FARGO, N.D. — University of North Dakota officials say it could cost about $750,000 to retire the school’s Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, but haven’t figured out who will pay for the changes.
Robert Kelley, the UND president, sent the cost estimate last week to a budget analyst and auditor with the North Dakota Legislative Council. Among the issues lawmakers will discuss at a special session in November is a proposal to dump the nickname, which the NCAA considers hostile and abusive.
Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, who has drafted a bill that would retire the nickname, said Wednesday he’s not surprised by the estimates.
“You know, I am not alarmed by much of anything in regards to this issue,” Mathern said. “There are so many variables. There are so many emotional and social and political and legal issues, every one of which is probably more important than the cost. But cost is another variable.”
The biggest chunk of the estimate is $575,000 to develop a new moniker and logo. Other estimates are $95,800 for new uniforms and gear, $63,000 to remove old logos, $9,250 to change stationary, and $4,000 to update websites.
“We’ve tried very hard in there to say that these are estimates,” UND spokesman Peter Johnson said. “These are our best stabs at what it would cost in these categories.”
Kelley’s letter said the “specific sources of the funds” to retire the logo have not been identified or assigned, nor is the timing clear.
The estimates do not include changes to the Ralph Engelstad Arena, home to the UND hockey team and thousands of Fighting Sioux logos, many of them imbedded the architecture. A 2007 settlement agreement with the NCAA shows pictures of 42 logos that will be allowed to remain, and more may be added to that list, Johnson said.
“They said they were willing to consider that as a possibility,” Johnson said of NCAA officials.
Mathern’s bill has two sentences. It would repeal a law passed earlier this year that requires UND to keep the nickname, and would make it effective on Dec. 1.
The NCAA has threatened sanctions against UND unless the school dumps its nickname. Doug Fullerton, commissioner of UND’s future athletic conference, the Big Sky, also has said that keeping the name could hurt the school’s athletics program.
Supporters of the nickname say it is a symbol that honors American Indians and has a proud tradition.
In August, Gov. Jack Dalrymple led a state delegation to Indianapolis, hoping that the Legislature’s adoption of the law directing UND to retain the Fighting Sioux name would persuade the NCAA to reconsider sanctions.
The NCAA stood firm, and lawmakers are expected to repeal the law during the upcoming special session that also will deal with other issues including legislative redistricting and disaster relief.