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Evil Doctor

NCAA sanctions North Dakota

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Gothamite, then how do you explain the Spirit Lake tribe's overwhelming vote to keep the name? Isn't the NCAA also bullying the Spirit Lake tribe?

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Not at all.

I am in a company with two other artists. Each of us has veto power over any projects we take on. So 67% of us could want to do something, and if the remaining party doesn't want it, the project is dead.

In this case, either tribe has veto power over the use of their name. Fair enough. That doesn't mean the one tribe who asserts is somehow being oppressed by that veto any more than I am oppressed when one of my partners spikes a pet project for his own reasons.

On the other hand, using the power of the state to force the University to disregard that legitimate veto? There's your bully.

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Here's another question, not just pertaining to UND. And I'm not saying I believe there's a right or wrong answer, I bring it up as a discussion point.

Should this approval/veto power be an ever fluid thing? If the tribes who have been granted this power approve the use in 2012, do they retain veto power at any time. Can they change their mind in 2013? Is that fair to the university?

The manner in which the name and imagery is used could change, so it's possible there would be very direct reasons for a tribe to change its opinions. Its also possible nothing would change and they just might change their mind. And that would put the university in a precarious situation.

For those of you who try and equate this with actual legal licensing, you could say it's about contracts similar to the way Georgia licenses the Packers G or Oregon license's Disney's duck. So that would be one line of thinking.

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I should think that the license would have an expiration date, probably 20 or 30 years. Like a stadium lease.

And were I writing it, I would include a veto over specific logos and practices. Pretty standard in a license, actually.

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Here's another question, not just pertaining to UND. And I'm not saying I believe there's a right or wrong answer, I bring it up as a discussion point.

Should this approval/veto power be an ever fluid thing? If the tribes who have been granted this power approve the use in 2012, do they retain veto power at any time. Can they change their mind in 2013? Is that fair to the university?

Definitely, the tribes have the right to change their minds and veto the use of a name, even if they've previously granted it. It's their name after all.

Though in the hypothertical case such as you described, vetoing a name a year after granting it, I would like to see some sort of grace period on the NCAA's part. We all realize the time, money, and effort it takes to launch, or relaunch, a new brand and identity. If a tribe grants permission the school and whoever their athletic merchandise providers are will naturally get to work launching the brand. Jerseys, shirts, hats, sweatshirts, jackets, etc... are all going to be made in mass quantities. If the tribe, a year later, revokes permission to use their name then that wish must be respected, but there are ways to do so in a reasonable manner. A grace period of three to five years, for example, would work. Enough time for the school and those it works with to phase out the name and slow production runs so they can start working on a new brand.

Of course this fluid veto/approval thing could work in the other direction. If, for some reason, the Standing Rock tribe grants the UND permission to use the name then that should be the end of it. Fighting Sioux it would be.

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I don't see anything wrong with the University negotiating a long contract, 20 or 30 years with mutual renewal. Not indefinite, but long enough that they can make some significant plans.

During that 30 years, the Tribes ought to each have a veto over specific use of the name and imagery, to make sure that the university stays on this side of respectful. Pretty standard in licensing; if you want to publish Superman coloring books, DC will happily license the character to you, but won't allow you to fill them with color-your-own pornographic pictures of Clark and Lois. North Dakota can't introduce a Wahoo-style logo, or dress up a student in native garb and have him do a whooping war dance, unless the tribes collectively approve in advance.

Tie the veto to "consent shall not be unreasonably withheld" to ensure that it doesn't become a de facto nullification of the license, and I think you've got an agreement that serves everybody's interests.

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