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'Fighting Sioux' nickname lawsuit is delayed a year


GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - A trial challenging an NCAA ban on the University of North Dakota's ''Fighting Sioux'' nickname won't be held for a year, and the judge in the case is urging both sides to settle out of court.

Lawrence Jahnke, a state district judge in Grand Forks, issued a preliminary injunction in November allowing UND to keep its nickname without penalty until April, when the trial was scheduled. The NCAA decided not to appeal the decision.

In a December meeting with attorneys, Jahnke rescheduled the trial and attorneys in the case said even that date might need to be pushed back. Both sides agreed the preliminary injunction will stay in place until the trial ends.

''We don't relish the thought of the injunction staying in place that long,'' said Wick Corwin, a Fargo attorney for the NCAA. However, preparing for the trial will ''require very aggressive work,'' Corwin said.

Peter Billings, an attorney for UND, said lawyers for the state planned to question all 20 members of the NCAA's executive committee.

UND is suing the NCAA over its decision to ban the school from using its nickname and logo in postseason play. The NCAA has listed UND among a number of schools with American Indian nicknames that it considers ''hostile and abusive.''

Jahnke asked the attorneys whether the case could be settled without a trial. They said they were open to suggestions, but doubtful.

''I encourage both sides to continue to look for a resolution,'' he said.

Jahnke said he does not believe either side wants a trial, and suggested they consider changing the logo or nickname in a way acceptable to both.