BISMARCK - The Fargo legislator who sponsored a bill that would force an annual football game between North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota no longer supports the bill.

Rep. Scot Kelsh said today he initially wanted to urge the two schools to play, but now he doesn't think the game should be legislated.

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Kelsh, a Democrat and a 1994 NDSU graduate, said he signed the bill at the last minute when the prime sponsor was looking for a Fargo legislator to be a co-sponsor.

"We don't need to mandate that the teams will play each other," said Kelsh, who has since talked with NDSU Athletic Director Gene Taylor about the bill.

The rules don't allow Kelsh to withdraw as a sponsor of the bill, but if he testifies for the bill it would be in opposition to it, he said.

He has received e-mails from more than 30 NDSU fans and alumni on the bill, primarily telling him that the state should not interfere.

"Unfortunately this kind of thing receives a lot of attention that's out of balance with what we actually do," Kelsh said.

Rep. Louise "Weezie" Potter, D-Grand Forks, was the prime sponsor of the bill.

The forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.