BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A former mayor of Bismarck has registered trade names for three of the five options for a new nickname for the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, in an attempt to disrupt the selection process. UND officials don’t expect the ploy to succeed.
Marlan Haakenson told The Bismarck Tribune and KXMB-TV that although he attended North Dakota State University, he is a fan of UND hockey and football and believes “North Dakota” should also be an option when people affiliated with the university vote next month on a new nickname for the school.
UND President Robert Kelley said last month that “North Dakota” would not be included in the vote because it’s an identity, not a nickname. The five nickname options are Roughriders, North Stars, Fighting Hawks, Nodaks and Sundogs.
Haakenson registered trade names for Fighting Hawks, Nodaks and North Stars. He was unable to register the other two because of existing trade names that are similar, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said.
UND spokesman Peter Johnson said Haakenson’s move should not prevent the nickname selection process from moving forward.
“It’s not unusual for sports teams to share athletic names,” he said. “So if you look for ‘Bulldogs,’ for example, in just the collegiate level, you’ll find dozens of examples and the same can be said with other endeavors for business. You’ll find the same name in all kinds of context.”
Haakenson said he will “use every legal means I have” to stop UND from using one of the names he has registered, should it be chosen as the new nickname.
UND’s former nickname, “Fighting Sioux,” was deemed offensive by the NCAA and was dropped three years ago.
This story has been corrected to show that voting will be next month, not this month.
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