Renovations to the existing University of Louisiana-Lafayette locker room including all new mechanical, electrical, walls and finishes. The project was completed in just over 2 months to be ready for basketball season. (Photo courtesy of JB Mouton)
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:52 PM
What’s really in a name anyway.
Louisiana will have a basketball team in the big dance, though not everybody will rally behind the team.
Nor does anybody really know what to call it, either.
The team from Lafayette, which wants to be called the University of Louisiana will have to settle for representing the state in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
No matter what you want to call the Ragin Cajuns, you have to a least realize what is going on down the road in Lafayette and admire it.
Louisiana-Lafayette, or for our purposes ULL, has seen a growth spurt that is leaving other institutions envious.
The trip to the big dance, which the Cajuns earned Sunday by winning the Sun Belt championship in overtime over Georgia State, shows the school is making noise now on all levels.
People in Lake Charles, Monroe, Ruston or even New Orleans may not want to hear this, and clearly the folks in Baton Rouge don’t care, but ULL has become a hot bed for athletic programs.
It’s clearly not the top school in the state, but it’s just as clear that ULL has become Louisiana’s second banana.
That’s not too bad when you consider all that is going on.
The school’s men’s basketball team is just the latest in a line of programs that have shown vast improvement in recent years.
However, the NCAA tournament does give the school a great place to once again showcase itself, even if its stay in the tourney proves to be a short one.
That doesn’t matter.
Over the next few days T-shirts will be sold with the Cajuns proclaiming themselves as a tourney team.
Stories on websites and in newspapers will give the university exposure and the Lafayette community a chance to gloat — as if it doesn’t do enough of that already.
And most importantly it will give the school an extra opportunity to get its name out in the general public.
That’s what the NCAA tournament does for schools and basketball programs.
For ULL, this comes as part of a pretty good run.
The Cajuns have already beaten LSU in baseball this year, even if the game was called early because of weather. The baseball Cajuns also lost to the Tigers in the Baton Rouge Regional last May, showing they are at least on the playing field with one of the nation’s best programs.
The softball program has been good for more than a few years, twice beating LSU to win last year’s regional before losing in the Super Regional.
As far as football goes, we have all seen the three-year run the Cajuns are on.
They have not only made three straight trips to the New Orleans Bowl, but have won all the games.
ULL has an athletic program that is on the rise, one that could serve others who are thinking about moving up as a blueprint to long-term success.
Are you watching, McNeese fans?
Of course not all schools that have tried this have had the same success. Louisiana-Monroe serves notice of the troubles that await if things don’t go right.
Still, it is clearly working out for the Ragin Cajuns.
While that may make others around the state dislike them more, or take shots at what the school wants to be called, it does make you talk about them if nothing else.
And, yes, their fans will be obnoxious for a few days but you have to give credit where credit is due.
We may not know what to call them, but their basketball team is still playing.
Like it or not, no other Louisiana basketball team can say that.
Posted By: PQW On: 3/19/2014
Title: Time to wake up from your dream
Per the state law as it still stands, it is University of Louisiana LAFAYETTE. No matter who, what ,when and where it will never change. Winning that loser bowl is all good but when you can't beat an FCS team in your own house, how far have they really progressed? 31-17 nuff said!
Jim you also forgot to point out that ULL has never EVER made a touchdown in Tiger Stadium but FCS schools do it all of the time. Nice piece of one way writing.
Posted By: Buck Leonards On: 3/19/2014
Title: Close but correct school nick name still missing
You forgot to use "Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns" in your article. This is the "official" school nickname.....it's hasn't been 'Ragin' Cajuns' for a couple years. True dat. Louisiana is officially part of the school sports nickname.
