The Way We Were: NCAA Schools Change Nicknames For Numerous Reasons

Akin to roster and coaching staff turnover, there are times when a school chooses to change its nickname. Following are a series of headlines the media might have been trying to sell over the years if nickname changes didn't occur:

  • Bay Badgers end Jason Kidd's college career with an upset victory in NCAA playoffs. Translation: Wisconsin-Green Bay (now Phoenix) stuns California in 1994 West Regional first round.

  • Bugeaters still seeking first NCAA playoff victory. Translation: Nebraska (Cornhuskers) remains winless in NCAA Tournament.

  • Bulldogs become only team to make seamless Top 10 transition. Translation: Louisiana-Lafayette, formerly USL, is only school ever to finish in the Top 10 of the final Division I rankings the year (1972) after finishing in Top 10 of final Division II poll.

  • Foxes eliminate Indiana in opening round of NCAA playoffs. Translation: Hoosiers lose to Cleveland State (Vikings) in 1986 East Regional.

  • Gorillas miss opportunity to make first trip to NCAA playoffs. Translation: Louisiana Tech defeats Arkansas State (Indians) in 1987 Southland Conference Tournament final.

  • Grandees win NCAA title in their first tournament appearance. Translation: Loyola of Chicago (Ramblers) capture 1963 NCAA championship.

  • Maroons glide to 1967 NIT title behind Clyde. Translation: Walt Frazier-led Southern Illinois (Salukis) win 1967 NIT championship.

  • Grizzlies great coach wins 10th NCAA championship in 12 years. Translation: John Wooden ends UCLA (Bruins) coaching career with 1975 national title.

  • Owls advance to Final Four in just their fifth season at the Division I level. Translation: UNC Charlotte (49ers) finishes in fourth place in 1977 NCAA Tournament.

  • Red Terror captures second NCAA crown in 10 years. Translation: N.C. State (Wolfpack) wins 1983 NCAA championship.

  • Blue Devils win 50 of 53 games before changing nickname and going undefeated. Translation: LIU (Blackbirds) go 25-0 in 1935-36 after posting a 50-3 record the previous two seasons.

  • Snakes reach NCAA Tournament final. Translation: West Virginia (Mountaineers) meets California in 1959 NCAA playoff championship game.

  • Varsity climax three Final Four appearances in 10 years with an NCAA championship. Translation: Arizona (Wildcats) capture 1997 crown after reaching national semifinals in 1988 and 1994.

The University of Chattanooga Moccasins shed their mascot in recent years amid numerous other current and former Division I schools making politically correct decisions by changing their supposedly demeaning and highly insensitive nicknames. The vice chairman of Marquette's board of trustees and another unnamed trustee offered to donate $1 million each to the school if it were to restore the Warriors name. The board eventually passed a resolution barring any nickname using American Indiana references, imagery or symbolism. The resolution added that the university "shall consistently strive to avoid the use of images that diminish, limit, stereotype, or are offensive to the character, history and culture of any ethnic heritage."

North Dakota lawmakers intervened in 2011, passing a law that required UND to retain the Fighting Sioux moniker and logo. Some legislators said they resented the nickname being characterized as hostile and abusive because they believed the name and logo are treated with respect. Others said the change was being rammed down their throats by the NCAA and think the higher education board should have done more to adhere to residents' wishes. Before the end of summer, however, the state's Board of Higher Education decided to retire the nickname, anticipating that the lawmakers would repeal the law.

Most of the time, we know intuitively when a word or a traditional emblem is blatantly offensive. But isn't it only pathetic parasites who are overwrought by emotion with innocent symbols that "attack" self esteem? Don't the liberal leeches have anything better to do than target harmless mascots and logos and turn them into controversial racial slurs?

The NCAA, claiming the policy was social justice, was a classic example of political correctness run amok during the summer of 2005 when it launched an initiative crusading against nicknames deemed "hostile or abusive" to Native Americans.

