U to limit games with UND over logo

The University will limit athletic play to men’s and women’s hockey.

Tiff Clements

>So much for love thy neighbor.

Athletics Director Joel Maturi announced Dec. 18 that the University will not host University of North Dakota in any athletic competition except men’s and women’s hockey.

Maturi was not available to comment, but athletics spokesman Kyle Coughlin said a 2003 policy approved by the University’s Advisory Committee on Athletics discouraging nonconference home games with teams using logos and mascots depicting American Indian figures will now be more strictly enforced.

“The policy has been in place; we are to not play teams with Native American nicknames that are on the NCAA list,” Coughlin said. “We are now going to follow the policy.”

Tom Buning, athletic director at UND, said he first heard of the University’s policy about a month ago.

The University of North Dakota currently competes in Division II NCAA athletics, with the exceptions of men’s and women’s hockey.

With UND switching to Division I competition in 2008, the two schools will have more chances to meet – chances the University will decline.

“We started to get some feedback through the coaching channels,” Buning said. “Folks were starting to schedule games, starting to talk about opportunities and all of a sudden things went cold.”

Buning said Maturi asked the Advisory Committee on Athletics for permission to override the rule.

“He got exactly the opposite answer he was expecting,” Buning said.

Buning said UND will also be unable to play the University of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa because of similar policies discouraging play against schools with American Indian logos and mascots.

Melaine White Eagle-Antonio, vice president of University of North Dakota Indian Association, said the organization passed a resolution in 2005 affirming its opposition to the school’s logo and nickname.

“The logo is derogatory and discriminatory,” she said. “It affects our future, our past and our present.”

White Eagle-Antonio, a biology junior at UND, said she thinks the University of Minnesota’s announcement could bode well for those looking for a logo change.

“The reason why they don’t want to change the logo is because it’s costly,” she said. “Obviously with other schools pulling away and not wanting to play UND, they’re losing money.”

Carter Meland, lecturer in the department of American Indian studies, said he supports the University’s decision to avoid playing UND.

“I wish they wouldn’t have to regulate it, just that common sense would dictate that these things are offensive,” he said. “If a community says, ‘This is degrading, this is offensive,’ maybe it’s time to listen to that community.”

Meland said though there are more important issues for members of the American Indian community to consider, cultural logos and mascots are an important topic.

“There are much bigger, better issues in terms of things that affect culture and people’s lives in very direct ways,” he said. “As a cultural representation issue, it is an important one.”