Although school mascots are meant to instill fear in an opponent, they are also a representation of honor and tradition. From 1926 to 2007, Chief Illiniwek was the symbol and mascot of The University of Illinois. Since the chief’s disbandment from the University in 2007, there has been no lack of controversy surrounding the issue.
Many orginazations have risen in spite of the NCAA’s decision to disallow to the University to associate with the Chief. The most popular and influential student organization fighting to return the Chief to campus is Students For Chief Illiniwek (SFCI). The orginaztion has been trying to convince the Peoria tribe (the closest descendents of the Illiniwek Tribe) to give their consent to the University to reinstate the mascot.
Campus Spirit Revival is another student organization that is attempting to bring a mascot back to the University of Illinois. The catch is that they have created a contest for students to submit their ideas and drawings for a new mascot. The deadline for the contest has been extended until October 14th and the idea is to get students excited about reviving the schools’ spirit. They are also converting the energy from the Chief debate into excitement about a new mascot.
To be blunt, the leading drawings and ideas look like they were submitted by 5th graders. They are just awful! Some of the submissions include:
First, there’s Colonel Kernel (how clever), who is a young, steroid infused, angry-looking Colonel Sanders with a top hat and a mug of beer (I’m sure that will go over real well with the NCAA). Next, we have Lean Mean Mr. Soybean, who is yes, you guessed it, a soybean. He looks more like an ear of corn (unfortunately he doesn’t have a “fricken laser beam on his head”) who also looks like he has smoked too much of his own root (once again, not going to go over well with the NCAA). Finally, my least favorite, Trouble the Tractor is a cartoon tractor with a mean mug.
Thank the soy bean gods that the orginazation chose to extend the original April 14th deadline because these leading designs are an absolute mockery to the program and everything it stands for: Tradition, honor, and leadership.
Nobody wants to say they are an Illinois Lean Mean Mr. Soybean or an Illinois Kernel and especially not an Illinois Tractor. One would beleive that it is awful hard to have a worse mascot than a tree (Stanford) or a Fighting Okra (Delta State), but these proposed mascots would surely contend for worst mascot in the nation.
We can only hope that we don’t go from one of the best mascots of all time, Chief Illiniwek, to a fighting soybean. Do I have a better suggestion you ask? Well of course I do! With the recent shenanigans that have taken place, why don’t we call ourselves the Illinois Jaw Breakers.
In other Illini news, coaches are showing visiting recruits three new helmet designs that the team may wear this fall. Two of them are orange with “ILLINI” written on them unlike last year’s helmet that said “ILLINOIS” in the Block-I font. The third helmet is a matte blue base with just the capital “I” on the sides. This one is keeping up with the modern likes of Oregon, but might be a bit too much on hot days. In my opinion, they are worth it because these helmets are dirty (the good kind of dirty. Like filthy). With a new athletic director and head coach, why not new head gear?
MASCOT: The Fighting Soybean Researchers
HELMETS: Matte Blue with Orange I
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