The NCAA’s fight with the University of North Dakota over their mascot has been settled finally, in a court of law. The university has agreed to get tribal approval to use the “Fighting Sioux” nickname and mascot or be forced to change it if that approval isn’t given within the next 3 years. Why is this in court you might be asking? Did the local Sioux tribes ask the NCAA to get involved on their behalf? The answer to that question is no. It is actually the NCAA deciding that all Native American nicknames and imagery are offensive and have no place in college athletics. In fact the court decision and subsequent 3 year timetable seems to be more of an issue to the tribes involved than the mascot and nickname does.
North Dakota tribal officials have said the three-year period allowed in the settlement unfairly puts pressure on them.
Not being of Native American decent myself I might not have the same perspective as American Indians do but the UND mascot represents to me more of the long and proud Native American history unlike some of the other mascots and images that are prominent these days such as Chief Wahoo of Cleveland Indian fame. I look at this more as the NCAA doing what they do best, taking things to the extreme, sort of throwing the baby out with the bath water, and going after all 18 universities that used American Indian imagery instead of focusing on those that caused concerns with the local tribes.
So now the State of North Dakota is out around $2 million in legal fees and the Devils Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes are in the unenviable position of being forced to determine the fate of a popular mascot that they for the most part never had any serious issue with. Throw in the costs that would be associated with the university possibly having to change 10’s of thousands of logos throughout the campus and you have the NCAA doing more harm than good as usual.
What’s next on the NCAA’s PC crusade? The little green Irish guy with fists raised that is the mascot for the University of Notre Dame could possibly offend some American’s of Irish decent such as myself, will that be the next image on the NCAA’s hit list? Apparently they have nothing else to worry about…