Posted By: Boss Hog On: 3/19/2014
Title: Winning cures all
Hey there, great article. I'm a Tigers fan first and foremost. But I really like to see the Cajuns having success as long as it isn't against us. I personally have no problem with UL becoming the known second best athletic program in the state. I've also come around to them being called Louisiana, as it is... it won't affect LSU in any way, we will always be LSU and the dominant program. I'd like to see the Cajuns become good enough over the long haul for a bigger conference to reach out to them and let them really take off... it will be good for the state. Geaux Tigers, and Geaux Cajuns now too I guess.
Posted By: Steve LaBorde On: 3/19/2014
Title: We are Louisiana
Thanks Jim, like my cohort in name only (Steve) said, any press is great press. I am a graduate of USL. The university changed it's name legally through the court system back in 1984 to the University of Louisiana only to be sued by LSU and McNeese to change our name back. Over the next 15 years, we fought through the court system again (ruled by a judge who graduated from LSU law school) to win a minor battle. We could change our name back to the Univ. of LA only if another university in the school system also changed their name to the Univ. of LA and there had to be a city designation attached to it. So LSU won in a sense. In 2000-2002, ULM tried to use Louisiana as there name. No one made a fuss about it except for ULM alumni. For whatever reason, they preferred ULM. Fine.
Only since we have branded ourselves Louisiana has there been a stink by the other schools in this state. Sorry it upsets you Jim, but WE ARE LOUISIANA, LOUISIANA RAGIN CAJUNS, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA, and UL. And we will keep shoving this down your throats until you and everyone else gets it. Have a nice day.
Posted By: Jason Smith On: 3/19/2014
Title: Ever been out of the state of LA?
I'm from LA and a graduate of USL (now ULL), but I live in TX. It will be a cold day in hell before a Aggie supports the Longhorns, Houston Cheering for TCU, etc. Outside of the brain-washed Louisiana natives, other state schools do not pull for one another. Until this changes, LSU will always be they state dictated "flagship" (I laugh when I see this) school. This is why it has taken YEARS for the Ragin Cajuns to get from under the shadow of LSWhomever. As long as their on top, it's let's all get along. Whenever the roles are reversed....then lets go to the LA constitution and make this happen like we want...SAD! Let the light shine on UL and we could care less about that other school as of now!
Posted By: Steve On: 3/19/2014
Title: "Name Game" article
Jim...Good Morning!...thanks for some coverage on the CAJUNS...believe it or not there are a lot of us in Calcasieu Parish, Lake Charles, etc....although I thought the bigger story was on Page B2 College Baseball Polls, I still enjoyed your column. Please realize as a USL graduate and University of Louisiana-Lafayette Alum I believe the name issue is not being questioned since it is dead unless going back to the political pony show. Athletics however has branded LOUISIANA RAGIN CAJUNS...call us LOUISIANA, LOUISIANA RAGIN CAJUNS, RAGIN CAJUNS, CAJUNS or UL.....doesn't seem like a big problem...What is more Louisiana than Cajun? ok..let me guess..the LOUISIANA COWBOYS?.....just kidding but hopefully you can see my example in the spirit that it is intended like LOUISANA WARHAWKS?
Thanks for the article, any good press is great press for the RAGIN CAJUNS. Also, the College Baseball Poll for COLLEGIATE BASEBALL is a duplicate of BASEBALL AMERICA TOP 25.....just saying...hope all is well
Posted By: Kelly Robertson On: 3/18/2014
Title: Wow...Backhanded compliments ...tactless article
My husband and I are both Alumni of The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. We live in the Lake Charles area and enjoy reading LC American Press articles because we enjoy keeping up with topics in and around the area we live in. However, this article insults us. I would hope Mr. gazzolo's backhanded compliments don't represent the majority of McNeese fans. We applaud LSU, McNeese, and other LA teams. While we root against the team we play weekly, we support all LA system schools as a whole. With that said, I believe this article was very disrespectful to the university we love. As a lead writer for sports, mr. Gazzolo should consider how many papers he sells not wether ULL wins or loses. We can all be proud of where we are from without taking cheap shots at others. Just a reminder, Mr. Gazzolo, if you can't say something nice...