Arizona State University officials got it right this time.
After unveiling a drastic redesign of the school's iconic mascot to severe outrage and backlash, university leadership worked feverishly to make it better.
Working in conjunction with student leaders, the Sun Devil Coalition Advocacy Board, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Alumni Board and members of the Sun Devil Club Board, the group has come up with four final options to change the face of the beloved mascot, Sparky.
The saga began when the University released the "New Sparky" to the populace on March 1, a Friday afternoon. Almost immediately, people spoke out against the change. There was severe backlash including a change.org petition, a Facebook page titled Bring the Old ASU Sparky Back and a Facebook group 100,000 Arizona State Fans Against the New Sparky. There was even an unofficial poll run by House of Sparky that showed an approval rating of only 10 percent.
The biggest complaint was that the redesign, a collaborative effort between the university and Disney, supposedly listened to students and designed what the students wanted—untrue. The student body was one of the most vocal opponents to the changes.
The voting began Monday, April 22 and will continue through May 5. Voting is open to all current students, alumni, employees, season-ticket holders and Sun Devil Club members.
The Arizona State student newspaper, The State Press reported that all is well on campus now:
Tempe Undergraduate Student Government President Mark Naufel said he was pleased with the way the university responded to students’ criticism, coming to the student government to get the look that students wanted. “They treated us like this was our thing. We mattered most in the decision making process,” Naufel said. “It was really a great collaboration between administrators, students (and) the alumni.”
The vote will only be on the face or mask of Sparky with the newly designed outfit to be worn by the mascot. I'm still not sold on the knee-high boots, but I suppose people have had enough of the flame pants on the current edition.
The winning version of the mascot will be released via social media within two days of the polls closing, and the new mascot will be put into use starting in the fall of 2013. Although, we will know the winning version within two weeks, the current mascot costume will be in use until that time.
The current logo will be unchanged and used as a trademark in facilities, advertising, banners, clothing and merchandise.
If you are an eligible voter, go to http://sparky.asu.edu and let your voice be heard!
David is the Featured Columnist of Arizona State Athletics for B/R. Follow him on Twitter at @asudave.