Stephanie Compton, Guest Writer
At the beginning of this year the University of Tennessee announced that they will no longer be using the Lady Vols logo to distinguish its women’s athletic teams.
The athletic teams will now be using the “power T” that has been used primarily by the men’s teams since it was created. The only sport allowed to retain the Lady Vols logo will be the women’s basketball team, due to the legacy of former head coach Pat Summitt.
The women’s basketball team, under the direction of head coach Pat Summitt, won eight titles during her 38-year reign. In that time, the Lady Vols logo became a brand for the women’s basketball team and for Pat Summitt.
This logo has come to represent the strength of the women’s athletic teams at Tennessee and their incredible success.
The Lady Vols logo as we know of it today was first used in 1976, after the passing of Title IX.
Coach Pat Summitt created the logo to make sure the University of Tennessee was reminded of their responsibility to uphold Title IX for their women’s teams. All women’s teams implemented the logo shortly after Summitt, but it was the women’s basketball team that made it an icon.
The women’s basketball team may have solidified the logo in history, but it wasn’t only used by them. The Lady Vols logo has meaning for every women’s team at the University of Tennessee and many are angry about its departure.
Former University of Tennessee swimmer Tricia Weaner started a petition to bring back the campus wide use of the Lady Vols logo for all women’s athletic teams. It now has more than 5,000 signatures.
The implication of the loss of the logo for the women’s teams to some means the loss of an identity. The logo allows the women’s teams to stand out and be proud that they are female athletes and that they are among the best at the University of Tennessee.
To take their logo away and integrate them with the men’s teams takes away from the legacy that the logo has been building for decades.
The lack of distinction between men’s and women’s teams can also be found at Pacific Lutheran University. Women’s athletic teams at PLU are discouraged from calling themselves the “Lady Lutes” or “Lady Knights” and are encouraged to maintain the collective Lutes logo and identification.
While some teams at PLU unofficially call themselves the Lady Lutes, there is no official Lady Lute logo or title. The description of the Lute’s athletic logo from the PLU branding guide is this: “The PLU athletic brand was redesigned in the summer of 2011.
It is now the main brand for the Department of Athletics and has replaced the Lute oval-and-script ‘Lute’ word mark.”There is no distinction between men’s and women’s athletics at PLU and it doesn’t look like that is going to change. ◼︎