Oh, college. The best of times for fun, worst of times for wallets and bank accounts, and high times for showing your best competitive spirit. Here’s our take on the 5 most ridiculous college mascots:
1. UC Santa Cruz Sammy the Banana Slug
When did any sort of slug become remotely appealing? We can’t figure out why anyone would willingly climb into a slug costume, but the philosophy behind the choice of mascot is a display of good sportsmanship. Instead of responding to the ferocity of college athletic games with the same aggression they were met with, students at UCSC voted to adopt the banana slug as their mascot to represent their acceptance of being the underdog some of the time.
So Sammy the Slug was born, and even though most people wouldn’t think of peace when they hear the word slug, Sammy’s cheery face was enough of a peace offering to make the majority of the student body vote in his favor against a sea lion as the official school mascot. But just because Sammy roots for peace doesn’t mean he doesn’t like to win—the banana slug has no known predators, so it represents UCSC’s undefeatable team spirit.
2. Evergreen State Speedy the Geoduck
Geoduck is a pretty misleading name for something that isn’t a duck or doesn’t even remotely resemble a duck. Instead of a cute webbed water bird, a geoduck is a cross between a clam and slug. Because the geoduck – which is pronounced gooey-duck— is native to the pacific area, it seemed fitting for Evergreen State to crown it their mascot.
I can’t really say I understand what the artists behind the school mascots were thinking when they designed it, because it doesn’t quite resemble an actual geoduck – it looks more like a pickle wedged between two knight’s shields. However, the geoduck has a life expectancy of up to 150 years, so Evergreen’s state mascot will outlive its competition by a landslide.
3. University of Arkansas Boll Weevil
It’s extremely confusing why a school would depend on a cotton-eating, unattractive pest to rally school spirit, but the University of Arkansas has somehow found it productive. The real punch line comes from the women’s team , which is named the cotton blossoms, which I can only imagine implies that the boll weevils aim to trump the cotton blossoms.
Although its real life counterpart is quite ugly, there’s an endearing and creepy quality about the green mascot. The idea for the boll weevil mascot came from its ability to destroy the south through cotton plants despite the insects unremarkable size.
4. Southern Illinois Salukis
This one makes the list because it just looks creepy. If you’ve ever seen a Saluki or Persian greyhound dog, you’ll understand what I mean when I say this looks nothing like it. Sure it’s got the ears that resemble long hair down, but instead of looking even remotely friendly, it looks devious enough to literally devour competition.
Although the mascot has evolved to be significantly less creepy over the years, it’s ferocious look speaks to the Saluki dog’s history of being used as hunting dogs. Illinois is sometimes referred to as Little Egypt, so the world’s oldest known breed of dog seemed fitting as mascot for this university.
5. Wichita State University WuShock
Unless the opposing team is thoroughly familiar with the history of Wichita State University, they’ll probably have no clue what the heck the WU mascot is supposed to be. Inspired by the wheat shocking process that surrounds the campus at harvest time, the name literally comes from Wichita University Shock.
WuShock is a bit of an unusual mascot in that unlike most college mascots, he doesn’t take after an animal. Instead, he’s a huge, angry-looking bushel of wheat that’s ready to rally up school spirit. Through the years, he’s been the butt of many college mascot jokes, has been kicked out of games for taking the angry bushel too literally, and has been kidnapped.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Wayne Gordon is a career counselor and guest author at College Degree Search, where he contributed to 10 Champion Boxers You’d Never Guess Had College Degrees.