Program: North Dakota State
Origin of Nickname: Bison was chosen by the NDSU football coach in 1919 to replace Aggies in order to give the school a stronger, fiercer mascot. The name is a nod to the large animals that were once fixtures of North Dakota. (h/t: The Summit League)
Philosophical Take: There are a few themes featured prominently with this here Bison logo, all revolving around one particular aspect of the bison itself: the smoke. At first glance, it may appear as if though our large friend is either extremely angry or simply exhaling a little rougher than normal. In fact, neither are true. The small smoke plume is actually symbolic of the smoke the NDSU program blew up our collective rear-ends during the 2008-09 season. Capitalizing on a devious plan beginning with the redshirting of an entire recruiting class five years prior, the Bison saw its senior-laden team find its way to the top of The Summit League standings and into the NCAA Tournament. That game was played a mere four hours away from the NDSU campus, and immediately the entire nation was under the assumption this was a powerhouse program that could win conference tournaments and pack the NCAAs. Sadly, the likelihood of such a combination of lucky breaks happening again are slim to none, as our friend, The Bison, indicates. Alternatively, the smoke emanating from the bison's nostrils could be a side-effect of an unfortunate disorder known as Bison Fever. This virus tends to affect the brain, causing thousands of people to hop aboard mysterious wagons carrying bands. Bison Fever has most often been found amongst members of the national media.
Final Judgment: Overall, this logo is one of the best in the conference. The bison, while mostly hidden in this depiction, still stands out as a fierce subject. And it's not too cartoony, which is a trend that plagues many of The Summit League's other logos. Stylistically, we don't favor the use of "NDSU" and "North Dakota State University" in one graphic. This is fair, though, because the university just isn't to the point where people automatically know what this hodgepodge of letters means, especially considering the state of North Dakota has never had a DI program before NDSU. That said, we'd hope to see the university stick with a single form of the name in future renditions. Oh, and please use a better font as the rounded edges used on the full-length name are far from invoking the spirit of an intimidating program.
How We'd Fix It: For this one, we'd only change the lettering. To take from our "Final Judgment" section, we'd make it so that the name of the school is only present one time. In place of the original "NDSU," we're adding the school's nickname. However, instead of the actual version of the name, we thought it best to use a "z" where one would normally see an "s" since they all pronounce bison with the 26th letter of the alphabet anyway. Next, there has been an upgrading of the font used to spell out North Dakota State University. The children's book typography used before has been exchanged for an edgier replacement. Note that the fumes from the nose remain in honor of the program's One Good Season.
An Elementary Visual Representation:
See our other Summit League Logo posts thus far: Centenary College, IUPUI, Southern Utah, and UMKC.