ASU bar in Tempe ‘will not allow any Arizona Wildcat gear, colors or behavior’

Rob Spindler, head of ASU’s archives and special collections, researched the campaign over the name change and set up a display of artifacts and photographs in the Luhrs Gallery, on the fourth floor of Hayden Library on the Tempe campus. Research is also contained on the Web site 50th.asu.edu.

Spindler said it was safe to say the 1958 political contest produced “a higher level of resentment” between the two schools.

Tucson’s University of Arizona was a land-grant university created in 1885. That same legislature started a teachers college, or normal school, in Tempe.

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But by 1945, a crush of postwar students led the school to become Arizona State College at Tempe. Business leaders and the school’s president, Grady Gammage, began pushing for university status.

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In 1954, a report on higher education in Arizona, written by Ernest Hollis, federal director of college and university administration, said that “the state college at Tempe is rapidly becoming a university. This fact might as well be calmly recognized”

The Wildcats have split their last 10 trips to Tempe after winning their last two meetings there. In the five victories, Arizona’s average margin of victory has been 15.2 points. UA’s average margin of defeat in that same span has been 4.0 points. UA has not won three consecutive games at Arizona State since its five-game winning streak from 2003 to 2007.

In a letter to Gammage, Hollis said the 9,701 enrolled students “is all the evidence that anyone would want to convince himself that today you are a university.”

Allonzo Trier is averaging 20.5 points per game in his four career appearances versus Arizona State, which now ranks as his highest career scoring average against a Pac-12 opponent. A large part of the junior’s scoring damage has come at the free throw line in those games where he 33 of 36 (.917) while averaging nine free throw attempts per game.

But that report met with resistance. The Board of Regents, which had requested the report, narrowly agreed to accept its recommendations. But Tucson lawmakers did not want to create a second university. Bills got bottled up in committees.

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One state senator, Harold Giss of Yuma, tried to reach a compromise. He suggested the name Tempe University.

That resulted in student marches on the state Capitol. The crowd did not disperse, according to Spindler’s research, until Giss appeared on a balcony and announced he had withdrawn the bill.

UA has been the best road team in the Pac-12 Conference since the league grew from 10 to 12 teams prior to the 2011-12 season with a conference road record of 39-21 (.650). Arizona and Oregon are the only conference institutions with winning records in away games during that span.

Figuring the name change would get nowhere in the Legislature, Gammage asked Jim Creasman, executive director of the alumni association, to organize a citizens initiative.

Spindler said it was a bold move. Gammage essentially was sidestepping the Board of Regents and state lawmakers. “If this didn’t pass, he’d probably be fired,” Spindler said.

GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 17 Arizona at No. 25 Arizona State, Thursday. The Sun Devils (19-6, 7-6) have turned a once-lopsided rivalry into more of a fair fight this season after opening the season with 12 straight wins. The Wildcats (20-6, 10-3) still ended up winning the first meeting 84-78 to end the best start in Arizona State history. Arizona used its size advantage against the smaller Sun Devils and Pac-12 teams followed suit. Arizona State seems to have found an answer and completed the first conference weekend sweep in three seasons under Bobby Hurley last week. Wells Fargo Arena, also known as The Bank, has been rowdy all season and should be even more so for this rivalry game.

Gammage didn’t officially campaign for the measure. He left the stump speeches to his wife, Katherine, who toured the state along with Frank Kush, the coach of the Sun Devils football team.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: USC guard Jordan McLaughlin has 651 career assists, one shy of eighth all-time in Pac-12 history. … The conference has the closest race in the nation, with 10 teams within 4 1/2 games of the lead. … Arizona’s Allonzo Trier (19.6 points per game) and Deandre Ayton (19.5) are the Pac-12’s top two scorers, putting them on pace to become the first teammates since the formation of the Pac-8 in 1968-69 to finish 1-2 in league scoring.

Gammage Jr., who was 7 at the time, followed along for some of those rallies. “I went all over the state with her,” he said. “We visited some cities in Arizona that I’ve never been back to.”

LOOKING AHEAD: UCLA and Southern California are running out of time to chase down Arizona in the Pac-12 race. Both teams are two games behind the Wildcats at 8-5 and have three weeks left before the Pac-12 Tournament. The Bruins and Trojans play the Oregon schools this week, swing through Colorado and Utah next week, and then close the regular season against each other at Galen Center on March 3.

Archival photos show a Piper aircraft painted with “Yes 200” wording, but Gammage said he doesn’t think his mother ever used it for speeches. “We drove,” he said.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: The Pac-12 women are going down to the wire. With two weeks left in the season, No. 7 UCLA, No. 9 Oregon and No. 14 Stanford are tied atop the league at 12-2. UCLA plays at Oregon on Monday in what could be a huge game toward determining the regular-season champion. The Cardinal have consecutive games against rival California on Thursday and Saturday.

