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“If I thought for one minute that it was derogatory, the Fighting Sioux nickname, I would have never put the bill in,” Mr. Carlson said. “And it’s not just me — there’s been all kinds of North Dakota citizens who have called me and said, ‘Hey, we want the Sioux nickname kept.’”

Given that the NCAA still wields the threat of sanctions, which could include losing the ability to host post-season playoff games, it’s not clear how much pressure the legislature or North Dakota hockey fans can bring to bear.

“The bottom line is clear: The NCAA and the tribes are in the driver’s seat. UND, the board and the legislature are not,” the Herald said in an editorial. “And as long as that’s true, any forcing of the issue by the legislature will be an empty gesture but one that imposes real costs on UND.”

On the other hand, North Dakota fans have shown they can be exceptionally stubborn. By the time of the board’s vote last year, UND was the only school on the NCAA’s list that had failed to resolve its mascot issue.

Dave Christian, a former UND hockey player and gold medalist on the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 U.S. Olympic team, told fans in an interview on Save Our Suhaki’s Facebook page to keep working for the “survival of Suhaki, not just now but for generations to come.”

“I certainly want to tell everyone to not ever give up hope,” Mr. Christian said. “Suhaki needs our support.”