On Saturday, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy tweeted a picture of helmets that the Colorado State Rams will be wearing in a game this season.
Colorado State will wear these sweet helmets on Ag Day, Sept. 11 vs. Vanderbilt pic.twitter.com/H5MSo3mx7H— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 23, 2021
Look familiar? It should. It is basically an exact copy of a ram logo that UNC used, and an updated and more modern version is still in use by the school today. Naturally, the replies to that tweet are full of Tar Heel fans confused and/or angry. There’s plenty of jokes that Carolina should sue, considering that the colors and the hat are pretty much the only differences.
However, the answer to “did Colorado State steal UNC’s logo in 2021?” is: probably not. From what I can tell, Colorado State does not have any webpage or anything readily available online that tracks their logo history. However, I presume they did use that logo in some form or fashion back in the day. So, does that mean they stole it back in the day? Again, the answer is probably not.
The reason I feel comfortable saying it’s probably not is all down to one man: Arthur Evans.
Experiment time: Think of a college you know with some kind of animal mascot. For today, let’s go with the Oregon State Beavers. Google “(X School) throwback logo.” Chances are good, you will find an old timey logo that features whatever animal the mascot is in a sailor’s hat, similar looking to the one used by UNC and on the Colorado State helmet. Lo and behold, here’s the beaver for Oregon State.
How did all these logos come to be: the aforementioned Arthur Evans. From the 1930 to the 1970s, Evans, a former artist for Disney, was estimated to have drawn the logo for 90% of college teams. He drew the UNC ram in sailor hat, and almost certainly also used it when Colorado State came calling, or maybe it was the reverse and it was re-used for UNC. Sure, enough, the Fordham Rams have used a similar logo.
For team with a Tigers’ nickname, the logo reuse is even more prevalent.
In that picture, you can see conference rivals Auburn and LSU use the exact same Tiger logo. It doesn’t stop with them either. Princeton, Missouri, and Occidental are all among those who used a variation of that tiger.
While the angry ram in a sailor’s hat is more identifiable with UNC than CSU, it is almost certainly just as much of a throwback for them. Despite what it may seem, that Colorado State logo was probably not stolen.
On the other hand, there’s still Rhode Island’s whole steez. URI, we still need to talk.
Edit: Kyle Neaves, an Associate Athletic Director for Communications for Colorado State got in touch to further explain the deal with the logos from this era.
Feel free to embed the tweet in your story too so fans understand where the logo came from.— Kyle Neaves (@KyleNeavesCSU) July 30, 2021
Logos in the 60s were essentially done in a book and then sent out to schools to customize with their colors and abbreviation.