NCAA sends North Dakota St. banner to rivals
On Wednesday, the University of North Dakota received an unexpected package from the NCAA. It was addressed to the school's athletics director, at his proper address.
There was only one problem: his title. Brian Faison is not, actually, the athletics director at North Dakota State University, nor is NDSU located in Grand Forks, N.D.
Oh, and another minor detail: UND didn't win the FCS football championship in January. It didn't earn a banner, yet a banner had traveled nearly 1,000 miles from Indianapolis to campus.
That memento belonged at NDSU, the school that beat Sam Houston State, 17-6 to win the championship, in January. It was the funniest kind of clerical error.
According to a report in the Grand Forks Herald, the enclosed letter was signed by Kelly Dodds, the assistant director of the NCAA's Hall of Champions, and read:
"Dear Mr. Faison:
"Enclosed find your 2011 championship banner that hung in the NCAA Hall of Champions. I hope your team, faculty, staff and students can now enjoy it as much as our visitors did."
Ryan Perrault, the associate director of athletic media relations at NDSU, said that the school only learned about the error today. In fact, it was only vaguely aware that the banner even existed, completely clueless that it was in transit to North Dakota.
"It's not something that we ordered," Perrault said. "It's a banner that the NCAA has on display at their Hall of Champions in Indianapolis, which is open for tourists, fans, whoever."
Now, UND is planning to ship the banner to Fargo, Perrault said, at its convenience. There's no rush, especially because NDSU says it has no plans to display the banner at the Fargodome, its home stadium.
"It's a little amusing about the confusion, and it was obviously sent to us by mistake, so we'll package it back up and send it down to Fargo," Faison said.
Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter, a UND alum, had a different idea. He tweeted the following message Wednesday: "UND should keep til NDSU agrees to play again."
The upcoming 2012 season will mark the ninth in which the two teams have not faced each other on the football field.
Perrault said he isn't sure why the banner was being sent now, but he assumes that the NCAA is clearing out the Hall of Champions' displays for next year.
One would hope that the other 88 championship banners met a better fate.
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