logos will remain on permanent display throughout Ralph Engelstad Arena, which is home to the men’s and women’s hockey teams.