The University of North Dakota must end its use of the Fighting Sioux nickname unless it can secure a 30-year agreement with the state's two namesake tribes by Oct. 1, the State Board of Higher Education decided on an 8-0 vote today.
Grant Shaft, a board member who heads a fact-finding committee on the issue, recommended Aug. 1. He said the earlier the university applies to enter the Summit League athletic conference the better because the league has one more slot open and is looking at six other universities.
The league, which Shaft said UND athletic director Brian Faison considers the best conference for UND to be in, has said it will not consider UND until nickname issue is resolved.
Shaft said he is unclear if a few months will make a difference as far as the Summit League's application is concerned. He also said there is no guarantee UND will get picked by the league.
Pam Kostelecky, a board member who made the motion with the Oct. 1 date, said she wanted to give Standing Rock tribe a chance to weigh in on the issue at either its July 15 election or September 15 election.
Under a settlement with the NCAA, which opposes Indian nicknames, UND needs the support of the state's two Sioux tribes. Spirit Lake has voted 764-371 to support the nickname though its Tribal Council would have to formally issue a resolution of support.