Wisconsin logo litigation settled, terms obtained

Chris Nelson

Although Washburn and Wisconsin have settled their “W” differences, the alphabetic situation is still a heated topic for students. Washburn, however, is staying mum.

“The complete terms of the settlement are kept confidential,” said Dena Anson of university relations.

According to settlement documents obtained by the Topeka Capitol-Journal, Wisconsin pursued legal action, alleging Washburn’s “W” was “causing and is likely to continue to cause confusion and deception of consumers and the public.” In the documents, Washburn denies Wisconsin’s allegations, but has agreed to make changes in order to save the university the extensive costs of pursuing further legal action.

The new logo was unveiled last Monday. The Washburn name is superimposed across a “W” modified with a flattened top and bottom. Anson said FryeAllen, Inc. helped Washburn design the new logo in order to get it in a variety of modern formats, as well as satisfy the requirements of change. The new logo is trademarked, but she said the old Washburn “W” was trademarked as well.

Use of the new logo is restricted to the athletic department, said Anson. The “W” cannot be placed on letterhead or business cards of Washburn unless it is related to the athletic department. Anson said the removal of the logo will cost between $200,000 and $500,000.

Students will begin to see a change soon. The bookstore can only sell the old athletic logo on its remaining merchandise for the next six months. After that, anything left must be destroyed. According to the settlement, football helmets must have the logo removed by the commencement of the 2009-2010 football season and team uniforms will change no later than August 31, 2010. All painted surfaces around campus will be changed by 2012, the basketball court will be changed by 2014 and the football field will be changed by 2015. Metal surfaces with the Washburn “W” already inscribed will stay. Wisconsin has given Washburn until 2015 to complete the entire project.

Many students are unhappy about the logo change, and are even more disappointed with its replacement.

“It’s stupid that we got sued over this,” said Ashley Wells, Washburn student. “I think the new name across it makes it look outdated and generic.”

There may be hope for unhappy students like Wells. When asked if this was a permanent athletic logo, Anson said that often times logos evolve and change but wouldn’t comment more on the statement.