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The 10 Worst College Mascots

Some mascots are a natural fit like Mr. Peanut, the Kool-Aid Man, or the Notre Dame Leprechaun. For every gem, however, there is a mascot so foul, so unbelievably ugly, it’s shocking to think someone sewed together their costume and thought it was a good idea.

Here are ten of the worst mascots of all time! 

The Stanford Tree

This scary tree has a long history as the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band’s mascot. The band performs at Stanford, and “The Tree” was a popular song and dance they did during half-time at football and basketball games. Weirdly enough, the team name is “The Cardinals,” but the school didn’t think of doing a Cardinal as their mascot. Go figure.

Stanford Tree tryouts. Do you have what it takes? I hope not.

For those who want to wear the tree, they have to go through an audition to impress a selection committee, sometimes resulting in serious injury. Maybe they should just yell “timber” on this one and call it a day?

The Wichita State ‘WuShock’

Sorry Dorothy, looks like we are in Kansas this time around. You can tell by the wheat-inspired Wichita State mascot, WuShock, or Wu for short. Shocking, or the harvesting of wheat, is a common activity in Kansas. Now known just as the “shockers”, the school has used this crop as a mascot since 1948.

Congrats on making the sweet 16. Now get a new mascot...

WuShock has had a “shocking” history over the years to say the least. He’s been kidnapped, kicked out of games for rowdy behavior, and was even the target of one of Jimmy Fallon’s jokes on “The Tonight Show.”

UC Santa Cruz’s Sammy the Slug

It could be an alien, it could be a rejected Teletubby, but this is Sammy the Slug, a banana slug that serves as UC Santa Cruz’s mascot. Who would ever want a slug as a mascot? Well, the students at the university sure did, voting on it during a poll when it came time to replace their original sea lion mascot in 1996.

Sammy the slug in all his...slimy glory.

You could see this slug as a bit of an underdog, or underslug in this case. It’s slow, slimy, and ugly – not something to fear when it comes to football and basketball games. Still, the world has a special place in its heart for Sammy.

Delta State University’s Fighting Okra

If you take pride in your mascot, even if it’s a ridiculous Okra, you take the power out of the competition’s hands. They can’t make fun of you because you beat them to the punch. Delta State University is in on the joke with their quippy website and hilarious promotional videos like the one featured here:


Legend has it the Fighting Okra appears on campus at random times to torment students and faculty. Wacky videos, like the one featured above, show his shenanigans at work. After all, the swim team will probably do well with the threat of an alligator in the pool.

North Carolina School of the Arts’ Fighting Pickle

North Carolina School of the Arts must have been in a real pickle when they decided to use an artistic pickle as their mascot. This dill delight had been the school’s mascot until 2016 when it was changed to something more practical… Charlie the Cucumber.

Looks like this pickle has lost its fight.

It may come as no surprise that the North Carolina School of Arts doesn’t have any sports teams. Would you want a cute cucumber on the sidelines? Probably not. The school is better known for graduating great artists, writers, musicians, and actors, such as Leo DiCaprio lookalike Dane DeHaan of Spider-Man fame.

University of Tulsa’s Captain Cane

Back in the day, Captain Cane looked like an upside-down beehive. In 2009, he got a much-needed makeover to look like a suave superhero, though he’s still about as intimidating as other soft captains like Captain Planet and Captain Kangaroo.

A modest improvement...

The Golden Hurricanes need more than this hero to support their teams. With his oversized boots and wimpy sword, he belongs more at Comic-Con than rallying the fans and cheering the team on to victory.

The Evergreen State Geoducks

Suddenly having all your ducks in a row doesn’t seem so good, especially when it’s this questionable Geoduck. The mascot’s name is Speedy and has appeared on a number of lists as one of the worst mascots of all time.

Not even close...

According to Evergreen State, the geoduck is a symbol of the essence of the college: accessible to all who are willing to dig deep—stable, yet flexible, and the antidote to departmental thinking and design that is the standard in most colleges and universities. At least they have some kind of answer for that atrocity pictured above.

Concordia College’s Kernel Cobb

It’s hard to be intimidated by a corn kernel, but that hasn’t stop Concordia College from using one as their mascot. For over 100 years, they’ve stuck with the whole corn thing, even going so far as to call their yearbook, “The Cobber.” Meanwhile, Kernel Cobb has gotten extremely popular over time, enough to have his own Twitter account.

At least it's still on the cob.

Kernel Cobb started out as a friendly, approachable kernel. Over time, though, something seemed to pop. In 2006, he transformed into a ferocious beast, earning the name of the “Fighting Cobber.” It’s not corny at all…

Scottsdale Community College’s Artie the Artichoke

Some colleges go with lions, tigers, and bears as their mascots, but oh my, Scottsdale Community College went with a personified artichoke. Artie was born in 1972 when a group of disgruntled students voted him in as a joke. Now he’s a lovable part of campus.

This is what happens when you cut the budget to arts programs in favor of sports...

The students were frustrated over the funding going more toward sports instead of academics. The artichoke won over, no kidding, a rutabaga. Today, the artichoke is famous among sports fans, even getting photographed with NFLer Patrick Peterson.

Western Kentucky University’s Big Red

This mascot is up to the imagination as far as what he’s actually supposed to be. Is he a wad of bubblegum? A rejected Muppet? It’s unclear for sure, but what we do know, according to the university, is that he’s the “Spirit of Western.” Of course.

Big Red Mascot

The mascot’s creator, Ralph Carey, didn’t want to do anything too stereotypical and go the country route for the Kentucky school. He sketched a red blob on a piece of paper and brought it to Western Kentucky University’s president who was ecstatic about the character.

If these strange mascots teach you anything, it’s that there is power in embracing the weird. Go ahead – support the artichokes, geoducks, and corn kernels out there! Be proud of your brand and print it on sports stress balls and other recreation items. In other words, let your freak flag fly!


Which of these mascots do you think is the worst? Know of any other bad ones? Sound off in the comments below!

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Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa loves food. A LOT. Particularly pizza and popcorn, but she knows beggars can’t be choosers. When she’s not stuffing her face (which is rare), she loves watching movies, playing volleyball and softball, and engaging in any number of interesting shenanigans. If she had to pick a spirit animal, she’d be an otter because they are playful and love to laugh. Most of the time she’s laughing at herself, whether other people are laughing with or at her is to be determined.


  1. Bret Bonnet

    Go nads!

  2. Jana Quinn

    Basically, the takeaway here is that vegetables = fail.

  3. Allz

    The Concordia College mascot is named Kernel Cobb, not Cobber. The teams and fans are called the cobbers. Our slogan is Fear the Ear and we have giant corn hats that are like the Packers cheese heads but it’s an ear of corn. At first it’s embarrassing, but you learn to be proud of it after a couple of years. 🙂

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks for pointing that out! I updated the post accordingly.

      And hey, it’s always good to be proud of your local mascot! 🙂

  4. Badjeerabadger

    At least all the mascots here have legs. Our local school’s mascot was Triton (a Greek merman god) and during a sporting event the cheerleeding squad showed up with…a shirtless guy in a mermaid tail. Who then had to awkwardly hop around sack-race style since he couldn’t walk in his costume.

  5. Chuck

    I attended the University of Alaska Southeast and our mascot was the Whales. Not a idealized cartoon version of a sperm whale but a humpback whale. I don’t think we actually had a sports team while I was there though…

  6. Rick Zaidan

    The University of Akron’s Zippy the Kangaroo gets my vote.
    Dorky beyond belief. Looks like a mascot for a pre-school.

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