Tennessee athletic director John Currie and UT Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport announced today that they are bringing back the Lady Vols logo.
In October, 2014, in conjunction with the athletic department changing official apparel providers from adidas to Nike, the school announced that it would be unifying all athletic programs under one brand. There was some significant spin in the language used to make that announcement, but it essentially meant that the Lady Vols logo would no longer be used for any Tennessee athletics teams except the women’s basketball team.
The announcement sparked a lot of controversy, and that controversy had not died down by the time John Currie took over for Dave Hart last spring. Currie has apparently been hounded on several fronts about the possibility of bringing the Lady Vols logo back and had been non-committal on the subject until today’s announcement.
“While the ‘Power T’ is the official mark of the University of Tennessee, we are committed to restoring the visibility of the Lady Vol brand and showing it the reverence it deserves so our Tennessee family can move forward, more united, to blaze new trails of excellence,” Currie said. “We understand that people are very passionate about the Lady Vol brand, and the Chancellor and I have been diligent about seeking perspective from various constituencies since each of us were appointed.
“We will not allow for the Lady Vol brand to disappear from our athletics department or university.”
According to the university, they are going to be taking the following actions to achieve the stated goal, including restoring Lady Vol branding and signage to athletic facilities and providing apparel options that include the Lady Vols logo and color scheme.
Reading between the lines, it appears that the argument that finally won the day was that having one primary official mark (the Power T) didn’t need to unnecessarily preclude the use of secondary marks:
“Yes, our university has decided on one official mark and brand,” Currie said. “But that does not mean that all other brands iconic to our history and tradition must cease to exist.
“I do believe it’s important to preserve and celebrate the Lady Vol brand and logo, which has for decades—and still does—possess great meaning and evoke incredible pride among many supporters of this university.”
Good for them. They’re doing this for the right reasons, but there are secondary benefits as well. Being a fan, I love the Power T, but being in the licensed apparel business, I am often disappointed in Tennessee’s resistance to using any secondary marks at all, and it makes for some very boring choices compared to other schools. Adding the baby blue and orange and the Lady Vols logo back into the mix is a good thing.