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Ohio State’s ‘OSU’ trademark request challenged by Oklahoma State

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Would the real ‘OSU’ please stand up?

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“Ohio State University... filed an application in February with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, seeking to trademark ‘OSU,’ specifically on clothing and apparel. But another university that holds the acronym near and dear is stepping in.”

- Jennifer Smola, The Columbus Dispatch

In response to a trademark request filed by Ohio State in February, Oklahoma State asked for, and was granted, an extension by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, meaning that the folks from Stillwater have until the end of August to file an objection.

However, according to Smola’s article, it likely will never get that far. As far back as the late 1970s, the two OSUs have had concurrent usage agreements “applying to sports events and recreation programs, entertainment and education.” Ohio State’s new filing would apply to clothing not currently covered in the agreements.

These established agreements divvy up most of the country, meaning that Ohio State owns the use of the letters in 19, mostly midwest and east coast, states, while Oklahoma State owns it in 17 states in the west and south.

The two schools split Iowa practically through the center of the state. In her piece, representatives from both schools told Smola that this legal situation was not a conflict between the institutions, but rather the normal course of administering and updating trademarks. Both schools assume that a resolution will be reached amicably.

All of this begs the question, what about Oregon State? The apparent red-headed step-child of the larger OSU family doesn’t appear to be a factor in any of these negotiations.

However, considering that Ohio State’s embracing of the capitalized “The” at the beginning of the school’s name was born from a legal disagreement with Ohio University, perhaps former Buckeye players will state that they played their college ball at “The OSU” during televised, pre-game introductions in the near future.

“The question has to be asked, how does Urban Meyer and his staff keep all of these quarterbacks happy? The easy answer is, they don't and at least one of the signal callers will transfer.”

- Patrick Murphy, BuckNuts

In theory, it’s a good problem to have when the number of talented individuals capable of playing a position far exceeds the number able to play it. However, when you are dealing with incredibly talented young men, at the most hyped and pampered position in sports, its inevitable that someone’s playing-time expectations will not be met.

Clearly, senior J.T. Barrett is the unquestioned starter for the Buckeyes this season, so, barring an injury, one of the hottest positional battles of the upcoming fall camp will be to determine who backs him up. As Murphy says, while there is no guarantee that this year’s backup is next year’s starter, it certainly will give someone a leg up.

With Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins, and Tate Martell currently in the quarterback room, and four-star commit Emory Jones expected to join the group next season, there just aren’t enough balls to go around.

At Big Ten Media Days earlier this week, head coach Urban Meyer said that his staff understands the problem and actively prepares to lose players to transfers, especially at the QB position. Murphy does a good job of outlining the situation in his article, but my concern about this situation goes beyond the roster machinations.

Many players come into their college careers at a big-time football factory with dreams of moving to the next level, and how they respond to the adversity of realizing that, perhaps for the first time in their athletic lives, things aren’t exactly going according to plan can be a big deal. Meyer and company seem to have built a program with open lines of communication and a focus on post-football life. They also have made a public, concerted effort to recruit “quality” guys. I hope that will be enough to prevent any potential ill-will from leaking onto the field in the seasons to come.

“Those ingredients brew cynicism for anyone wedded to tradition, but the Indiana Hoosiers have no problem with the idea of beginning their season with a prime-time ESPN game Aug. 31 against OSU.”

- Todd Jones, The columbus Dispatch

As Jones points out in his article, the fact that Ohio State is opening its 2017 football season on a Thursday night in August against a conference opponent is the stuff that likely makes those fans most reverential to the history and tradition of college football a tad uneasy.

For their part, Indiana has embraced the situation for a number of reasons. In addition to the fact that it will be the school’s first game against former head coach Kevin Wilson (Ohio State’s new offensive coordinator), it is also the chance to have a strong showing in a nationally televised game, that will garner the attention of the entire sporting world.

However, there is far more about the logistics of this game to champion than the primetime ESPN audience, or the Hoosiers’ quest for revenge. Over the past year or so, we have been inundated with articles about all of the things that millennials are killing, from department stores to the wine industry to hotels and vacations.

Let me propose an alternate theory, perhaps millennials aren’t "killing" these things, instead, the industries in death spirals are simply refusing to evolve in order to appeal to new generations.

Gone are the days of fans only being able to see a handful of college football games on Saturday. With cable and streaming options, in theory, any fan can watch nearly any game that they want.

So it behooves networks, conferences, and athletic departments to attempt to find new ways to attract and accommodate viewers. If that means opening up the season a few days before Labor Day with a conference opponent, so be it. While there are certainly limits that will likely eventually be pushed, finding ways to subvert the venerable, but no-longer-logical, traditions of college football, can only help the sport grow.

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