UND AD says Sioux-Bison football dates set, but Taylor says details remain
FARGO - The drama of the University of North Dakota vs. North Dakota State football series that has been on hold since 2003 surfaced again on Wednesday.
UND athletic director Brian Faison said the two rivals have tentative dates to renew the series beginning in Fargo in 2015 and then returning to Grand Forks in 2017. He said UND will be sending NDSU contract drafts at the beginning of next week.
Not so fast, says the NDSU athletic director.
"No details have been worked out," Gene Taylor said.
Taylor said the schools have dates that would work in both years and that he and Faison talked by phone earlier this week about resuming the game. Taylor said both sides talked a few months ago on a few occasions, but communication stopped until UND could get its nickname situation resolved, he said.
"We don't have a solid contract," Taylor said.
Taylor said the game is a situation where both university presidents probably need to get involved, which hasn't happened yet, he said.
"Everyone is assuming it's renewed right now," he said. "It's not. I have to get together with Brian. I've said we have to get together and get things hammered out. There's still a lot of discussion yet."
The teams have played 110 times dating back to 1894. The Sioux won the last matchup 28-21 at the Alerus Center in 2003.
"We've been having conversations for a while, and it's good to be back at this point," Faison said.
One sticking point: How often the teams should play.
Taylor believes playing every other year is the best option, in part because NDSU would like six home games in as many years as possible. Filling the 18,700-seat Fargodome is a big revenue generator for the athletic program.
Faison would like to play every year.
"I respectfully disagree with Gene on (the matter of) playing every year," he said. "It should be every year. This game will show everyone the value. I think this is a good way to get it started."
UND holds a 62-45-3 edge in the series. The game stopped when NDSU athletics made the move to Division I. The Bison play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference while UND will begin play in the Big Sky Conference next season.
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack's NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia
Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald
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