Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Forum is at it Again

Today, the Fargo Forum is up to it's old tricks. Again, the Forum can't help itself, they have to write yet another OP, Ed, slamming UND fans. Ugh, we really don't need them inserting themselves in the nickname argument. Maybe they're trying to stoke the fires before the NDSU vs. UND football game. I think the Forum should spend more time talking about last Saturday's football game against the Griz.

First, we all know the University of North Dakota will never, ever be the Fighting Sioux again. There was a statewide vote and it failed.

This is a true statement.

Honestly, I don't know anyone that is actively advocating promoting that UND remain the Fighting Sioux. I do know there were a fair number of people that wanted UND to simply remain UND/North Dakota. With the Fighting Sioux nickname, UND would've never hosted the West Regional last March. Right?

Of course, I do know a lot of people that are upset with the NCAA and the way they handled the situation. That's why thousands of people liked the Facebook group the Sioux were Silenced.

Second, I understand why a lot of people are upset with President Dr. Robert O'Kelley taking the UND/North Dakota option out of the voting process. I can live with that, as long as the voting goes the way President Kelley says it will. Any usurping of the process from here will be unacceptable. As a measure of good faith, President Kelley should kill the Sundogs choice right now. This would help avoid a potentially very bad situation.

President Kelley made a decision and is sticking by it. I have to give him credit for having a backbone and a pair of stones. I am also not an advocate calling for his immediate resignation, he's gone in 2016, any way.

Per the Forum:
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.
As I have said in the past, I believe that the replacement nickname selections aren't very good. There're a lot of problems with the five (5) remaining selections. North Stars is a bad choice and should be removed from consideration along with Sundogs.

Naming UND's sports teams, the Sundogs will not bring anyone together, or give us something to rally around. Sundogs will further divide the UND community. In the last decade, Sundogs was promoted by the anti-Fighting Sioux nickname crowd. If you don't believe me, look it up.

There are two replacement nicknames that are semi-decent and there are problems with one of them. The best choice is Rough Riders and in today's politically correct world, there's bound to be someone that will be offended with that nickname. So, if UND picks that nickname, UND might have to revisit the issue once again. Next to UND, I like that choice the best. Fighting Hawks is also acceptable. But again, you have to tread lightly selecting the logo. The handwringing do-gooders are going to be on guard.

Finally, while the nickname story has given me something to blog about; during what ended up being a very boring summer, news wise. Think about this, nothing happened this summer. However, I am growing tired of listening to people bicker with each other about the nickname. This has become a very toxic issue and I am ready to vote. Is the new nickname going to be as cool as Fighting Sioux? Not even close. I would compare this to going from staying in a five-star hotel to getting the last room in a Red Roof Inn. You can come up with your own analogies.

I know I am tired of hearing this and so are you.  It's time we move on together as a collective group, and heal together. Being at each others throats isn't healthy. Moreover, we need to do this together as a fan base and we don't need others from outside influencing our decision.

We will always be the University of North Dakota, personally, I have two degrees that say this much. I just hope when the voting is done and the dust has settled, UND isn't hamstrung with some stupid nickname that will continue to divide us long after my generation has left this earth. Go UND....

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Enough with the Sundogs, It's time to reject this

This is why I get frustrated. Today, Marvin Asp of East Grand Forks, MN, wrote an article to the Grand Forks Herald. His letter has some seriously flawed logic. First, the guys has no idea what a Sundog is. Second, if Sundogs is the new nickname of the UND, I can say with much certainty, there will be a lot of backlash from fans and alumni.
Check it out, from the Grand Forks Herald:
And all of our teams need to be supported with that same passion. We look at our neighbors to the south and the success they have had in their athletic programs, and we see that we need to unite behind an identity, too.

Let's stop kicking and screaming and trying to hold on to that old security blanket, like the "Peanuts" character, Linus.

Now, the NCAA has thrown down another gauntlet. Let's take the high road and be good sports; most of us already are.

I do not know what the next name will be, but if I had to choose one, it would be Sundogs. But it would not be some cute and cuddly puppy. Instead, it would be the actual Sundog as seen in nature, with a wolf-pack silhouette.

The wolf pack stands for family and teamwork. As I said, we are a family; let's support each other, and move forward.
A Sundog is not a dog or a wolf. Again, look at the pictures, this is not something to use as a sports team nickname. It's also the preferred nickname replacement choice by the a UND campus group during the 1990's and early 2000's. Yeah, that's not going to cause any problems on campus.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Robert O. Kelley, " No UND/North Dakota option"

The University of North Dakota President Robert O. Kelley has spoken, UND/North Dakota won't be a nickname option when voting for a new nickname begins.

