June is Pride Month and, as the name implies, lasts a month. But for 61 of the 65 Power 5 schools in college sports, it has been more like Pride Day. And 30 schools haven’t yet acknowledged Pride Month on their Twitter accounts, according to a review by Outsports.
Four schools — Penn State, Ohio State and Maryland of the Big Ten and Oregon State of the Pac-12 — have changed their Twitter avatars to reflect LGBTQ Pride on their official Twitter athletics accounts. It’s a strong showing for these schools, and as a Penn State graduate I am thrilled.
In addition, Wake Forest of the ACC did not change their logo but did pin their Pride tweet to the top of their page, ensuring it would be the first thing people see.
I am less thrilled to see that 30 of the the 65 Power 5 schools (Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC, SEC and Big 12) have not yet, as of June 6, recognized Pride at all on their official athletic Twitter accounts.
Some of the 35 who did so merely retweeted something posted on another school social media account. (I went through the official Twitter athletic accounts for all 65 Power 5 schools. This information was current as of June 6; if any schools have added Pride mentions, please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.)
One day of Pride Month acknowledgement is OK, but it’s more performative than anything, especially when it’s not combined with special social media programming or acknowledgment of out LGBTQ athletes or coaches at that school.
One exception was Michigan State, which tweeted out: “Assistant Coach Jake Barreau and other members of the Michigan State Athletics family attending the inaugural LGBTQ+ Symposium hosted by the Big Ten Conference to celebrate the start of Pride Month.”
The conferences with the most Pride buy-in so far are the Big Ten, where 11 of 14 schools recognized pride, and the Pac-12, where nine of the 12 schools do. The Big 12 has had six schools post something and four not, while the ACC had seven schools recognize Pride while eight did not.
In contrast, we have the SEC, where only two of the 14 schools have so far recognized Pride. LSU and Vanderbilt deserve a shoutout for bucking the trend, though Vandy’s was a pretty lame retweet. I guess the lack of over support from SEC athletic departments shouldn’t come as a surprise given the current political climate in many of those states, but it’s sad nonetheless.
While the SEC schools might be understandable to some degree, it seems odd that schools like Stanford, Oregon and Michigan have so far in the first week ignored Pride Month. Stanford? In the Bay Area? Close to San Francisco and the Castro? The Cardinal’s lack of acknowledgement so far seems puzzling but, to be fair, in previous years they have at times waited until later in the month.
Not even Stanford’s official Twitter account, with 1 million followers, acknowledged Pride Month. At least Oregon’s official school site did. As for Michigan, the football coach’s son is gay, so how have the Maize and Blue so far skipped Pride?
There were some pleasant surprises. TCU — Texas Christian University — had a cool retweet on their athletics account to welcome Pride Month. There were also appreciative comments to the tweet: “Thank you for embody true Christian values of love and compassion, TCU. Proud to be affiliated with this University and to be a horned frog!” and “Proud of my conservative alma mater #TCU for changing with the times and being more inclusive.”
Here are the Power 5 schools that have so far recognized Pride Month, by conference.
Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State have posted nothing so far.
Michigan, Iowa and Nebraska have posted nothing so far.
Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and South Carolina have posted nothing so far.
Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Virginia and Virginia Tech have posted nothing so far.
Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech have posted nothing so far.