Mascot Misconceptions

David HedlindAnalyst IIJuly 10, 2009

DALLAS - JANUARY 1:  The Tennessee Volunteers mascot stands on the sideline during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies in the SBC Cotton Bowl on January 1, 2005 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.  Tennessee defeated Texas A&M 38-7.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Why is Stanford called the Cardinal but their mascot is a tree? What exactly is a Zip and what does it have to do with a kangaroo? Since when are Rams and Tarheels synonymous?

The answer is simple but always overlooked.

Team names and mascots are different.

The teams have names and in most cases the mascots reflect the name.

However, there are schools that for some reason or another have adopted a mascot that has nothing to do with the name, but that’s the thin, they don’t have to.

The next time you find yourself asking why does Tennessee have Smokey, a bluetick coonhound, as a mascot when they are the Volunteers, or what a Hilltopper is and what a Big Red Blob has to do with it, please remember that mascots don’t have to be whatever the name of the school is.

Another thing about mascots, please stop thinking that a mascot HAS to be mean or intimidating.

The definition of a mascot is any person, animal, or thing thought to bring luck.

There is no rule out there that says a mascot must be scary looking or strike fear into the opposition.

As a Duck fan I hear it a lot, “ Oh who is afraid of duck?”

Well I don’t know, I am sure there are some people out there that are. All I can really answer though, is scary or not, if a team is having success then I guess the mascot is doing their job.