March 8, 2006
Florida State University adopted a policy last week that will mean flames will lap more frequently from the spear of the "Unconquered" statue recognizing events of great significance and accomplishment on the FSU campus. The expanded tradition will begin on Monday, March 13, at 8:30 p.m. when the spear will be lit in recognition of the anticipated selection of FSU's women's basketball team to the NCAA Tournament field.
"We are excited that this tradition will expand to highlight the very highest accomplishments and events associated not only with athletics but with our university as a whole," said Director of Athletics Dave Hart. "Kicking it off with basketball is especially appropriate because our fans are anxious to celebrate the accomplishments of our teams. Our hope is that when people see the flame burning they will immediately associate it with the fact that something truly outstanding has happened on our campus."
Unconquered, a 31-foot high sculpture that depicts a spear-brandishing Seminole astride a rearing horse, was designed by Fritz White to capture the indomitable spirit of the Seminole people and those who have adopted that spirit as a symbol for their university. The sculpture sits on Williams Plaza at Langford Green just south of Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium.
Since its dedication in 2003, the spear has been set ablaze at sunset before FSU home football games only and it burns until sunrise the morning after the game. The new policy means the spear will be lit when FSU wins an Atlantic Coast Conference team championship in any sport, or an NCAA individual championship in any sport. In addition, the spear would be lit the night an FSU team is selected for NCAA Championship competition and will burn for 24 hours. For any sport in which the NCAA does not select full teams (currently swimming and track and field), the spear will be lit if five or more Florida State individuals qualify to compete. For sports with preliminary and final rounds of NCAA championships, if the team advances to the final site (i.e.: Final Four, College Cup, College World Series), the spear will be lit again to recognize the achievement.
The spear may also be lit to recognize the winning of a "National Player of the Year" award in any sport (i.e. Heisman Trophy, Rhodes Scholarship).
The new policy will also allow the spear to be lit on the night of graduations and convocations, along with other special occasions as approved by the President.
"It is important that the Seminole unconquered spirit permeates throughout all of Florida State's programs and functions," said FSU President Dr. T.K. Wetherell.
FSU women's basketball team will watch the NCAA basketball tournament selection show in a ballroom in the University Center and will make their way to the statue at 8:30 p.m. following a media interview session.