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DeAnna Carlson Zink, Grand Forks, Published June 02 2012

Retire logo, build on rich legacy

In a May 27 column in The Forum, Ross Nelson accused the University of North Dakota Alumni Association and those who support retiring the Fighting Sioux nickname of abasing ourselves, selling out our honor and selling our souls. While I understand Nelson’s anger and frustration, his anger has overshadowed the reality of the situation.

We are not engaged in some philosophical exercise. It is not some schoolyard fight. Unfortunately, for most of us, we are choosing the lesser of two evils.

The NCAA is a private entity whose members are seen nationally as the top players in college athletics. It is in UND’s best interest to remain a member of the NCAA, but that comes with certain conditions. We, and all universities that compete in the NCAA, have a contract that outlines the rules and conditions of our membership. Whether we like it or not, membership requires us to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname or face the consequences.

If forced to keep the nickname, UND will be prohibited from hosting postseason competitions, and its athletes will lose their home-field advantage. In addition, several of the region’s top universities have policies prohibiting their teams from competing against universities under NCAA sanctions. UND’s student athletes have already lost competitive opportunities with Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Even our membership in the Big Sky conference and the NCAA is at stake.

We can choose to keep the nickname and hamstring our athletic programs and athletes or we can retire the nickname and build on UND’s rich legacy of nationally recognized athletics. That is our choice and why we cannot make this an emotional decision.

We need to vote “yes” on Measure 4 and let UND retire the Fighting Sioux nickname.

Carlson Zink, Grand Forks, is associative executive VP, UND Alumni Association.