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Chuck Landon: Central Florida 'golden' no more

Oct. 22, 2012 @ 11:30 PM

Hmmm.

I have been informed that the University of Central Florida no longer wants to be called the Golden Knights.

UCF wants to be known as just the Knights.

Drop the "Golden," the Knights request.

In fact, UCF's sports information office contacted Marshall sports information director Jason Corriher and asked if he could remind me that UCF wants to be referred to as the Knights.

I duly noted the request.

And, then, I duly ignored it.

Anybody seen UCF's mascot recently? Guess what. It is a knight wearing gold-colored armor.

Uh, I think that makes him a Golden Knight.

I rest my case.

But, of course, the name game didn't end there. Nothing ever seems to end with UCF. ... including NCAA probation.

Next, UCF fans began complaining on Twitter about me calling their team the Golden Knights in print. So, naturally, I countered with a pithy reply.

My tweet read, "I am told the UCF Knights aren't Golden any longer. I couldn't have said it better. It's because UCF is the Tarnished Knights."

That started the firestorm.

More than a few angry, insulting tweets later from UCF fans, we now have a nice, fun controversy on game week.

How timely.

Since it will be a Conference USA East Division showdown when Marshall hosts UCF at 8 p.m., Saturday, in Edwards Stadium, there ought to be a big game atmosphere including some controversy.

Since UCF's departure to the Big East makes this the last game between Marshall and the Knights after the two programs have played each other for 11 consecutive seasons in two leagues, there ought to be some tension.

Since UCF and Marshall never ever have liked each other in or out of athletic venues, there ought to be some animosity.

And, yes, since UCF appealed its NCAA sanctions, circumventing justice so that the Knights could compete for the C-USA championship and not play by the same rules as Marshall, there ought to be hard feelings.

My adrenalin is pumping right about now, how about you? It certainly should be coursing through everyone's veins for this rivalry game.

But I digress.

Let's get back to the "golden" controversy.

Dropping the color from their nickname is somewhat symbolic. It was added by athletic director Steve Sloan in 1993, by the way.

Since then, first the University of Central Florida decided it wanted to be known by just its initials -- UCF. And, now, there's the decision to pare the nickname to just Knights.

It occurs to me that UCF seems to want to take shortcuts most of the time. It's most definitely a trend. Which leads us right back to the Knights' ever-present NCAA probation.

If UCF would stop taking shortcuts with the rules, perhaps, the school wouldn't keep incurring NCAA sanctions.

Ah, what a concept.

That's not the path the University of Central Florida turned just UCF and Golden Knights turned just Knights have chosen, however.

That's why the latest round of NCAA sanctions involving both the football and men's basketball programs -- coincidentally, UCF hoops is led by former Marshall coach Donnie Jones -- came while the Knights already were on NCAA probation.

Talk about repeat offenders.

I am certain the UCF Knights would like to find a way to shorten that "repeat offenders" terminology as well. But, alas, it would mean following the rules.

The bottom line is the Knights don't want to be Golden anymore.

And I know why.

That way the tarnish isn't so obvious.

Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827 or email him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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