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Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Wednesday, March 1, 2000


Playing name game
with colleges

THERE'S gender equity. There's political correctness. How about gender correctness?

Every night when editing the college basketball roundups, the sports staffers play a form of Trivial Pursuit. The game is called "Guess the Nickname.''

Most nights, it's pretty simple, with few trips to the sports Bible entitled "The Blue Book.'' Happy to say, we're pretty good at nicknames.

The questions that do arise concern what colleges call their women's teams.

Do they go by the same name as the men's team or are they known as the Lady (fill-in-the-men's nickname)?

Do they have a different name, such as the Women of Troy at Southern Cal or the Roadrunners (instead of Aggies) at New Mexico State?

Personally, I don't care much for the royalty bit. It's condescending in a way, such as when some schools add "ettes'' at the end of their women's teams - although Axettes (Acadia) does sound better than Axewomen.

However, it might not work at Rutgers, home of the Scarlet Knights and Lady Knights. The Scarlet Ladies does sound a little risque.

The only exception might be at Centenary, the alma mater of University of Hawaii men's basketball coach Riley Wallace. The men's teams are the Gentlemen or Gents; the women's teams are the Ladies.

Heidelberg College in Ohio used to call its teams the Student Princes and Lady Student Princes. Why they didn't use Student Princesses is beyond me.

The gender confusion may have led to the recent name change to The 'Berg. That's neutral enough, but an ice floe is hardly intimidating - unless one is either the Titanic or a Mastodon (the nickname of Indiana-Purdue-Ft. Wayne).

AND what's up with Colorado State (Lady Rams) and Southern Methodist (Lady Mustangs)? Sorry, but there are no such animals. Ewes and Fillies would be more zoologically correct, as would Gamehens instead of Lady Gamecocks at South Carolina.

At Arkansas, where the men's and women's athletic departments are financially independent of the other, the sports information department is very clear on the nicknames. It's the Razorbacks and Lady'Backs, not the Lady Razorbacks.

Then there's the case of Northern Arizona, which went a little too far for a time. The Lumberjacks and the Lumberjills? I don't think so.

Talk about clever. At Arkansas-Monticello, it's the Cotton Blossoms and Boll Weevils. At Central Arkansas, it's the Bears and the Sugar Bears.

Honest.

FORMER Wahine assistant basketball coach Mary Hile-Nepfel is in her 13th season as co-head women's coach at the University of San Francisco. She has been trying for years to have the nickname changed from Lady Dons.

She doesn't care for "Donas.'' Her suggestion is "Gray Fog.''

Maybe not.

At least UC Santa Barbara could go with Gauchas instead of Gauchos. Or Toreras, instead of Toreros, at the University of San Diego.

St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind., didn't have much of a problem in choosing an appropriate nickname. They are the Belles of St. Mary's ... and obviously an all-women's school.

New England College is called The Pilgrims. But you have to wonder why Wabash College went for Little Giants instead of Cannonball.

The only bad thing about the Blue Book is it doesn't give definitions.

Just what IS a Pronghorn? If you know an alumnus or alumna of the University of Lethbridge, give me a call.



Cindy Luis is Star-Bulletin sports editor.
Her column appears weekly.



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