Although I’m not a fan of Florida State University (or any other college), I can sympathize with FSU fans who are upset over the modified logo which was prematurely revealed on a T-shirt sold at Wal-Mart. Perhaps if the university had been able to explain the reasoning for the logo modification, before the leak, there’d have been less controversy. Or maybe not.
But controversy there is, including thousands of signatures on an online petition and the creation of groups seeking to preserve the logo. This is not the first time FSU’s logo has been involved in controversy. Some years ago, the NCAA proposed banning the logo in postseason games because the NCAA felt that using a Native American face as a symbol was inappropriate even though the Seminole Tribe of Florida has no problem with that use.
The reason for the logo modification appears to be primarily “technical” – it does not reproduce well in all mediums. The new logo presumably addresses that issue.
But change is often unsettling. I know because my high school’s name and mascot were changed and I did not like it. Neither did most alumni who attended the school before the changes.
My school’s name was the American School. It was founded in 1920 (when the Philippines was a U.S. colony) as a college preparatory school for the Americans living there. Even as late as 1970, when I graduated with the “golden class” (fifty year anniversary of the school’s founding), the majority of students were Americans.
Our mascot was uniquely “American”: we were the Indians. An Indian was painted on our gym wall. The logo also appeared on the school’s seal. Our cheerleaders dressed as “squaws.”
The good news is that I graduated from the American School. The bad news is that my class was the last class to graduate from it because the very next year the school’s name was changed to International School.
Technically, that name change was more descriptive of the student body. Many nationalities were represented at the school. Although the school seal changed and the Indian head was removed, the sports teams retained the “Indians” name.
But a few years later, the mascot became a local animal – the bearcat. It is a small carnivorous mammal. (A mongoose is in the same family.)
While the school’s name change was understandable, the mascot change was incendiary to the “American School” alums. Instead of a warrior, the school would be represented by a small animal? And how did that mascot jibe with “International”? What about an “international” theme such as “ambassadors”? I would have been much more comfortable with that.
I suspect that the outrage over the new mascot was highest among the “old timer” alums (such as me) who had attended the school from K-12. (There were about 15 in my class of 99.) And since I was on three varsity teams, I was especially galled by the change because I bled green and gold (the school colors).
The alumni organization in the U.S. was independent of the school. Even though it did not form until the early 80’s, more than ten years after the name change, the organization was the “American School Alumni Association of Manila.” And in fact most of the membership was from the pre-1980 classes. We used the American School seal on the website.
So for those FSU fans who are not happy with the mascot modification, I feel your pain. At least it is still similar to the old one and the team is still Seminoles. My school and mascot are history but they will live on as long as any of the American School alumni are still on this earth.