Athletics and University Branding

Every University has a brand; the words, images or symbols that are associated with the name and the school. There is a lot of pressure put on universities to uphold a consistent and reputable brand.LSU v Alabama


One of the first things that prospective college students might recognize about a university’s brand is their athletic programs. Popular sports programs tend to drive a university’s school spirit as well as attract those that are sports minded because of the environment that comes along with it.  For some, athletics is a great way for universities to get their name recognized while essentially saving money on advertising. Basketball and Football programs are the two most common sports that are associated with individual universities.

penn state white out




Football programs such as Ohio State, Notre Dame, University of Michigan, Alabama, and Penn State all recognize football as being an impactful part of their brand. Students will attend those schools to be a part of the name and be a part of the experience that football brings to the school.

Ohio State fan is Not Impressed With Second Turnover Against Minnesota

So what about the Universities that don’t have a football team or that aren’t highly driven by athletics? What about UNCW? What does the lack of a football program but the presence of other D1 sports say about UNCW’s brand?

uncw football

As for the answer to these questions, I can only speak for myself and my experience here at UNCW. I believe that our school’s brand is less focused on our athletics and more on the environment that we live in. Although there is a mutual respect for our athletic programs I don’t think that our athletics are the reason why students choose UNCW.


-Jackie DiGiacomo