This could get ugly.

Honestly, I am not surprised by this decision. I wish that the UND/North Dakota option was one of the choices, but I am one person. Whether you like him or not, I think that President Kelley is in a tough spot. I am sure he had all sides lobbying him. The slight threat of NCAA sanctions probably also played a hand in this.

Here's the letter from President Kelley. I do like the fact that members of other schools or people that have poor intentions can't vote for the UND nickname. I applaud President Kelley for that. In other words, you have to have some skin in the game.

The voting process, which will be conducted completely online, will take place in mid-October and will extend for approximately one week. Precise dates will be announced later. Voting will be open to the following groups:
• Current UND Students
• Current UND Faculty
• Current UND Staff
• UND Retirees
• UND Alumni
• UND Donors (including Champions Club members) (one vote per account)
• Current season ticket holders to UND athletic events (one vote per account)
In order to be eligible to vote, individuals must be a UND retiree; a current faculty or staff member; a currently-enrolled student as of Sept. 30, 2015; or a donor or season ticket holder as of Aug. 31, 2015.

Shortly before the voting period begins, eligible voters will receive an email with voting instructions. Current UND students, faculty and staff will receive the emails at their UND (UND.edu) email address. Alumni, donors, retirees and all current season ticket holders must confirm their emails through a process that will be communicated soon. Eligible voters who fall into more than one of the above categories—such as a staff member who is also an alumnus—may only vote once, and any identified multiple votes will be voided.

The online voting process will be conducted by Qualtrics, a third-party survey technology provider with more than 7,000 customers in 75 countries. In 2014, Qualtrics customers sent over one billion surveys worldwide.

During the voting process, eligible voters will cast one vote for a single option on the ballot. Eligible voters will choose one of five nickname options:

Fighting Hawks
North Stars

If any of the proposed nicknames receives a majority of more than 50 percent of the votes, that name will be determined to be the new nickname for the University of North Dakota.

In the event that no single nickname receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff vote will be held between the two top vote-getters shortly after the initial vote.

Said UND President Robert Kelley: “In deciding the final list of names to include in the final vote, I have reviewed the recommendations of the Nickname Committee, the additional input received from a recent student poll, and input from many other individual students (including student athletes), faculty, staff, alumni and community members who have contacted me. I have considered all this input carefully and, in determining the final voting list, have concluded that it is in the best long-term interest of the University not to use ‘North Dakota’ as the University’s official nickname.” President Kelley added, “As I have noted many times, North Dakota is not a nickname—it is a reflection of our pride in who we are. We have been North Dakota—UND—for more than 130 years, and we always will be. The Nickname Committee has delivered a list of five prospective nicknames with the potential to add value to our already-existing North Dakota identity and evoke the pride and spirit that we all feel for our University and our State. I respect and support the process the Committee used, and the extensive public input they gathered. In making this decision, I also respect their final recommendations.”

President Kelley also received extensive input concerning the people who should be involved in the voting process. One important consideration in the decision is the importance of verifying voter identity to prevent fraud. Each eligible voter’s identity and connection to UND will be confirmed.

Even more importantly, noted President Kelley, “We have appreciated the opportunity this past year to gather feedback and ensure representation from all interested parties across the state and across the country. This was accomplished through broad stakeholder representation on the two teams that worked on this process. It was also accomplished by gathering feedback from last fall's town hall meetings, an online survey, and the month-long nickname comment process conducted by the Nickname Committee this past April. It is now time to allow the final step of this process to be undertaken by those individuals with the most direct ties to UND—students, alumni, faculty, staff, retirees, donors, and season ticket holders.”

Information About Email Delivery of Voting Instructions:

Eligible voters will soon receive voting instructions. While students, faculty and staff will already have a confirmed means of identification through their UND email (UND.edu), retirees, alumni, donors and current season ticket holders will need to ensure that their emails are current in their respective databases in order to be able to vote. The weeks prior to the vote will allow these groups the opportunity to do that.

Current season ticket holders (non-Champions Club): Contact the Ralph Engelstad Arena Box Office at 701.777.0855 between the hours of 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday, or email tickets@theralph.com any time between now and October 1, 2015 to ensure that your correct email is on file.

UND alumni, retirees, and donors: Additional information will soon be sent explaining how to confirm email addresses. For alumni, this information will be sent via the Alumni Review and through a direct mail.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Swamp Rabbits > Sundogs

As we go through the nickname process at the University of North Dakota, why is that other places can come up with better names thane we can? Seriously, according to multiple blogs and Internet sources, ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors have changed their name — starting next year, they’ll be the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. That nickname is absolutely genius. They haven an awesome logo, too. In my opinion, Swamp Rabbits is > Sundogs.

