There is only one ‘GSU’ and it’s in Atlanta

Last week, the Sun Belt Conference reversed itself on an important reference guide designed to determine how the conference and its member schools should refer to each other.

With schools like Appalachian State and Arkansas State, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Louisiana at Monroe, not to mention Georgia State and Georgia Southern, it could be easy for those unfamiliar with the schools to mix up or confuse their abbreviations, the reasoning went.

Therefore, moving forward, App. State would become “App” and Arkansas State would become “A-St” on second reference; the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as “UL-L” and the University of Louisiana at Monroe as “ULM”; and, finally, Georgia Southern would be known as “GS” and Georgia State would be recognized as “GSU.”

Pretty straightforward, right? What could possibly go wrong with that?

Well, for starters, it turns out that students, alumni and fans care quite passionately about how others refer to their schools. In response, the Sun Belt backtracked itself into a corner, releasing a series of revisions to the reference guide before finally giving up on it completely. And, of course, they blamed the PR mishap on the fans.

“We have observed unintended uses of this guide, specifically as it relates to university abbreviations,” read a statement from the SBC. “Therefore, we have elected to eliminate the reference guide from public display and distribution.”

What a shame. But fans in Louisiana weren’t the only ones upset about the abbreviation change.

No, many of our friends in Statesboro also had something to say about Southern becoming “GS” as the moniker of choice over “GSU.” Indeed, a quick Twitter search of #TheRealGSU or #SouthernNotState from last week might give you some insight into how strongly some reacted to the change.

Try not to hold it against them, though. They know not what they say. (Seriously, have you seen their graduation rate?)

Regardless, the rivalry is real, even if the battle for “the real GSU” was won a long time ago – reference guide or no.

Don’t believe us? Consider these facts: Georgia State was granted university status in 1969, more than 20 years before Southern; we contribute more than more $1.4 billion of economic activity to the City of Atlanta annually, nearly single-handedly revitalizing Downtown; we have more than triple the number of living alumni; and, we’re viewed as a national model for our diversity and programs designed to graduate more students from low-income backgrounds.

Oh yeah, plus we have the domain name. Seriously, search “GSU” on Google and see what comes up.

Football record or not, the fact of the matter is that Georgia State also has much better name recognition than Southern with nationally-ranked business and law programs attracting record growth and grant money.

Nothing is going to change that, so it’s time people stopped asking “where is the real GSU?”

Anybody outside of Statesboro knows that question has already been asked and answered.