Seven options are in the running to become UND's permanent nickname, including the possibility of continuing to play as "UND/North Dakota."
Also remaining are "Fighting Hawks," "Green Hawks," "Nodaks," "North Stars," "Roughriders" and "Sundogs."
UND's nickname committee awarded -1, 0 or 1 point for criteria such as uniqueness, linguistic ease and whether the name was a rallying symbol and representative of the region, with a total of nine criteria areas.
"Roughriders" scored the most points with 48. "Sundogs" and "North Stars" tied for second place with 46 points each and "Nodaks" came in third with 42 points.
The committee is charged with developing a short list of names for a public vote that hasn't been scheduled yet, as the school's former controversial Fighting Sioux name was retired in late 2012 after the NCAA threatened sanctions.
Prior to ranking the names, the committee discussed 15 nickname options at length, which had been taken from more than 1,000 individual ideas submitted by the public throughout April.
The committee was split on whether to continue to play as "North Dakota," with members Landon Bahl, Chelsea Moser and Lowell Schweigert speaking out against it while Dave St. Peter was in favor of discussing it further.
"Now I think is the time for some courage and the popular choice based on what was submitted during April, obviously to all of us, if you look at numbers, is 'North Dakota,' but popular isn't always the right choice," said Schweigert, a UND alumnus and committee member.
"North Dakota" received 21 points when the committee voted on the name with St. Peter awarding 8, the most, and Bahl awarding -8, the least.
The option of "Roughriders" also was discussed at length, as PadillaCRT consultants working with the committee pointed out it has an inappropriate double meaning.
Kelly O'Keefe, one of the consultants, said almost every word could have a negative double meaning but that this one is a little bit different.
"This crosses that line and could be embarrassing and problematic," he said.
Even though Red River High School in Grand Forks has that same mascot, several on the committee said they liked the name. When points were ultimately assigned, "Roughriders" came out on top.
But before assigning points, the committee voted to remove six of the 15 name ideas including "Explorers," "Pride" and "Thunder Hawks" after it became apparent through discussion those names weren't favored.
"I just don't think we should pick another hockey team's name," Bahl said of the "Force," nickname, which was also removed in that first round of voting.
After assigning points to the names and narrowing the list to nine options, committee member and president of United Tribes Technical College Leander "Russ" McDonald made a motion to cut the five with the lowest scores from the list, which failed after many said they wanted more time to think.
"I think maybe some of this, some of the decisions we made tonight, it might be good to have the constituents ... see some of the decisions we made," Schweigert said.
Committee members will further consider the seven remaining options individually before discussing them at another meeting that hasn't been scheduled yet.
When the public will vote on the names hasn't been decided either but will involve as many people as possible at UND President Robert Kelley's direction.
UND committee member Jazmyn Friesz said it would be smart to wait until the majority of students return for classes in the fall, but Bahl said those who really cared would be keeping an eye on nickname developments online.
Kelley, who last week announced his intention to retire on January 14, 2016, said at the time he hoped the nickname would be chosen by the time he left the school.
• Fighting Hawks
• Green Hawks
• North Dakota
• North Stars