Making a 'state'-ment for Sioux, Bison
Former UND football coach Dale Lennon said so himself. His current Southern Illinois team playing football against North Dakota State before 18,000 fans in Fargo is not the same in intensity and emotion as the Fighting Sioux and Bison football ga...
Former UND football coach Dale Lennon said so himself.
His current Southern Illinois team playing football against North Dakota State before 18,000 fans in Fargo is not the same in intensity and emotion as the Fighting Sioux and Bison football game, played anywhere.
Which begs the question: Isn't it about time the two schools put aside bruised egos and petty jealousies and get the royal battle for the Nickel Trophy back on their schedules?
Sure, they each have leagues to play in now, but what they don't have is each other. And as much as each school is reluctant to admit it, they need each other.
The Bison, bless them, have tried hard to drum up a rivalry with South Dakota State by creating a trophy called the Magic Marker (oops, Dakota Marker), that goes to the winner of their football meeting.
But try as they might, it will never come close to the Sioux and the Bison battling for the Nickel Trophy. Which the Sioux have, by the way, hidden away somewhere.
In these days of tough economic times, bank closures and 401K funds vanishing into thin air, I know there are more important items on the table for our state leaders than the storied football rivalry between the Bison and Sioux and the cadaver it has become.
The state provides funding for both universities, so it certainly has a big club to swing over the heads of both schools.
Therefore, maybe it's time for the state to tell the two schools to get together on the football field -- or else.
Perhaps there is hope with a new president and athletic director on board at UND that relations between the two schools will heat up and common sense will prevail. Right now the relationship meter between the Sioux and the Bison falls somewhat below the popularity polls for President Bush. This is Cold War, football style.
Truth of the matter is I don't care who is most responsible for the game's demise. I've heard most all theories on that. I'm tired of them.
All I care about is that the game resumes, the sooner the better.
If it takes state involvement to make that happen, or our congressmen stepping in, so be it. Right now, it resembles a bitter divorce, full of "he said, she said" nastiness.
Right now also might be the ideal time to make it happen. The Bison are eating some humble pie on the football field of late. The Sioux schedule is tepid at best, with more holes than Swiss cheese.
The Bison vs. the Sioux in football is unquestionably North Dakota's greatest sporting spectacle.
Now whole classes of students enroll at NDSU and UND and graduate without the thrill and intrigue of planning a raid of the other campus to steal the Nickel Trophy. We owe that to future students, don't we?
A fall without a Bison-Sioux football game is akin to what winter would be like without the Sioux playing the Gophers in hockey. Imagine how us puckheads would howl about that.
The state of North Dakota has seen fit to weigh in on the matter of the Fighting Sioux nickname at UND, so there's precedence to be found.
So maybe it's time for the state to tell the two schools to sit down and work all this out NOW or it will do it for them.
Virg Foss is retired from full-time sportswriting at the Herald. He writes a weekly column for the Herald from October through April. He can be reached at (701) 772-9272 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .