February 23, 2007

University plans to revamp Bronc logo

By Mike Caputo

As Rider completes the integration of the University’s new logo at the front gates, the Rider Bronc is now in the beginning stages of the facelift.

But not the Bronc himself — he will probably continue to wear the same outfit day after day. It’s the Bronc that appears on the official logo of Rider Athletics that will be redesigned and modernized.

University officials leaned toward the decision upon notification from ESPN that the current Bronc logo was rejected for next year’s Old Spice Classic, a Thanksgiving weekend tournament held in Orlando, Fla., where the Rider men’s basketball team will face high-profile competition, including Villanova, South Carolina and Penn State.

“It probably accelerated the process but this has been something that has been on our minds at Athletics for the last two years in terms of the need to update the logo and modernize it,” said Athletic Director Don Harnum.

ESPN, who runs and broadcasts the Old Spice Classic, originally refused the Bronc logo because it is an older file format, known as raster, which made it difficult for the station to enlarge the emblem on its promotional posters, brochures and mailings.

When an image is enlarged in a raster format, the photo becomes blurry, or pixilated. Another format for images is known as vector, which allows people to enlarge or shrink an image without affecting its visual quality.

“Next to the other ones, you can see the difference,” said Karin Torchia, associate athletic director of marketing.

And measuring up to the competition is another reason for the University’s decision to conduct serious progress in changing the Athletics logo.

“We are behind most of the teams in our league who have updated and modernized their logos at some point within the last six or seven years,” said Harnum. “If you look at them all next to each other, you will see the need for ours.”

Saint Peter’s athletic logo, the Peacock, underwent a similar transformation in 2002. Originally a peacock, wearing an outfit with the college’s nickname SPC, now the logo is adorned with a much more colorful and lively background.

Although fellow MAAC schools, such as Saint Peter’s, Siena and Iona successfully made the transition in recent years, Harnum said he believes it won’t be an easy task.

“I think we have some challenges with ours too because it’s a bronc and I am not so sure everyone is so familiar with what that actually is,” Harnum said. “I am looking for something a little more dimensional, a little bit more athletic-oriented, and I think ours has a little bit of a cartoon-like look to it right now. [We are] looking for something to be a little more dynamic.”

Dean Emeritus Walt Brower (’48), an expert on Rider history and a loyal basketball fan, also felt the logo should be more dynamic and reflective of the University in modern age.

“In my mind I think the current logo does not portray the vibrant university that Rider is today,” said Brower. “I think it is sort of blah. And Rider is indeed a vibrant university today.”

Before the Bronc, Rider’s athletic teams were known as the Roughriders. Clair Bee, a football, basketball and baseball coach in the 1920s and 1930s, known as “the father of Rider Athletics,” designed the original Roughrider logo and name, in honor of Theodore Roosevelt.

The Bronc emerged in the mid-1950s, when sports writers at The Rider News said the Roughrider name was too long for headlines and text. It unofficially became the label for Rider sports, and was generally accepted by the late 1950s, according to a historical document published by Brower.

The Bronc logo didn’t exist until about the late 1980s, said Brower. Until that time, either no logo or the Roughrider emblem was used. Furthermore, Rider’s athletic colors weren’t cranberry and white until the early 1990s. Before then, Rider sports teams sported purple and gold uniforms.

Today, there are many logos that can be found on apparel and posters, but most of these are unofficial. Currently, the University is in contact with six professional designing companies.

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, two potential companies will present in front of an expanded University marketing committee, which will include more students, alumni and faculty than usual.

“I want it to be something that everyone is happy with,” said Harnum. “You don’t see the official Bronc on a lot of the official athletic gear and I don’t know if the coaches have ever bought into it as our official logo. You don’t see it very often and I think that’s why.”