Education

Does Your College Really Need a Large, Foam, Third-Gender Mascot? Or Any Mascot at All?

Rutgers University is looking for more diverse mascots to represent its mediocre sports teams. Can you make the cut?

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As a proud graduate (Class of '85!) of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and Milton Friedman's alma mater, I keep tabs on the school's generally disappointing sports teams. Reader Jimmy sent me this story about the school's sad-sack mascot, the Scarlet Knight, with a note reading, "I thought you might want to be sick after lunch. Kind regards…"

Indeed. It turns out the oversized, foam-head Scarlet Knight is unbearably male and caucasian in his gender, features, and skin hue. From the school's newspaper, The Daily Targum (where I cut my teeth as a book reviewer, arts writer, and substance abuser):

The Rutgers University Student Assembly recently passed a bill intended to support ethnic and gender diversity by adding multiple Scarlet Knights that could be black, Latino, Asian, female or third gender in addition to the existing Caucasian Scarlet Knight, said Emmet Brennan, student assembly parliamentarian.

"What we were thinking — the way the bill's laid out — it's not defined that we need an Asian knight, a black knight, a Latino knight," said Brennan, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences first-year student. "That we would really leave it up to the different student organizations … and basically the student body as a whole to determine how many knights they'd like and what these knights would represent."

Brennan said he founded the idea behind the bill working as a press box server at a football game, where he noticed the mascot had blue eyes and light skin.

"This does not seem right," Brennan said. "Our mascot does not represent how diverse we are as a school."

Before we get too lost in the weeds, let's agree that not only is the Kabuki-style Scarlet Knight mascot poor in execution but in concept. Why scarlet rather than red? Why a knight, especially for a state school in New Jersey, a place not typically associated with nobility? Until the mid-1950s (and back when the school was still all-male), the mascot was a "Chanticleer," essentially an oversized rooster, so it's not like the place has ever been brimming over with great ideas….

But there I go, wading into the weeds…. As much as I would love to see Rutgers be represented by the first "third gender" mascot in Division I (well maybe the second, if the chromosone test on the St. Louis University Billiken proves what we all figure is true), I would much rather see Rutgers distinguish itself by killing its ridiculously gigantic subidizing of its athletics programs. Come on, RU, be the first flagship state research university to just say, Fuck it—we're actually going to focus on research and learning.

As USA Today tallies things (based on public information that state schools must make available), students and New Jersey taxpayers subsidize fully 60 percent of the amount of money Rutgers spends on its athletic department and sports programs. The subsidy alone is about $47 million a year that could either be going to actual academic pursuits or just not being spent at all, thereby lessening the load on the people paying for the university. Go here for a list of how much universities spend on sports teams above and beyond what they take in via ticket sales, TV contracts, and the like. Despite what you hear, exceptionally few schools have teams that cover their own costs, much less kick money into the general revenue till. (The list doesn't cover private universities, as they aren't required to make the necessary documents public.)

Years ago, Milton Friedman joined a bunch of Rutgers faculty and alum who called for either ending the school's sports teams altogether or de-emphasizing them. Yes, a thousand time yes, to that. As the NCAA itself has found, there is no evidence of long-lasting connection between a college's sports programs and the quality or quantity of its applicant pool or its academic reputation (think M.I.T., Caltech, and University of Chicago, among others). Schools ultimately prosper by having excellent faculty who attract excellent students.

I love watching college sports but they have nothing to do with the primary mission of any university, which is the production of knowledge and, to a lesser but still important degree, the education of the young. But if Rutgers—or any other college for that matter—really wants to do something to represent its student body, the first, best thing they can do is get rid of the reason for mascots rather than multiply their races and genders.

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  1. Third gender? Like what? I don’t get it; after all, a “transgender” is not a separate gender but rather someone who believes that they are transitioning from one gender to another. Are they talking about hermaphrodites? Yeesh, what would such a mascot look like?

    1. Jamie Lee Curtis?

        1. Russel Brand?

      1. When younger, I could handle her as a transgender, she’d pass the boner test.

    2. Miley Cyrus?

    3. There. . .are. . .two sexes!

      1. Aye, but these are university students we are talking about. In other words, people divorced from reality.

      2. But as I have learned from years of working with various kinds of electrical and RF interconnects, there are more than just 2 genders.

