On Feb. 5, University Council approved a policy that now gives Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) the right to use the MSU and Bobcat logo and mascot on their jerseys, clubwear and posters alongside their club names.
Previously, most RSOs were not allowed to use the Bobcat logo and/or name. However, a select few RSOs were exempt and could use the logo. These non-standard exemptions prompted action by the university to create a universal policy for all clubs.
The policy change has been met with praise from several RSOs.“The use of the logo allows the team to represent the school and allows the players to be members of the Bobcat community,” said Connor Dack, president of the men’s lacrosse club in an email. “The team is working hard to be a top competitor in the MCLA [Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association] but it is hard without backing from the school.”
Some RSOs disagree with the new logo policy. “Previously clubs had a fairly high level of autonomy, now paperwork and ineffective club meetings choke club officials. The logo policy is just another nail in the box,” said Jacob Wahry, vice president of the cycling club, in an email. He also says that the new policy is hurting the cycling club financially. “The cycling teams relies 50:50 on school support and sponsor donations. With the university’s ban on sponsors affiliation with the logo … we have no incentive to offer prospective sponsors.” The cycling club was one of the select RSOs previously allowed to use the logo on their jerseys with sponsorships.
The triathlon club can’t use the Bobcat logo because university officials do not want the club to display non-University sponsorship while also displaying the logo. “It’s hard for us not to get credit like NCAA athletes do. We can’t associate ourselves with the university which is hard,” said Amy Foster, triathlon club president, “We are trying to work around certain rules and come up with our own logo.”
The new policy “helps to ensure immediate recognition, the maintenance of appropriateness, and the prevention of commercial use without compensation to the University” according to the policy itself which can be found at montana.edu/policy/use_of_university_name_and_logos.htm.
Conditions for Bobcat Logo Use by RSOs:
Must be approved as a club sport by the Dean of Students.
Design of jersey must include the label “club.”
No co-branding with sponsor images or logos.
No modification of the logo.
Club members are 100 percent students who meet academic standards and adhere to the student code of conduct.
Jersey design must be approved by the MSU licensing director, Julie Kipfer.