EDITORIAL: Fighting over mascot name unnecessary

AT ISSUE: Loyola should be able to share the Wolfpack mascot with NC State without hassle

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North Carolina State University recently issued a letter to Loyola requesting that Loyola athletics stop using the Wolfpack mascot, claiming that Loyola’s use of “Wolfpack” constitutes trademark infringement. While we recognize that NC State may have a legitimate claim to the trademark, we ask what purpose it serves to ask Loyola to discontinue the use of “Wolfpack.”

NC State claims ownership of the registered mark “Wolfpack” and uses it in “conducting college level men’s and women’s sporting events.” The letter claims that Loyola’s use of “Wolfpack” for a similar purpose as NC State’s use is “likely to cause confusion.”

This is ridiculous. NC State and Loyola are radically different institutions, both in terms of location, institution type and athletic standing.  Loyola is a private Jesuit liberal arts institution with an undergraduate population of less than 3,000.  NC State, on the other hand, is a public research institution with over 23,000 undergrads.

Athletics are a similar study in contrasts. NC State is a NCAA Division I school and part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, sporting 24 varsity teams.

Loyola, in comparison, is a NAIA Division I school in the Southern States Atlantic Conference, with a mere 10 sports teams (including men’s and women’s teams).

Can one believably say that they purchased Loyola Wolfpack basketball tickets in the mistaken belief that they were buying NC State Wolfpack basketball tickets? The probability seems low.

Take for example the numerous other schools that share the same mascots. The University of Connecticut and University of Washington both share the nickname “Huskies,” and both schools participated in the NCAA Conference this year. Did bewildered UConn fans show up to the wrong game because of the matching nickname? Doubtful. How many universities share the “Tigers” mascot, or the “Redskins” mascot? They all get along, and Loyola and NC State should, too.

Legal actions such as these are, unfortunately, common. Another Louisiana school, McNeese State University, was forced to make minor changes to its cowboy logo in 2001 after the University of Wyoming sued for copyright infringement, despite some glaring differences between the two.

This begs the question of what should happen to Loyola’s beloved Wolfpack, should NC State prove successful in its efforts. Loyola might adopt another mascot and logo.

Perhaps we could pay tribute to the first president of the university, the Rev. Alfred Biever, S.J., and call ourselves the Loyola Beavers?

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