Friend of the Rumble Jaden Daly reports that St. John's will be, as a part of their Under Armour rebranding, changing their abbreviation from "STJ" to "SJU". The story starts with a tweet:
STJnow fans. We will be changing to SJUnow....stay tuned. #STJ2SJU— St. John's NOW! (@STJnow) June 25, 2013
And a confirmation:
.@STJNow tweet confirms switch to SJU. The University's change from STJ back to SJU is part of the school's rebranding process - sources.— Torch Newspaper (@STJTorch) June 25, 2013
Does this mean a wide-ranging change in the programs' looks? Or something more subtle? The traditionalists and newer fans will have their eyes open; the name issue has been a point of contention, with many yearning for the days of "SJU" as a link to traditions older than the Big East - and some even yearn for the "Redmen" nickname - originally to designate the team in red, but then used with a caricaturish, big-nosed, cigar store Native American visual.
The "STJ" had been used interchangeably with "SJU" until 2003, when the school chose to stick exclusively with the more unique "STJ" (though rumors were that litigation forced the school's hand). Ten years later, the contract with Under Armour signals a new beginning, not just for the apparel and exposure, but for the look of the program's logo, perhaps.
From Jaden at Daly Dose, on the split between younger fans who are more familiar with "STJ" than "SJU"::
When Saint Joseph's University used their longer existence (the Philadelphia institution was founded in 1860, ten years before St. John's) to claim the SJU title, St. John's then relaunched themselves under the "STJ" abbreviation after being allowed to still use SJU for a brief period of time by virtue of a written agreement between the two universities. The STJ rebranding initiative was officially publicized in its athletic programs in the summer of 2006...
... the new initials haven't gained much traction outside the campus. Most alumni, who are the lifeblood of a college or university, especially those whose significant donations are the impetus for many a new endeavor; be it athletically or scholastically, still acknowledge St. John's as "SJU." ESPN even did the same in their recap of St. John's NIT victory over Saint Joseph's this past March in what may now qualify as a Freudian slip...
Will the two abbreviations be used interchangeably? Or will the school stick exclusively to SJU? On the Twitter side, Senior Associate AD for Communications Mark Fratto indicates that the work to promote the use of #stjbb as a place for Twitter users to congregate will not be tossed:
Changes are coming, however, whether it is the possible new uniform (that uniform may well be a placeholder as the Under Armour designers tinker with the look) or how fans and the media discuss the team.
One thing is likely: the Redmen name is likely not coming back.
Should St. John's switch back to "SJU"? Does it matter to you?