BRAD SCHLOSSMAN: Nickname committee ignores what the public wanted
The process to pick a new nickname for UND athletics teams was tailored to give everyone a voice. Everyone could submit a nickname idea. Every nickname idea would be vetted and considered. And the public would ultimately choose the new nickname b...
The process to pick a new nickname for UND athletics teams was tailored to give everyone a voice.
Everyone could submit a nickname idea.
Every nickname idea would be vetted and considered.
And the public would ultimately choose the new nickname by a popular vote.
It all sounded great, but on Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of the UND Nickname Committee never had any intention of listening to the public.
The option of leaving the school as the University of North Dakota -- with no nickname as it has been operating the past three years -- was removed from consideration by the committee by a 7-4 vote.
It set off a firestorm among North Dakota supporters, who have favored leaving the school without a nickname after UND retired its Fighting Sioux name and logo. The decision also tells us that the process was never really about finding out what the public wanted.
Selecting a new nickname was never going to be an easy process, and it was never going to please everyone. But UND made it a lot harder on itself by pretending it wanted to hear the public’s opinion, only to dismiss it in the end.
The school will soon adopt a new name -- Nodaks (what’s the difference between North Dakota and Nodaks?), North Stars, Roughriders, Fighting Hawks or Sundogs -- and face the risk of having its biggest supporters chastising its own brand. Many of its own athletes are already publicly speaking out against it.
It’s difficult to launch a new brand with minimal support, and that’s what the school will soon try to attempt.
Some say that the supporters of leaving the athletics teams without a nickname are doing it just to try to hang on to the old Fighting Sioux name and logo.
Many have moved on, though, and still believe that North Dakota stands on its own -- that it doesn’t need a gimmicky name like Sundogs or Fighting Hawks to have an identity.
At some point, people may be ready to adopt a nickname. Whether that time is now or not should have been an option for the public to decide.
One of the pillars of the nickname selection process was to find one that is “unifying and a rallying symbol.”
Forcing one through without the support of the public will only do the opposite.
- OUR OPINION: Committee or Kelley should reconsider 'UND/N.D.' option
- TOM MILLER: UND picks not popular, but the right choice