PLANS to name an American university after Oxford have been abandoned.
The owner of Oxford City FC has changed the name of his planned Florida site after Oxford University began looking at the issue of naming rights.
Thomas Guerriero – whose team is embroiled in a relegation dogfight in the Skrill North league – said he did not want distractions as he pushes ahead with his Florida scheme.
What had been called Oxford City University is now called City Institute of Technology (CIT).
But Mr Guerriero says it will not affect his long-term plans for the institution.
He has also revealed ideas to open a new campus in Oxford for CIT – although he was unable to offer details of the scheme.
The Wall Street businessman told the Oxford Mail: “They [people in Oxford] are getting their panties in a bunch because a gentleman in Florida wants to open an institution.
“We changed it to avoid any type of thing that could be considered a distraction to our business model. A name is a name – we still have ‘City’ in there, which is the relation to Oxford City.
“We would rather talk about how excited we are about the projects we’re working on rather than the name, which is irrelevant.”
After the news, Oxford University spokesman Matt Pickles last night said it was monitoring the situation.
Father-of-three Mr Guerriero, 37, took control of Oxford City and the old Oxford Hoops basketball team last year and has vowed to turn them into a “world-class” sporting institution.
The Oxford Mail asked him what his plans for a new campus would include, but he could offer no details.
Mr Guerriero said: “It’s early on. I have an office in Florida but all of our sports teams are in Oxford. It makes sense that if we had a second campus it would be in Oxford. It’s on our wish list.”
The former Staten Island Vipers goalkeeper wants to combine his Oxford City football and basketball clubs with CIT to provide higher education for athletes.
“As a former athlete myself, I see so many athletes who don’t have the experience in work,” he said.
“Let’s prepare them for the real world, because when you look back at 80 years old, your playing days are just a dot on the map of your life.”
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “I obviously welcome anyone with ambition who wants to invest in Oxford education or sport but, as ever in Oxford, the big challenge is finding suitable sites and accommodation for students.
“I would encourage him to have discussions with Oxford City Council.
“Let’s hope Oxford City can stay up and don’t get sucked further into the relegation battle.”