N.C. State Wolfpack needs to mark more territory

Tue, Mar 29

The problem with North Carolina State reportedly sending what amounts to a cease-and-desist order to Loyola University of New Orleans over the latter school using the nickname "Wolfpack" isn't that N.C. State officials are being petty and potentially litigious.

It's that they aren't being petty and potentially litigious enough.

Fact: Loyola's use of the moniker Wolfpack dates back to the 1930s, while N.C. State's use began in 1947. Also fact: N.C. State (33,000 students) trademarked the nickname in 1983, at a time when Loyola (fewer than 5,000 students) didn't even have an athletic program.

Tough break, Loyola Wolfpack To Be Determined. Pity your administrators didn't have to foresight to realize that: (a) they'd restart a sports program at the NAIA level in 1991; (b) decision-makers at Division-I ACC member N.C. State -- last national championship: 1983 -- would be simultaneously egotistical and insecure enough to fret that people could confuse a small Jesuit college in the Big Easy with a giant land grant college in Raleigh.

Still, laws are laws. Besides, N.C. State has been down this road before, reaching a 2008 settlement with the University of Nevada, which agreed to -- and no, we're not making this up -- spell "Wolfpack" as two words, not use the colors red and white and not depict its wolf mascot wearing a top hat. (After all, N.C. State's wolf wears a sailor's cap, presumably in anticipation of continued global warming).

The lesson? Do not mess with the Wolfpack. There can be only one. Indeed, N.C. State is missing a golden opportunity to pad the billable hours of its general counsel enforce its nice-and-legal trademark across a wide range of egregious violators, including:

• The Wolf Pack, the official booster club of the AHL's Chicago Wolves;

Wolfpack Entertainment, which represents NBA halftimes acts such as Quick Change and Red Panda;

• Animal Planet, which surely has some non-shark, wolf-themed shows that fail to mention the amphibious Charles Shackleford;

• Michael J. Fox for his role in "Teen Wolf";

• Harvey Keitel for his role in "Pulp Fiction";

• Those hunky, shirtless werewolf-pack dudes from the "Twilight" movies (who, come to think of it, probably should be wearing sailor hats, too);

• The estate of Rudyard Kipling;

• The estate of Warren Zevon;

• Kevin Costner, for following "Dances With Wolves" with "Waterworld" and "The Postman";

• Joe Wolf, who had the gall to play at North Carolina and must never wear a sailor hat again, punishable by imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay;

Jan-Michael Vincent, but not Jan-Michael Gambill;

Duran Duran.