clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bad Idea Time: Make every college have a totally unique nickname

New, 24 comments

For one thing, there are way, way too many Eagles.

Liberty eagle mascot
There are way too many Eagles
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports. Banner Society illustration.

Of America’s 1,875 most prominent college athletic departments, only 321 have nicknames that are different from everybody else within that group. (I’ve added the list of actually unique nicknames at the bottom.)

And even that figure means counting a nickname like Bald Eagles or Golden Eagles distinct from Eagles itself, plus ignoring non-Eagle schools like Auburn, North Texas, and Liberty that have Eagle mascots.

Even without those modifiers, 64 colleges use the exact same basic Eagles nickname. That’s almost a whole NCAA tournament of nothing but adjective-less Eagles!

We have so much groupthink, we even have 18 different schools named the Golden Eagles.

Look at this monotony:

  • 64 plain Eagles (plus Red Eagles, Screaming Eagles, etc.)
  • 53 plain Tigers (plus Golden Tigers, Fighting Tigers, etc.)
  • 52 plain Cougars (plus other names for this animal, but that’s good, because those are OTHER NAMES)
  • 50 plain Bulldogs (plus a Runnin’ one and other teams with bulldog mascots)
  • 42 plain Panthers (yeah, Panthers and Cougars are the same animal)
  • 41 plain Wildcats
  • 40 plain Lions (plus lots of other teams with lion logos or mascots)
  • 35 plain Pioneers (plus other names for the job of walking in a place that is new to you)
  • 33 plain Knights (plus Golden Knights, Blue Knights, etc.)
  • 33 plain Warriors
  • 29 plain Hawks (plus tons of variations ... many Hawk teams actually do this right)
  • 28 plain Bears (plus Bruins, Golden Bears, etc.)
  • 26 plain Falcons
  • and on and on.

Let’s get way more creative. Some of these schools might just need a push.

New rule: no two American colleges can have the exact same mascot name.

If you wanna remain the plain ole Eagles, you need to establish dominion over that boring word.

Otherwise, you need to either modify the name Eagles in a way nobody else does or come up with a more interesting bird — an eagle isn’t especially cool and is in fact “a Bird of bad moral Character,” per Ben Franklin — or other animal entirely. There are already too many bird mascots anyway, speaking proportionally.

How will we figure out which schools have to change? There are many options.

Settle each dispute based on:

  • Who had it first? College sports people can’t even agree on the absolute basics, so this should be a fun few decades of lawyering.
  • Who’s used it best? Division II’s Minnesota-Duluth is now the only team named just the Bulldogs, because they have the two most recent football national titles won by Bulldogs.
  • Which changes would impact the fewest people? If only a few hundred fans care about a small school, it wouldn’t make sense to force a million-strong fanbase to change. However, let’s consider the instant value of all our vintage gear.
  • If you have live mascots, they fight to the death? No? OK, natural segue to next idea.
  • Some sort of live trivia contest about the disputed nickname? Yes, I think this is it.

We’ll decide which schools have to change nicknames via a live trivia contest about the disputed nickname.

Each university president who wants to claim a nickname in use by at least one other school within the NCAA, NAIA, JUCO leagues, or other American college sports leagues must battle for it in the theater of the mind.

Boring-ass Eagle schools, you’ll each be tested in live action on your knowledge of all eagles (because you did not specify a kind of eagle, which is one reason you’re in this mess to begin with).

You’ll be barraged with questions on the many species of eagle (including many you could’ve chosen instead of Eagles), global distributions (of other eagles you could’ve picked), eagles in pop culture and mythology (lots of good ideas here for eagle names besides just Eagles), comparisons of eagles to other birds (which are birds you could pick instead of Eagles), and so on.

Don’t wanna go through all that? Simply modify your nickname ahead of time.

If you wanna remain Eagles, just find a better, weirder version.

This isn’t hard. I found a great one in 15 seconds. Say hello to snake eagles, the eagles that eat snakes:

Charles J Sharp, Sharp Photography, Wikimedia Commons

Nobody wants to see that thing show up on the other side in a conference baseball tournament. I’m starting a college just to call our sports teams the Snake Eagles.

And finally, a list of what I believe to be the 321 colleges with unique nicknames among major-ish American colleges.

