In a move to both simplify and improve the strength of the Summitt League brand, the conference announced Friday that it would begin referring to three of its member schools by the cities in which they reside.
So, now, the University of Missouri-Kansas City becomes Kansas City, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne becomes Fort Wayne, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha becomes Omaha.
”It’s one thing if you’re UCLA,” league consultant Jeff Orleans told the Associated Press. ”But no one else can or needs to do that.”
The lone remaining holdout is the standard bearer for abbreviated college: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. IUPUI is sticking with its longer name, as not to conflict with Division II Indianapolis.
The rebranding seems to be more nationally focused than local.
“For the 40,000 alumni who live in the greater Omaha area, we will always be UNO,” Dave Ahlers, Omaha’s director of communications, said. ”But from more of a national perspective, it made more sense. People know Omaha. It’s a lot easier to put that on a ticker.”
South Dakota State was the Summit League’s representative in the NCAA tournament last season, finishing 27-8, including 15-3 in the conference. They lost to Baylor in the Round of 64.
”I think everybody has that branding challenge,” NDSU assistant athletic director Troy Goergen told the AP. ”We’re in the mode like a lot of schools are, trying to gain that notoriety.”