USC And UCLA To Compete Annually For Lexus Gauntlet
Sept. 18, 2001
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The USC-UCLA rivalry is the only intercollegiate rivalry of its magnitude in collegiate athletics. The schools, which have competed against each other since the 1920s, claim two of the most successful athletic programs in the nation - but never before have the Bruins and Trojans competed for an overall title. Never before has the city of Los Angeles really determined who is No. 1.
Whenever UCLA and USC meet in competition from now on, not only will city bragging rights be up for grabs in a single sport, but these crosstown rivals will now compete for the Lexus Gauntlet, a trophy which will be awarded annually to the University with the most successful athletic year against the other. The Southern California Lexus Dealer Association will be the title sponsor of every USC-UCLA athletic competition.
This unique program will award points for the winner of each Bruin-Trojan head-to-head contest and the Lexus Gauntlet will be awarded to the school with the most points at year's end.
The Lexus Gauntlet was chosen as the rivalry theme between the two Universities due to its powerful declaration of challenge. In medieval times, when one Knight wished to challenge another Knight to a duel, he would take off his armored glove, called a "gauntlet," and throw it to the ground. If it was picked up by the other Knight, the two would engage in battle. The term "throwing down the gauntlet" has since come to represent the ultimate challenge to battle. And there is no other intercollegiate battle grander than that of USC versus UCLA.
This is the first time the two Universities have partnered with a corporate entity for complete rivalry sponsorship. The schools signed a four-year contract of undisclosed terms with Lexus, America's best-selling luxury automotive manufacturer. In return, the Southern California Lexus Dealer Association will receive radio spots, signage, display and promotional opportunities, hospitality and event tickets.
"It all comes down to passion," said Dan Davidson, Chairman of the Southern California Lexus Dealer Association. "Lexus has a passionate pursuit of perfection in terms of customer satisfaction and the cars we sell. And when it comes to rivalries, they don't get much more passionate than the one between these two great schools. We can relate, so this partnership is a natural for Lexus. We couldn't be more thrilled to support these two prestigious and dedicated Southern California universities."
Said UCLA Athletic Director Peter Dalis: "Although there are a number of other marquee rivalries currently sponsored, such as the Civil War in Oregon and Texas versus Oklahoma, this is breaking new ground for the Bruins and Trojans on a variety of fronts. Each and every time the two schools meet in any sport, Lexus will have a significant and measurable presence.
"Both USC and UCLA had been approached in the past by companies interested in sponsoring this rivalry," said USC athletic director Mike Garrett. "But Lexus fits the stature and reputation that this rivalry has in terms of quality and class. We could not have found a better partner or come up with a more compelling all-sport barometer."
The pursuit of the Lexus Gauntlet will add significant flavor to each and every Bruin-Trojan competition in 18 total sports - Baseball, Football, Men's and Women's Basketball, Men's and Women's Golf, Men's and Women's Tennis, Men's and Women's Track & Field, Men's and Women's Volleyball, Men's and Women's Water Polo, Women's Cross Country, Women's Rowing, Women's Soccer and Women's Swimming.
The two schools will kick off the 2001 competition this Friday, Sept. 21, as the USC women's volleyball team hosts the UCLA Bruins at 7 p.m. in the Lyon Center located on the USC campus.