Archive for Saturday, December 23, 2006

Pa. high school has Jayhawk of its own

December 23, 2006


Kansas University's "happy" Jayhawk has an identical twin in the small western Pennsylvania town of Jeannette.

"I've often wondered if (KU officials) know much about it," said Paul Getto, a retired Lawrence dentist who knows a bit of the history behind the connection. "I've wondered if they could press charges."

KU - which generally is a vigorous protector of its trademarks and identity - has a unique relationship with the small town outside of Pittsburgh.

Jeannette was the hometown of the late Mike Getto, an All-America football player and a KU assistant football coach from 1929 to 1939 and 1947 to 1950. Paul Getto, Mike's brother, followed his older brother out to Lawrence where he went to school at KU and remained.

Years ago, when the champion athlete and assistant coach visited his hometown, he donned the Jayhawk emblem on his automobile, Paul Getto said. According to reports, that's how the school picked up the idea.

Jeannette High Principal Sharon Marks said she doesn't know the history behind the mascot, only that the Jayhawk has been the school's mascot for a long time.

"As long as I've been in the district, this has been the mascot," she said. "I've been there 20 years."

KU spokeswoman Lynn Bretz said no one can use KU's Jayhawk mascot without permission, but she was unsure Friday whether the Pennsylvania high school had permission.

Both schools use the "happy" Jayhawk drawn by KU alumnus Hal Sandy in 1946 and later sold to the university.

"This may be a case of we need to get some more information to them," Bretz said. "We'll certainly review this."

Bretz said she was unable to reach the staffer who would have the most updated information about agreements between the two schools.

"This is a case of a high school using it in an educational context," she said. "They're not using it as a commercial entity for commercial purposes."

But the Jayhawk is apparently getting mileage in the small town.

"I see Jayhawks all over the place," Getto said of his visits to his Jeannette. "That little town has more Jayhawks hanging on porches than you see around here."

KU has ties to another Pennsylvania school: Kutztown University, which shares the same initials.

KU officials began talks with the representatives of the 9,800-student university last year after discovering that the Pennsylvania school's "KU" logo bore striking resemblance to a freshly unveiled wordmark developed by KU as part of an image update.

Those talks concluded earlier this fall with an agreement that requires the Pennsylvania school would always place its KU logo next to distinguishing words or symbols, such as "Kutztown," "Kutztown University," or the bell tower or bear images that the school uses, Bretz said.

The agreement also set that Kutztown University would not release into interstate commerce any item with the KU wordmark only, and that if the school receives national media coverage, it will not refer to itself as KU, but include Kutztown or another distinguishing feature.

"If we see any confusion emerging, we both agreed that we'll make every effort to resolve it amicably," Bretz said.


Nikki May 11 years, 4 months ago

I think the Kutztown thing is stupid. They are a KU. They had the emblem first. Bullies.

Mike Blur 11 years, 4 months ago

An eeriely similar article to this one was published in the J-W back in 2001.

Paul Getto is interviewed, and KU officials were quizzed on legal issues in that article as well!

Susan Mangan 11 years, 4 months ago

Actually, punkrockmom, Kutztown University didn't get that name...and hence the emblem...until 1983. They had a few other names before that, none abbreviated KU. Kansas' KU existed, and used and held the copyright to the KU emblem, for decades before Kutztown started using it. Just a little information for you.

Susan Mangan 11 years, 4 months ago

If I didn't clarify enough...the actual "KU" is copyrighted by KU...not just the pretty new emblem they use. So it doesn't matter how long before us Kutztown made up their KU image...Kansas owns the copyright to it.

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