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Today's Tidbit... Colleges Formerly Known As...
Hordes of actors and artists of different persuasions have used stage names rather than their birth names, but name changes have been less frequent among athletes. There have been high-profile name cases, such as Lew Alcindor becoming Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Cassius Clay opting for Mohammed Ali, but the well of athlete name changes runs dry quickly.
On the other hand, changes in school names have been more frequent, even if many changes are only known to people who scan old newspaper sports pages. With that thought, let's look at some name changes among football-playing or former football-playing schools. I'll not waste your time with name changes that preceded a school's first football team, but let’s review some name changes that occurred over the years.
Of course, a wise man once said the world has two types of people: those who categorize and those who do not. I am in the categorizing camp, so I reviewed each school's before and after names and placed them into three categories: Saints, Not Saints, and Places.
St. Mary's College - Dayton
Trinity College - Duke
Pittsburg Catholic College of the Holy Ghost - Duquesne
St. Vincent's College - Loyola Marymount
St. Xavier College - Xavier
The Saints suffered a loss in 1924 when Duke left the church and became a layman, taking on a Not Saint name.
The Not Saints
Buchtel College - Akron
Henry Kendall College - Tulsa
Madison College - James Madison
Madison University - Colgate
Throop Polytechnic Institute and Manual Training School - Cal Tech
William and Mary Norfolk Division - Old Dominion
Some folks are not saintly and are categorized as Not Saints. The Not Saints endured some tough seasons as 4 of 6 entered the portal and became Places. Meanwhile, the Not Saints picked up Duke to partially compensate for the other losses. The Not Saints also were joined by two former Places, as we learn below.
Western University of Pennsylvania - Pitt
Albany College - Lewis & Clark College
Mississippi Southern College - Southern Miss
University of California (Southern Branch) - UCLA
Pennsylvania Military College: Widener
Fourth District Normal School: Missouri State
Four Not Saints entered the portal and became Places, while two Places transitioned and are now Not Saints. The other little Places stayed home, changing their names but remaining Places.
While the list and category changes do not say much, it points to the difficulty of becoming a saint. It appears to be a tall order since we lack evidence of Not Saints or Places gaining sainthood.
So, that's enough for today. If you have interesting name changes among football-playing schools, please add them in the comments below.
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