State officials filed a lawsuit Friday against the NCAA to challenge its restrictions on the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the lawsuit, filed in Northeast Central District Court in Grand Forks, alleges a breach of contract by the NCAA, a breach of good faith and illegal restraint of trade.

Stenehjem said the lawsuit seeks to allow the University of North Dakota to use the nickname throughout the school year without being sanctioned in possible postseason play, along with unspecified money damages.

The NCAA has banned the use of some American Indian nicknames and logo in postseason tournaments, saying they are hostile to Native Americans.

Stenehjem said the NCAA overstepped its bounds with the ban.

The NCAA has 20 days to respond after it is served with the lawsuit, Stenehjem said.

NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said he was not surprised by the lawsuit.

"We are planning on aggressively defending our right and our responsibility, quite frankly, to conduct our own NCAA championships in an environment free of racial stereotyping,"Williams said.

The North Dakota Board of Higher Education voted in June to file the lawsuit after two North Dakota appeals were rejected.

Other schools initial deemed to have unsuitable Native American nicknames by the NCAA have won the right to use their monikers on appeal such as the Florida State University Seminoles, Central Michigan University Chippewas and the University of Utah Utes.

A number of Indian tribes and students want the University of North Dakota to drop the nickname and logo. One official with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wrote a letter supporting the university, but another opposed the nickname.

NCAA President Myles Brand has said the NCAA will defend its policy"to the utmost."

A branch of the University of North Dakota Alumni Association set up a fund to help pay for the lawsuit after the state board of education said it must be financed with private money.

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