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What’s in a Name: ULL vs ULM Back in the News

Category: College Sports School News, Editorial, FBS, Featured News, NCAA News, Sun Belt Expansion & Realignment

University of Louisana Lafayette Conference RealignmentThere might not be much happening with conference realignment these days, but there is plenty happening in the college sports business and marketing world.

Back in 2007, we discussed some of the marketing impacts of schools changing their names. The focus of this piece was about how in some states, schools could capitalize by improving their brand, by adapting and in some cases claiming, being THE university for a state or THE State university.

We looked at some of the recent changes like Southwest Texas State becoming Texas State – San Marcos and then “Texas State” in their hopes to upgrade their football program to FBS, then called Division I-A. Perhaps it helped, as the school became Texas State in 2003 and is now an FBS member of the Sun Belt Conference. Meanwhile in Missouri, we saw the branding elevation by Southwest Missouri State in 2005 as they became Missouri St.

University of Louisana Monroe Conference RealignmentBut none of the name changes drew as much intrigue as the Bayou Battle, as both Northeast Louisiana University and University of Southwestern Louisiana battled over who could claim the rights to the name “University of Louisiana”.  But it wasn’t purely a two school battle. LSU had their brand to protect. The end result in 1999 was the renaming of the two schools as University of Southwestern Louisiana became the University of Louisiana – Lafayette and Northeast Louisiana University became University of Louisiana – Monroe. Neither school was able to claim the lone “Louisiana” moniker but both schools were successful in dropped their directional names.

Fast forward to 2013 and the Louisana Name Change Bayou Battle is back.

If you’re watched any ULL football games this season, you might have noticed their uniforms. Specifically, you might have noticed that name right on the front…”Louisiana”.

Univeristy of Louisiana football jersey

In fact, even when you look at the ULL logo above, you see the moniker “Louisiana’s” rather than “ULL” or “University of Louisiana – Lafayette”.

At issue here is that when both ULL and ULM came to be in 1999, a state law was passed that clearly said that neither school could claim the name “Louisiana”. In other states, schools did become THE “State” or THE “University” such as Missouri St. and Texas St. Other states have had the same occurrence. But with the state of Louisiana, there is a clear cut rule saying that what ULL is doing is in violation of the rule. The issue now, is that it is less clear as to who needs to enforce the law. If I were an NCAA Betting man, I’d expect some sort of change in the near future. ULM has not made a big deal of it yet, likely focusing behind the scenes for a remedy But at some point, if they need to call for a change in the public/media, it will get even more interesting.

The News-Star (and the Shreveport Times) has an excellent article discussing the topic in much more detail.






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  • Name

    U-La-Mo and U-La-La? SLU could be U-La-Ha and Northwestern State could become U-La-Na! They are all under the UL System.

  • Tulanepat

    Well, interesting but neither school nor lsu can claim to be the ‘University of Louisiana’ because that name belongs to Tulane. In 1884 the state legislature transferred control of the University of Louisiana to the Tulane Educational Fund and the resultant legislatively designated name is the Tulane University of Louisiana. The university became privatized, and is the only American university to be converted from a state public institution to a private one.

  • ChrisC

    The University at Buffalo–officially the State University of New York at Buffalo– is making processions to become University of New York or New York State to bolster its athletic

  • 13th Legion

    East Carolina has the largest enrollment, a large stadium, and a progressive program. Why not change their university to simply Carolina University? Even though South Carolina puts “Carolina” on their uniforms there would be no in state challenge. Say it; CU Pirates. Carolina Pirates. Catchy huh?

  • Ct

    Just FYI, Texas State’s official name became Texas State University a few months ago, dropping the city name addition.

  • TSUuuzer

    You’re only partially correct re: Texas State. The university’s name is Texas State University-San Marcos, changed from Southwest Texas State University, and generally claims Texas State since no one else in the TSU system decided to come along for the ride. It’s possible that if one of the other schools decided to change, they’d have to sort this issue out as well.

  • Louisianian

    Mr. Peloquin, it seems you have been misinformed. There is no law that clearly states neither school can claim the name “Louisiana.” There is a bylaw created by the ULS that states that no school can use “University of Louisiana” without also stating the city. UL Lafayette is branding themselves as Louisiana, athletically (Not “University of…”), while UL Monroe wishes to brand themselves as ULM, athletically. There is no law or bylaw that prohibits the branding of ‘Louisiana’

  • Andy

    I have noticed that and wondered about it. Interesting article, thanks for posting. I believe the Summit League has made an effort to refer to it’s many branch campus schools by their city names such as Kansas City, Milwaukee, Green Bay and Omaha.


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