NCSU asserts ownership of the 'Wolfpack' mascot

Staff WriterMarch 28, 2011 

N.C. State University officials have sent an ultimatum to tiny Loyola University in New Orleans: Get over calling yourself the Wolfpack.

The Jesuit school in Louisiana has called itself the Wolfpack for more than a half-century, but N.C. State says it owns the exclusive legal right to use the Wolfpack name and logo.

N.C. State Assistant General Counsel Shawn Troxler last month notified Loyola officials that their use of the Wolfpack image constitutes trademark infringement. Loyola's use of Wolfpack could lead to confusion and misunderstanding in the marketing-intense, big-money world of collegiate sports.

"People could think something is being sponsored by N.C. State," Troxler said Sunday. "We're in the beginning stages of discussion of how they could use the term 'Wolfpack.' "

N.C. State is proposing options that would let Loyola license the nickname for a fee, or require the school to use "Wolfpack" in combination with Loyola but not as a stand-alone moniker, he said.

Loyola spokesman Matt Lambert said the school's legal office has not issued any updates on the status of the talks. But Lambert jokingly said it might be safer to rename the Jesuit institution the Tar Heels.

Loyola, a century-old institution with just under 5,000 students, traces its self-identification as the Wolfpack back to the 1930s, while N.C. State's usage dates back to 1947 for athletic and sporting events. However, N.C. State registered the trademark in 1983, at a time when Loyola had discontinued its intercollegiate athletic program.

Loyola's sports program was reinstated in 1991, and today Loyola Wolfpack men and women, dressed in maroon and gold, compete in about 10 sports in the National Association of Intercollegiate Conference.

This is not the first time N.C. State has defended its Wolfpack credentials. In 2008, it reached an agreement with the University of Nevada for use of a mascot logo similar to N.C. State's.

As part of that settlement, Nevada agreed not to use red and white or show its wolf donning a top hat (N.C. State's wears a sailor's cap), but the school has since redesigned its wolf's head to present a profile view. Also, Nevada's mascot name is written as two words: "Wolf Pack."

john.murawski@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8932

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