In this year’s Little 500, no men’s team will don the yellow jersey that is worn by the previous race’s winner.
Delta Tau Delta, which won its second Little 500 since 2012 last year, had its fraternity charter revoked earlier in the year and can no longer ride under the Delta Tau Delta name.
Although the name went away, the riders did not. The former members of Delta Tau Delta still planned on riding in Little 500.
Some were contacted by independent teams looking to bring a member of the reigning champions to their team, but all five returning Delta Tau Delta riders decided to stick together.
Senior Aaron Zollman said he returned early from winter break for training not knowing that Delta Tau Delta was in trouble.
After the charter was revoked, Zollman said he was contacted by seven teams to see if he would be interested in riding for them.
The riders insisted on staying together as one team. But one issue remained: They needed a name.
“We had a huge meeting in the bike room and discussed possible names,” Zollman said. “We chose JETBLACH to keep support within the house and with alumni.”
Each letter in JETBLACH comes from the names of the national founding fathers of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
Junior Jack Moore said it was important to keep a connection to the team’s past when deciding on the new name. He said wasn’t too worried about the name though because it is the people that matter. Despite the new name, Moore said the team’s attitude is the same.
“I don’t think our team identity has changed at all,” Moore said. “It’s definitely tough when you literally get evicted from a house, but we roll with the punches and do what we have to do.”
Although the transition of moving out of the house has been difficult, Moore credited the team’s chemistry for making it easier.
“We get along really well and that’s definitely helped our transition,” Moore said. “I love this team so much. They’re all great guys, great friends, and great bikers too.”
As for the future of the team, Moore said things are still up in the air, but the team will return four riders next year. He said he hopes the house wins its appeal but the team will continue under the name JETBLACH until Delta Tau Delta returns to campus.
“If you get new members to the team it can lose the fraternity aspect,” Moore said. “It would just be a bike team with acknowledgment that we were formerly Delta Tau Delta. It would run how any independent team operates.”
When it comes to the race, Zollman said the team will execute the same plan that it does every year with the goal to win. Moore said the team has done an excellent job staying focused on what really matters.
“All I care about is winning the race,” Moore said. “I don’t care what other people think about the team or think about me personally. There’s just one thing that matters to this team – going out on race day and showing what we got.”
Although Moore and his teammates won’t be riding under the Delta Tau Delta name, he has not forgotten who he is riding for.
“I’m putting the spirits of 150 brothers on my back,” Moore said. “I want to go out there and win the race for them. We want to go out there and prove that we still are a great bike team and house.”
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