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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Wildcat logo locked from club sports

The athletic department’s artwork will not be shared with club teams.

The Chico State Wildcat Logo. Photo Courtesy of Chico Wildcats.

Editor’s note: This story, originally published on Aug. 24, has been rewritten to address the following corrections: Willie Wildcat has never cheered for club sports teams and is the official mascot for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Club sports have never had access to the new logo. They have their own Wildcat logo available to them for use but it is not the same one.

The logo adorns the center of the court in Acker Gym as well as apparel in the Chico State Wildcat Store. The logo brings an invigorating look to one of the premier NCAA Division II athletic programs in the country.

However, Chico State club sport teams are not authorized to use the logo, much to the displeasure of the club sport community. Cliff Kunkel, a Chico State alumnus and sixth-year head coach for the men’s club water polo team, has been trying to gain access to the new ‘Cat logo since its inception.

“It’s especially difficult to explain this policy to our new students and their families,” Kunkel said. “Every year I get at least 5-6 parents asking me, ‘What’s up with the old mascot’ or ‘Why can’t we use the logo?'”

Kunkel insists that liberating the Wildcat mascot for all university-affiliated clubs and organizations would benefit everyone.

“I believe that opening the logo up for campus-wide use would only create more revenue for the athletic department. My players are much more likely to go buy a Chico State shirt at the bookstore if the logo is consistent across all their gear.”

“It is the image that is associated with Chico State and it’s the logo that we should be using while representing Chico State,” Kunkel said.

Kunkel has even expressed his team’s desire to pay for the right to use the new Wildcat logo, but the athletic department has no plans to share its artwork with club sports.

Kendall Ross, sport club and program coordinator, explained that the separation of logos for varsity athletics and club sports is not a situation unique to Chico State. Another member of the California State University system, Sacramento State, an NCAA Division I school, also does not permit its club sport student-athletes to don the school’s hornet emblem or signature “S” on jerseys and apparel. Chico State club sport teams have access to a variety of university-approved logos to choose from instead.

Whether club sport teams will ever enjoy wearing the same logo as varsity athletes or not, Associate Director Mitchell Cox assured that the official logo of Chico State will remain exclusive to the ‘Cats NCAA teams in the foreseeable future.

“No club, group or individual may produce something that says ‘Chico State’ or similar references such as ‘CSU, Chico’ or contains university logos without permission,” Cox said. “All of that is licensed and trademarked property.”

Nick Reddy can be reached at [email protected] or @NickIsReddy on Twitter.

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