- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Among University of North Dakota alumni, athletes and other backers, there’s a lot of support for no new school nickname at all, members of a committee said Thursday.

The university has been without a nickname for the last three years, after the school retired its Fighting Sioux nickname. The task force has a Dec. 31 deadline to give UND President Robert Kelley recommendations on the next steps. It plans to suggest Kelley name another committee that would ultimately choose a new nickname.

“Our overall recommendation is that the university does need to move forward with a new nickname and logo, with the contingency that the current ‘North Dakota’ is left as an option,” said Sherri Kleinssaser Stockmoe, a former UND basketball star and co-chair of the task force.

Many people have indicated that they are fine without a nickname, she said, but noted they have yet to hear the options for a new logo. Others are still unhappy the Fighting Sioux nickname was dropped.

The state Legislature put a three-year moratorium on replacing the nickname after residents voted overwhelmingly in 2012 to dump the logo. That ended a decades-old debate that included the threat of sanctions from the NCAA, which deemed the Fighting Sioux moniker “hostile and abusive.”

Stockmoe said she understands that some boosters still want to vent about losing a nickname that dates back to the 1930s, and doesn’t feel it has detracted from the process.

“We really have tried to say focused on the future,” she said. “I don’t know how we can go back. I just don’t see that as an option. That has been a conclusion of the task force as well.”

Task force member Karl Goehring, a former UND hockey goaltender, said during Thursday’s meeting that boosters who attended a forum in Denver this week were happy to have a chance to speak about the issue.

“I think it’s important going forward that they still feel they have that voice,” Goehring said.

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