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.