Michigan and Michigan State will match up on Saturday night and, given the game’s placement on ABC in prime time (7:30 pm ET), ESPN is heavily promoting the match-up. After all, the Wolverines always draw massive TV numbers and, at least so far in 2017, the Spartans seem to be much improved from the disaster that took place in East Lansing one season ago.
However, the lead up to the game has not gone perfectly for the worldwide leader. In short, ESPN has referred to Michigan State as “Mean Green” in some of its advertising.
That actually isn’t a commonly used nickname for the Spartans and it actually is the mascot for North Texas. As a result, North Texas vice president and director of athletics Wren Baker caught wind of the images (via the tweet above) and had a swift and biting reaction.
Yes, that is a Division I athletic director threatening a “cease and desist” letter.
It should be noted that, well, North Texas has a point here. There is no reason for ESPN to use “Mean Green” in advertising Michigan State and, even if it was a simple oversight, the program is well within its rights to be upset that it would take some of the shine off a trademarked mascot/nickname.
ESPN can promote Michigan/Michigan State in other ways but this was certainly a misstep.