Silly Style Sticklers: Ohio Doesn't Like "O.U.", "Ohio U."

This has always made me giggle. And pontificate.

Before I begin, let me say we love our offbeat brothers and sisters down there in the foothills of Athens. They're a ruthless, diabolical pack of fans. They might have one of the most annoying crowds in the MAC, which is not a slam but rather a compliment, because said annoyance can often seep into the visiting team.

Hey speaking of annoyances, there's this line in Ohio's media guide:

Please use the single term Ohio. It is proper to use Ohio University when referring to other institutions by their full name. Please do not use Ohio U. or O.U.

OK, I suppose on some plane of thought I get the idea behind this: branding and name recognition. "O.U." and "OU" could insinuate all sorts of things, such as Oklahoma University, Oakland University, or the phrase "oh you," usually said to a person behaving in jest. And if nothing else, it's their institution. They can call themselves whatever they want.

Miami University is usually labeled "Miami (OH)" by national bodies (and SB Nation!), while spoken as "Miami of Ohio" on television so as not to confuse viewers with the other Miami college founded years later in Florida. After some reluctance, it looks like they've begrudgingly accepted this. Bowling Green State University is not BG University — you'd be leaving out a word there. Same with Bowling State University, especially since their footwear is atrocious.

My personal favorite oddity: the University at Buffalo, not of Buffalo. There's no arguing; that's the preposition they picked. (Whenever I found a higher education institution, it's going to be the "University on Sussman." Because I will be buried there.) The University of Toledo (UT) used to be Toledo University (TU), but not anymore. Your elders will occasionally forget; the media communications department lets it slide.

But the official media gatekeepers of Ohio will not stand for it. To them, OU is a completely different school altogether and it's incorrect.

Here's why this is a goofy request: all those aforementioned examples ... they each inaccurately change the name of the school. "OU" doesn't do that. "Ohio U." doesn't do that. They're both abbreviations -- and apt ones, too. Miami University is MU. Ball State University is BSU. Kent State University is KSU. Every other institution in the MAC can stomach an acronym except Ohio.

I've probably made my point — perhaps to the extent that it's scrutinizing a paltry paragraph in a media guide — but there's one other curious discovery. When searching Ohio University's own website, over 5,000 pages contain either OU or Ohio U. If this request is localized to the athletic department, then they're doing a little better (300+ results) but still they aren't totally adhering to their own style.

My friends at Ohio University, this isn't pointing out blatant hypocrisy or any other malicious standards. You all mean well. We like you. But ... c'mon, this is silly. Let the media squeeze what they need into headlines and lower thirds, so long as it doesn't butcher the integrity of the institution's name. (I can see "OH U" being irritating.) But as a blogger, speed is a good thing to have, and sometimes I'm going to blaze through a school name by cutting my "references to Ohio" time in half with a simple OU. Does it really look that bad on your screen? Then change the name of the school from Ohio University to OHIO — Ohio Higher Institution Organization. Talk about a staunch acronym that demands respect.

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