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Kevin Schnepf, Published June 13 2012

Schnepf: Wacky mix-up could mark end to great Sioux nickname debate

FARGO - The NCAA certainly found a unique way of thanking the University of North Dakota for getting rid of its Fighting Sioux nickname.Hours after North Dakota voters overwhelmingly gave UND permission to kill the controversial nickname once and for all (or so we think), a package arrived at UND’s Hyslop Sports Center.

It was the Division I FCS football championship banner that rival North Dakota State won last January. When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight, the NCAA delivered.

As bizarre as this everlasting nickname saga has become over the years, it seemed only appropriate that a wacky mix-up of this sort became a comical and ironic symbol of what we hope is the conclusion of the great Sioux nickname debate.

What can brown do for you? Deliver a package to the wrong address: Mr. Brian Faison, Athletics Director, North Dakota State University, 2751 2nd Ave. N., Grand Forks, ND 58202.

You would think the NCAA would have the correct address label on file. It’s the same destination where the Indianapolis mucky-yucks no doubt sent numerous mandates ordering UND to scrap its nickname – one they deemed “hostile and abusive.”

The NCAA intern I’m assuming who was in charge of mailing the championship banner had no idea his inability to distinguish between UND and NDSU would create such a stir.

But let’s not be too harsh on a kid who probably doesn’t even know where North Dakota is located. After all, this isn’t the first time someone mistook NDSU for UND or vice versa.

Many veteran football poll watchers wondered if FCS voters got NDSU and UND mixed up last fall. After an idle weekend, NDSU fell six spots from No. 6 to No. 12. UND went from not receiving any votes the previous week to No. 21 – with a 1-2 record and coming off a loss.

But this latest mix-up went viral on the Web – prompting even Minnesota Twins president and UND alum Dave St. Peter to post this comment:

“UND should keep (the championship banner) til NDSU agrees to play again.” As bad as his Twins are these days, St. Peter should schedule NDSU or UND.

St. Peter, of course, was referring to the fact that UND and NDSU haven’t played each other in football since 2003. They are talking about playing in 2014.

Maybe NDSU athletic director Brian Faison (I mean, UND athletic director Brian Faison) should hold NDSU hostage by storing the championship banner in the same secret place as the Nickel Trophy – the giant coin UND still owns for winning the last football game with the Bison.

If and when they do play again, UND will have to scratch off the Indian head on one side of the Nickel Trophy. If they don’t, UND may receive more mail from the NCAA.

Or it may end up in a Bison Sports Arena mailbox.

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Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549 or kschnepf@forumcomm.com