Despite interest, little progress toward renewing UND-NDSU games

Former football coach and current ESPN analyst Lou Holtz suggested it may take action by the North Dakota Legislature to get UND and North Dakota State University to resume their football rivalry.

UND and NDSU logo

Former football coach and current ESPN analyst Lou Holtz suggested it may take action by the North Dakota Legislature to get UND and North Dakota State University to resume their football rivalry.

He may be right.

For months, there has been no movement to resume the rivalry, which was put on hold after the 2003 season.

"We're in the same place we've been for a while," UND Athletic Director Brian Faison said Wednesday after Holtz spoke at the North Dakota Petroleum Conference.

In May of 2012, it appeared there was movement to resume the rivalry in 2015 and again in 2017. Those were only tentative dates mentioned by UND.


However, no contracts have been signed nor has there been major discussion between the schools to play again.

Faison, however, said UND wants to play its rival.

"We're ready to go and have been for a while," said Faison.

But, he said, there is nothing new to report.

Schedule problems

The rivalry stopped after NDSU moved up to Division I athletics at the end of the 2003-04 season. UND, however, followed a few years later.

However, NDSU landed in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, while UND found a home in the Big Sky Conference.

That has made scheduling football games between the state's top two universities more difficult.


A big sticking point in resuming the series is how often the teams should play.

NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor has said that playing every other year is the best option, in part because NDSU would like six home games in as many years as possible.

Faison has said he would prefer to play every year.

Action from the state Legislature to force the teams would not be something radical.

Similar action has occurred in other states. Legislative pressure in Iowa, for instance, resulted in Northern Iowa competing against Iowa and Iowa State. And a bill was introduced in the Texas House of Representatives earlier this year that would require Texas and Texas A&M to play each other each season.

UND and NDSU, which won the Division I FCS national title in 2011 and 2012, have played 110 times, with UND leading the series 62-45-3.

Nickel Trophy

The winner of the UND-NDSU football game receives the Nickel Trophy, a 75-pound replica of the U.S. buffalo nickel.


Other Nickel facts:

• UND won the trophy in 2003, the last time the teams played each other.

• The late Robert Kunkel, a UND alum and Chicago advertising executive, was the originator of the trophy.

• The teams began playing for the trophy in 1938.

• UND leads the all-time series 62-45-3.

Nelson reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1268; or send e-mail to .

Sioux Bison Nickel Trophy
Left to right, Willis Stattelman, Jeff Momerak, Matt Vanderpan, and Joe Wilson are the first to the Nickel Trophy after the UND Fighting Sioux beat NDSU 28-21in overtime. Photo by Cory Ryan

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.

He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.

He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.

Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or
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