Last year marked the end, finally, of the fight over the nickname at the University of North Dakota. The school had been operating without a nickname, but now-retired UND President Robert Kelley decided that not having a nickname wasn’t an option.
So after hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on several rounds of contentious voting UND has a new nickname.
The Fighting Hawks. And everybody hates it.
So much so that the public address announce at UND hockey games has had to stop using the name during games because of all the boos.
“I don’t think it’s very effective if you kill that penalty and it’s met immediately with 11,000+ people booing,” Derrin Looker, the public address announcer at the Ralph Englestad Arena, told WDAZ.
Sure, the Fighting Hawks nickname was voted in by the school’s students and alumni, but remember that what seemed to be the most popular option – which was no nickname at all – was kept off the ballot by Kelley.
You can’t tell me, based on the boos at the Ralph, that UND fans and students prefer the Fighting Hawks nickname to no nickname at all.
The Fighting Sioux nickname is, sadly, never coming back. So it goes. But did the school really have to cram a new nickname down our throats?
I think that decision had more to do Kelley needing to get in one last dig at the Fighting Sioux nickname supporters on his way out the door than it did with what was best for the school.
Let the boos at the Ralph serve as Kelley’s legacy. He was a poor leader.
Update: Grand Forks Herald sports reporter Brad Scholssman says it’s not that they’ve stopped using the name, they’re just using it differently.
@robport They are still using it the same number of times as before, they just changed when they use it.
— Brad E. Schlossman (@SchlossmanGF) January 5, 2016
Which, you know, ok.
But still, I think even if you called the nickname “unpopular” you’d be guilty of understatement.