  • Abraham Baldwin College, Stallions
  • Academy of Art University, Urban Knights
  • Albion College, Britons
  • Alderson Broaddus University, Battlers
  • Alfred University, Saxons
  • Alice Lloyd College, Talons
  • Alvernia University, Golden Wolves
  • Alverno College, Inferno
  • Amherst College, Mammoths
  • Anna Maria College, AMCATS
  • Arizona Christian University, Firestorm
  • Arizona State University, Sun Devils
  • ASA College Avengers in Brooklyn, Avengers
  • ASA College in Miami, Florida, Silver Storm
  • Augsburg University, Auggies
  • Ave Maria University, Gyrenes
  • Bethany College, Swedes
  • Bethel College , Threshers
  • Bismarck State College, Mystics
  • Blue Mountain College, Toppers
  • Brandeis University, Judges
  • Bristol Community College in Fall River, Bayhawks
  • California Lutheran University, Kingsmen
  • California State University Maritime Academy, Keelhaulers
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills, Toros
  • California State University, Monterey Bay, Otters
  • Calumet College of St. Joseph, Crimson Wave
  • Campbell University, Fighting Camels
  • Canisius College, Golden Griffins
  • Cape Fear Community College, Sea Devils
  • Carnegie Mellon University, Tartans
  • Carthage College, Red Men/Lady Reds
  • Centenary College of Louisiana, Gents and Ladies
  • Central College, Dutch
  • Central Michigan University, Chippewas
  • Central Wyoming College, Rustlers
  • Chaminade University of Honolulu, Silverswords
  • Chesapeake College, Skipjacks
  • Christopher Newport University, Captains
  • Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, Surge
  • Coastal Alabama Community College, Sun Chiefs
  • Coastal Carolina University, Chanticleers
  • Coe College, Kohawks
  • Colby College, White Mules
  • College of William & Mary, Tribe
  • Colorado State University–Pueblo, ThunderWolves
  • Columbia College (SC), Koalas
  • Columbia-Greene Community College, Twins
  • Concordia College, Cobbers
  • Connecticut College, Camels
  • Converse College, Valkyries
  • Corning Community College, Red Barons
  • Crown College, Royal Crusaders
  • Culinary Institute of America, Steels
  • Cuyahoga Community College, Triceratops
  • Dartmouth College, Big Green
  • DePaul University, Blue Demons
  • Dickinson State University, Blue Hawks
  • East–West University, Phantoms
  • Eastern Arizona College, Gila Monsters
  • Eastfield College Harvesters in Mesquite, HArvesters
  • Elmira College, Soaring Eagles
  • Emory and Henry College, Wasps
  • Endicott College, Gulls
  • Erie Community College, Kats
  • Erskine College, Flying Fleet
  • Felician University, Golden Falcons
  • Five Towns College, Sound
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville, Blue Wave
  • Florida State University, Seminoles
  • Franklin & Marshall College, Diplomats
  • Fresno Pacific University, Sunbirds
  • Furman University, Paladins
  • Garden City Community College, Broncbusters
  • Gardner–Webb University, Runnin’ Bulldogs
  • Geneva College, Golden Tornadoes
  • Georgetown University, Hoyas
  • Gettysburg College, Bullets
  • Gogebic Community College, Samsons
  • Goshen College, Maple Leafs
  • Goucher College, Gophers
  • Grand Canyon University, Antelopes
  • Gustavus Adolphus College, Gusties
  • Hamilton College, Continentals
  • Hamline University, Pipers
  • Harford Community College, Fighting Owls
  • Harvard University, Crimson
  • Haverford College, Fords
  • Hawkeye Community College, Redtails
  • Heidelberg University, Student Princes
  • Henderson State University, Reddies
  • Hesston College Larks in Hesston, Larks
  • Hollins University, None
  • Hostos Community College, Caimans
  • Hutchinson Community College, Blue Dragons
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Scarlet Hawks
  • Illinois State University, Redbirds
  • Immaculata University, Mighty Macs
  • Indiana State University, Sycamores
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Crimson Hawks
  • Indiana University Southeast, Grenadiers
  • Indiana University, Hoosiers
  • Iowa Western Community College, Reivers
  • Ithaca College, Bombers
  • John Carroll University, Blue Streaks
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Bloodhounds
  • Johnson C. Smith University, Golden Bulls
  • Kent State University, Golden Flashes
  • Kenyon College, Lords and Ladies
  • Keystone College, Giants
  • Kishwaukee College, Kougars
  • Knox College, Prairie Fire
  • La Salle University, Explorers
  • Lake–Sumter State College, Lakehawks
  • Lakeland University, Muskies
