Blaming NCAA for UND nickname mess ‘strawman argument’
Those who cling desperately and foolishly to the University of North Dakota's retired Fighting Sioux name and logo have taken to blaming the NCAA for bullying the university and the state of North Dakota into scrapping their precious moniker. It'...
Those who cling desperately and foolishly to the University of North Dakota’s retired Fighting Sioux name and logo have taken to blaming the NCAA for bullying the university and the state of North Dakota into scrapping their precious moniker. It’s a strawman argument.
The NCAA is a membership organization. Moreover, its governance structure relies on college and university presidents, chancellors or their designees to make policy and otherwise oversee the organization. Member schools agree to membership requirements, most of which are promulgated by representatives of the schools. Each of the several athletic divisions is represented on a separate board by member campus officials from appropriate divisions and conferences. It’s a representative association, not an ivory tower dictatorship.
Here’s the kicker: Member schools agree to adhere to NCAA rules and regulations regarding standards for athletic teams. It is essentially a contract. If a school does not like what the NCAA requires, there is nothing forcing the school to remain a member. There are consequences, of course, because the NCAA’s influence over college sports is ubiquitous. That’s the way it is.
But if, for instance, UND felt so strongly about keeping the old nickname/logo that the school was willing to exit the NCAA, it could have done so; and taken the subsequent hits in game scheduling and conference affiliation. However, a statewide vote a few years ago during which consequences of defying the NCAA were debated, demonstrated that a huge majority of those voting on a measure to retire the logo understood the long-term value of NCAA affiliation. That was one factor in the lopsided vote. The other was weariness with a debate that had been needlessly extended by a timid Legislature and by impolitic worshipers of the old nickname and logo. The voters were, if anything, pragmatic and, history will show, visionary. - The Forum of Fargo Moorhead