There have been a lot of criticisms of the settlement of N.D.’s Sioux nickname lawsuit against the NCAA (from questions about what UND got for $1m to theories about a football cabal conspiring to pressure UND to sacrifice the nickname for a chance to play Big Ten teams). The bottom-line, as many noted at the time, was that UND was suing the NCAA on procedural grounds — UND was asserting that the NCAA executive committee didn’t have the authority to issue the nickname rule — so all the NCAA needed to do to render the lawsuit moot was pass the same rule using proper procedures.
What the State of N.D. knew when it settled, and a lot of fans speculated, is that the NCAA was about to change their rules to formally grant the executive committee such authority.
From Increased Authority (Grand Forks Herald)
“In my estimation, we were going to win the lawsuit,” Stenehjem said, “but this amendment would have mooted that. We would have won the lawsuit in December 2007, and this was enacted January 12, 2008. So, it would have been a short-lived victory.”
Fan predictions that the NCAA membership wouldn’t grant its executive committee such authority, due to fear of their own oxes being next to be gored, proved unfortunately wildly wrong.
Stenehjem said he’d been told the amendment vote passed with about 99.6 percent of people voting in support.
UND faculty NCAA representative Sue Jeno attended the Nashville conference and said she was one of only a handful of representatives to vote against the amendment.
A 2007 NCAA student-athlete handbook lists the number of the association’s member institutions at slightly more than 1,000 spread between the three divisions. If the percentage vote quoted to Stenehjem is correct, that would mean Jeno was one of only about five members to vote against the amendment.
Continuing the lawsuit, given this, would have been throwing good money after bad. Given the inevitable outcome, it’s hard to argue that N.D. should have done anything other than precisely what it did. They put an immediate halt to the rising court expenses and won the valuable settlement concessions of being removed from the hostile and abusive list and being granted additional time, not subject to sanctions, to resolve the issue.
As The Sicatoka said in the “Negotiated Settlement” thread:
The AG, Mr. Stenehjem, did what he could with (what little) he had and based on this he deserves some credit:
At least he got us (temporarily) off the list and some time to look for middle ground.