Is it Fort Wayne?
Is it IPFW?
Or is it Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne?
The answers are sort of, yes, and absolutely not.
The Summit League announced on Tuesday that it would be referencing that large university on Coliseum Blvd. as “Fort Wayne” from here on out. But Mastodon (the teams are always going to be called the Mastodons) athletic director Tommy Bell said that there is no need to panic - or get excited – over the supposed name change.
“This is a regional branding initiative on the part of the Summit League,” Bell explained. “We are not changing our uniforms, our name or anything else.”
The Summit League announced that in addition to IPFW, other conference members UMKC and Nebraska-Omaha will be referred to as Kansas City and Omaha, respectively.
“This is similar to what the Horizon League did with Milwaukee, Green Bay and Detroit,” Bell said. “This is not a name change. We’re trying it for a year and we’ll see if there is any push back.”
Other universities, but not all, across the nation have followed this pattern to improve their brand. In North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is simply referred to as Charlotte. However, the University of North Carolina at Asheville is not referenced as just Asheville.
“The only thing that is going to change your image is not changing your name,” Bell said. “You better go out and beat people and have a good athletic department.”
Bell said that he wouldn’t be ordering new merchandise or stationary anytime soon and this is pretty much a situation caused by the league that he now has to deal with.
“Is it going to be beneficial for us,” Bell pondered. “The league thinks so. But we never proofed anything and we never saw anything.”