Taking a look at the strangest college mascots

We apologize in advance for having to introduce you to Scrotie and Speedy

The St. Louis Billiken glares menacingly at the camera during a St. Louis men’s basketball game. The Billiken is supposed to be a good-luck figure, but instead has likely been responsible for a number of nightmares as mascot.

When there isn’t a global pandemic going on, college students and sports fanatics across the country rooting for their favorite teams are assisted by an often fuzzy mascot. Some universities have stranger mascots than others.

University of California Santa Cruz: Sammy the Banana Slug

The smiling Sammy the Banana Slug is as good a place to start as any, and I have to say that I’m upset that banana slugs have not shown up more in my life. USSC brought on the slimy yellow mollusk as its mascot in 1981 and was affirmed by a student referendum in 1986. It’d be really cool if the mascot uniform was banana-scented, but Newswire’s budget can’t afford to fly me out so I can check.

Evergreen State College: Speedy the Geoduck

On the west coast, Evergreen State College has kept up the obscure mollusk mascot trend with Speedy the Geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck). Geoducks are a type of burrowing clam native to rocky coasts that weird me out a lot. Evergreen’s website shares that the reasoning for choosing this odd mascot was to highlight “the difference between traditional schools and Evergreen’s innovative ideas.” To me that translates as “they wanted to seem cool,” and honestly, I don’t think they accomplished that.

Saint Louis University: The Billiken

The white cartoon creature representing Saint Louis University is strange enough to warrant its own section in the university’s FAQ section, which explains that “The Billiken is a mythical good-­luck figure who represents ‘things as they ought to be,’” and was created by a Missouri art teacher in 1908. 

When looking at the mascot that dances around at games it would seem that the Billiken is some sort of Tasmanian Devil-esque being, but a statue outside of the university’s arena suggests that this creature is humanoid. If I’ve learned anything about America, I’ve been taught to fear that this creature’s features are at least somewhat racialized.

Rhode Island School of Design: Scrotie

I hesitated to believe that Scrotie was a mascot the first time I heard of it and waited for proof to be provided  until I searched for it on my own computer. But indeed, art schools can get away with practically anything. Scrotie originated in 2001 and has since offered ample opportunities for euphemistic school cheers and headlines featuring the mascot. 

Xavier University: The Blue Blob

Guys, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our mascot is a “blob.” I wouldn’t want to waste time travel or powers of invisibility on anything too mundane, but if given the opportunity I would love to have been at the meeting where someone on our university’s marketing committee really came out and said “Hey, why don’t we just have a blue, formless creature represent our D1 basketball team?” to which the response was “Yes. Let’s give this creature fur, a really long tongue, and have it do somersaults alongside the court.”