A recent name change has caused a stir amongst youth football organizations in Turlock.
The former Turlock Titans youth football organization changed their name to the “Junior Pride,” echoing Pitman High School's “Pride” mascot. That name shouldn't be allowed, according to competing youth football organization Turlock Youth Football.
“We were told that we are not allowed to use the name of any school within the (Turlock Unified) School District,” said Turlock Youth Football Vice President Chris Camp.
Along with changing their name to the Junior Pride, the Turlock Titans also changed their jersey colors to green, gray, and black – the same colors and mascot as Pitman High School. The teams logo is also very similar to that used by Pitman High School’s athletic department.
The similarities raise questions about the fairness of an organization promoting a specific high school, or obtaining a perceived association with that school.
“We look at it as nobody should be affiliated with the district, everyone has their own organization and you do your own thing,” Camp said. “We should keep the names that everybody already has.”
Turlock Youth Football fields two teams with names unrelated to local schools – the 49ers and the Vikings.
Camp addressed the TUSD Board of Trustees earlier this month to discuss his concerns with the renamed Junior Pride. Camp said that the District has not made any effort to contact him to address his concern.
“The administration does not get involved in the naming or re-naming of outside non-profit organizations,” said Mike Trainor, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services at TUSD. “Our primary connection with these groups is related to coordination, scheduling and appropriate use of TUSD facilities.”
Trainor also said that, at this time, he has not been provided with any direction to address the issue.
But Camp believes that using a name that could possibly be affiliated with the TUSD could bring about issues regarding liability.
“If you look at the incident that happened in Ceres with the Ceres Cardinals, a couple of their coaches went in and robbed and beat a pizza parlor employee. Could you imagine if they had been named the Ceres Bulldogs? It would bring down the high school if they had been affiliated with them,” said Camp.
“The first question that is always asked is whether there is any affiliation with the local high school or city. But they are a non-profit, so there’s no affiliation with the school. Why should there be now? There are no public funds coming to us, so why use the name?”
The Turlock Junior Pride could not be reached for comment.
Pitman Football's website links to both youth football organizations, Junior Pride and Turlock Youth Football.