What's in a name? At the University of Akron (I hope I got that right!) a new name has become a sometime-thing as President Scott Scarborough keeps shuffling his deck to find an ace in the hole.
He first said months ago that he wanted to end all rumors that there would be a change, thereby retaining University of Akron. That, of course , would solidify UA's grip on its heritage as an urban university in a city named Akron.
We then saw frequent references to UA as "Ohio's Polytechnic University" and then Ohio Polytechnic Institute as Team Scarborough mobilized to keep the school current.
But the Plain Dealer led off an update a few days ago that began, "The University of Akron may currently be 'Ohio's Polytechnic University' but its president hasn't shelved the idea of changing its name."
The paper reported that the school's reach had exceeded the grasp of many prospective students.
"While the University of Akron means something to those in Summit and the five contiguous counties, that brand falls off really dramatically outside the area,'' Scarborough told the paper.
How did it he know that? The school paid a Virginia consultant around $900,000 for a recruiting study that the add-on "polytechnic" may not be enough as a fetching brand for new students.
Ever since he arrived at the downtown campus, Scarborough has run the school as the Indy 500 on an unpaved back-country road. The name-change thing is only one of his initiatives that has misfired.
Yes, it may seem mean-spirited to denounce his mistake-prone leadership so far. But for a CEO who is paid more than $600,000 in base pay, perks and bonuses shouldn't we expect more from his leadership with a five year contract that provides comfortable quarters in the president's home for his relatives as well as a guarantee that his six year old daughter will be able to attend any university in Ohio some day with UA paying the tuition? Bizarre.
Yes, we should expect more.