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Forum News Service, Published March 29 2013

‘Fighting Sioux’ letters go for $8,000 at auction

GRAND FORKS – The apparent winning bid for letters that spelled out “Home of the Fighting Sioux” on Ralph Engelstad Arena at the University of North Dakota was $8,000 when the online auction closed at 5 p.m. Friday.

The auction started two weeks ago with a base bid of $1,000. Bidding reached $7,100 a week ago and rose by the required $100 increments.

There was no immediate word on who made the winning bid or what the bidder planned to do with the 2-foot-tall letters, which, when placed on the arena’s exterior, created a sign measuring 70 feet.

The full set of “Home of the Fighting Sioux” letters was one of six sets that trumpeted the former UND nickname on the arena and the neighboring Betty Engelstad Sioux Center until they were removed last fall.

The signs’ removal was part of the retirement of the nickname and a condition of the legal settlement between the NCAA and the state of North Dakota, acting on behalf of the university. In a final adjustment to that settlement, NCAA officials said most other Fighting Sioux items could remain, including the large logos on the exteriors of the two buildings.

The name of the Sioux Center also will remain, according to Jody Hodgson, the Ralph’s general manager.

Hodgson said earlier that proceeds from the online auction will go toward offsetting the “significant” costs of the signs’ removal.

The arena may consider offering one or more of the remaining “Home of the Fighting Sioux” sets for sale, in whole or letter by letter, depending on how the first sale goes, he said.

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