        1. The whole thing is nonsense. The fact is that there are 7 billion variations on the human theme. Relish that kind of diversity, not false group classifications that serve more political then real purpose. If you want to dress like a woman and sleep with your toaster, go for it.

          1. Yeah, pretty much that.

            I think it is funny (and sad) when you hear people say “judge me for who I am, not what I am” and then go ahead and base their identity on some characteristic like race or unusual gender identity.

            People just love putting themselves into pointless categories. What did Kurt Vonnegut call it in Cat’s Cradle? Granfaloons I think.

            1. I really don’t get it taken to those extremes, but that sort of emotional need to belong to a group is obviously hardwired into us. Yet the only real perspective in the universe is the individual one (leaving aside for the moment truly collective consciousnesses, like the Borg and SugarFree). Only an individual feels pain, joy, perception from his/her/its perspective, etc.

              1. I think part of it is that people also seem to be hardwired to look for order everywhere and to find it where none exists.

                1. I guess the fact of the matter is that we have deep programming that serves us well in many situations, but not all of them. And I don’t think we’re wired for change, which we’re getting a lot of the last five hundred years.

          2. If you want to dress like a woman and sleep with your toaster, go for it.

            Just make sure to unplug the toaster before sticking your cock in it. Otherwise things might get alittle “toasty”.

              1. Its not love if it doesn’t burn

    4. Are they talking about hermaphrodites? Yeesh, what would such a mascot look like?

      Sammy the slug?

    5. Eunuchs?

      I think the 4th and 5th genders must be feeling pretty shat upon right now.

    6. Thai lady-boy hookers?

    7. If Gender is a social construct, are there not limitless Genders?

      I got this impression from someone’s description of Tumblr, where I believe the term “genderqueer-polysexual” is often employed.

      1. ‘genderqueer-polysexual”

        Is that made by DuPont?

  2. Schools ultimately prosper by having excellent faculty who attract excellent students.

    And every school should ultimately be in the top 10% in that regard.

    I love watching college sports but they have nothing to do with the primary mission of any university, which is the production of knowledge and, to a lesser but still important degree, the education of the young

    How quaint.

    The modern primary mission of universities is the propagation of progressive values, with a secondary mission of employing progressive acolytes. Providing a relevant education to students is a distant third at best.

  3. Until the mid-1950s (and back when the school was still all-male), the mascot was a “Chanticleer,” essentially an oversized rooster

    Actually I think a great way to get away from your schools sickening cishet male-dominated history would be to have the mascot be a big cock.

    …there is no evidence of long-lasting connection between a college’s sports programs and the quality or quantity of its applicant pool or its academic reputation (think M.I.T., …

    MIT Football: PERFECT SEASON, BITCHES.

    (Perfect regular season. Which is sort of what we celebrate up here. Fuck you, Tyree).

    1. Hell, even MIT tries to sell their sports. I was actually recruited to play soccer there, even though they were only aspiring to turn their club into a real D3 team.

  4. The BIG SIXTEEN wouldn’t miss RU, that’s for sure. Especially the East. We already schedule patsies in the non-conference schedule. Having an additional one that you HAVE to play just sucks.

    Though I guess it worked out for Ohio State in the end…

    1. You’re right. Those patsies from Alabama and Oregon proved to be jack shit for our third-string QB.

      1. Third string qb. 🙂

      2. Yes, I do suppose we have ammo for approximately forever for that little tidbit.

      3. Ohio st, national champs, 8th in the ACC coastal.

  5. I mean i guess this would make sense for a different mascot, but knights pretty much only existed in europe, were basically all white europeans, and were definitely all men

    So basically taking a historically accurate mascot and now it won’t make any sense

    I would be pretty pissed if my school did this, our mascot is the Spartans (not michigan state) who were, by definition, all greek (essentially white), and were all men

    1. Wouldn’t “Spartans” probably cover the gay thing? It’s incomprehensible to think there were no gay Spartans.

      1. It’s not gay. It’s just showing a dude some respect.

    2. Did historical european knights also have gigantic heads and foam armor?

    3. At Florida, there’s already Albert the Alligator, along with his female mascot counterpart, Alberta. I suppose they’ll be adding gay, ethnic, Muslim, hipster, and other needless variations on Alligator mississippiensis.

