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Athletics – Sun Belt reference guide: Call it UL-Lafayette or UL-L

Tim Buckley, Daily Advertiser, Jan. 13, 2014

The Sun Belt Conference today issued what it is calling a “University Reference Guide” to “be used by the conference office when referring to each one of its members.”

For UL, that will mean UL-Lafayette on first reference and UL-L as an abbreviation.

For UL Monroe, which has been embroiled in an ongoing dispute with UL over name usage, it will mean UL-Monroe on first reference and ULM (with no hyphen) as an abbreviation.

Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson suggested in a phone interview Monday that UL-Lafayette, UL-L are the name references requested by UL president Joseph Savoie.

“This is definitely not my decision. I work for the presidents and chancellors, and this exercise was to enable the conference office to establish a consistent manner to make reference to our member universities …,” Benson said.

UL has been publicly battling for its sports teams to be referenced first only as Louisiana, with no Lafayette, an effort that met with resistance from ULM.

That seems to be in conflict, however, with what Benson said Savoie requested.

According to a statement released Monday by Benson, “While the Sun Belt will encourage its member universities, media partners and outside entities to use the guide so there is consistency in how the universities’ sports teams are referenced, it cannot and will not be mandated.”

Benson also said in the statement that the conference “has worked closely with each member university over the past several months to develop” the guide,” and that the “references have been approved by each Sun Belt President or Chancellor.”

“You’ll have to get his (Savoie’s) confirmation,” Benson said, “but my statement saying that all presidents (and) chancellors approved stands.

“I’ve been pretty consistent in that we will call any of our member universities whatever they want to be called.”

Requests for comment from UL officials, including Savoie, were made Monday.

Two UL spokesmen said comment could be coming later.