When a law originally passed last March requiring UND to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, its teams began preparing for the inevitable sanctions by the NCAA.
However, UND needed the NCAA to clarify a number of things. Mainly:
A. If it can’t host an NCAA quarterfinal game, could it be played at a neutral site or would the game be played on the road?
B. UND knows it can’t wear its Fighting Sioux jerseys at NCAA events, but do the sanctions prevent the school from bringing Fighting Sioux hockey bags in the building, etc.?
Finally, nine days before the NCAA women’s hockey tournament begins and four days before the field is announced, the NCAA sent a letter (in which it misspelled both the AD and President’s names) to UND to answer the questions.
If UND gets a top-four seed (it would almost certainly need to win the Final Faceoff to do so), it would have to play on the road. The NCAA indicated that Fargo could be an option a few weeks ago, but the letter says that is no longer the case. It will be a road game.
The NCAA also said that UND’s band, cheerleaders and mascot (UND doesn’t have a mascot) can’t wear Fighting Sioux gear at the event. The letter also states that: “we ask that the university take measures to minimize or eliminate the presence of the imagery or nickname brought to an NCAA championship venue.”
Because the men’s tournament is held at neutral venues, the hosting won’t affect them. They will need to use jerseys without the logo (they are scheduled to be done with lettering and numbering next week). It is unlikely that we will see them before the NCAA tournament.
Will either team make the NCAA tournament to begin with? This story talks about their chances and has a link to the NCAA letter.
I should also point out that getting a top-four seed, although it means going on the road, would be significant for the women’s team, because it would keep them away from Wisconsin and Minnesota in the quarterfinals.
If UND is a fifth, sixth or seventh seed, the NCAA will probably try to send them to Minneapolis. An eighth seed would likely earn them a game against the Badgers.
But, in researching the Pairwise this week, just getting into the NCAAs has to be the goal right now for the women.