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Published June 12, 2012, 10:50 PM

Voters choose to retire Fighting Sioux nickname and logo

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It has been a hot-button issue for years. The much talked about, much debated Fighting Sioux nickname debate. Voters are trying to decide, once and for all, whether to retire it or keep it and risk sanction by the NCAA.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It has been a hot-button issue for years. The much talked about, much debated Fighting Sioux nickname debate. Voters are trying to decide, once and for all, whether to retire it or keep it and risk sanction by the NCAA.

Yes: 113,684 (67.35%)

No: 55,114 (32.65%)

426/426 Precincts reporting

A "Yes" vote retires the nickname. A "No" vote requires U-N-D to keep it.

Few can remember a ballot issue or an emotional topic that has spanned so many years than this UND logo question. Finally, this vote determines once and for all the fate of the Fighting Sioux nickname. Or does it? The "yes” vote means the name and the logo are retired, but those who campaigned to keep it say never say never.

Over the last few weeks, a flurry of coaches and Alumni leaders covered the state and laid it on the line of scrimmage. If the nickname were to stay, they say, UND faced NCAA sanctions that threatened the viability of the university's programs. The Alumni group also said research dollars, grants and a loss of playoff dollars all pointed for a need for a "yes" vote, and a retirement of the logo.

Meanwhile, those who want to keep the nickname never let up either. The "Save the Fighting Sioux" group, sent petitions across the state. Their organization included members from Spirit Lake, who maintain the nickname and logo never hurt anyone. They said UND has used it for 80 years and people are proud and honored by it. They also say the fight is not over. The UND Alumni Association says it is time to move forward.

Rick Burgum – UND Alumni Association: “We have to try and get the sides back together again because there has been a lot of polarity here and it is not good for anybody and our job will be to mend some fences and get people back together and working for the good of the university

Frank Burggraf – Wanted Nickname to Stay: “You know, you look at the people who have gone to the university and played and participated and all the aspects they have given back because of the tradition that is there and that is what is at stake and because the Sioux want this and they are being denied the voice.”

Burggraf says even though voters said yes to retiring the name, he says this is not over. He calls it just the 2nd period.

Eunice Davidson of the Spirit Lake nation is also a strong backer of the nickname. She recently brought a group on a tour promoting a "no" vote in today's primary. Tonight's defeat is a disappointment, but not the end of their crusade.

Eunice Davidson – Nickname Supporter: “Well obviously I'm not happy with it but you know we're not going to give up. We have to reach a lot of people and we have plans of doing that plans of going out, we're not going to stop with our truth tour...and it is the truth."

Davidson also added that supporters believe if other rival schools decide not to compete against UND with the nickname and logo it can be considered discriminatory.

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