Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Nickname Fiasco!

Marquette to stick with “Golden Eagles”

By a vote of 12,562 (54%) to 10,535 (46%) “Golden Eagles” beat “Hilltoppers” as the Marquette nickname.

So, after a Wild ride (pun intended) lasting a year, we are back precisely to where we were before Wayne Sanders raised the nickname issue during the 2004 Graduation ceremonies.

And Marquette has a nickname that the Administration admitted was so bland and insipid that it had to be dropped, and replaced with “Gold.”

Perhaps the most significant thing about the second round of voting was the low turnout. Only 23,097 people voted in round two, as opposed to 31,501 in round one. Quite obviously, neither “Hilltoppers” nor “Golden Eagles” was exciting enough to get people to participate. And put against a name that nobody under aged 70 can remember being associated with Marquette, “Golden Eagles” won by only an 8% margin.

The administration did release the results from the first round of voting, and “Warriors” (a write-in, not on the ballot) got 10% of the vote. This in an election were everybody who participated was told:
“To be counted, write-in nicknames must be consistent with the University’s Catholic, Jesuit mission and the Board of Trustees resolution forbidding Native American imagery and references. Additionally, write-in suggestions of nicknames that are intended to mock or embarrass the university will not be counted. Any nicknames under review by the NCAA for their relationship to Native American imagery will not be counted. Examples of nicknames that will not be counted include Warriors (or any variation of the word, i.e., war) and Jumpin’ Jesuits.”
So in spite of the fact that people were explicitly told “don’t vote for Warriors,” 10% of them did.

When the University, last fall, did a survey that explicitly pitted “Warriors” and “Golden Eagles,” the former won hands down, and “Golden Eagles” so lacked support that the Trustees decided Marquette needed an entirely different name -- and they came up with Gold.

Indeed, the University’s own version of the results notes that:
Additionally, ten years after its introduction, the survey indicates that the Golden Eagles nickname, logo and mascot have not generated a strong sense of pride or sense of identity with the Marquette community. In fact, the words most often used to describe the Golden Eagles nickname are boring (57%), weak (55%) and common (52%).
Marquette’s attempts to put a positive spin on the “Golden Eagles” name have been pretty pathetic. For example, an e-mail sent by Fr. Wild today said:
The name Golden Eagles has a proud association in Marquette’s history since it was our name from 1994 to the present. I am pleased that this tradition will continue in the Big East Conference, one of the most prestigious and competitive conferences in the nation.
It seems that, just a couple of months ago, that “proud association” wasn’t adequate to keep Marquette from adopting “Gold” in the most disastrous public relations fiasco in the institution’s history.

Such are the wages of political correctness. Lacking the courage to return to the overwhelmingly popular “Warriors,” the University has floundered and wavered and looked foolish for a year.

And looks even more foolish to still be “Golden Eagles.”

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