Grand Forks Herald: Don't saddle next president with UND nickname issue

Today, Tom Dennis of the Grand Forks Herald has posted a pretty interesting article. I think Dennis makes some really good points. Whether we like it or not, this issue eventually needs to be solved. UND President Kelley needs to decide if UND is going to be simply North Dakota or one of the five nickname choices.

That being said, Kelley needs to involve the students, alumni and stakeholders in this decision. If not, this is going to fester long after he is gone. The key word is involved.
Per Tom Dennis of the Herald:
On Saturday, a group of protesters gathered at University Park in Grand Forks, and among their calls was for Kelley to immediately resign. The fact that Kelley is retiring next year isn't good enough, they said. Because the final round of nickname decisions should be made by Kelley's successor—not Kelley himself.

We disagree. Moreover, we think Kelley absolutely is the right person to be making nickname decisions these days—not because he's Robert Kelley, but because he's the longstanding and experienced president of UND.

And that's the executive who should be making nickname calls at this point.

In contrast, the next president will be a beginner in all things UND.

And more than any other issue at UND, the nickname issue is one that a beginner simply should not decide. Because in order to make smart decisions on the nickname—one of the most complicated and divisive issues in the history of the state—you've got to have a full understanding of the decades-long background of the issue.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

More Patrick Kane News

The investigation moves forward for Patrick Kane. These types of investigations take time. Here's the statistics for rape convictions. (RAIIN). I have no idea how this turns out.

So Phase Three of the NHL’s expansion process has now begun for Las Vegas and Quebec City.

What does that really mean? Quite frankly, not as much as the title would indicate. As Bill Daly told The Associated Press last week, “It does not necessarily constitute the end of the process.”

Maybe, just maybe, we are not really close to a decision.

Some are saying that we probably shouldn’t get our hopes up for a while, which means there won’t be an announcement in the next three weeks that both cities — or either city, or neither city — will join the exclusive NHL club.
More bad news for Patrick Kane. This time, it's his old major junior team.
Per Sportsnet.CA:
First EA Sports, and now the London Knights.
Highly regarded hockey institutions are taking a step back from endorsing Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane this summer, as the three-time Stanley Cup champion is under police investigation in Hamburg, N.Y.

According to a report in Tuesday’s London Free Press, the Knights had planned to divide its 80 training camp invitees into four teams named after the Ontario Hockey League club’s esteemed graduates: Corey Perry (white), Rick Nash (black), David Bolland (green) and Kane (gold).

The gold team will instead represent another, yet-to-be-named Knights alumnus.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Moving forward

Good Afternoon! Fall is slowly approaching, and I am actually bummed out. This has been one of the best summers that I can remember. It's been hot, the weather has been perfect. I wish it could go on, at least for three more months. But I digress. I guess I can move to Florida if I don't like the ND winters.

Students are returning to campus. College football kicks off the 2015 season in five days.

Also, I am hoping the vote on the UND nickname is coming soon. To be honest with you, over the last couple of weeks, I have grown tired of it as well. I can live with whatever happens as long as UND isn't named the Sundogs.

Jordan Simon from St. Paul says that No Nickname option shouldn't be allowed. Fine, I am cool with that if we eliminate the Sundogs option. I am good. I can live with that.
Per the Grand Forks Herald:
Congratulations to UND President Robert Kelley on his upcoming retirement. But before the president goes, the community needs one last thing from him, which is that he refuse to allow the No Nickname option to advance to the public vote.

Continuing with that name is just an attempt to be known as the hockey team that had its name taken away by the NCAA.

This is a hockey-only fight, and the groups kicking and screaming for North Dakota don't care about the rest of the university or community. The people who will raise a ruckus already don't like Kelley; why should he care what their reaction is?

It is in the best interest of the community to move on and pull this Band-Aid off.

It's fine to have positive feelings about the old nickname. People see it as a symbol of their favorite team; I still have clothes with the logo on it, and there are pictures of me wearing those clothes.
On Friday night, I was enjoying the World of Outlaws Sprint Car series at River Cities Speedway. When all of a sudden, my twitter feed blew up. Some UNO fans had taken issue with the paragraph below. Some even wanted me to ban Redwing77 from ever posting again.

