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.