We have acquired a letter that former UND football player and State Senator Mac Schneider sent to Commissioner Doug Fullerton of the Big Sky Conference. Schneider spoke out against HB 1263, which required that UND be named the Fighting Sioux, in the last legislative session. Â HB 1263 ultimately passed and now UND is stuck in a bad position with the Big Sky conference.Â The Presidents of the Big Sky institutions have made it clear they do not want to deal with the nickname issues and ultimately could reject UNDâ€™s membership, which was slated to begin in 2012.
This news led to the letter by Senator Schneider, sent today, July 15, 2011.Â It is a very well written letter that asks Commissioner Fullerton to wait and see what happens after an upcoming legislative session in November.Â One statement by Schneider at the end of the letter seems to sum it up:Â â€œUltimately, I ask that you give North Dakota lawmakers an opportunity to act before any final decision on UNDâ€™s affiliation with the Big Sky Conference is madeâ€.
Schneider took some flak for vocally speaking out against HB 1263 on the senate floor minutes before the vote took place. In hindsight, it appears he knew what the ramifications would be and how this bill could potentially harm the UND athletic department and the student-athletes.
As we have said all along, if Standing Rock does not vote in 2011 then its time to move on. There are no indications that a vote is coming up, which is going to seal the fate of the nickname. Hopefully, the Big Sky will wait long enough to let the corrective measures take place and put the Presidents at ease.
The letter can be found on the Grand Forks Herald website.