Iowa lifts restriction on playing UND

Grand Forks, North Dakota (AP) 11-07

The University of Iowa says it will resume scheduling the University of North Dakota in athletics, after a settlement in UND’s legal battle with the NCAA over postseason use of its Fighting Sioux nickname.

Under the settlement, UND has three years to win tribal support for the nickname and the school’s American Indian-head logo or retire them.

“We follow whatever the NCAA’s rulings are,” said Mark Abbott, Iowa’s associate athletic director. “So if you’re on their list of restricted teams, we won’t play you. If you’re removed from that list, for whatever reason, then we’d follow the NCAA’s direction on that.”

The University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota, two other Big Ten schools, also had policies that barred them from playing UND because of its nickname. Wisconsin has changed that policy since the NCAA settlement, but Minnesota has not.

UND co-acting athletic director Betty Ralston said Iowa’s decision will greatly benefit UND’s athletic teams, especially in lower-profile sports such as soccer, and track and field.

“The opportunities for our students athletes will be great,” Ralston said. “In the long run, this should help all of our programs.”

UND will move all of its athletic programs to NCAA Division I status beginning in fall 2008. Right now, the school plays only hockey in Division I.