After a failed rebranding of the State University of NEW YORK at Buffalo, which started in 2013 and ended in 2016, the University at Buffalo athletics department has focused on the Buffalo brand. Gone is the football field where the state outline resembled a pee stain on the turf. The design on the basketball court has changed as well, no longer allowing fans to reference a deep three pointer geographically. This was replaced with "New York's Public Powerhouse," a branding that stops short of a self declaration of flagship status and purpose only affirms the state in which the school exists.
The initial New York rebranding was then-Athletics Director Danny White's response to Syracuse University's athletic branding as "New York's College Team," an odd claim for a school that is private and does not have a large pull from the largest population center in the state. Syracuse University has since realized this lapse in judgement and with the abrupt departure of Daryl Gross, the SU Athletics Director who devised this slogan, the University has since downplayed the slogan. Coincidentally, after five straight years of losses to in-state teams, Syracuse University's men's basketball team only played Daemen, Cornell, and Colgate as in-state opponents in the 2019-20 season.
It seemed as if no university in upstate New York wanted to hold the "New York" title. Yesterday the University at Albany's athletics department, a Football Championship Subdivision program, announced an updated branding guide. Included in this refresh is a new Great Dane logo, a new UAlbany logo, and a New York State outline that has UALBANY running across the state with a star at the state's capital.
Personally, I am fine with this branding. As both the University at Buffalo, the state's flagship university, and Syracuse University, a private school, no longer use the state's name prominently, why not let another school take a shot at it? While the University at Albany is much smaller and less comprehensive than UB, they do not have any top-level professional sports to compete with. Outside of a Single-A short season baseball team and two low level basketball teams, there are no other professional sports in the Capital Region. Besides UAlbany, there is only one other full Division 1 NCAA member in the region, the Siena Saints of Loudonville, and both Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Union College field Division 1 hockey teams. With a successful branding using the New York state icon, UAlbany may be able to increase their prominence in the Capital Region.