BISMARCK — The North Dakota House has killed a bill that would have had the UND and NDSU football teams play for the retired Nickel Trophy or create a new one.
The rival schools competed for the Nickel Trophy from 1938 to 2003. It was retired to the North Dakota Historical Society when the teams started playing in different conferences. Now that the rivals are facing off again, lawmakers wrote the bill to allow the schools to temporarily host the trophy.
The revival effort was met with some criticism. The trophy includes an image of a bison on one side and the head of an American Indian on the other. While NDSU still has the bison as its mascot, UND has moved away from the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo and now plays as the Fighting Hawks. Due to the controversy surrounding the rebranding, critics argue that the Nickel Trophy should remain permanently retired.
The bill was then amended to allocate $9,900 for the two schools to design and create a new state-owned trophy for the 2023 season. This version failed 69-23 with opposition arguing that the matter should be left to the schools.
Rep. Claire Cory, R-Grand Forks and a senior at UND, said she voted for the bill to support her school. The UND football fan said she would encourage the two schools to come up with something for the students’ sake.
“I do think students are interested in the rivalry; it makes for fun competition,” Cory said. “A new trophy would be fun for both schools to compete for.”
Alexandra Kautzman is a reporting intern with the North Dakota Newspaper Association.