  • Lamar Community College, Runnin’ Lopes
  • Lee College, Runnin’ Rebels
  • Lehigh University, Mountain Hawks
  • LeMoyne–Owen College, Magicians
  • Lincoln Christian University, Red Lions
  • Lincoln Memorial University, Railsplitters
  • Lincoln University (MO), Blue Tigers
  • Livingstone College, Blue Bears
  • Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Bald Eagles
  • Loras College, Duhawks
  • Lourdes University, Gray Wolves
  • Loyola University Chicago, Ramblers
  • Lynn University, Fighting Knights
  • Manhattan College, Jaspers
  • Manhattanville College, Valiants
  • Maranatha Baptist University, Sabercats
  • Marian University, Sabres
  • Marist College, Red Foxes
  • Marshall University, Thundering Herd
  • Mary Baldwin University, Fighting Squirrels
  • McDaniel College, Green Terror
  • Menlo College, Oaks
  • Meredith College, Angels
  • Metropolitan Community College (Kansas City) , Scouts
  • Mid-America Christian University, Evangels
  • Millsaps College, Marjos
  • Mississippi College, Choctaws
  • Mississippi Valley State University, Delta Devils and Devilettes
  • Monroe Community College, Tribunes
  • Montana State University–Northern, Lights
  • Morehouse College, Maroon Tigers
  • Motlow State Community College, Bucks
  • Mount Aloysius College, Mounties
  • Mount Mary University, Blue Angels
  • Muskingum University, Fighting Muskies
  • Nazareth College, Golden Flyers
  • Nebraska Wesleyan University, Prairie Wolves
  • New England College, Pilgrims
  • New Hope Christian College, Deacons
  • New Jersey City University, Gothic Knights
  • New York University (NYU), Violets
  • Niagara University, Purple Eagles
  • North Carolina Wesleyan College, Bishops
  • Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College , Golden Norse
  • Northwest College Trappers in Powell, Trappers
  • Northwestern State University, Demons
  • Norwich University, Cadets
  • Oakland University, Golden Grizzlies
  • Oberlin College, Yeomen and Yeowomen
  • Oglethorpe University, Stormy Petrels
  • Ohio Wesleyan University, Battling Bishops
  • Pace University, Setters
  • Pacific Lutheran University, Lutes
  • Pacific University, Boxers
  • Palm Beach Atlantic University, Sailfish
  • Panola College, Ponies
  • Pennsylvania State University, Nittany Lions
  • Pittsburg State University, Gorillas
  • Point Loma Nazarene University, Sea Lions
  • Pomona College and Pitzer College, Sagehens
  • Presbyterian College, Blue Hose
  • Providence Christian College, Sea Beggars
  • Providence College, Friars
  • Providence College, Friars
  • Purdue University Fort Wayne, Mastodons
  • Purdue University, Boilermakers
  • Rainy River Community College Voyageurs , Voyageurs
  • Rhode Island College, Anchormen
  • Richland College, Thunderduck
  • Rockford University, Regents
  • Rocky Mountain College, Battlin’ Bears
  • Rogers State University, Hillcats
  • Rollins College, Tars
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Fightin’ Engineers
  • Rowan University, Profs
  • Rutgers University, Scarlet Knights
  • Saint Francis University, Red Flash
  • Saint John’s University, Johnnies
  • Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, Monks
  • Saint Louis University, Billikens
  • Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Pomeroys
  • Saint Mary’s College, Belles
  • Salisbury University, Sea Gulls
  • Savannah College of Art and Design, Bees
  • Schoolcraft College, Ocelots
  • Scottsdale Community College, Artichokes
  • Simon Fraser University, Clan
  • Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, The Rock
  • Snead State Community College, Parsons
  • South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Hardrockers
  • South Dakota State University, Jackrabbits
  • Southeastern Community College, Blackhawks
  • Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Savage Storm
  • Southeastern University, Fire
  • Southern Arkansas University, Muleriders
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Salukis
  • Southern Nazarene University, Crimson Storm
  • Southern New Hampshire University, Penmen
  • Southwestern College, Moundbuilders
  • Southwestern Illinois College, Blue Storm
  • Spoon River College Mudcats in Canton, Mudcats
  • St. Ambrose University, Fighting Bees & Queen Bees
  • St. Bonaventure University, Bonnies
  • St. Clair County Community College, Skippers
  • St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Eutectics
  • St. Norbert College, Green Knights
  • St. Olaf College, Oles
  • State College of Florida, Manatee–Sarasota, Manatees
