In spring of 2006, campus officials initiated the removal of the sword from the CSUN athletics logo, which now includes a matador and a jagged letter “N” in red and black.
The change was confirmed last April. The rumor behind the logo revision was that the sword might have symbolically portrayed violence.
“The change happened more than a year ago when Dick Dull was the director of the athletics program,” said John Chandler, director of public relations and strategic communication. “The university is trying to step up its perception of athletics and that means strengthening the visual elements of the logo.”
When asked if the sword was removed from the logo because people felt it depicted violence, Chandler said, “There were always some people that felt it was an issue. The basic identity is still Northridge and the matador. We’re a university that is continuously changing, but those key, basic approaches aren’t changing and they won’t change. How you represent things will.”
Several sources were contacted to confirm the rumor that the logo was revised because of the sword’s alleged violent symbolism, but nobody confirmed the revision was due to such a concern.
Amy Berger, director of the Matador Bookstore, said that while the logo was changed sometime last spring, it was not changed because anything particularly violent had happened on campus.
“Nothing happened. They just wanted to revise the logo,” she said.
Berger said that when logos are revised, the bookstore has plenty of advance notice to clear merchandise from the store.
“It’s not like we have a big bonfire to clear old merchandise out of the store,” she said, stating that old merchandise that is usually marked down on clearance is phased out faster.
The logo most requested by students is the standard embroidered “CSUN” in block face, a style recognizable on university sweatshirts across the globe, Berger said.
Some students, however, miss the old athletics logo with the sword.
“I liked the old logo better because it seemed more fierce than the empty-handed matador. If they are going to revise the logo, why not revise the mascot?” said Adam Hyatt, a junior cinema and television arts major, who is also a freelance tattoo artist.
“Mascots are supposed to be strong and send a message that they are not afraid of anything. What about Notre Dame’s fighting Irish? Their logo is a brawling, drunken leprechaun and there are no worries about violence there,” Hyatt said.
The Daily News reported that the Matador athletics logo was unveiled in August of 1997. The sports logo was designed to show a hip, slick and more marketable image. The article includes the description of a “frantic-looking, pierced bullfighter’s sword.”
Those who prefer the old logo that includes the sword can purchase sweatshirts, T-shirts and hats still emblazoned with the old logo online at gomatadors.com.
Several sources confirmed that the athletics department is in the process of revising other logos, but nobody had any specific details to share.
“What we have now is good and hopefully it will be even better,” Chandler said.
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