North Dakota Fighting Sioux Forced To Drop Nickname For 2012 NCAA Hockey Tournament

That the NCAA has cracked down on college athletic programs which use "hostile and abusive" Native American nicknames is not fresh news. They've been doing it since 2005, and several schools have abided by the rules since.

One that hasn't is the University of North Dakota, wrapped in an awkward battle between NCAA interests and state politics. The North Dakota legislature passed a law in 2011 stating that the school must keep their Fighting Sioux moniker, while the NCAA has said they must get rid of it or face sanctions.

North Dakota's men and women's hockey programs have donned their well-known green-and-black Sioux jerseys to date without interruption, but now that it's tournament season, it's time to face those sanctions.

Back in Feb., the NCAA stated the following, via CNN:

The NCAA said Wednesday the "university is subject to the terms of the policy if it uses the logo and nickname."

"Those terms include not being able to host NCAA championship events and a prohibition against using the nickname and imagery on uniforms for student-athletes, along with cheerleaders, (the) mascot or band members, in any NCAA championships," said Erik Christianson, NCAA director of media relations, in a statement.

North Dakota has a shot at a national title in men's hockey. They're certainly not going to drop out of the NCAA tournament over a nickname, so they're simply dealing with the sanctions they've been handed. No hosting tournaments. No displaying the logo during tournaments.

So, here we are. North Dakota will play Western Michigan on Saturday afternoon in St. Paul, Minn. They'll do it in green, white and black jerseys just like they have all season long. Those jerseys just won't say Fighting Sioux. They won't be introduced as the Fighting Sioux, even though they are still the Fighting Sioux.

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