Summer happenings in UND athletics

Though summer is always a slow time for college athletics, it’s been a busy time for the University of North Dakota as it undergoes numerous transitions. For those who haven’t been paying attention to UND athletics, like me, here’s a handy pocket guide to what’s been happening!

UND joins new D-I all-sports conference — Great West Conference
Scheduling is usually one of the most difficult parts of a transition to D-I, as the in-transition school doesn’t count as a D-I game for opponents. Securing a conference affiliation, before beginning its first day of D-I competition, is a tremendous achievement for UND and will be a boon to scheduling.

The Great West Conference’s core membership includes North Dakota, South Dakota, and four additional institutions that were not part of the Great West Football Conference. The remaining members of the former Great West Football Conference will remain football-only members of the new Great West Conference.

Great West Conference

All sports members:

  • Houston Baptist
  • Texas Pan-American
  • NJIT
  • Utah Valley University
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota

Great West Football only members:

  • Cal Poly
  • Southern Utah University
  • UC Davis

However, fans shouldn’t confuse this with being accepted to an established conference. As a new conference, the Great West won’t have autobids to the big tournaments, so stability could be low as its members continue to evaluate and seek options that include autobids.

(forum discussion)

Football moves
UND football took a blow when Chappell was declared ineligible (forum discussion) and Stroup was dismissed from the team (forum discussion).

Hockey news
UND had the best hockey attendance in the nation, Chorney signed with the Oilers, and the official 2008-09 schedule was released.

Changes in leadership

  • President Kupchella retried on July 1 and President Kelley began (forum discussion)
  • Brian Faison began as Athletics Director

For Your Consideration: The Emeralds

Introducing The University of North Dakota Emeralds. The Emeralds. The UND Emeralds.

Let me be clear about something. I believe discussions and conversations about the Fighting Sioux nickname should continue between UND and leaders of the namesake tribes, but I also feel that it is wise to explore other possibilities, in the interest of generating public support for one or more new nickname ideas.

It is in that context that I offer for your consideration The Emeralds.

Any new name must pass muster in a number of different areas to make a final list. The guidelines which follow come directly from the task force charged with finding a new nickname at Arkansas State University. I’m not suggesting that the University of North Dakota will work under the same exact framework, but at this stage guidelines such as these will inform and direct our discussion.

The name selected must not conflict with the school colors.
This name fares very strongly here. The Emerald name would enhance the strong connection between UND and the color green.

The name selected must be suitable for use with both men’s and women’s teams (non-gender specific).

The name selected should not be one that invites derision, humor or double meaning.
Aside from the fact that emeralds are considered brittle, I couldn’t think of anything else to include here.

The name selected should be one that will stand the test of time.
As the 55th anniversary theme, I think it’s safe to say that emeralds are a symbol of longevity.

The name selected should be one that suggests pride, courage and a strong competitive spirit and one that inspires the creation of effective imagery and logos for use in promotion and marketing efforts.
I’m not sure about pride, courage, and competitive spirit. An emerald is typically something one would be proud to own or wear. Admittedly, the name Emeralds does not fare well on this particular issue.

In terms of effective imagery and logos, I feel it passes the test. The emerald can be effectively combined with the existing crossed “ND” logo or on its own as a primary or secondary logo . The marketing possibilities are nearly endless. The club sections can be the Emerald Isle, we could call Grand Forks (unofficially) the Emerald City, and fans 55 and older could belong to the Emerald Club.

The name selected will be distinctive and, if possible, unique to our conference, region and nation.
Distinctive, yes. It immediately evokes the color green, which many would argue must remain in any new nickname and logo design. It doesn’t make one think of North Dakota, but it is unique to our conference and region. There is an Emerald Bowl in the BCS (formerly 1-A),  but I found no collegiate or professional team with the “Emerald” nickname.

I recognize that no one name will resonate with all interested parties, and I expect that this idea will be no different. Please feel free to comment, dissect, offer alternatives, or avoid the discussion altogether. It’s up to you.