Rams to carry pride, tradition of

Aug. 31, 2012

FORT COLLINS, Colo.— Every fan attending Saturday’s in-state football battle between Colorado State and Colorado in the Cinch Jeans Rocky Mountain Showdown at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver will witness a tribute to CSU’s proud tradition as one of the nation’s finest land-grant institutions.

An orange “A” decal will be displayed on the back of each CSU player’s helmet to honor that tradition, to celebrate the school’s rich athletic and agricultural heritage and demonstrate the commitment to the land-grant mission of Colorado State.

“The impact of Colorado State University, not only on the state and region, but globally, is significant,” said Director of Athletics Jack Graham.  “Athletics play a vital role in preserving and displaying the history and tradition of CSU symbolically through the “Aggie A” decal on the helmets.  Every football student-athlete who has the privilege of representing CSU understands and embraces the significance of the “A” when he sees it on his helmet.”

When Colorado State opened its doors in 1870, eight years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, the mission that was established then remains a focal point of the University today:  to provide every man and woman who has earned the right to receive a college degree the opportunity to do so at an affordable price.

Aggies had been the nickname of the school, then known as Colorado A&M, until 1957, when the state legislature renamed it CSU and the school adopted Rams as the nickname.

The role of the “Aggie A” at CSU and in athletics dates back to 1923, when a group of students painted the rock formation on the foothills overlooking the city of Fort Collins.  The formation spans 450 feet in length, and 210 feet across at the bottom, making it one of the largest displays of its kind in the nation.

The annual painting of the “A” formation dates back 89 years – the second-longest tradition in school history. 

More than two decades ago, the traditional painting of the “A” gained even more significance for CSU’s football program when freshmen football players joined campus groups to whitewash the formation. 

The annual whitewashing for the 2012 season took place just a week ago, in time for the opening of the new football season.

“It is important for every individual associated with CSU to recognize the importance of the land-grant mission established 150 years ago and reflected in the mission of the University today,” Graham said. 

“Each student-athlete and coach in our program carries into competition the responsibility to uphold and enhance the proud tradition that is represented by the Aggie A.”