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Those familiar with UCF know that their academic branding, like many other schools, is kept entirely separate from their athletics branding. However, more and more universities are using the same logos for both their athletics department and academics in an attempt to unify branding. So, why does UCF fiercely separate their iconic Pegasus from their college football team?

To answer this question, let’s start with some history. UCF was founded in 1963 as Florida Technological University. They are a space-grant university, funded by the state with the intention of educating students to work in the for our nation’s space program.

Thus, a lot of the university’s early branding has connections with NASA and space travel. The Pegasus itself was selected in 1968 when the University opened. According to the press release, the logo was chosen because it was “the mythological winged horse of the muses. [It] carried their hopes, their inspirations, and their poetry into the skies.”


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However, when the school needed a mascot, the Pegasus wasn’t chosen. Instead, FTU went with the “Citronaut,” an adorable orange character (who deserves his own post) that combined Florida’s histories with oranges and space.


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Unfortunately, UCF’s lovable, tangy branding was not here to stay. When it came time to choose an official mascot for athletics in 1970, UCF went with the “Knights of Pegasus.” While a pretty cool name, it was indeed a mouthful. UCF transitioned to the “Golden Knights” to try and boost merchandise sales in 1993, and then down to just “Knights” in 2007 as part of a department-wide rebranding.

So, why wasn’t the Pegasus ever chosen during all these years of identity changes? The short answer is, the University wants to keep the Pegasus as a symbol of high academic achievement and not dilute it by using it for sports. The administration places great value on the academic seal and doesn’t want it tied to the school’s teams.

That being said, this resolve appears to be fading away. Last year, UCF wore some fantastic space themed uniforms for the War on I4 Rivalry game.


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Yup, that’s right. The Pegasus made it onto the shoulder, even if it’s very subtle. The Equipment Room stated that it was used to tie in UCF’s history with sending students to the space program, so it still carried academic meaning. But it was nice to see this great logo make an appearance.

The Pegasus constellation also made the “mission” patches and appeared on the helmet stripe.


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The horse that the UCF Knight rides on to the field before games is also named Pegasus, one of the other few connections to the mythical animal used for the football team.


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So, does the Pegasus stand a chance to become a component of future alternate uniforms? My guess would be no. I think the University really is determined to keep this an academic seal, and only featured it on the I4 kits because of the space program theme.

It’s a shame, because I think this is a great seal that would look fantastic on the side of UCF’s helmets for a game each season, or even as a permanent shoulder badge. The Pegasus carries important meaning for the school, but I think that’s a reason it should be on uniforms, not separated from them.

Agree? Disagree? Leave your thoughts below!