College Forced to Change Nickname

Macomb, IL – Spoon River College's mascot is getting the hook.

Students chose the nickname Mudcats just a couple years ago. But that nickname is also used by a minor league baseball team from North Carolina - and it claims SRC is infringing on its trademark.

SRC President Robert Ritschel contends the college is not infringing on the trademark for the team, which is affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds. He says the US Patent and Trademark Office agrees.

"(That's) because we were so different with the fish and our college name attached to it," says Ritschel.

But a legal battle could cost the school quite a bit. Ritschel says SRC's attorney estimates the cost could be around $100,000.

"We just didn't think that was a good enough excuse, a prudent use of taxpayer dollars to go through that process," says Ritschel.

So Ritschel says even though the nickname and logo are well liked, SRC will go through the process of making a change. He says the college will use its Student Government Association to spearhead the effort.

He hopes some choices can be presented to students early next year. Voting will be done in March. Ritschel says art students might be asked to design the new logo.

"People pay a fortune for this kind of stuff," says Ritschel. "I've got some art students who would probably have just as much talent and creativity and who might enjoy having that to show in their portfolio. So that's who we're going to start with, no doubt."

If all goes well, everything could be in place by the end of next semester.