While the NCAA has threatened sanctions for using the Indian image and nickname, Kelley said the action was taken "in keeping with state law" and under the direction of Grant Shaft, president of North Dakota's Board of Higher Education, the Grand Forks Herald reported.
"I want to reaffirm our respect for the laws of the state and the processes guaranteed under the North Dakota Constitution," Kelley said in his statement.
Next week, board members are expected to discuss whether to ask the state Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the Fighting Sioux nickname law adopted by the Legislature in April 2001, the newspaper said.
The law mandating UND must keep the nickname and Indian-head logo was repealed during a November special session but petitions seeking to reinstate it were filed Tuesday night, the Herald said.
If about 13,500 of the 17,500 submitted signatures are valid, the measure wold go on the June 12 primary election ballot.
"We'll be discussing whether we want to request the attorney general take legal action to seek a declaratory statement from the Supreme Court as to the constitutionality of the law passed in April 2011," Shaft said. "We haven't discussed it, but my sense is the board would like to see some definitive statement as to who has the constitutional authority for the nickname and logo."