Sports Outside the Beltway

Will the University of Minnesota drop out of the Big 10?

If AD Joel Maturi takes the stance in this news to its proper conclusion, the University will leave that conference.

Grand Forks, N.D. The University of Minnesota’s athletic director said the school has not strictly enforced a 2003 policy that discourages games with teams using American Indian nicknames and mascots. But that’s about to change, according to Joel Maturi, university athletic director.

Maturi said his school won’t compete against the University of North Dakota in any sport except men’s and women’s hockey because of UND’s Fighting Sioux nickname.

Maturi said the policy won’t affect other schools in the University of Minnesota system, such as Crookston and Duluth.

North Dakota Athletic Director Tom Buning said Minnesota’s decision won’t affect the school’s Division One plans, adding that it is unfortunate that student athletes won’t get the chance to play Minnesota.

Jim Antes is a member of UND Intercollegiate Athletic Committee who said the Fighting Sioux nickname may be — in his words — “closing doors.”

UND and Minnesota are in the same hockey league. But the schools have not played each other in men’s basketball since 1983 and have played just one women’s basketball exhibition game since 1985.

Mr. Maturi is being very selective. Another Big 10 conference school The University of Illinois’ teams are called the fighting Illini. The Illini are also an Indian tribe. If Minesota is dropping North Dakota for the reason they’re stating, they should leave the Big 10 also. Let them be consistent up there in Minnesota.

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Wow. That’s . . . interesting.

If they leave, then the Big 10 will have 10 teams again. Of course, they aren’t leaving, but still . . .

Now, UND draws my ire for other reasons, most of them involving beating the IUP teams in D-II playoff action. I do applaud them for taking action on the nickname front, though – not easily giving in if you decided that it’s not wrong to do something earns some respect in my book – the last thing you want to do is the wishy-washy stuff IUP did before the NCAA told them to drop the name – I’d rather have seen IUP change their name years ago than develop the bizarre solutions they did.

Posted by Brandon Minich | December 20, 2006 | 09:54 pm | Permalink

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