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Published January 01, 2012, 01:21 PM

University of North Dakota Announces Rebranding

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The University of North Dakota is one step closer to phasing out the Fighting Sioux nickname.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The University of North Dakota is one step closer to phasing out the Fighting Sioux nickname.

The university has been working to retire the nickname and accompanying American Indian head logo, which the NCAA deems offensive, and rebrand several organizations and media related to UND's athletics department. A large part of the transition process was to be completed by the end of the year.

Starting Saturday, UND's varsity athletics teams will operate without an official nickname or corresponding logo until at least Jan. 1, 2015, as mandated by the North Dakota State Legislature. The school announced on Friday it would rebrand several organizations and media and Internet platforms affiliated with the school's Athletics' Department, according to a story published Saturday in The Grand Forks Herald (http://bit.ly/v5E7Ch ).

UND Athletics Director Brian Faison said the UND Athletics fundraising organization will no longer be called the Fighting Sioux Club. It has been renamed the North Dakota Champions Club. Sioux Crew, which promotes student involvement and attendance at the school's sporting events, will now be called the NoDak Nation.

The school's television sports network, Fighting Sioux Sports Network, will be renamed UND Sports Network, while UND Athletics' official website will change from FightingSioux.com to UNDSports.com.

UND has been trying to retire the nickname for years and has been under sanctions from the NCAA since August for failing to do so. The NCAA announced a ban on American Indian nicknames, images and mascots six years ago, saying they were racially offensive.

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Information from: Grand Forks Herald, http://www.grandforksherald.com

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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