The University of Oregon announced that they would be officially ending the term “Civil War” when referring to the in-state rivalry with the Oregon State Beavers.
The game was originally known as the “Oregon Classic” or the “State Championship Game” until around 1937.
“Today’s announcement is not only right but is a long time coming, and I wish to thank former Duck great Dennis Dixon for raising the question and being the catalyst for change,” said Oregon Director of Athletics Rob Mullens. “Thanks also to our current student-athletes for their leadership and input during this process. We must all recognize the power of words and the symbolism associated with the Civil War. This mutual decision is in the best interests of both schools, and I would like to thank Scott Barnes for his diligence as we worked through this process. We look forward to our continued and fierce in-state rivalry with Oregon State in all sports.”
The great Dennis Dixon took to twitter to add his thoughts:
As a player, he led us into a national championship race. Now, he’s a leading voice for change regarding today’s announcement.— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) June 26, 2020
Here’s Dennis Dixon on how the conversation took shape: pic.twitter.com/5eq6T7FErm
So, now that the rivalry is in need of a new name, it’s time to return to a tradition that dates back to 1959.
Sure, we could go back to the “Oregon Classic”, which brings an air of class to the game, but it’s also quite passive sounding and doesn’t fully embody the unique character of one of the longest running rivalries in college football.
There is only one creature on this planet that perfectly encapsulates the noble Duck and the common Beaver, THE PLATYPUS! We could call it the “Platypus Cup” “The Platypus Classic” or any other combination, just so long as it features this uniquely fitting creature. “The Platypus Bowl” could be a charitable option for little brother, otherwise it may be many more years until the Beavers reach a bowl game.
HISTORY OF THE PLATYPUS TROPHY
The Platypus Trophy was created by Warren Spady, who was asked to create it by the UO when he was a student, and in true undergrad fashion, he rushed to finish it before the deadline.
The Trophy itself is made from maple, it’s two-feet wide and 18 inches tall, and when Spady originally turned it in the feet were unfinished. It was awarded to the winner of the annual in-state football contest, (which in 1959 was Oregon State, who upset Oregon 15 to 7) and was regularly stolen and brought back and forth between Eugene and Corvallis.
Amid the constant platypus-napping, the trophy was lost from 1961 to 1986 until Spady, now an art teacher in Eugene, discovered it in a trophy case at Leighton pool. The trophy had been repurposed as a water polo trophy and now included a plaque with the ‘64, ‘65, ‘67, and’68 seasons engraved to celebrate Oregon’s aquatic victories over Oregon State.
The UO was unsympathetic to Spady’s pleas that it be returned to the football field until it was re-rediscovered in a closet at McArthur Court in 2005 and sports journalist John Canzano helped lead the charge to make it an official trophy once again. It was awarded to the Beavers after their 2007 victory and has been in use ever since, though not fully embraced or appreciated by the media or athletic programs.
It’s not enough to have this glorious trophy simply handed off to the winning team’s student body presidents, the Platypus needs to be on live television and awarded to the champions of this long-standing rivalry. Now more than ever, we need the Platypus!