What's in a name? Apparently, to Utah Valley State College students, it means the difference between old and new, juvenile and mature, fierce and Freudian.
While the nation's attention turned to the Utah Utes and Kentucky Wildcats, UVSC student-government leaders backed a measure to toss the school mascot's name in favor of a more apt - and politically correct - moniker.No more "Big Willy." The name is "Wolverine," buddy. Don't forget it.
Steve Beck, president of the student association, said the majority of students believe the name "Willy" for the mascot is too juvenile for the growing 15,000-student institution.
Times have changed since "Willy" was a common nickname for William, Wilbur or Wilford, Beck said.
"We've been talking about it all year. It's kind of like high school. The name isn't something that would represent a college," he said. "We have a desire to go to four-year athletics in the future and want to be a bit more pro-fes-sional."
Nearly 1,500 students voted last week in the annual year-end election to change the school's constitution, which used to read: "The mascot will be a wolverine, and his name shall be Willy."
With just 155 dissenting ballots, Willy was cut from the UVSC constitution.
"There are still things around the school that have Willy in the name," Beck said. "People will still call him Willy. Kids at games will probably still call him Willy. That's OK. We just thought we didn't need the name restricted in the constitution."
The student paper, the College Times, called the mascot "The Loser of the Week" for losing its original title, which some say was adopted in the early years to honor Wilson Sorensen, the longtime pres-ident of the former technical school.
The athletic department has been pushing for the change since a new costume for the mascot was unveiled at a basketball game last year. The wolverine has been made over twice since it first appeared in public in 1984.
That same year, said college spokesman Derek Hall, there was "a real push" to name the mascot anything but a wolverine. "In real life, they really aren't attractive animals," he said.
College officials decided to keep it because few schools across the country have adopted the animal as a signature symbol, he said.