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

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