Today’s local Charlotte paper carries a front-page article of its sports section announcing, “rebranding goes deeper than new logo.” Above the fold are nine photographs showing the new logos for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the 49ers. One of the illustrations is of the new logo on a basketball court, one shows a Niners logo, three show men’s basketball tops, the other four are football related. The article points out that the most visible athletic programs, football and men’s basketball, “had resurgent seasons” in 2019. Athletic director Mike Hill says, “The whole concept, the whole design is to evoke an image of strength and boldness. That we’re embracing momentum.” The momentum Hill refers to is the first ever bowl appearance of the 2019 football team and the men’s basketball record of 16-13, the program’s first winning season since 2013-14.
UNCC plays eighteen sports in D-1’s Conference USA Sports: Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball, Golf, Track & Field, Cross Country, Softball, Volleyball, and Football. While only two of those sports warranted being discussed in the article, women’s basketball coach Cara Consuegra garners a brief quotation. But no female uniforms were illustrated.
This entire announcement seeps with elitism, but like many elitists it is suspect. For instance, it is true that the football team played in its first bowl game, but it was the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl game that was played in a 15,000-seat soccer stadium in Nassau, Bahamas. Charlotte played Buffalo, both with 7-5 records. And the other program that, according to Hill, had a “resurgent season, was 16-13. How does an honest winning season carry13 loss?
In the midst of this pandemic, UNCC, a state funded college, unrolls this offensive announcement. And it is an awful one that glorifies two sports and ignores the others because they are not “resurgent.” Hill says the new logo will resonate with student-athletes and all future students “so that our university and athletics program is seen as an exciting choice for them.” Maybe? As long as they are only interested in supporting two sports.