The University of North Dakota, denied the use of its “Fighting Sioux” nickname because the NCAA banned its members from using Native American imagery in 2005, revealed a new nickname: the “Fighting Hawks.”
Many nicknames were submitted during the year-long process, which elicited hilarious suggestions but finally came down to two popular choices: the “Fighting Hawks” and the “Roughriders.” The third and final vote tallied 27,378 total votes, showing “Fighting Hawks” garnering 57.24 percent of the vote and “Roughriders” gathering the remaining 42.76 percent. Any nickname that received more than 50 percent of the runoff vote would earn the new nickname.
The process to choose the new nickname involved the use of an online survey, regional town hall meetings, and a 30-day nickname suggestion period. “Fighting Hawks” led all three votes; receiving 31 percent of votes the first go-round and 46 percent of votes in the subsequent balloting. The first round of balloting in October elicited 22,307 votes; the second round triggered 26,479 votes.
UND President Robert Kelley president asserted that much was yet to do, allowing, “Obviously it’s far from over. We’ve got a lot of work still to do, but the big part of getting through the selection of the new name is over.” UND Athletic Director Brian Faison echoed, “Some things will go quicker than others. It’s like uniforms. We can do some things next year, no problem, but others are more problematic because of when you have to order the jerseys, but we’ll work through it.”
The university has to release a Request for Proposal (RFP) that would ask professional marketing firms to submit proposals for a new graphic identity, including a logo and style guidelines.
The Fighting Sioux logos in the Ralph Engelstad Arena do not have to be removed; the settlement agreement with the NCAA permits their display.
During the selection, a number of comic suggestions came forth, including:
- Green Atomic Snowflakes: “Green Snow is badass! Think of the intimidation factor alone! Plus … Dude, it’s like Atomic and stuff!”
- Frackers: “Since we apparently don’t care about our state’s history, let’s embrace its future!”
- Inquisition: “Nobody expects the Inquisition!”
- UNDertakers: “Not only contains UND in the name, but supports the mortuary sciences program. Not to mention it has a little intimidation factor to it.”
- Zombies: “We already have a green, black, and pink color scheme, and zombies are cool!”
The most popular suggestion for a new nickname was, unsurprisingly, “Fighting Sioux.”