It's game over in Grand Forks. The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux are no more.
After years of legal wrangling both for and against the longtime nickname and iconic logo, the change was mandated for Jan. 1 by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education.
The change was made in compliance with a settlement agreement with the NCAA, after UND couldn't get the approval of both the Standing Rock and the Spirit Lake Sioux tribes to keep using the name and image.
The NCAA had previously ruled that North Dakota had to retire both the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname if it wanted to have the ability to host any NCAA championships. All UND teams, which compete at the NCAA Division-I level, will now be known simply and solely as "North Dakota," and will feature an interlocking ND as their primary logo.
The women's ice hockey team debuted their new uniforms in a 14-0 win over Lindenwood on Jan. 4. The Sioux's last official series in men's hockey, its most successful sport, was on Dec. 30-31 against Harvard.
As part of the re-branding effort, affiliate organizations such as the Fighting Sioux Sports Network and the Fighting Sioux Club have also been renamed with "North Dakota" in their names.
Not all the Sioux logos at Ralph Engelstad Arena, however, such as those embedded in the floors, will have to be removed. There will also be no strictures against fans wearing Sioux apparel, or cheering for the Sioux, at future contests.
A new athletic nickname and identity is expected to be chosen by 2015. UND won seven men's hockey national championships and 15 Western Collegiate Hockey Association titles while it skated as the Fighting Sioux.
UND will also move to the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference in the fall of 2013.
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