The Texas Tech University System will return cotton's likeness to new designs of the school seal, an administrator said Thursday.

Associate Vice Chancellor Lynn Denton, the system's head of marketing, said the school will develop new designs of the school seal that include symbols representing cotton.

"We've decided that we are going to put cotton plants back into the seal," Denton said.

Alumni became alarmed earlier this week after speculation circulated the Internet that the school was downplaying the Double T logo and removing cotton from the seal.

Officials assured the Tech community that the Double T logo was in no danger of retirement but confirmed at a Wednesday news conference that there were plans to remove 10 cotton bolls crossing the school shield.

Updated and uniform school seals and shields would replace a confusing number of individual college and program logos.

The new designs were created as part of a broader marketing effort, developed over the last year and a half by firms in Lubbock, Austin and Chicago, to improve the school's national image.

The change angered many cotton farmers who graduated from Tech, including Plains Cotton Cooperative Association head Eddie Smith.

Smith was cautious about the announcement Thursday, but said it was encouraging.

"I think that's an excellent first step and then we'll just see how it develops from there," Smith said. "I think it just shows that Tech officials are, as they should be, sensitive to the alumni and the surrounding community."

Denton reported the decision after a two-hour presentation given to Steve Verett, Plains Cotton Growers Inc. executive vice president, and the John Johnson, spokesman for the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association.

Verett, a Tech alumnus, said he told administrators that the best solution would be to make minor improvements to the existing seal.

He supported the university's efforts to better market the school, and was pleased with a productive meeting, he said.

"We appreciate them being able to look at a compromise," Verett said. "It's my preference that the shield stay as it is today and still be used in their effort to move forward ."

Johnson also supported the university's re-branding efforts, but believed the best choice would be to return to the original seal.

"I advised the best way to stop the controversy is not to change the seal at all," Johnson said. "I work for 29,000 stockholders in a farmer-owned co-op, and they have not authorized me to negotiate."

The school seal was designed in 1927 and formally adopted in 1953. Ten cotton bolls representing the 10 cotton producing counties around Lubbock cross the shield.

Changes to the school shield were not part of the compromise. The new cotton image would be incorporated into the larger seal, Denton said.

The newest designs should be prepared in time for next week's Board of Regents meeting, Denton said.