Editorial: I think its about time as a campus and fanbase we take the UND rivalry seriously

Every Tuesday at “The Spectrum” we have our weekly meeting about articles and other plans for the weeks ahead. Once the meeting ends, I leave and walk back to my car in the “T” lot. I usually listen to Dom Izzo’s radio show “Hot Mic” on the way and he was talking about the doubleheader that the NDSU and UND basketball teams had last Saturday in Grand Forks. He talked about how UND pressed the ball late in the game while NDSU attempted to dribble out the clock.  NDSU women’s basketball coach Jory Collins responded by calling a timeout with 5.2 seconds left to send a message. Coach Collins and UND’s coach Mallory Bernhard exchanged words in the handshake line. I then switched to the Tuesday episode where he was talking with Forum columnist Mike McFeely about how in the men’s game that same evening, UND beat NDSU in the final seconds, and members of the UND football team stormed the court to celebrate beating the Bison on their floor. A sort of reenactment of what occurred during the football season when UND students stormed the field after they dismantled NDSU 49-24. When I got to my car after they talked about it something just hit me and I thought, “UND cares more about this rivalry than we do here at NDSU”. So I am saying that as students and as a fanbase we need to finally take UND as seriously a rival as we do with South Dakota State.

History of the rivalry

Bison fans have been through this before as NDSU used to dominate UND in athletics as the Bison beat UND 12 straight years in football from 1981-1992. However, by the late 90’s UND had taken over and eventually won a DII national championship in 2001. Following NDSU’s decision to go DI in 2004, the two schools didn’t meet again on the football field until 2015 when UND was completing its transition to Division I. The Bison won the first five meetings from 2015 to 2022 but in 2023 UND finally got its revenge by thumping NDSU and storming the field. This rivalry has forced UND coaches to tears because they put all their emotion into that game with the Bison and when Bubba Schweigert won or Mallory Bernhard lost, they were brought to tears. This rivalry means so much to UND, why doesn’t it matter to NDSU as much?

Why NDSU hasn’t seen UND as a true rival

The main reason why people in Fargo haven’t seen UND as a rival for so long is due to their 11-year hiatus between games as during that time South Dakota State became the true rival. The Jacks and Bison would battle it out on the hardwood and the football field for conference and national championships. During that time UND completed its transition and moved into the Big Sky conference where NDSU and UND would stay apart until 2020 when UND moved into the Summit League for basketball and Missouri Valley Football Conference for football. The absence of UND for a decade plus ruined the rivalry and for a generation of new fans they only see SDSU as a rival not the Fighting Hawks.

How to make it a true rivalry again 

You make this a rivalry again by having great games every year to start with but also making those games worth something more than bragging rights. NDSU and SDSU figured this out by playing for the “Dakota Marker” since 2006. The marker is a 75-pound replica of an actual Dakota marker used along the border of North and South Dakota. The Bison and Fighting Hawks used to play for something called the “Nickel Trophy”. The nickel had a Bison head on one side and a Sioux head on the other since UND was called the Fighting Sioux until 2012. The two rivals played for the trophy from 1937 to 2003. I think making a new nickel would make the game worth playing even more than before. 

This rivalry used to mean so much for both schools but now that has gone by the wayside. We here at North Dakota State University need to make UND a chief rival again and there is no better way of doing that than to show it. Lucky enough for us we have a chance as on February 24th the Fighting Hawks will be taking the 75-mile bus ride to Fargo for a doubleheader between the Men’s and Women’s basketball programs. Let’s make this in-state rivalry worth something once again to the students, fans, and alumni. UND has made this a rivalry again now its our turn to return the favor.

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