It started several years ago with some Michigan fans, including a couple radio talk-show hosts in the Detroit area, referring to Michigan State simply as “Sparty.”
Not Spartans, not MSU, not Michigan State.
In a way, it was harmless. Sparty, after all, is Michigan State’s popular mascot.
But the intent, at least by some, clearly was derogatory in nature.
Since that time, it’s become more and more widespread, even among national TV analysts, to use the term “Sparty” rather than Spartans. To many who use it, there’s nothing negative intended at all, just a cute little pet name.
To athletic director Mark Hollis, though, it’s a pet peeve. Hollis, a Michigan State alum, sent out the following message on Twitter Tuesday afternoon:
“With Tourn. time arriving, a reminder that its Michigan State Spartans. We are the Spartans, Sparty is our mascot.”
Hollis included hash tags for five television networks that carry postseason games, including CBS, TNT, TBS, Tru and ESPN.