Gammage remembered touring eastern Arizona and dipping south into UA country. “I can remember a lot of (anti-ASU) signs in the audience and people trying to shut down the ASU people,” he said.

According to a tweet on the company page, all Arizona Wildcats gear, colors and "behavior" is banned from College Bar & Grill in Tempe. A flyer attached says fans dressed in neutral colors may be asked to sing the ASU fight song before being allowed entry.

The campaign had the heavy support of Eugene Pulliam, publisher of The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette.

"This is Tempe, not Tucson," a message on the flyer on the tweet says. "Don't bring that mess into our place. We reserve the right to ask you to leave for the benefit of a safe, positive experience for our patrons."

“Arizona State College in Tempe is a university and therefore should be called Arizona State University,” the Republic editorialized on Oct. 20, 1958. “The voter should express this opinion by marking Proposition 200 with a ‘Yes’ next month.”

A Tempe bar has banned Arizona Wildcats fans Thursday night for the Arizona-Arizona State basketball game.

An editorial cartoon by the Republic’s Reg Manning was used on campaign buttons. It showed on ostrich labeled “Tucson” with its head in the sand, thinking, “If we don’t call it a university, maybe it’ll go away.”

The measure passed by a 2-to-1 margin statewide and by a more than 6-to-1 margin in Maricopa County. Pima County, home to Tucson, was one of three counties to vote against it. Santa Cruz and Cochise also voted no.

An ASU archivist brought the 118-year-old cup back from Tucson on Dec. 1, 2017. Wochit

Gov. Ernest McFarland signed the proclamation that made the name change official on Dec. 5, 1958.

Grady Gammage Sr. died in December 1959, serving as president of the new university for only one year.

Looking back at the campaign, Gammage Jr. said it was odd that UA would oppose ASU’s creation.

“It just doesn’t seem rational to me that Arizona would have just one university,” he said. “It only makes sense if you were going to assume the state would only be big enough for one university, but surely you wouldn’t think that.”

Gammage said he tries to tell the story of the university’s creation to ASU students every chance he gets. It’s a much different story from the typical land-grant school or one started by a church or a wealthy person.

“ASU is this populist uprising,” he said. “It really is the result of students and others getting together and turning the place into a university.”

Wilbur and Sparky spar with each other as their respective teams battle it out for the Territorial Cup in the second half during a game at Arizona Stadium on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014. Arizona won 42-35. 

Attention, Arizona Wildcat fans heading to Thursday’s basketball game in Tempe against Arizona State.

The owners don’t want you there. They say they won’t let you in. They say if you get in, they’re going to kick you out: “We reserve the right to ask you to leave for the benefit of a safe, positive experience for our patronts,” according to a message posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Known as the Dean of Operations of College Bar, Nick Nicholas was in full support of the bar’s foray into pettiness.

“First off, we’re an ASU bar. We’re the only true ASU bar in downtown Tempe,” Nicholas said. “We figured it’d be a good opportunity to put our flag in the ground and mark our territory, and be a place where the whole fan base can get behind us.”

“Secondly, it is very much for safety reasons. Anytime you get the two fan-bases in the same room, they clash a little,” he said. “We’d rather have everyone here having a good time and rooting for the same cause.”

College Bar, which sits in the shadows of Sun Devil Stadium and Wells Fargo Arena, has only been around since January.

The Wildcats historically have had solid support at ASU games in Tempe. But the Sun Devils’ surge this season may quell the number of red-and-blue clad fans at the game.

As for the pre- and post-game festivities, College Bar is hoping the UA fans gather elsewhere: “For a variety of reasons, we will not allow any Arizona Wildcat gear, colors or ‘behavior’ inside our establishment on Thursday.”

But it won’t just be obvious Arizona fans who are turned away. Any patrons who are not obviously pulling for the Sun Devils will be asked to sign the ASU fight song at the door.

“We don’t want to let anybody coming in, UA fans in stealth, cheating the system, getting in there, and starting whatever ‘bearing down’ is, so we want to knock that out right at the door,” Nicholas said.

Outside of Thursday’s Territorial Cup meeting, the bar will allow Wildcat fans in, but at a cost. Nicholas says anyone wearing UA gear will be informed that they will be charged double, as a house policy. Signs inside the bar refer to the Wildcats as “them,” refusing to acknowledge their name.

Still, Nicholas feels the seemingly antagonistic treatment of rival fans will pay off.

“I feel like the notoriety we’re going to gain from Sun Devil supporters will vastly outweigh the hate we get from UA fans,” he said.

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Local businesses must maintain a competitive edge by having a great local strategy.  There’s just one problem—they’re just too busy running their business to maintain a competitive web presence.


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