Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Name Game

Among my memories from the Aggies' last football trip to Montana State in 2006 - besides a 45-0 win - was finding the No. 1 ranking on my unofficial "incorrect UC Davis reference" list. I'm not sure it will ever be dethroned.

That's right, please say hello to "U.C.-David". 

There is so much wrong with that that I still cringe when I see it. Periods and hyphens that shouldn't even exist. And don't even get me started on the use of "David"... "David"?

I'm not sure who exactly put the name into use but it was on a luggage tag after my bags arrived in Bozeman a day after me. I'm guessing either a baggage handler not familiar with our school or someone involved with some Causeway Classic trickery was the source. 

Either way, the moniker automatically vaulted to the top of my list and has held onto its position for five years now. I can't imagine a more incorrect way to refer to UC Davis so I'm sure it's going to be there for a while.

While the reference was surprising, the fact that it was incorrect wasn't. For years my staff and I have been vigilantes when it comes to how the media and other schools refer, and even spell, "UC Davis." It's like trying to kill an ant though. You get rid of one of them but more just take its place.

We see "Cal-Davis" a lot. That hurts to say, let alone read. "U.C. Davis", "UC-Davis", "Davis State" and "Cal State Davis" are also on my list - in more ways than one. 

We'll play schools and tell their media relations folks that "It's 'UC Davis'. You spell that 'U', 'C', space, then 'Davis'. There are no hyphens, there are no periods." In fact, I tell them, we're anti-hyphen and periods aren't far behind.

For that instance and for that game, it's solved. Then we start over again the next week. More ants to kill.

I hope someday our name carries the same recognition of, say, UCLA. Do you think anyone calls it "UC-Los Angeles" or "Cal-Los Angeles"? Some people have never even heard of our campus but gain some familiarity when I say we're in the same university system as UCLA.

My favorite memory on this topic occured at the 1997 NCAA Div. II Women's Basketball Elite Eight in Fargo, N.D. as I peered at the scoreboard long before tipoff and saw "Cal-Davis" in digital lights.

ME: "Umm, excuse me. But can I get that name fixed on the scoreboard so that it says 'UC Davis.' 'Cal-Davis' is incorrect and we're kind of pretentious about our name."


Upon returning to the floor a few minutes later, I see "U.C.-Davis".

ME: "Umm, I'm sorry to be a pest, but it's still not right. It's just 'UC Davis'. No hyphens, no periods."

WMSO: "Ah geez. Gotcha. I'm really sorry. I'll get right on that."

A quick visit to the media room and back out to the floor to see 'U C Davis' now glaring down at me.

ME: "Excuse me. Again, I really, really hate to bother you but it's still not exactly correct. You see, it's just 'U', 'C' with no space between them but then a space before 'Davis' "

WMSO: "Oh wow. I really apologize. Let me fix it again."

The third time was the charm because the problem was solved after that. At least for that instance and for that game. 

We're still on patrol and still see bad references plenty of times. When we play out of state, a quick walk through a pressbox talking to radio and tv announcers, a mention in our game notes, and a few emails to the host school has really helped reduce the instances. 

It's going to happen and I'm sure you see it. Most times we notice it too and if we do, rest assured we're on it. It'll just keep on coming. 

There's always ants to be dealt with.

- Mike Robles, Assistant Athletics Director


  1. Cal-Davis is aweful. My text messages used to show score updates with {cal-davis{ but last season it was corrected.

    Why not U C Davis or U.C.Davis?

  2. UC Davis must remain the official name in my opinion. UCD for short is fine, but we should still be referenced as UC Davis.