Monday, May 21, 2018
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Campus Corner: Mascots have their place(s)

The Blade features periodic columns from area college students as part of our Campus Corner feature. David Morin is a doctoral student at Bowling Green State University.

School mascots are as ubiquitous as final exams and pub crawls on college campuses.

Universities depend on their mascots to fulfill many roles, including morale booster, cheerleader, and goodwill ambassador. While it's not possible to review all of the mascots in Ohio, here's a rundown of a few of the more interesting and charismatic examples:

When I hear the word “zip,” I automatically think of something I use when I put on a pair of pants.

For the University of Akron, a “zip” is not a zipper, but a kangaroo.

I don't understand the connection between a mid-sized city in Ohio and a marsupial native to Australia; nevertheless, a kangaroo has represented the University of Akron for more than 50 years.

I have no doubt that a kangaroo can be a nasty fighter when cornered, but any claim that Zippy the Kangaroo strikes fear in the hearts of opponents is dubious.

One of the most interesting mascots in the state is the Bearcat of the University of Cincinnati.

For those who think a bearcat is a result of a genetic experiment gone awry, I assure you that it is genuine creature native to rainforests of Southeast Asia. I have been told a real-life bearcat smells of popcorn and Fritos. I can't say if this is true but if it is, then it might be the greatest mascot in the nation.

A falcon may not smell like something you would eat for lunch, yet it is still a relatively fierce mascot. Although bird mascots are commonplace across the college landscape, Bowling Green State University takes the typical version a step further.

BGSU is represented not by one falcon, but two. Freddie and his sister Frieda (one of the few dual college mascots) are a staple at a wide variety of BGSU events, including football games and convocations.

Whether it be the Zips of Akron or the Falcons of BGSU, universities tend to employ anthropomorphized creatures as symbolic representations. Animals are a great choice due to their ferociousness and ability to be relatively non-offensive. Although I like the animal mascots, the idea becomes old after awhile. There can only be so many wildcats and birds of prey in college sports.

While some universities will go the traditional route, others like the University of Toledo settle on a mascot that is so random it makes the most casual fans scratch their heads in disbelief.

A rocket may not be the scariest of mascots, but it can definitely do the most damage. In a literal battle between a rocket and a kangaroo, I'd have to go with the rocket every time.

Almost all universities have a physical mascot. While most are typical (BGSU Falcons), others are more avant-garde in their design (UT Rockets).

Regardless of the type of mascot, all serve a valuable function of representing the university at sports games, alumni events, and other outreach opportunities. Respect the mascots of the Ohio universities because without them our institutions of higher learning are a bit boring.

Contact David Morin at:

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