MU targets South Dakota high school's tiger logo

Monday, March 23, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The licensing agent for MU has contacted the Harrisburg School District, saying the southeastern South Dakota school's tiger logo is "confusingly similar" to the Missouri tiger.

As a result, Superintendent Jim Holbeck says the Harrisburg district has stopped using the logo on its Web site and stationery. The tiger logo will be gradually phased out on athletic jerseys, he said.

MU's Collegiate Licensing Co., based in Atlanta, has been working with Harrisburg to handle the issue, Holbeck said.

Collegiate Licensing Co. handles trademarks for the NCAA and about 200 colleges and universities.

Jim Aronowitz, a lawyer with the licensing agent, says trademark issues with high school logos are fairly common. It's left up to each college how protective it wants to be, he said.

Aronowitz said Collegiate Licensing Co. often creates a phase-out plan to ease the financial burden of changing logos.

"Our goal here is not to insist the logo be removed the next day or the next week. We want to limit the financial impact on the school," he said.

Collegiate Licensing has cooperated with the district to make sure eliminating the logo is not a financial burden, Holbeck said.

Athletic jerseys with the tiger logo can go through the normal cycle of replacement, which is about four years.

The largest Harrisburg tiger, which is at the center of the district's new football field, will be allowed to live out its 20-year life span.

Wayne Carney, executive director of the South Dakota High School Activities Association, said he doesn't remember any other school in the state having to change its logo in this type of situation since he's observed high school athletics. His organization doesn't monitor or regulate team mascot choices.

Eleven South Dakota schools have tigers for a mascot, Carney said. "There's got to be literally hundreds of teams named the tigers" nationwide, he said.

Harrisburg decided to create a new logo, Holbeck said.

"We see it as a positive thing. Let's move on and find something original, something that's totally ours," Holbeck said. After students and staff submit designs, students will pick a new tiger from the submissions and will paint that logo on the floor of the gym in its new high school.

A new logo should be picked by the end of the school year, Holbeck said.

Harrisburg senior Jessa Knust wondered why MU was so concerned about it.

"It's just a small school in South Dakota. I don't know why they care so much," Knust said.

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Aaron Ferguson March 23, 2009 | 8:31 a.m.

Since the logo wasn't linked in the above article, let me say, it's exactly the same Tiger logo as MU uses. I'm surprised anyone would be so bold as to directly rip off another school's (or organization's) logo and think they could get away with it.

(Report Comment)
Andrew Hansen March 23, 2009 | 8:47 a.m.

Boo! Hiss! Collegiate Licensing Co. is just a bully like the RIAA.

(Report Comment)
Scott Lewis March 23, 2009 | 10:42 a.m.

Here's a link to their athletic page showing a small version of the logo >>

(Report Comment)
Mike Bellman March 23, 2009 | 2:12 p.m.

Imitation a form of flattery, but they couldn't even change the colors, flip horizontally or change anything about the logo? This proves South Dakota is bereft of all elements of creativity.

Another in a long series of bad decisions starting when the rejected their original state's name 'North Nebraska'.

(Report Comment)
Mike Bellman March 23, 2009 | 2:24 p.m.

Look at this video. They owe MU some serious money:

(Report Comment)
Mike Bellman March 23, 2009 | 2:25 p.m.

Sorry that was the logo and the basketball court.

Video Here:

(Report Comment)

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