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OSU logo redesign sparks controversy

By Christy Watson Published: November 1, 2000

Coaches are embracing the new logos, she said.

The blazing logo won't be used on football helmets or basketball jerseys. Football helmets will use an updated version of the current logo, and the men's basketball team will abandon its O-State logo for a more traditional look, O'Keefe said.

So far, only the equestrian team has picked the blazing graphic.

OSU officials said they started the logo redesign two years ago with the intention of bringing consistency to all of the designs. When OSU teams travel to out-of-state sporting events, the wide variety of logos make the athletes hard to identify with OSU.

"If people will just wait, they will be surprised. I'm still anxious to see some fans' reaction because I think they'll like it, O'Keefe said.

The new logos will use the same style of O. Some will use two shades of orange and have either "Cowboys or "Cowgirls emblazoned on them, officials said.

Judy Barnard, OSU's licensing director, said OSU officials believe a crude and unclear version of one new logo first appeared on a Sooner fan's Web site.

The controversy ignited further after The Daily O'Collegian, OSU's student newspaper, published a copy of the blazing logo last week. Barnard said OSU doesn't know how or where the paper obtained the color copy.

O'Keefe said the published logo isn't the final version the colors aren't exact and neither is the design. A billboard on the Broadway Extension in north Oklahoma City bought by OSU isn't the final draft, either.

Collegiate Licensing Co., hired by OSU to handle its licensing issues, could ask for criminal charges if they discover who leaked the logo, Barnard said.

That's of little interest right now to current and former students.

Vic Wheeler, president of the Student Government Association, said the group will vote tonight on whether to support the changes. One association member has asked other members to formally reject the new designs and ask the university to include more student input in the future.

He expects the resolution to pass.

"It doesn't bother me that much personally, but I don't like it as much as what we have, he said.

"But the students have pretty well decided they don't like it.

OSU graduate Ryan Yates isn't restrained in his dislike.

"It's awful. It's gone away from your college-traditional-type of logo. It's gone to a trendy expansion-team-like logo that, frankly, I just don't think college fans are going to like, he said.

Yates said he doesn't know why OSU officials want to replace the current logos and worried whether profits are a factor.

Barnard said OSU's contract with the licensing company won't change.

The contract calls for OSU to pay the company 18 percent of the first $400,000 in royalties. That falls to 15 percent when profits hit $2.6 million and decreases to 10 percent after profits reach $3 million.

OSU paid $5,000 to New York-based SME Powerbranding for the logo design, and the licensing company paid an additional $25,000, she said.

Jim Barnard designed the football helmet logo in 1973 when he was equipment manager for the football team. He said Tuesday he "bleeds orange and black and "will support whatever the university's decision is.

Win Case, basketball coach at Oklahoma City University, wants fans to avoid a rush to judgment. Case was a player on OSU basketball teams in 1984 and 1985 and said the logos likely are just being updated, not changed.

"Terry Don Phillips is a great athletic director and doing a great job. I have full confidence that he's not going to do anything to jeopardize the reputation of the university, he said.

"It makes me feel good that we've got a man there who's trying to move us to the next millennium.

Phillips was out of town Tuesday and unavailable for comment. has disabled the comments for this article.


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