After the outcry that arose when a University of North Dakota committee voted to eliminate continuing to play without a nickname, the school's president said he'll reconsider whether to return that as an option to a list of choices to be voted on.
In a memo sent out Friday, UND president Robert Kelley wrote: "Over the next few weeks I plan to further review all the feedback received, and I will consider the possible addition of 'North Dakota' in the voting process."
The four-paragraph memo was published by the Grand Forks Herald.
Earlier in the week, the 11-member committee in charge with coming up with a list of replacements for the "Fighting Sioux" nicknamed that was shelved in 2012 voted 7-4 to eliminate continuing to play as "North Dakota." To some people, that was seen as a vote in support of the Sioux nickname, which was abandoned after the threat of sanctions by the NCAA and protest by American Indian communities.
A rally in support of remaining as North Dakota was attended by about 30 people on Friday. The Herald reported that some wore UND clothing with the Indian logo and others chanted "Let's go, Sioux!"
In his memo, Kelley said he still favors choosing a nickname: " I believe it is in the best interest of the University to have a new nickname — something that will go along with continuing to be “North Dakota” — just as other major universities have nicknames. I think students, alumni, and fans would benefit from having cheers, chants and songs that connect to a true nickname."
The committee, which includes Minnesota Twins president and UND alumnus Dave St. Peter, voted to forward Fighting Hawks, Nodaks, Sundogs, North Stars and Roughriders to Kelley.
St. Peter was among the four who voted to keep the no-nickname option. The committee had been working since March to winnow down a list from the public of more than 1,000 nickname options.
One committee member, Landon Bahl, told the Herald why he's opposed to continuing to use "North Dakota" without a nickname: "We've been stuck in this rut for several years without having an identity. We are and always will be North Dakota, but the thing with that is also everyone else is North Dakota. That's not an identity that's just for UND."