Batman and Robin.
Jordan and Pippen.
Michael and Tito.
BYU and UVU.
No matter what efforts are taken, some relationships will always feature the shadow and the overshadowed.
The last pair still has time to even itself out, even if recent steps only appear to cement our university’s status as BYU’s little brother down the road. The most telling, and perhaps least well known, nail in the coffin is the increasing relationship between UVU and Utah Community Credit Union.
UCCU was recently awarded naming rights to the university’s basketball stadium, now dubbed the UCCU Center. With its name proudly displayed toward the I-15 and a branch stationed strategically at the center of campus, the credit union has become the financial symbol and sponsor of the university during its most important phase – the formative years of “university-hood.”
So what does this have to do with BYU? A lot more than students probably realize. Today’s generation of Wolverines are conveniently unaware that UCCU was founded and established by Cougars.
The institution began as BYU Employees’ Federal Credit Union, founded by a BYU faculty member and established in BYU’s old ROTC building. After outgrowing the Larson House and the Wilkinson Center, UCCU built a central branch in 1976 right next to Lavell Edwards Stadium.
So that was then, and this is now. They’re just with us now, right?
Not necessarily. Incredibly, BYU has been phasing out its campus-born institution in favor of wealthier, larger and more prominent companies, such as Wells Fargo and Deseret First Credit Union, both featured sponsors at football games and other sporting events. Wells Fargo now features a branch in the Wilkinson Center, ironically where BYU’s homegrown predecessor used to be.
But that hasn’t stopped UCCU from desperately clinging to its navy-blue ties.
BYU’s former institution still has its stadium branch, still sells BYU football shirts at a discounted price, and still gives away featured Cougar sports calendars while claiming to be the monetary symbol of UVU.
This internal conflict is even represented by the institution’s colors – blue and green.
What a swell arrangement for UVU. Sure, we’ll promote you like crazy while you keep sneaking back to our domineering neighbor up the street. It’s a financial version of an affair, or like a girlfriend who commits to option B while still checking up on option A.
Less tangible but more telling is what it says about the character of our university. We’re more than willing to take in BYU’s orphaned institution, which accepts our help while still going back to mom’s house for love and affection.
Already the consolation prize for rejected applicants of our neighboring university, the halls of our campus have effectively served the same role to BYU’s rejected financial institution. For a university boasting NCAA credentials and enrollment numbers that rival the University of Utah, it sure seems like UVU is selling itself short — and buying estate under BYU’s shadow in the process.