Mascot search nears end

Brittany Westerberg

Brittany Westerberg

SDSU students may see a new mascot design unveiled sometime early this fall.

After mixed reactions following the release of the three prospective designs from Phoenix Design Works, the New York City firm hired by the Jackrabbit mascot redesign committee, the committee decided to open the contest to the public and accept designs from anyone who wanted to enter one. A $1,000 reward was offered for the design that was chosen by a panel of judges at the college.

According to University Relations Director Jenny Crickard, the committee received between 250 to 260 entries. “There has been a lot of interest,” she said. The entries came from all over the country, from states such as South Carolina, Colorado and Washington, as well as from South Dakota. They even received entries from as far away as Germany, and those who submitted designs ranged from a 14-year-old to an 89-year-old alumnus.

Many of the entries were from SDSU graduates. “This shows a lot of school spirit and passion from alumni,” Crickard said.

The committee narrowed the choices down to four or five prospective designs and sent them back to their artists for modifications, due back during the second week in August. The committee set up some focus groups for the week of August 20 in the Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City areas to get feedback from students and interested parties from all over the state.

“The focus groups went very well,” said Students’ Association President Alex Brown. However, there wasn’t as much student input as the committee had wanted, so Brown has been asked to set up more focus groups for the second week of school. Any students who want to be part of the focus groups will be able to sign up.

The committee will take a look at the conclusions these focus groups reach and then make a recommendation. “We’re looking to get it done as soon as possible,” Brown said.

“We’re hoping to get it completed by the end of September,” Crickard said. “Overall, we have some good designs. They’re very different, and range from classic to abstract.”

The current logo was created back in 1971 by Larry Westall of University Relations, but in October 2006 it was decided to form a committee comprised of students, alumni, administration and representatives from University Relations and the Athletic Department to look into creating a new, updated version of the athletic mascot. While some people liked the old mascot, others said that the logo was “antiquated,” “cartoonish” and “out of date.” There was also the possibility of legal issues concerning the similarities between our Jackrabbit and Warner Brothers Studio’s Bugs Bunny, after SDSU became a Division I school.

The committee chose to pay $6,000 to Phoenix Design Works out of New York City to design the new mascot during the fall of 2006. After visiting SDSU on October 25, 2006, the firm set out to create a design, with a release date being set for February 3, 2007.

In January, however, the committee delayed the logo unveiling after receiving mixed reviews of a close-to-final version the contracted design firm sent to the committee. It was passed around at the January 29, 2007 Student Association meeting. Many people decided that Phoenix’s bunny looked more like a cottontail rabbit, not a jackrabbit, and that the firm needed more direction from the committee as to exactly what a jackrabbit was.

The committee then decided to get three designs from the firm-traditional, stylized and abstract-and once they received the designs, the committee would hold public forums and put them up on a website for the public to comment and vote on. This was accomplished in May, just before the end of the spring semester; however, those designs also received mixed reviews.

The committee then decided to hold the contest, with a deadline of June 30, where anyone who wanted to would have a chance to design the Jackrabbit.

#1.883386:1276033242.jpg:Brown,Alex.jpg:Alex Brown, Students’ Association President: