I noticed on Wikipedia there's always a 'The' before 'Ohio State University' but nothing before 'Arizona State University'. My findings were mirrored by search results of a corpus that includes articles of authoritative news outlets such as CNN, The Economist, BBC.

How come the use of the definite article is inconsistent between these two state universities?

Edit: My question is different from the one re [without THE] X University vs THE University of X. My question is: why for the same pattern ie X State University, it's THE Ohio State University and [without THE] Arizona State University? Does it mean the use of 'THE' can be arbitrary and prescriptive?


Using "the" in front of an organization's name depends on each organization's official name.

OSU's official name is "the Ohio State University." http://visit.osu.edu/discover/

ASU prefers to go by "Arizona State University." https://about.asu.edu/

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  • likewise "the Ukraine" became "Ukraine" when the Soviet Union dissolved. – ShpielMeister Dec 12 '17 at 23:45

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