      1. I would actually love to see what a gay ethnic muslim hipster alligator looks like

        1. FABULOUS

    4. So there were no female Spartans? How did they breed?

      1. Zeus. He was a very busy god. Very busy.

  6. What about Green Man?*

    Or Green “Person”, although seeing a fat girl’s unstrapped titties and gut sliding around under that spandex might be enough to make people vomit.

  7. multiple Scarlet Knights that could be black, Latino, Asian, female or third gender

    This whole mascot fluidity is awesome! I am very much looking forward to a female Asian Osceola riding Renegade out to impale the FSU 50-yard line with a flaming tampon.

  8. “Despite what you hear, exceptionally few schools have teams that cover their own costs, much less kick money into the general revenue till.”

    I think this is a bit narrow-minded. Successful sports teams are part of the way these colleges get donors to donate.

    1. How do you explain the University of Akron (their men’s soccer team notwithstanding)?

      They do have the best mascot ever, though: Zippy the Kangaroo. Everyone loves her, and she actually won that Capital One mascot challenge one year.

    2. Although I agree with Nick here about the superfluity of college sports, I also agree with Adam that the primary function of college sports at the big sports universities is to generate donations, which are, these days, a major source of funding for universities in general.

  9. My alma mater’s mascot is the Anteater. I suspect that the nose of the anteater is too phallic and could trigger those who either resent having a penis or covet one for themselves. Or had bad sex the night before and are in the process of convincing themselves it was rape.

    1. Venus Fly Trap—think about it.

  10. You know who else was into blue-eyed white people playing sports?

    1. The Gamesters of Triskelion?

    2. Every NASCAR fan ever?

  11. Wouldn’t an Asian knight be a Samurai ?

    1. A Japanese one, anyway. Asia’s a big place.

      Seems like there must have been some European style knights from the Levant at some point. That’s Asian too.

  12. I love watching college sports but they have nothing to do with the primary mission of any university

    Now that’s quaint. I fucking hate college sports and even I can name a dozen schools off the top of my head where sports IS the primary mission. Why? Because people love watching it – beyond all reason. What do you want – Europe? Where sports are played at independent clubs? How gay.

    1. sports at independent clubs instead of taxpayer-subsidized money pits! oh,the horror

      1. Nonsense. Europe has plenty of those as well.

  13. Despite what you hear, exceptionally few schools have teams that cover their own costs

    Thanks, Title IX!

  14. “I love watching college sports but they have nothing to do with the primary mission of any university”

    And ? There’s a whole bunch of shit schools do that don’t fit their “primary mission”

    1. we should end that, too.

    2. The mission of the university (to loosely paraphrase Clark Kerr) is “parking for the faculty, sex for the students, and athletics for the alumni.”

      http://www.berkeley.edu/news/m…..kerr.shtml

      1. i dont have a problem with any of that except the part where other people have to pay for it. make students pay for their own education & theyre welcome to do whatever they want

    3. There’s a whole bunch of shit schools do that don’t fit their “primary mission”

      See also: the entire MAC in football.

      1. I have a friend who is a degenerate gambler. His “expertise” is MAC football and Mountain West football. He has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tried to get him to focus on B1G, but he thinks he’s so smart. Oh well.

        1. How the hell is he not homeless?

          1. He’s a CPA and a consultant. I’m not sure what his hourly fee is, but i’d guess he charges $800+. I love going to Vegas with him, we always get vip first class treatment at the sports books. But yes, it is unsettling to watch a man lose $30k on an Akron vs. Toledo football game.

  15. Animal mascots would seem to be a good answer if you want to get rid of complaints like this.

    Though I am sure people will still be able to find something to be offended about.

