It was a fantasy then-athletic director Gene Taylor could only dream about five years ago: A nationally recognized team fresh off their fifth straight national title.
You’re thinking of the football team right now? Psh. Taylor knew Craig Bohl’s polished dome and Carson Wentz’s ginger magic could easily take home five straight FCS titles.
Taylor was too busy dreaming about the newfangled NDSU hockey program to second guess football success. But there it was, supposedly caught behind the stranglehold of the Midwest the University of North Dakota had established the past 90 years.
Fast-forward five years from the day NDSU made waves in the college hockey world, and we find ourselves just days away from the Frozen Four in Tampa Bay, when Taylor’s dreams can finally come to fruition.
“We kind of got sick of hearing fans from UND telling us our football titles didn’t mean anything because we were still playing the small schools and ‘Division II’ football,” said Taylor. “I looked at UND’s schedule and saw the overall number one seed in the tournament five years ago was Union College. Woof, talk about small schools.”
Union College has an enrollment of just over 2,000 undergrads.
“The timing was just perfect too with the NCAA forcing UND to change its nickname and vacate all of its wins,” Taylor said.
UND was forced to change its nickname to the Fighting Hawks after a few Native American descendants ruffled some feathers.
Following that legal kerfuffle, another long battle with the hawk species surfaced. Apparently hawks constantly circled Ralph Engalstad Arena because of all the “boos” bellowed whenever the announcer mentioned the new nickname at hockey games.
Instead of changing the attitudes of the fan base, UND decided to waste another $250,000 to pick another new name and logo. Ironically, the university decided to continue selling both Fighting Sioux and Fighting Hawks memorabilia.
Newly elected President Mark Kennedy decided that his first action in office was to bypass any public voting for the new nickname. Instead, he announced in a press conference that UND’s nickname would now be the Fighting Lawyers.
“How great is it to represent one of our strongest graduate programs we have to offer,” said Kennedy.
Reports have recently come out saying Kennedy was forced to say that publicly, and the reason he really likes the name is because of the giggle he gets when he hears people say “Go Sue!”
With all of the legalities and indecision, UND was also forced to give its postseason spot to NDSU after Taylor petitioned to the NCAA.
Some have suspected ESPN’s infatuation with everything NDSU and stranglehold the media mogul has on college athletics pushed the NCAA to welcome the Bison. ESPN televises the NCAA Division I hockey tournament.
In just its first year of existence as a program, the Bison flew through the West Region with UND’s No. 1 seed and clobbered Ferris State in the national championship game. The next four years were just embarrassing for every team that played NDSU.
“I have the utmost confidence we’ll walk away from Tampa with our fifth straight title,” said athletic director Matt Larsen. “UND fans will have to get a new ‘but hockey’ excuse for their inferiority in all sports now.”