  • State University of New York at Cobleskill, Fighting Tigers
  • State University of New York, Red Dragons
  • Stetson University, Hatters
  • Sussex County Community College, Skylanders
  • Swarthmore College, Garnet
  • Sweet Briar College, Vixens
  • Syracuse University, Orange
  • Texas A&M International University, Dustdevils
  • Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, Islanders
  • Texas A&M University–Kingsville, Javelinas
  • Texas Christian University, Horned Frogs
  • Texas College, Steers
  • The Apprentice School, Builders
  • The Evergreen State College, Geoducks
  • The Ohio State University, Buckeyes
  • Thiel College, Tomcats
  • Trinity Christian College, Trolls
  • Trinity College, Bantams
  • Tufts University, Jumbos
  • Tulane University, Green Wave
  • Union College, Dutchmen
  • United States Naval Academy, Midshipmen
  • University at Albany, SUNY, Great Danes
  • University of Akron, Zips
  • University of Alabama, Crimson Tide
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks, Nanooks
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Golden Lions
  • University of Arkansas, Razorbacks
  • University of California, Irvine, Anteaters
  • University of California, Merced, Golden Bobcats
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, Banana Slugs
  • University of Delaware, Fightin’ Blue Hens
  • University of Evansville, Purple Aces
  • University of Findlay, Oilers
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa, Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine
  • University of Idaho, Vandals
  • University of Illinois at Springfield, Prairie Stars
  • University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Fighting Illini
  • University of Iowa, Hawkeyes
  • University of Jamestown, Jimmies
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Ragin’ Cajuns
  • University of Maine at Augusta, Moose
  • University of Maine, Black Bears
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Retrievers
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Terrapins
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst, Minutemen and Minutewomen
  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Corsairs
  • University of Minnesota, Golden Gophers
  • University of Missouri–Kansas City, Roos
  • University of Mount Union, Purple Raiders
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney, Lopers
  • University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Cornhuskers
  • University of New England, Nor’easters
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tar Heels
  • University of North Texas, Mean Green
  • University of Notre Dame, Fighting Irish
  • University of Oklahoma, Sooners
  • University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Mountain Cats
  • University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras, Gallitos
  • University of Richmond, Spiders
  • University of Saint Mary, Spires
  • University of San Diego, Toreros
  • University of San Francisco, Dons
  • University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Drovers
  • University of South Carolina Beaufort, Sand Sharks
  • University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), Tommies
  • University of Texas at Austin, Longhorns
  • University of Toledo, Rockets
  • University of Tulsa, Golden Hurricane
  • University of Utah, Utes
  • University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, Blugolds
  • Ursuline College, Arrows
  • Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson, Vanguards
  • Vassar College, Brewers
  • Vermilion Community College, Ironmen and Ironwomen
  • Virginia Military Institute, Keydets
  • Virginia Tech, Hokies
  • Virginia Wesleyan University, Marlins
  • Viterbo University, V-Hawks
  • Wabash College, Little Giants
  • Wake Forest University, Demon Deacons
  • Washburn University, Ichabods
  • Washington & Jefferson College, Presidents
  • Washington College, Shoremen
  • Webb Institute, Webbies
  • Webster University, Gorloks
  • Wellesley College, Blue
  • Western Illinois University, Leathernecks
  • Western Texas College Westerners in Snyder, Westerners
  • Whittier College, Poets
  • Williams College, Ephs
  • Williamson College of the Trades, Mechanics
  • Williston State College Tetons in Williston, Tetons
  • Xavier University of Louisiana, Gold Rush & Gold Nuggets
  • Xavier University, Musketeers
  • Yavapai College Roughriders in Prescott, Roughriders
  • Yellowstone Christian College, Centurions
  • Yeshiva University, Maccabees