What Are Some Popular NCAA Mascots?


Quick Answer

Some popular NCAA mascots include the Penn State Nittany Lion, Otto the Orange of Syracuse University and Michigan State's Sparty. Mascots entertain audiences and get people excited during sporting events.

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Full Answer

The Penn State Nittany Lion came about when one of the school's baseball players saw a statue of a Bengal tiger on the Princeton campus. The player, Harrison D. Mason, immediately came up with the idea of the Nittany Lion, a mountain lion that could supposedly overcome Princeton's fierce tiger.

Otto the Orange debuted after Syracuse University used several different mascots. The first mascot was the Saltine Warrior, a character modeled after an Onondagan chief whose remains were supposedly found during an excavation project on the school's grounds. Members of an on-campus Native American organization protested, with one student calling the mascot's behavior "derogatory." The school decided to stop using the Saltine Warrior as a mascot in the 1970s, but Otto was not named the official mascot until 1995.

Michigan State's Sparty first appeared in 1989. The costume features a vinyl breastplate, Spartan helmet and bulging muscles. The face also has a prominent chin. Students who dress up as Sparty must be between 5 foot 10 and 6 foot 2 inches tall because the costume is 7 feet high.

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