First that's never going to happen, unless Redwing77 attacks someone with what I would consider a malicious attack or uses racist material in one of his posts, I am not firing him.  Besides Redwing77 is a good friend of mine. 
Perhaps it is a ridiculous idea. Perhaps UNO and SCSU will relent closer to the game like DU did. Perhaps UNO's policy is strictly due to the fact that they're desperate to bring new business to a new arena. I don't know. The Mavs, here in Omaha, get a pathetic following even compared to the USHL Lancer team.
The UNO fans were upset because  Redwing77 called UNO's following pathetic. If you look at the numbers, UNO was sixth nationally in attendance last season. Initially, when you look at that, it appears to be an impressive feat. However, Maverick fans only filled 37.4 of their building. So, does he have a point. I don't know.  It's still better than 53 other teams.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Guess About Ticket Policies and a Suggested Response

SCSU is just the latest school to impose ridiculous sanctions on, what is basically, a targetted visiting audience (DU and UNO were the others... with DU coming in previous years).  It got me thinking as to why:

The answer is rather obvious, objectively speaking.  Home arenas should be for the home team and the home team's fans should have first crack at all the best seats.  No argument there for me.  Visiting fans shouldn't get "obstructed view only" seating, but they shouldn't get the best seats either.  But the idea that schools should target UND or any other well traveled franchise is ridiculous.  It's not just the NCAA either. During the Stanley Cup playoffs, visiting fans to Tampa Bay's arena were restricted in both seats AND they were not allowed to show their logos as well.

I just don't understand the economics of the whole thing.  If I were the ticket manager of a major sporting venue, I'd want every seat filled with people with overflowing wallets that shoot out wads of cash at the first available (and every subsequent) offer that comes their way.  Heck, this may be a bit extreme but... if filling the REA to capacity every game meant having over half of the arena (or even MOST of it) filled with opposing fans, so be it.  UND still profits even with the vocal opposition to the home team's goals.

This is the first time since I moved to Omaha in 2008 where UND will be visiting Omaha and I will not be in attendance.  I even forked over an amazing amount of money to see what was a god awful publicity stunt ridden hockey contest (otherwise known as the outdoor game) to see my Alma Mater.  It is sold out.  I usually bring between 4 and 6 other people with me... all paying fans...some even UNO alumni (they couldn't even get tickets).  Sad.

Here's my suggested response by the REA and UND:

Impose the same or similar (not worse) restrictions on every teams' fans whose home arena imposes it on our fans... and DISCOUNT tickets to opposing fans in certain sections to schools who do not impose such restrictions.  In other words, say the typical single game ticket costs a person $36 a game to sit in the visitor section.  Colorado College does not impose ticket restrictions to UND fans.  Therefore, visiting fans from Colorado Springs are eligible for a 10% discount on tickets to those specified sections.  Sure, I get we're not in the business to encourage opposing fans from taking away seats from the home team, but I think it is just good business to reward those teams whose schools are open minded and open armed to all schools, not just the ones who won't fill up their arena when they face off.

Perhaps it is a ridiculous idea.  Perhaps UNO and SCSU will relent closer to the game like DU did.  Perhaps UNO's policy is strictly due to the fact that they're desperate to bring new business to a new arena.  I don't know.  The Mavs, here in Omaha, get a pathetic following even compared to the USHL Lancer team.

In the end, however, I can't change ticket policies.  And UNO will get away with it due to "new arena-itis."  But I hope SCSU comes to their senses.

Star Tribune: Wild Assistant coach Darryl Sydor arrested For DUI

Minnesota Wild assistant coach Darryl Sydor has been arrested and charged with second DUI. This is a very serious charge and nothing to sneeze at. Driving under the influence with your children in the back of your vehicle is a serious offense. Also, blowing a .30 is is highly intoxicated.

In my opinion, Sydor will/should be charged with child endangerment.

Per the Star Tribune:
According to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, Sydor was still listed in jail Friday morning and could face drunken driving as well as child endangerment charges.

Sydor was arrested by Fridley police at 5:15 p.m. Thursday near Medtronic Parkway and Highway 65 in Fridley, said Lt. Mike Monsrud of the Fridley police.

A citizen had called police to report Sydor as a possible drunken driver, and police observed Sydor displaying “erratic behavior” such as swerving and making wide turns, Monsrud said.

When stopped, police noticed Sydor had bloodshot, watery eyes and “slow, slurred speech,” Monsrud said.

Sydor, who lives in Woodbury, had difficulty finding his driver’s license in his wallet and passed by it several times after police requested it, Monsrud said.
Thoughts on this one?

Update: According to Chad Graf, "Darryl Sydor has been booked for second degree DUI and child endangerment, according to Fridley Police. Court appearance this afternoon."