Can you imagine your school without its mascot? These characters can become symbols of pride that endure for generations. Not only does a mascot stir up school pride, it also stirs up sales of merchandise and often helps to determine non-mascot related things such as school colors and even building names. There is nothing simple about changing a mascot design, which is why the University of North Dakota has been devastated by an order from the NCAA to change their mascot.
The University of North Dakota has used the Fighting Sioux nickname for the past eighty years, and the mascot is an indelible part of the university life and history. Not only is it present on logo designs, letterhead, and sports uniforms, it is carved into walls, painted on windows, and Numerous school clubs, organizations, scholarships, and even menu items, are named after the mascot. However, the biggest challenge may be convincing entities outside the school to give up the Fighting Sioux name. Cafes and shops in the area routinely use the mascot, and many students own Fighting Sioux gear that they will not relinquish happily. The building where the UND hockey team plays is privately owned but bears the image of the mascot carved into the granite floor.
The North Dakota university was the last holdout of what was once a long list of schools and colleges bearing a Native American mascot. The NCAA banned any mascots referring to Native Americans years ago, but the University of North Dakota opted to fight the decision. The NCAA sued, calling the mascot hostile and abusive. The school agreed to get the permission of local tribes bearing the Sioux name, but one declined to endorse the reference. This was the end of Fighting Sioux.
The school has put together a committee to facilitate the transition. While they cannot force private entities and students to give up the Fighting Sioux mascot, they are hoping that the affection toward it will gradually fade. The school plans to take its time deciding on a new mascot, and no announcements have been made yet.
A mascot is an important part of any team, as it gives fans and players an image to rally around. While these images often seem silly, they are close to the hearts of players. This is particularly true with colleges and universities. People spend four years of their life being constantly exposed to an image. It’s hard not to develop brand loyalty under these conditions.
University of North Dakota will have to give their new mascot and logo design a lot of thought because many of their students are upset at being forced to change from a beloved mascot to a completely new and unknown one. This sets a high bar. Any new mascot will need to be approved not just by a committee, but by students, parents, alumni, and the entire community.
As you can see, a mascot is a huge advantage for a team of any type. If you think that your organization, team, school, or club needs a mascot to pull you together, contact us today.