Yeah, I'm a big sports geek. Some people are other kinds of geeks, and that's fine for them. Me, I dig competition.
Most of what's in this section is focussed on research of things which aren't commonly available on the bookshelves. Any fool can probably tell you what Mark Belanger hit for the Orioles in '75, or what Adrian Dantley's scoring average was for the Mavericks in '87, and it'll only take them a couple of minutes to find out. The stuff here... esoteric.
Some anal-retentive notes on my policies for naming conventions in college sports:
- I avoid abbreviations as much as possible. You won't see references to UCLA in here; it's Cal-Los Angeles. You see one of my exceptions right there, though; universities in the University of California and California State University systems are referred to as Cal-location and -- usually -- Cal State-location throughout. Another exception is that I don't expand things like "A&M", because not only does nobody ever refer to "Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University," but the official names of virtually every school with such an abbreviation actually uses the abbreviation. The last exception is that I do still refer to California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo as "Cal Poly-SLO," because expanding it is just too damned long.
- The only time a school which shares a name with another school is not identified by state is when the school in question is in NCAA Division I, and the other school(s) it shares a name with is not an NCAA Division II school. (My reasoning: Division II schools are always liable to decide to move up to Division I, which would necessitate a differentiation in any event.) Thus, even though there's a Georgetown (KY) and a Northwestern (IA), Georgetown and Northwestern by themselves refer to the Georgetown and Northwestern you'd expect them to; however, Saint Joseph's (PA) gets identified by state because there are actually a couple of Saint Joseph's in NCAA Division II. Somewhat similarly, the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University gets referred to here as Long Island-Brooklyn rather than just Long Island, due to the existence of Long Island-C.W. Post in Division II. The same doesn't apply, however, to schools where there is a clearly defined main campus which is almost always assumed when one refers to it (California, for example, always means "Cal-Berkeley" when used on its own). Notre Dame avoids getting called "Notre Dame (IN) because the school which was formerly often referred to as "Notre Dame (CA)" began asking that it be referred to by its official name, "Notre Dame de Namur", shortly before they moved to Division II. In some cases, however, even a Division I school gets identified despite being exempt by the main rule here; Saint John's (NY), because Saint John's (MN), despite being a Division III program, is nationally prominent as well, and Robert Morris (PA), because despite being in Division I is very low-profile and could theoretically be confused with NAIA power Robert Morris (IL).
- Sometimes, I'll refer to a school by a different name than its official name because they've changed their preferred identification and I don't know about it, or there's a long-running confusion as to what it ought to be called. South Dakota Tech (or South Dakota Mines) is a good example. Things like this are slowly getting cleaned up, as I'm more able to rely on school and conference official information each year, but since it's very difficult to determine when a change "officially" happened, I'll generally just make the change in the current year when I catch it, and maybe work my way back and change previous years' data at some future point.
- Similar to the previous point, within the California State University System, some schools have adhered to the preferred system nomenclature (such as Cal State-Fullerton, which openly changed from Fullerton State), whereas some other schools haven't (Sacramento State, for example), while even others have officially changed but still refer to their athletic programs by the old moniker (Cal State-Long Beach vs. Long Beach State). As a rule, if the school is still generally referring to itself under the old nomenclature, I do as well; if they're using Cal State-location officially but "location State" athletically, I'll refer to them as Cal State-location. It's confusing, but it's closest to accurate.
- Lastly, there are some cases where I just have to throw my hands up and refer to a school by an "alternate" name despite everything. The primary example of this would be "State University of New York Institute of Technology." No way of shortening this is truly sufficient, primarily due to the existence of a completely separate "New York Tech." I refuse to refer to it as SUNYIT or SUNY Tech, as that really violates my abbreviation rule to an extent with which I'm not comfortable; thus, it gets referred to by a name it has been known by in the past: Utica Tech, which happens to fit in nicely with the other schools in its own conference (which, despite officially being "State University of New York, location" are referred to by most everyone as "location State."