The University of Iowa has raised the spectacle of a trademark dispute over the apparent similarities between its logo and that of the Southern Miss University.
The dispute might not have surfaced had it not been for Southern Miss’ scheduled appearance at the Hawkeye Challenge men’s basketball tournament in December of this year.
With that date approaching, UI officials contacted Southern Miss about the resemblance of the Golden Eagle logo to its own.
An Iowa official said the school’s attorneys informed the athletic department that “if we don’t take action to protect it, we could lose it.” If the university were to do nothing, the logo could become “a generic thing and anybody could use it. We don’t want that. We think it really distinguishes us.”
The approach has caused Southern Miss’ AD Richard Giannini to take offense. He told the Daily Iowan, the school newspaper that “the stance that Iowa has taken on this logo thing really concerns me. If it (UI) is saying this is so confusing, then let’s just not play.”
Southern Miss would appear to have some leverage since, first, it would be difficult to find a replacement team at this late date and, second, Southern Miss is expected to be a tremendous draw because of the presence of its coach, former Iowa State University coach Larry Eustachy.