Most college mascots support their university in a somewhat dignified manner; and then there’s the strange world of bronzed goat heads, grinning kegs of beer and dancing trees. Of course, I’m talking about some of the most bizarre college mascots to ever root for a team from the sidelines.
Whether official or unofficial, these costumed cheerleaders serve an important purpose by providing a rallying point for school spirit. In order to salute their efforts, we present the 10 strangest college sports mascots.
Sammy the Slug – College Mascots
The official mascot of UC Santa Cruz, Sammy is a representation of a banana slug (a yellow mollusk which can be found in the nearby redwood forests). It’s said that the laid-back student body of the school disapproved of the fanatical athletic programs at other schools, so they chose a distinctively casual mascot. Of course, we’re talking about a campus that’s known for smoking pot and streaking across school grounds.
In 1980, the mascot was changed to a sea lion, but Sammy was voted back following an election in 1986. Over time, the schools administrators have come to embrace the character as much as the students, and it’s even rumored that one high-ranking official at UC Santa Cruz has portrayed Sammy at sporting events.
In 1992, the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slug was named the top mascot by both the National Directory of College Athletics and Sports Illustrated magazine. In 2004, Reader’s Digest also presented Sammy the Slug with similar honors.
Fighting Okra – Strange College Mascot
Since okra is green and comes from the South, it was adopted as the school mascot of Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. Before that, the school mascot was known as the Statesman.
The Fighting Okra has really caught on, even making a guest appearance on a Food Network show.
Geoducks – Evergreen State College Mascot
Despite the name, a geoduck has nothing to do with ducks. Instead, it is a mollusk with a long tube protruding from its shell. The largest burrowing clam in the world, nobody seems to know why this creature was selected as the mascot for Evergreen State College. Whatever the reason, it’s not a sight that you’ll soon forget.
The Geoducks mascot costume is a long-necked mollusk with a giant, shiny shell on its back. Strangely, the giant mollusk wears shorts and no shoes. The head looks like some kind of giant totem mask.
The mascot has a theme song, too. Here’s my favorite part of the song: “Siphon high, squirt it out,
swivel all about,
let it all hang out.”
Gompei the Goat – College Mascots
The mascot for Worcester Polytechnic Institute takes the form of an oversized bronzed goat head attached to a tiny goat body. The original living goat dates all the way back to 1891, when he was entrusted to Japanese student Gompei Kuwada.
When problems arose in taking care of the creature, Kuwada had the goat beheaded and mounted.
By 1928, this rather bizarre relic had become the centerpiece of a campus rivalry between the freshman and sophomore classes. The winning class would display the head in creative ways (including hanging it from a helicopter during a home football game), while the rival class would attempt to capture it for themselves.
Artichokes – Scottsdale Community College Mascot
Upset by the school’s policy of using scholarships intended for Native Americans to lure out-of-state athletes to their program, the students of Scottsdale Community College chose this name as a means of protest. The election was held in the 1970s, and the choices were artichokes, rutabagas and scoundrels. In an attempt to prevent the name from sticking, administrators declared the election results null and void, but the will of the students could not be stopped.
Keggy the Keg – 10 Strangest College Mascots
While Keggy is the unofficial mascot of Dartmouth College, he is widely accepted by the student body as the school’s true representative.
The grinning anthropomorphic beer keg was created in 2003 by two Dartmouth students who also happened to write for the campus comedy magazine, Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern. He was invented to replace the school’s Indian mascot which had been eliminated in 1971.
Since his creation, Keggy has become a fixture on the Dartmouth campus. A few years ago, he was even kidnapped by a rival university. The mascot’s creators received a ransom note and a picture of Keggy with a blackened eye (the keg’s artificial eye had been removed and replaced with a cartoonishly drawn-in black eye). After a manhunt was conducted, the mascot was eventually returned with only minor damage.
Scrotie – Rhode Island School of Design Mascot
Without a doubt, one of the strangest college sports mascots has to be Scrotie, the unofficial mascot of the Rhode Island School of Design.
The costume is unique and at the same time horrific, looking exactly like a giant penis wearing a red cape with the scrotum hanging beneath.
The school’s basketball team is known as the Balls, and their slogan is, “When the heat is on, the Balls stick together.” The hockey team is called the Nads, and their cheer is “Go Nads!” The cheerleaders for the Nads are commonly known as the “Jockstraps” (since they support the Nads). The yearly hockey game with rival college Cooper Union is known as the “Supportive Cup.”
Scrotie was created to cheer on the Nads in 2001. Despite his status as an unofficial mascot, he’s present at all the games and widely accepted by the student body. Of course, no self-respecting administration could actually approve such silliness.
Eutectic – Ten Strangest College Mascots
The scientific process of two solids being combined to form a liquid is known as an “Eutectic.” It also happens to be the name of the rather unusual mascot for the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
The Eutectic looks like a gremlin, but he�s also holding a mortar and pestle (the tools most associated with a pharmacist). To round out his bizarre look, the creature is dressed up in a white lab coat. ESPN has recognized the unusual nature of this creature, once voting The Eutectic as the most esoteric college mascot in the country.
Peter the Anteater – Cal-Irvine College Mascot
The University of California-Irvine based their mascot on the anteater character from the Johnny Hart comic strip, “B.C.” Peter made his debut in the 1960s at a water-polo game, which also happened to be their first-ever athletic event.
To the horror of some in attendance, the crowd and cheerleaders started the chant which continues to this day – “Give ‘em tongue!”
The Stanford Tree – College Mascots
While the Cardinals may be the team name of Stanford’s athletic program, the role of mascot has been up in the air for many years. Luckily, the school’s marching band eventually stepped forward and submitted The Stanford Tree. Since that time, the bizarre mascot has appeared at almost every event attended by the marching band.
While many administrators are no doubt repulsed by the sight of the large dancing tree, it could have been far worse.
In 1975, just prior to the Tree’s creation, the band tried out other mascot candidates such as the French Fry and the Steaming Manhole.
The Tree is often the center of controversy, such as the time that a female student wearing the costume was spotted sipping from a flask by police. She failed a breathalyzer test (with almost twice the legal limit) and was suspended from her Tree duties.
Her replacement was later banned from the NCAA tournament for “dancing in an undesignated area.” For the rest of the tournament, members of the marching band protested the decision by wearing foliage pinned to their uniforms and hats.