Posted on: October 15, 2008 4:35 pm

Of nicknames and logos ....

OK, so I'm doing my due diligence and checking the site to see whether we have updated logos for all the D-I teams in preparation for the upcoming college basketball season and I come across the interesting tail, er, tale of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

Well, at least interesting to me. I have a bit of a fascination with team logos, especially those that fall outside the norm. Bears, Tigers and Bulldogs and the like are a dime a dozen, but you don't see many Jackrabbits out there.

The minor leagues of baseball and hockey are lush with interesting names and logos. We had an IHL team in Orlando back in the day dubbed the Orlando Solar Bears. Get it? Solar Bears?

I bought a Bradford Fighting Squirrels hat back in the day for the sole reason that I liked their logo (check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Bradford-FIGH

That was a while ago, so while it was on my mind, I figured I'd scurry the web to see if the logo had changed at all. And you know what I discovered? The school doesn't even exist anymore!

RIP Fighting Squirrels

Anyhoo, back to the Jackrabbits. Cool nickname. In fact, they may very well be the only Jackrabbits in all of the NCAA. So they get an A+ for nickname originality.

As for the logo, in the one they've replaced seen to the right here, the rabbit had a passing similarity to Bugs Bunny. So in 2005, with the school transitioning to D-I athletics, officials began to toss around the idea of replacing the logo.

Eventually they decided to hire a design firm for $6,000 to create a new logo. The firm began early renderings in Oct. 2006 with plans to unveil a new official design in Feb. 2007.

And that's where the story takes its twist. Come Feb. 2007 there was no logo to unveil. A commitee put together to approve the new logo, did not like the logos the firm was coming up with and eventually became so frustrated it staged a $1,000 contest for someone to come up with the new logo.

And sure enough it was a contest winner that designed the schools new logo. In fact there were two winners, the logo with the actual Jackrabbit image was designed by two brothers from a graphic firm in Denver, while the Jacks logo with the ears and tail was designed by somebody else. So the school actually has two different styles of logos.

If you really want a thorough timeline of the evolution of the Jacks logo, I recommend this story -- http://www.underconsideration.com/b
  -- while taking in all the various offshoots to The Collegian, which detailed the trials and tribulations. And if you scroll down toward the bottom of the comments section of the aforementioned story, you'll see the logos the design firm had come up with. I can see why the logo committee was frustrated.

I'd definitely rate the new logo an improvement over the old logo, and give it a solid B. Ideally, they would have found a way to combine the typographical Jacks with the Rabbit logo.

New Jackrabbits logo

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