Archive for Thursday, June 20, 2013

Letter: Jayhawk update

June 20, 2013


To the editor:

Although Kansas University has made an awful lot of money licensing the use of the smiling Jayhawk image, stubborn adherence to that image as our school’s only mascot has had the unfortunate effect of deterring the creation of new Jayhawks more appropriate to our time.

Before L.E.Wooley, director of the Kansas Union, bought the copyright to the smiling Jayhawk from Hal Sandy for $250 in the late ’40s, KU had a new Jayhawk image every decade or so. Indeed, the Sandy Jayhawk, which somehow became the property of the university, not the Union, was pretty clearly based on the Yogi jayhawk of 1941. I asked Hal, who lived in the same hall that I did, why he drew a new one when the Yogi Jayhawk was still so popular. He said, basically, that the university needed a “happy” Jayhawk. Most of the others were snarling and belligerent.

After the Union got the copyright to Sandy’s Jayhawk, all of the earlier Jayhawks, especially the Fritz Jayhawk of 1929 and a 1923 Jayhawk, as well as the Yogi Jayhawk, retained some currency for a time.

I think the university should encourage, not fight, the development of a new Jayhawk. The smiling Jayhawk is a good image for a student union, but it looks kind of silly as the mascot of a sports team. The university would not likely lose any money if a new Jayhawk, used by our sports teams, were added to the copyright inventory. They might have to pay the new artist something, but I hope he or she gets more than Hal Sandy did.


johnwoods 4 years, 10 months ago

I think one of the unique things about Hal Sandy's Jayhawk is that it doesn't look dated like the other Jayhawks, even after 67 years. KU can, and has, used the "KU" logo for athletics, in addition to the Jayhawk, and mascots don't really win games. And the Happy Jayhawk starts recruiting toddlers very early for KU! If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

KU has also added the Beak 'Em Hawks design, a Baby Jay mascot logo, etc. You'll also notice the University still uses the historic Jayhawks on many items. So, I think KU should stick with the Hal Sandy "Happy Jayhawk" for most uses.

Bob Forer 4 years, 10 months ago

Very well put, john. It ain't broke; no need to fix it.

colicole81 4 years, 10 months ago

The use of one Jayhawk is called branding. It's a marketing move that any smart business or organization will use to make them recognizable in an instant. In the past, this form of marketing was not necessary or even know about. Suggesting that the University change their mascot "regularly", like in the past, or that they use a different mascot specific to sports would be similar to suggesting that we change our school colors regularly or use different variations of colors for sports. KU should definitely stick to crimson and blue as well as the current Jayhawk for all purposes!

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