Monday, October 15, 2018
Colleges

USF enters American Athletic Conference on Monday

TAMPA — Eight years ago Monday, there was fanfare and celebration as the Big East flag was raised at USF's administration building to mark the official entrance into the league from Conference USA.

On Monday, as the Bulls officially make the transition to the new American Athletic Conference, there will be no marching band, no smiles for TV cameras from president Judy Genshaft. In fact, there's no scheduled ceremony or acknowledgment of the conference change save, perhaps, a story on the athletic department's website.

The reinvented conference has rolled out its name — the American, for short — and a logo, a red star inside a blue A. But you'd be hard-pressed to find it anywhere on USF's campus. The Bulls are working to replace all of their Big East signage in time for the start of classes in late August.

"We're really close to being able to start a whole new rebranding effort," athletic director Doug Woolard said earlier this month, having tasked his department to identify all things, big and small, needing a new logo. "It's every place from water towers to business cards. It's going to be a process that takes some time."

When USF joined the Big East in 2005, the league had a motto — "A New League, A New Look, A New Era" — which would certainly fit today's American mind-set. Once again, the conference was raided by the ACC. In addition, the basketball-only schools left and took the Big East name with them.

The American, which has an automatic berth in the BCS's final season, has three carryovers from the Big East days — USF, Cincinnati and Connecticut — along with Temple, which joined for football last fall and becomes an all-sports member Monday.

The new arrivals come from Conference USA, just as USF did eight years ago: UCF, Memphis, Houston and SMU, with East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa arriving in 2014 to offset the losses of Louisville (ACC) and Rutgers (Big Ten). Navy joins for football in 2015.

Woolard wasn't kidding about changing everything down to business cards.

USF's early list for logo changes includes 65,000 new business cards at a cost of about $4,000. Each sport gets 1,000 new envelopes and 1,000 sheets on letterhead branded with the new logo. USF will have 2,500 "A" patches — each 2 inches by 1 inch — for apparel for its full lineup of 500-plus athletes and coaches.

Then there are bigger items. There's a Big East room in the Selmon Athletic Center and Marshall Center. Both will be politely renamed.

All those changes add up to significant cost. Woolard initially estimated it at "a couple hundred thousand dollars," and USF declined to offer a more precise figure, executive associate athletic director Bill McGillis saying Friday that costs "certainly can exceed $100,000."

Down the road in Orlando, UCF is making a similar change. The Knights accepted an invitation to the Big East in November 2011, not realizing conference realignment would reroute them to the American. Assistant athletic director Andy Seeley said UCF didn't make any significant amounts of apparel or signage with the Big East logo, and he estimated their costs in rebranding to the American at about $60,000.

If there's a lukewarm feel to the league change, you can see that online as well. USF has had a link to the American's website (theamerican.org) at the bottom of the main page of its athletic department site, which is more than some schools. As of Saturday, Cincinnati's still linked only to the Big East and SMU's to C-USA. Rutgers, only in the new league one year, instead links to its future in the Big Ten.

But over the next two months, get used to seeing that blue A as a regular part of USF athletics. It likely won't be featured around town on season-ticket billboards, which will have a team focus.

"I think it's a logo that seems to have been met well nationally; a strong, bold concept," Woolard said. "There will be some applications where we use the A and another where we use the 'American.' The A probably won't look quite right in an end zone."

Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Matt Baker’s AP Top 25: Miami out, Florida Gators up and UCF in top 10

Matt Baker’s AP Top 25: Miami out, Florida Gators up and UCF in top 10

Four teams in the top eight of my AP Top 25 lost Saturday. So did four teams from 16-25. Just another college football weekend.Georgia's shocking 20-point loss at LSU sent the Bulldogs down from third to No. 9 on my ballot. UGA, for me, is in the 5-1...
Published: 10/14/18
Virginia uses defense to beat No. 16 Miami, 16-13

Virginia uses defense to beat No. 16 Miami, 16-13

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Jordan Ellis ran for a touchdown and Virginia kept No. 16 Miami’s high-powered offense from ever getting going in a 16-13 victory Saturday night. Ellis scored on a 7-yard run in the first half and Brian Delaney kicked three fie...
Published: 10/13/18

No. 10 UCF rallies for 31-30 comeback victory over Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With No. 10 UCF struggling and the nation’s longest winning streak in jeopardy, first-year coach Josh Heupel decided to take a gamble. Facing fourth and 1 in Memphis territory late in the third quarter and down 13 points, Heupel sent...
Published: 10/13/18
Livefor24 Foundation hosts first 5K, fun run

Livefor24 Foundation hosts first 5K, fun run

The event rises from the death of former UT volleyball player Melissa Vanderhall.
Published: 10/13/18
No. 14 Florida rallies from 18 down to beat Vanderbilt 37-27

No. 14 Florida rallies from 18 down to beat Vanderbilt 37-27

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dan Mullen prefers not to talk about what prompted his 14th-ranked Florida Gators and the Vanderbilt Commodores to spill off the sidelines. Derek Mason says a Florida player said something to the Vanderbilt coach. In the end, the G...
Published: 10/13/18
Why the SEC East no longer looks like the SEC Least

Why the SEC East no longer looks like the SEC Least

When the Gators removed their list of SEC East championships from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium over the offseason, the official reason was that no other Florida team showed off its division titles.There might as well have been another factor, too: Winnin...
Published: 10/12/18
Florida Gators’ defensive swarm, Miami cashing in on turnovers and more state nuggets

Florida Gators’ defensive swarm, Miami cashing in on turnovers and more state nuggets

Florida's flying DThe Gators' swarming defense has been the biggest reason for its Year 1 turnaround under coach Dan Mullen. Four players — LB Vosean Joseph, DL Jachai Polite, DE Jabari Zuniga and DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson — have a...
Published: 10/12/18
College football Week 7 viewing guide

College football Week 7 viewing guide

Lamest time window: Noon. Go outside and enjoy the (slightly) cooler weather before the games get interesting in the afternoon.Noon: Vanderbilt usually plays the No. 14 Gators tough. Will that continue in Nashville?2:30: Pitt dashed Miami's playoff h...
Published: 10/12/18
Florida State offers Deion Sanders’ son, 2019 recruit Shilo

Florida State offers Deion Sanders’ son, 2019 recruit Shilo

Florida State is making some progress on the recruiting trail during its open date, including an offer to a notable legacy prospect.Shilo Sanders — the son of FSU and NFL legend Deion Sanders — announced Wednesday that the Semin...
Published: 10/10/18
College basketball’s secrets are spilling at trial. When is football’s reckoning?

College basketball’s secrets are spilling at trial. When is football’s reckoning?

The dark underbelly of college basketball is being exposed in a New York federal courthouse.That's where Brian Bowen Sr. — the father of former blue-chip basketball prospect Brian Bowen — was on the witness stand Tuesday, tellin...
Published: 10/10/18