Yesterday we were unofficially officially welcomed to the Atlantic 10 by league staffers with a riveting Power Point presentation and wooed with pewter coasters. Yes, my loyalty can be bought, and the price is pretty low. For many of us, it was our first administrative act as totally almost official but not official until July 1 members of the league.
This allowed for a chance for all us sports information/media relations types to get together and discuss incredibly sports info things.
A little background info. I’m a sports nerd. It’s a condition that affects thousands of adolescents a year. If left untreated, your children could grow up to work in sports information like me.
By the time I was 14, I was pouring over the USA Today sports section on a daily basis because they had the best stats. I can still tell you that Cleveland Indians third baseman Brook Jacoby hit 32 homers in 1987, but somehow only managed to drive in 69 runs. I know that Scottie Pippen was actually drafted by the Seattle Supersonics and that Johnny Unitas retired a Charger. I know that Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn and that the Washington Senators are now the Minnesota Twins (1961) and Texas Rangers (1972). I’m one of six people on the East Coast under the age of 50 that can score a baseball game by hand.
In high school, I managed to mask my sports nerdness to participating in undeniably cool sports like bowling and cross country.
Anyway, yesterday we sports info folks had an opportunity to do some of the most sports info stuff ever. Things like: In StatCrew, does the A-10 enter player names last name first, use the full first name or just the initial? Do you type the name in all caps or in upper and lower case letters (for the record, the A-10 is last names first – in all caps – followed by the first name in upper and lower case letters). Exciting, right?
Here’s my favorite part of the meeting, which is equal parts inane and helpful, especially to VCU fans. Here at Ram HQ, we’ve been fighting the VCU brand fight for years. For the record, there are two acceptable ways to reference your school. It’s either Virginia Commonwealth University (first reference) or VCU. It’s been an uphill battle within our own league to get people to stop using Va. Commonwealth as an abbreviation. We do this because, frankly, Va. Commonwealth looks terrible and is difficult to market and understand. VCU is sleek and looks great on a t-shirt. Plus, chicks dig it.
Here’s the most sports info thing ever, the proper ways to refer to our new A-10 conference mates. And yes, we actually had this conversation yesterday.
Butler is Butler. This should be an easy exercise…just kidding.
Charlotte is just Charlotte. Not UNC Charlotte, UNC(hyphen) Charlotte, UNCC or University of North Carolina at Charlotte. This happens to be the complete opposite of what state-mates UNC Wilmington recently did when they rebranded to UNCW. Thanks a lot, Buzz Peterson. You can also call Charlotte the Niners if 49ers is too much work for you.
Dayton is Dayton, but is perfectly fine with you calling them UD. In a strange twist, I once worked in New Jersey with three people who all went to Dayton. But I digress…
Duquesne is Duquesne. Just make sure you pronounce it Dooo-kane.
Fordham is Fordham. But do them a favor and don’t abbreviate them to FU. I think you can figure out why, even if their basketball fans were using that reference liberally during last year’s 10-21 campaign. It’s in the Bronx, in case you were wondering.
George Washington, in a formal sense, likes to be called THE George Washington University, but then everybody laughed and said there was no chance that was happening.
La Salle is just boring La Salle, but try to remember that space between La and Salle.
Massachusetts is happy if you call them Massachusetts, but even happier if you say UMASS. But know they are the Minutemen and the Minutewomen. Something tells me that their nickname wasn’t well thought out prior to Title IX.
Rhode Island is Rhode Island, but doesn’t mind when you call them URI and for some reason, they’re also cool with being called Rhody. Which means they’d be the Rhody Rams, not to be confused with VCU’s Rowdy Rams.
Richmond is technically Richmond or UR, but I’m pretty sure VCU fans have come up with a number of appropriate nicknames over the years. Feel free to hang on to those.
St. Bonaventure can also be called St. Bona – don’t ask me why – but doesn’t want you to call them the St. Bonnies, even though they are the Bonnies. Still following? In addition, ‘Saint’ should be abbreviated as ‘St.’. That’s easy enough, since that’s how everybody does it in the English language….except for….
Saint Joseph’s is just that. They absolutely hate being called Saint Joe’s. Saint is spelled out, every time. If you use St. Joe’s, Phil Martelli will refuse to let you transfer. I will probably get in trouble for that joke.
Saint Louis doesn’t want to be confused with the city in which they play, St. Louis, so spell out Saint every time. Yes, I’m being serious.
Temple is Temple. It makes sense that it’s one of the easy ones, since they’re leaving the league next year.
Xavier is just plain old Xavier, but just don’t be the guy that says EXavier. It’s Zay-vier. Don’t be that guy.
It’s the Atlantic 10 or the A-10. The hyphen is important, I’m told. I asked if the conference likes to call its office the A-Team. Crickets.
The A-10 Men’s Basketball Tournament will be played at Barclays Center, named for the British financial services company. It’s not THE Barclays Center or Barclay’s or the Charles Barkley Center.
Got all that? Great! Then we have an unpaid internship just calling your name.