University Of Oregon Ducks
The Oregon Ducks "actual MVP may not be on the court, but they've accomplished a feat they haven't accomplished since their first season in the Pac-12 Conference, and they've done it with the help of one of the nation's best-known brands. It's a story that begins with a sinister origin of its name, begins with an unusual partnership with Walt Disney, continues with its edgy, athletic uniforms of today and ends with some of its most iconic moments. In 2014, Nike announced that the Ducks football team was the first team to wear almost all of Nike's football uniforms and footwear over the past decade.
In 2012, the students voted to make the Ducks the school's nickname, beating the Timberwolves and Lumberjacks.
The name "Puddles" is still used today as an unofficial nickname for the school's duck mascot. A lot of Oregon fans are quick to correct anyone who calls the duck a puddle, and I don't mind that. I think another way of looking at it is that puddings is a funny nickname, duck is the official name. Sure, there are some people associated with the Oregon Athletic Department who believe it's the least acceptable nickname of Duck, but I don't.
The University of Oregon's sports department, which is almost entirely funded by men's football and basketball, is worth $113.2 million. The majority of this comes from licensing fees, licenses, advertising and sponsorship. In 2017, the university's $1.5 million in sports sponsorship was subsidized by the NCAA through fees collected by students - not by the state or university, according to the Oregon Athletic Department's annual report. Athletics is contributing to our academic mission by paying state tuition fees for our student athletes and increasing the visibility of universities, "said the University of Oregon administrators.
Bigalke wrote a two-part series about the university that documents the history that began before the ducks were even called ducks. The University of Oregon and the State of Oregon have made millions from their sports programs over the past two decades. While both programs have played their home games at the Rose Bowl since 2011, when the venue opened, the University of Oregon has been providing basketball excitement since its inception.
Despite the setbacks Nike faced, Knight continued to invest in the University of Oregon, where he committed to spending $30 million on renovations that would increase the number of seats at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Knight gave the university his first major gift in 1996: $27.4 million to renovate and expand a library that was renamed in his honor. When the new, state-of-the-art 3,000-seat Oregon Athletics Center opened less than two years later, it was the largest one-day sporting event in U.S. history.
The boys even brought a live duck to football and basketball games, which gave rise to the early mascot "Puddles the Duck." Over the next two decades, the studio produced several versions of the duck mascot in collaboration with the university. The school has maintained a constant relationship with its mascot since its founding in the mid-1990s, one of which bears the name Puddingles.
When I asked Oregon officials if this was a sign of a move, I was told the mascot is still known as the Duck. Since Disney owns the primary Oregon mascot, the introduction of a secondary Oregon duck would give Oregon the opportunity to have a licensed mascot. It's not that the school publicly hates the name Puddles, but it calls its mascot "Duck" and is aware that it's not Puddles. We know that the duck is called "Puddle," but we do not know that our mascot is not called Puddle!
In the 1940s, the head of sports Leo Harris decided to visually represent the duck name. The deal was that the university could use Donald Duck's likeness as a mascot as long as it was done to good taste. Our official response is that someone from Nike, the clothing supplier of our school, has made the decision to call the ducks puddles.
If the University of Oregon wants to change its logo, Nike will make the first attempt at a redesign. The Oregon Ducks are not the only school receiving money from Nike, and the university enjoys a unique bond. Nike has an almost identical contract with Oregon State, offering the school $2.3 million last year.
The University of Oregon has played in two playoff games, with a combined record of 1-1, and the Ducks have visited 14 NCAA tournaments, most recently reaching the elite eight in 2016. The Ducks play in the NCAA tournament every year, starting in 1917 when Oregon won against the Penn Quakers.
The Ducks' informal use lasted until 1953, when the school's athletic director, Leo Harris, and his boss, a man named Walt Disney, shook hands to allow him to use the mascot. Bigalke is also the author of "Documenting UO History," where he covers the history of the university's sports history, including the history of the duck mascots, and the history of Oregon University as a university.