"The ultimate goal for the rebrand is to attract high-caliber student-athletes to a contemporary brand, while respecting our heritage." –Bob Decarolis
Yesterday was a monumental day for Oregon State University, the long awaited rebranding of the logo and jerseys were finally revealed. This ceremony could not have been more symbolic in terms of the direction the university is heading. This synopsis of the ceremony can be summed up in the three words that are now posted below the new logo at OSUBeavers.com. Simplify, unify, amplify. The message and point of the rebranding is very clear. Oregon State’s legacy has always been predicated on hard work, resolve, and tradition. These clean cut new uniforms exemplify those values, and at the same time, provide a polished and iconic look. The culture is changing at OSU, thanks in large part to Bob Decarolis; the man could not be more in touch with the pulse of Oregon State. The rebranding keeps the integrity of OSU intact and it has already proven to be a factor in recruiting.
I have lived in Corvallis my entire life and in the last few years, there has been a phenomenon developing in Oregon State athletics and across the entire campus. Over the last ten years, impressive strides and changes have been taking place. Half of Reser Stadium has been renovated beautifully. After two national championships, Goss Stadium has been expanded. State of the art intermural turf fields have been built in the heart of campus. The football team’s practice fields in Prothro Field have had a makeover, leading to brand new turf. And the new five story basketball facility right next to Gill Coliseum is nearly completed. It is refreshing to see Oregon State boosters invest their money into this university. Amazing things can happen when you mix that with a savvy athletic department that knows what to do with the resources given to them. This all starts with Bob Decarolis at the top. Decarolis has been the Athletic Director at OSU since being appointed in 2002. It is no coincidence that the start of Decarolis’s tenure coincides with the start of the timeline listed above. OSU could not ask for a better man at the helm. Decarolis grasps the concept of expansion, but is also aware of the fine line Oregon State must maintain when it comes to honoring the past.
The epitome of OSU’s new logo and jerseys should be obvious to most fans. The goal of the re-branding is to create one banner that all athletic teams can rally under. Athletic programs are most fruitful when there is a unifying concept the whole university can fall behind, Oregon State is no exception. The Beavers calling card has been that of a hardworking entity and this includes the entire university, not just athletics. The new rebranding follows this to a tee. It reinforces the tradition Oregon State has kept, and then some. The new uniforms breathe life into Beaver Nation. Despite building a winning culture in football and baseball over the last 10-15 years, the Beavers have not exactly been on the map nationally. Some people say this is because the Beavers have been overshadowed by their flashy brother down south. There may be a little truth to this, but it is a major oversimplification. The people that are complaining about the rebranding apparently do not want the University to grow and flourish. And if anyone tries to argue the Beavers are attempting to be like the Ducks with this rebranding; they have absolutely no grasp on the state of OSU. In fact, the truth could not be more opposite. The Beavers are simply gaining their own identity. It is time that OSU shows the rest of the nation its true colors and solidifies themselves as a program on the rise.
Any fan that is griping about the logo and jersey change has completely missed the point of the rebranding. To be quite frank, the opinions of that minor group do not matter whatsoever. The opinions that do matter are those of the recruits and current student athletes. This is why Nike and the OSU athletic department have hit a home run. The scene at the rebranding ceremony was electric, due in large part to the alumni, current Beavers, and future Beavers in attendance. The players looked like kids on Christmas morning. There are many reasons Oregon State football brought in arguably its best recruiting class this year. One reason in particular is that recruits got to look at the jerseys for the upcoming season; there is no denying that was a major factor. The beauty of the rebranding is that it builds a tremendous hype around the university. Let’s be honest, although Corvallis is a beautiful college town, it can be a hard place to sell to recruits. Corvallis does not have desirable weather or premium location like other Pac-12 schools based in Southern California, nor does it have Nike in its back pocket. This new rebranding goes a long way in bridging the gap. I don’t know how much I buy into the adage “look better, play better” but I do believe that new products attract talent. If current players and recruits are happy with the rebranding, then that is all that matters.
OSU needed this change in every way imaginable. Beaver Nation is poised to undergo this transformation, which has been long overdue. The new look of Oregon State obviously doesn’t mean anything if there are no results on the playing field, but if this university is going to reach a new frontier, the rebranding could not be more essential. Bob Decarolis stated it beautifully at the ceremony “Oregon State Athletics has undergone a tremendous transformation in the last 15 years and our new brand identity is another sign that the Beavers continue to confidently move forward.” Decarolis’s statement hits the nail on the head. This is an exciting time for Oregon State University. It is important for fans to remember that sometimes change is good.
Peter Reed is on Twitter. Follow him at @preed1124