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Published June 13, 2011, 10:36 PM

Carlson: Nickname Meeting Needed Between NCAA, Big Sky, UND

A North Dakota State Representative says he's willing to sit down with the NCAA and Big Sky Conference to discuss the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

A North Dakota State Representative says he's willing to sit down with the NCAA and Big Sky Conference to discuss the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

Al Carlson sponsored the nickname bill and says he works for the people of North Dakota and this is what they wanted.

Carlson says members of the legislature voted for the people, not themselves, but there needs to be discussion between Governor Dalrymple, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, as well as North Dakota legislators, the NCAA and the Big Sky Conference.

Carlson says he still would have sponsored and voted yes on the bill had he known about UND's risk to membership in the Big Sky Conference.

He made the point that no one said UND had to get rid of the nickname altogether, but just couldn't use it in post season play.

Carlson feels last week's letter to UND from Big Sky was driven by the NCAA.

"We passed it, the governor signed it, we did not see it as derogatory, we saw that Standing Rock gave us the name in 1969 and that Spirit Lake voted 70-30 to keep the name. We think that the process was completed. We know we're dealing with an agreement they signed but we believe that the people of North Dakota, at least the majority of them would like to see the name kept," Carlson said.

In an earlier interview with vice president of the state board of higher education Grant Shaft, he said he feels legislators should consider taking another look at the bill and considering the ramifications it could have against student athletes at UND.

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