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
Nodaks
North Stars
Roughriders
Sundogs

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.

Per ESPN.COM:
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."

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Letter to the NCAA

To Whom it may Concern at the NCAA,

At the end of the 2011-2012 athletic season, the University of North Dakota dropped the name of 'Fighting Sioux' as per your request as you saw the name to be offensive and hostile. It was a tough one to swallow for athletes, fans, students, alumni, and faculty alike, however, the University has embraced just being the University of North Dakota for the past three athletic seasons and is currently undergoing the process to adopt a new name for the University.

After doing what you suggested the University should do, you recently take it one step too far by saying further sanctions 'could possibly' take place if the fans continue to cheer the name 'Sioux' at UND athletic events. Now we do understand that the school can be responsible for fans actions at events for saying disrespectful things and throwing things onto the playing surfaces. However, since when is embracing your school's history harmful or disrespectful?

When the Bill of Rights was created, the Founding Fathers made sure that the First Amendment was to protect the freedom of religion and expression. As it states, "First Amendment- Religion and Expression. Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech...." By telling the University of North Dakota further sanctions and penalties "could" be given out to the UND athletics programs if the use of "Sioux" is continued by its fan is a clear violation of our First Amendment right.

You already won by UND dropping "Fighting Sioux" as the nickname of the University. Save your breath and save what dignity you already don't have and just give it a rest. There is absolutely nothing wrong with alumni, fans, students and faculty embracing the history of what was a huge part in what the University of North Dakota has had to offer over the last 80 plus years since originally adopting the nickname of "Fighting Sioux" and dropping it three years ago.

Yours Truly,
Zachary Hawkins

Grand Forks Letter: Imagine 'The Donald' taking on the NCAA

Whether you like Donald Trump or not, he has added some entertainment to the primary season. Here's a letter from Scott Olson of Grand Forks. Olson says that the NCAA sanctioning UND because of a fan chanting Go Sioux is the kind of P.C. that Trump is talking about. Thoughts?

Per the Grand Forks Herald:
The story, "NCAA may investigate Sioux chants," said that the NCAA has issued what a UND spokesman called a "friendly warning" to the university. The NCAA apparently spoke of possible sanctions if UND crowds continued cheering for the Fighting Sioux and behaving in certain ways, and other schools complained about it.

The story went on to say the school would be held accountable for the crowd's behavior at games.

If this isn't political correctness run amok, then I have no idea what is. In today's world, apparently, intimidation, veiled threats and bullying are perfectly acceptable when they are done in the name of PC.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Grand Forks Herald Letter: Rancor suggests nickname choice should be delayed

Bryan Boger from Grand Forks suggest in his letter to the Herald that the nickname choice should be delayed. The Move on people won't like this letter. Like I mentioned in the past, I am for the UND and anything but the Sundogs nickname option. That being said, I would like to see this concluded. I am also surprised that a plan for a vote hasn't been developed yet.

Per the Grand Forks Herald:
We keep hearing about how having no nickname is our way of keeping the Sioux name. While that might be true for some, I am of the opinion that it is simply not the time to move forward toward a new nickname.

The nickname search is about something that can bring the UND community together: athletics. While we all have our own studies at the university, playing and watching athletics is something that can unite us.
I do agree with him. Our own fan base is at each other's throats.
But all I've seen is a community ripping each other apart about people's opinions on this issue. Alumni and friends have threatened to pull their donations; fans have threatened to pull their season tickets.

Grand Forks Herald: Tom Dennis Nails it

Check out Tom Dennis of the Grand Forks Herald for his latest. Dennis has had some good editorial articles lately and this one absolutely nails it. Bravo Tom!

Per the Grand Forks Herald:
First, fans would have to keep cheering for the Fighting Sioux; that may or may not continue as the years wear on.

Second, an opposing team would have to both take offense and also complain about the cheer, and neither of those .

occurrences is a sure thing, either..

Third, the NCAA would have to act on the complaint and make an issue of it in some way..

There's a fair chance that those circumstances never would add up. But in contrast, if UND tries to crack down on the cheering, then the odds of fans resenting the interference and probably even willfully defying it approach 100 percent. .

Ten years from now, the new nickname or the "UND/North Dakota" option will be solidly in place at UND, and the Fighting Sioux cheers at games likely will be few and far between. But the university should let this change unfold organically, rather than making fans even angrier by trying to hurry things along.

Fargo Forum Editorial: UND, don't pander to protesters'

They must be bored in Fargo, ND? They really can't help themselves. Must not have anything to report.

Per Fargo Forum:
First, they want the university’s list of selections for a new UND team name to include “North Dakota.” It’s a transparent ploy to somehow retain some iteration of “Fighting Sioux,” which has been retired.

Second, they want the immediate resignation of UND President Robert Kelley because by their assessment he has presided over a name-change process that has not been responsive to their concerns. What a crock. If ever there was a process that has been painfully long and over-the-top inclusive, it’s been the university’s name-change saga.

But none of that matters to a small, but noisy cabal of unreconstructed “Fighting Sioux” fans. No matter what the eventual choice is, no matter what sort of consensus is achieved, no matter how many voices have been part of the process, they will not accept the inevitable. It makes no sense for Kelley and the university to continue to pander to them. They had their shot, they lost. Whatever they do now is sideshow.

The arrogant contention that “the Sioux have been silenced” is so obviously false as to be cartoonish. First, the “silence” made loud headlines for years, and still is. Second, the history of the moniker debate is replete with pro-Fighting Sioux arguments, some cogent, others offensive. That the case was weak and ultimately failed is the reality that some arguers refuse to accept.