Program: South Dakota State
Origin of Nickname: There are two theories as to how South Dakota State ended up with the jackrabbit as its nickname. One goes that a local newspaper writer described the football team as being quick as jackrabbits, knowing the townsfolk would appreciate it as Brookings was known for the speedy animals. Another says that a group of students changed the name of the yearbook to The Jackrabbit, hoping to leave a lasting impact that resulted in athletics teams picking up the name as well. (h/t:The Summit League)
Philosophical Take: The jackrabbit illustrated here is leaping forward at a rapid pace, not unlike the basketball program under Coach Scott Nagy. During his tenure in Brookings, he has led the SDSU program through reclassification to Division I and finally had a breakthrough season in 2009-10. The jackrabbit is eager to propel itself to higher ranks because it knows it is carrying the entire state of South Dakota on its back. The great people of the Mount Rushmore State are incredibly dedicated supporters, as evidenced by its hosting and subsequent attendance at the Summit League Tournament each season, and they're hungry for winning basketball. This hunger is perhaps another reason why the jackrabbit has such an intimidating demeanor as its readying itself to pounce on its prey just as SDSU and the state it gets its name from are prepared to show their might in the realm of college basketball fandom.
Final Judgment: This is the best logo in The Summit League. When I started this series, I called it a "Battle" because it was supposed to be a ranking of sorts of all the logos in the conference, though I found out it was more fun analyzing them from goofy angles and creating new versions. Really, though, it was always leading to South Dakota State. The idea to look at logos in The Summit League started all the way back in 2008, when the identity blog Brand New took an uncharacteristic look into the new logo for SDSU. As an avid reader of that blog, I was first thrilled to see them discussing sports logos, then couldn't believe it when it was about a Summit League team. It's been a long time coming, but to this day the Jackrabbits logo is by far the best executed in this conference. The designer somehow made a jackrabbit look scary and intimidating; the type used for "Jackrabbits" is fitting and gives one the information needed to know the full nickname; and the placement of South Dakota State University ties it all together in an egdy font that fits well for an athletic logo.
How We'd Fix It: The only thing that could use a touch-up on this logo is the blue outline surrounding "Jackrabbits." It's just a little too heavy for our tastes.
Thanks for reading this series on Summit League logos. We hope it was some combination of informative and humorous. Hopefully none of the schools hate our guts for some of the philosophical analyses, as it was all done in fun. For more, please check out the links below.