Arkansas State previously was known as the Aggies, Farmers, Gorillas and Warriors before becoming the Indians and now the Red Wolves. Central Michigan was previously known as the Normalites (until 1925), Dragons (until 1939) and Bearcats (until 1942) before becoming the Chippewas. Here is a look at the former nicknames of some of the nation's prominent schools:

College Current Nickname Former Nickname(s)
Arizona Wildcats Varsity (until 1914)
Arizona State Sun Devils Bulldogs (until early 1900s)
Arkansas State Red Wolves Indians (until 2007)
Ball State Cardinals Hoosieroons (until 1927)
Binghamton Bearcats Colonials (until 1999)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Roadrunners (until late 1930s)
Campbell Fighting Camels Hornets (until 1933)
Canisius Golden Griffins unavailable (until 1933)
Centenary Gentlemen Ironsides (until 1922)
Charlotte 49ers Owls (until 1961)
Cleveland State Vikings Foxes (until 1966)
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Trojans
Colgate Raiders Red Raiders (until 2001)
College of Charleston Cougars Maroons (until 1970)
Creighton Bluejays Hilltoppers (until 1924)
Dartmouth Big Green Indians (until 1974)
Dayton Flyers St. Mary's Institute Cadets (until 1920)
Eastern Kentucky Colonels Maroons (until 1966)
Eastern Michigan Eagles Hurons
Eastern Washington Eagles Savages (until 1973)
Elon Phoenix Fightin' Christians (until 2000)
Evansville Purple Aces Pioneers (until mid-1920s)
Georgia Southern Eagles Professors (until 1959)
Green Bay Phoenix Bay Badgers (until 1970)
Jacksonville State Gamecocks Eagle Owls (until 1947)
Lehigh Mountain Hawks Engineers
Long Island Blackbirds Blue Devils (until 1935)
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns Bulldogs (until 1974)
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks Indians (until 2006)
Loyola (Ill.) Ramblers Grandees (until 1926)
Marquette Gold Hilltoppers (until 1954), Warriors (until 1994) and Golden Eagles (until 2006)
Marshall Thundering Herd Indians, Big Green and Boogercats
Massachusetts Minutemen Aggies (until 1948) and Redmen (until 1972)
Mercer Bears Baptists (until 1924)
Miami (Ohio) RedHawks Redskins (from 1928 to 1996)
Milwaukee Panthers Normals (until 1927), Green Gulls (until 1956) and Cardinals (until 1965)
Mississippi State Bulldogs Maroons (until 1961)
Murray State Racers Thoroughbreds
Nebraska Huskers or Cornhuskers Bugeaters, Antelopes and Old Gold Knights
North Carolina State Wolfpack Farmer & Mechanics, Aggies, Techs and Red Terror (from 1924)
North Dakota Fighting Hawks Fighting Sioux (until 2015)
Northern Illinois Huskies Profs
Oakland (Mich.) Golden Grizzlies Pioneers (until 1998)
Oklahoma State Cowboys Aggies (until 1957)
Old Dominion Monarchs Braves (until 1961)
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles Titans (until 1993)
Oregon Ducks Webfoots
Quinnipiac Bobcats Braves
St. Bonaventure Bonnies Brown Indians
St. Francis (Pa.) Red Flash Saints
St. John's Red Storm Redmen (until 1994)
Sam Houston State Bearkats Normals (until 1923)
Seattle Redhawks Chieftains
Siena Saints Indians (until 1990)
Southeast Missouri State Redhawks Indians (until 2004)
Southern Illinois Salukis Maroons (until 1951)
Stanford Cardinal Indians (until 1972)
Stony Brook Seawolves Baymen (until 1960), Warriors (until 1966) and Patriots (until 1994)
Syracuse Orange Orangemen (until 2004)
Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks Pacers (until 1996)
Texas-Arlington Mavericks Rebels
Tulsa Golden Hurricane Yellow Jackets (until 1922)
UCLA Bruins Cubs (until 1923) and Grizzlies (until 1927)
Virginia Commonwealth Rams Green Devils (until 1968)
Washington Huskies Sundodgers (until 1921)
West Virginia Mountaineers Snakes (until 1906)