By Joe Matheson
ANN ARBOR, MICH. - Not to be outdone by their arch-rival Ohio State trademarking the word "The" last week, the University of Michigan announced that they have successfully trademarked the word "An".
University officials said in a statement on Monday that claiming ownership of a word in the English language was always part of their future marketing strategy, independent of Ohio State's more publicized takeover of a popular word.
"'An' has always been a part of our university culture," claims athletic director Warde Manuel, " at least, it's a much better article to describe us. 'The' was taken, and 'A' made us look like 'A University of Michigan' and we didn't want that mockery. So 'An' was a natural choice."
Coach Jim Harbaugh called the decision to trademark 'An' unusual but part of the dynamic landscape of D1 collegiate sports.
"For most of the 21st century, Ohio State has owned us on the football field, but we need to make sure that we can position ourselves with the team down south in the English-article-owning game. Just like with the introduction of NIL, the college sports world is ever-changing, and we need to make sure that we've chosen the best word to trademark to position ourselves for the future."
He did say he was a bit perplexed by the word they chose. "We've had 'an' appearance in the College Football Playoff last year, so maybe they're referencing that, I don't know."
University officials have stated that the ownership of the word 'An' is nothing related to the town of Ann Arbor, where the university is located. Despite this, Ann Arbor mayor Christopher Taylor has expressed interest in changing the name of the town to 'An Arbor' in an effort to express solidarity with the university's decision.
When asked about merchandise, Manuel scoffed. "Who the hell would want a shirt that just had 'An' written on it? Like seriously, a single word with less than four letters? That's pretty dumb."