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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 1:00 am

Mastodons finding smooth transition

Uniforms ordered, AD says as IPFW remnants fade away

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

While the switch from “IPFW” to “Purdue Fort Wayne” has been in effect since July 1, the transition has been slow and steady and will continue to be that for, potentially, years to come.

The Purdue Board of Trustees approved the separation of Purdue and Indiana universities at the Fort Wayne campus on Dec. 16, 2016. The Indiana University trustees had OK'd the split Dec. 1, 2016.

Purdue has control of most academic programs under the split; IU has a smaller presence in Fort Wayne and has control of health-related fields.

The trustees' votes left plenty of time to iron out the details, particularly how it would affect student-athletes majoring in health-related fields.

“We identified students who were IU majors early on and were very conscientious about what the transition meant for them,” athletic director Kelley Hartley Hutton said. “At the time, we didn't know there'd be a teach-out for their IU degree in the respective fields. Were we recruiting students to those majors? We stopped recruiting those majors. When we ran the numbers, we didn't have a lot of those majors.”

Hartley Hutton said that during her time coaching volleyball at IPFW, she found that student-athletes majoring in nursing had a difficult time balancing athletics and academics. Many chose different majors, though some quit playing volleyball to focus on their academics.

Students who were previously enrolled in Purdue programs that transitioned to IU Fort Wayne will graduate with a Purdue degree and are Purdue Fort Wayne students according to the registrar's office. This year's incoming freshmen in the same majors will be Indiana students and will not be eligible to be Purdue Fort Wayne athletes, based on NCAA rules.

Only one athlete, a female runner, was affected because she changed her major to nursing.

“We have no student-athletes that will lose eligibility,” Hartley Hutton said. “That's because we identified that small group early and they started taking their classes and making sure they were meeting the graduation (requirements). We didn't have to do any waivers.”

For the athletic department, the changes are minimal.

The logo has been changed, and Arnie Ball Court in the Gates Center now sports the new logo, which features the mastodon mascot, outlined in blue, in front of a black shield. The logo will be replaced wherever there is an old “Fort Wayne” logo, which is everywhere around the athletic department.

Harley Hutton said the university's goal is have most of the changes completed by the time the fall semester begins. She added that uniforms have been ordered.

“Some things have changed, some have not,” Hartley Hutton said. “ I think we'll have everything on time for the first part of the semester. Some of the student-athletes and coaches have the old gear on because some of the new gear just isn't in yet.”

The decision to include blue in the mastodon logo, Hartley Hutton said, was in reference to the history of the department rather than the convenience of keeping blue around campus throughout the transition.

“When that decision was made, I don't think that had anything to do with the colors of the seats,” she said of the Gates Center seating area. “It was more of an intentional decision of who we are and how this new mark can represent who we are the best.”

She said when Chancellor Ronald Elsenbaumer joined the university in November, he met with people throughout the community and came away with how important the mastodon is to the university.

“ The uniqueness of (the mastodon) and a little blue; ... what a cool nod to our history and alumni,” she said.

The curtains that separate the Gates Center courts and those in the Athletic Center Fieldhouse remain blue. The indoor track surface in the fieldhouse is blue and gray.

“Some of the scoreboards will be changed in the next year or so,” Hartley Hutton said. “Some of them are older anyway. Those are the decisions we're making in the next few months. I know for a fact that just because we have a blue track that's seven years old, it has a lot of miles left. That would be fiscally irresponsible to resurface it because it's blue.”

areichel@jg.net