North Dakota Appeal Denied By NCAA

Statement by NCAA Senior Vice-President for Governance and Membership Bernard Franklin on University of North Dakota Review:

“The NCAA staff review committee has retained the University of North Dakota on the list of colleges and universities subject to restrictions on the use of Native American mascots, names and imagery at NCAA championships.

“In its review of the particular circumstances regarding the University of North Dakota, the NCAA staff review committee noted the university did not have the support of the three federally recognized Sioux tribes of North Dakota. One primary, but not exclusive, consideration in the review process is documentation that a ‘namesake’ tribe has formally approved of the use of the mascot, name and imagery by the institution.

“Information the NCAA received from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe clearly indicates both tribes oppose the university’s use of the “Fighting Sioux” nickname and imagery. Several requests made by the NCAA to the Spirit Lake Tribe for clarification on its position went unanswered. Additionally, the Board of Directors of the United Tribes of North Dakota, with representatives of the five federally recognized tribes with a presence in the state, including the three Sioux tribes, unanimously passed a resolution supporting the NCAA decision to ban the use of Native American mascots, nicknames and imagery at NCAA championships.

“Although the University of North Dakota maintained that its logo and nickname are used with consummate respect, the position of the namesake tribes and those affected by the hostile or abusive environment that the nickname and logo create take precedence. The decision of a namesake sovereign tribe, regarding when and how its name and imagery can be used, must be respected even when others may not agree.

“However, the university will be allowed to host the Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Championship, West regional, on March 24-25, 2006 at Ralph Engelstad Arena without altering its current contract. This decision was made because it is not reasonable to cover up or remove all of the Native American imagery in the arena, and the restriction was adopted by the Executive Committee after the contract was awarded to the university. The University of North Dakota will be restricted from hosting future championships in that arena.

“The NCAA position on the use of Native American mascots, names and imagery has not changed, and the NCAA remains committed to ensuring an atmosphere of respect and sensitivity for all who participate in and attend our championships.

“The University of North Dakota can file an appeal with the NCAA Executive Committee. This appeal must be submitted in writing. Requests for reviews from other institutions will be handled on a case-by-case basis.”