    1. + PETA

      1. You’re stripping the noble cardinal of their dignity!

        1. Cardinals were already stripped of their dignity when they became associated with all those straight, white, cis-male, kiddy-diddling Papists

  16. @Popehat ? 44m 44 minutes ago
    Lindsey Graham entering GOP field, to cheers of Republicans who want John McCain without that courage and heroism.

    1. …and without the rugged good looks.

    2. He needs to practice his “you damn kids get off my lawn!” snarl.

  17. a Large, Foam, Third-Gender Mascot

    So – SugarFree.

    Why do you guys hate SugarFree?

    1. Ahem. Episiarch has the ambiguous genitalia.

  18. The dumbest kids at U of C were always the athletes. It always pissed me off that even though there were no athletic scholarships (DIII), those retards took some other deserving kids’ spots. Of course, they were pretty helpful for bringing down the curve, probably the only reason I managed a B+ in O-Chem.

  19. NEW PAGE FORMATTING SUCKS ASS!!!11!!! Seriously Reason, drop this Cloudfront bullshit and get your own servers. It has been nothing but suck around here for weeks – defaulting to the mobile version or logging me out when I switch tabs, and now the pages all look like the layout was done by Fisher Price.

    1. I knew Fisher Price.
      Fisher Price was a friend of mine.
      And you, Reason, are no Fisher Price!

  20. We should bring back the draft so that college students can have some actual injustice to protest against.

    1. And start a new war somewhere in southeast asia. Protesting the draft is no fun without the real threat of being shipped off to die from mosquito bites and/or a raging case of syphilis.

  21. How do big schools lose money on their athletic programs? They have free players. The NFL makes billions.

    1. Because the five women’s programs that the university has to have to have scholarship equity with the football team’s 85 schollies are a giant money pit.

    2. As a rule of thumb most schools make money on football and men’s basketball. Everything else is a money sink. I know, it’s so shocking that no one wants to watch women’s badminton. As someone else pointed out above: blame Title IX.

      1. “t’s so shocking that no one wants to watch women’s badminton”

        SPEAK FOR YOURSELF
        /concerned upskirt fetishist

  22. Until the mid-1950s (and back when the school was still all-male), the mascot was a “Chanticleer,” essentially an oversized rooster

    At least a giant cock for an all male university makes sense.

  23. “As much as I would love to see Rutgers be represented by the first “third gender” mascot in Division I…”

    Serious question: Why?

    1. The Jacket has certain kinks that humans cannot understand.

      Also, it would be funny.

      1. “The Jacket has certain kinks that humans cannot understand.”

        Tell us more.

    2. For the lulz?

  24. Apparently Bo has a soul mate in Brennen. Getting OCD over things that do not matter much at all.

  25. A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall.

    Vince Lombardi

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  27. Coastal Carolina is still the Chanticleers.

    My own alma mater is the ultimate in anti-PC mascots (now that all the Indian names are gone besides Seminoles) – the Cavaliers. Nothing says priviledge like rich, white, male royalists.

    1. Wahoo-wa

      although, ‘Commodore’ isn’t half bad from the POV of privileged rich whitey.

  28. how about a mascot for Bhor’s model for the atom? or maybe a different element every game?, they might actually learn something while they sit there being entertained by balls being thrown in the air like a bunch of retards

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  30. Aren’t these the same people who’ve been demanding that minorities NOT be used as mascots?

    1. *spits on monitor*

  31. I went to the University of North Texas, where the football team and the mascot (an Green Eagle…I think) were just ornaments to justify having and awesome Marching Band.

  32. And to raise this issue at least one more level, why do cities have to subsidize BILLIONAIRE team owners by providing them with multi-billion dollar sports complexes that are PAID FOR and MAINTAINED with taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars?

  33. Its funny how its the fact that hes MALE and WHITE which offends them, and not the fact that he represents an armed murderer for hire of a historically genocidal, unelected monarchy. Why, theres no telling how many innocent Arab children the Scarlet Knight might have brutally massacred during the Crusades!

  34. What Rutgers really needs is an Athletic Training program. The University has every potential to do this and to design a world-class program. It would be a win-win-win approach to achieving real results: great for the teams, great for the students and great for the University.

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