Bulldogs nickname has no bite without women’s basketball

Couldn’t quite do it, could you Louisiana Tech? Couldn’t quite hop all the way into the 21st century and decided to take the road of least resistance.

I see what you did there and I applaud it. But I’m only applauding it with one hand, and you know what kind of sound that makes.

Tech has announced that the nickname of its women’s athletic teams will be known as the “Bulldogs” instead of Lady Techsters. Were you trying to be the last school on Earth to make the switch away from that archaic way of doing things or does it just seem that way?

Sounds great, except for one thing – this does not apply to the women’s basketball team, who will remain stuck in the 1970s with the nickname “Lady Techsters.”

Let’s be honest here: Though other women’s sports at Tech have enjoyed plenty of success, there’s only one program that really matters when it comes to this issue. It’s the one with the logo that hasn’t changed since James Naismith hung the peach basket.

Hard to believe in these days of branding and marketing that someone signed off on this. Every college in America is hammering home the importance of having a unique signature. Yet Tech is going to continue to let the women’s basketball team wander off into the wilderness?

Maybe you can make the case that “Lady Techsters” was a good idea at its mid-1970s inception – the argument for it was that they didn’t want to be known as “Lady Bulldogs” because that implies the common name for a female dog – but schools quickly got away from this female-specific nickname.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs didn’t have a problem with it.

LSU came to its senses and changed from the Ben-Gals to Lady Tigers in the mid-1980s.

Far be it from me to be considered anything resembling a feminist, but the whole “Lady” thing should have been tossed out a long time ago. Many schools have moved on from any kind of gender specific nickname unless it is unavoidable. (Take a bow, Centenary.)

The news release from Tech has the predictable buzzwords in keeping the women’s basketball team known as Lady Techsters – “synonymous with the national brand” and “honors and recognizes the tradition” – and then was followed with this kicker: “Excluding this from this transition was a no brainer. Lady Techsters will now only belong to them.”

Did I miss something here? Did they win a bunch of national championships in the last 12 years or have they not even been to the NCAA tournament during that same time?

The number of current players who were alive when Tech last went to a Final Four? Zero.

Without a doubt, it’s a step in the right direction, but it lacks any teeth whatsoever when the women’s basketball program isn’t included.

Schools change nicknames all the time. Like it or not, it’s just how it is. To stubbornly hang on for one sport while the others change seems like quite a mixed message. The Tech softball team has been to three Women’s College World Series and made 12 NCAA Tournaments. They’ve got a nice history of their own as well.

But they’ll be the Bulldogs from now on. Across the street, the women’s basketball team will still be the Lady Techsters.

The message that it actually sends is that the program is desperately clinging to an era that has long since passed. If anything, Tech should have embraced a message that is much more forward thinking than backward looking.

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com