Universities Drop 'Lady,' Unify Athletes, Polarize Alums

Last Monday, the University of Tennessee decided to drop the term "Lady" from all of its women's athletic programs, besides basketball.

In the wake of the name alteration, the University of Delaware's student newspaper, The Review, announced on Sunday it will no longer refer to their women's sports squads as "Lady Hens."

Of the switch, the editors wrote, "Though this change is long overdue, we are proud to announce we are disposing of a discriminatory term."

The move was additionally spurred by a letter to the editor from James Wiles, who noted that "the term Lady Hens is inherently sexist," not to mention redundant.

RELATED: Opinion: One 'Lady Vols' Team Is One Too Many

At the University of Tennessee, however, the school's decision to drop the name "Lady Vols" from nearly all of their women's teams isn't being as lauded by their alums.

Besides the basketball team—who will keep the title "Lady Vols" as a tribute to the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, Pat Summit—all other teams will simply be known as "Volunteers" by July 1, 2015.

The move comes as Tennessee switches its apparel provider from Adidias to Nike, just two years after the women's and men's athletic departments merged into one.

Some female athletes at the university see the name change as a further loss of their individual character, arguing that the name isn't demeaning, but rather part of the school's tradition. 

As former scoccer player Cameron Broome told local TV station WBIR, "In the land of Lady Vols ... being a lady means something so much fiercer than anything that our society deems as the definition of a 'lady.' The whole connotation's changed."

Though supporters of the "Lady Vols" name may see the change as a loss of their individual identity, many schools are moving away from the name distinction. Most recently, Washburn University dropped the signifier "Lady" from all female sports programs in 2013.

RELATED: 'Lady' Interrupted

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