Mascots And Monikers

Aug 1, 2023

I'm from St. Louis. I like Imo's Pizza. Many of you, especially those of you from Chicago, do not like Imo's Pizza. "It's not pizza," is the main complaint. "It's a sweet sauce and weird cheese on a cracker."

I agree. Which is why, years ago, I made up the term "blajda." It was a nonsensical word I came up with when having this discussion with a friend. People would be much more open to trying Imo's Pizza if it wasn't called pizza. If you told someone, "When you're in St. Louis, you have to try the blajda," they'd be much more open-minded. Call it pizza and people are going to expect… pizza. It's not exactly pizza.

I feel the same way about the word "mascot." There need to be two words. If I ask you, "What was your high school mascot?," you might say, "We were the Longhorns." And if I asked you if your high school had a mascot, you'd say, "Yeah, there was a Lenny Longhorn costume and a senior was chosen to wear it each year."

Mascot = the symbol of your athletic programs
Mascot = the person in the costume on the sidelines

To me, this is the root of so much confusion. If one was called a "mascot" and the other a "moniker," we could save so much confusion. What kind of confusion? Confusion over whether the belted kingfisher is being proposed as a mascot or a moniker.

Last week, I received a press release from the Kingfisher Task Force announcing their presentation to the Board of Trustees. The press release begins with the following two paragraphs:

On July 20th, 2023, Evan Lemberger of the Kingfisher Task Force spoke to the University Board of Trustees in support of a new mascot for the Urbana-Champaign campus. Going 17 years without an official mascot, students and faculty have been vocal about finding a new replacement. In 2020, both the students and faculty agreed on the institution of the Belted Kingfisher as the next mascot, but no action on the administrative level has since been taken.

Lemberger demonstrated how the campus at large is "ready to move on." In his presentation, he went over the mascot referendums and votes, different ways the Kingfisher has gained popularity on campus, Native empowerment organizations that have endorsed the Kingfisher or at least some replacement, and the endowment performances of other Universities that have gone through similar mascot changes. He also touched upon how the legacy of the "hostile and abusive" former mascot is still visible even though it's no longer official.

Because the word "mascot" has two meanings, I was immediately confused. I'll just take you through my thoughts.

  • "Ready to move on"? From.. the Chief? The Chief was retired 17 years ago. They must be talking about the name Fighting Illini.
  • "Other Universities who have gone through similar mascot changes"? I'm aware of several moniker changes. Are we talking about a moniker change here?
  • "Legacy of the hostile and abusive former mascot is still visible even though it's no longer official"? Can't argue there (besides the "was the Chief a mascot or a symbol?" debate). If anything, the pro-Chief crowd has doubled down the last 17 years.

This led me to reach out to Evan Lemberger (head of the Kingfisher Task Force). I asked if the efforts of the task force were focused on 1.) adding a mascot on the sidelines during games, or 2.) changing the branding to the University of Illinois Belted Kingfishers. I noted how the student vote in 2020 was presented as No. 1, but that his presentation to the Board of Trustees sounded like No. 2.

He asked for five days to formulate a response and sent me an email yesterday with this response:

Any possible name change for the University is outside of the scope of our work. Our priority is that a new mascot, a new symbol be incorporated for the University. Obviously, we think the Belted Kingfisher is the best candidate for the next mascot.

I was still confused (and I hope you can see why). The first sentence states that the efforts fall under No. 1 above (add a mascot). The second sentence -- "a new symbol be incorporated for the University" -- reads to me like No. 2 above (moniker change). So I still don't have an answer.

I went back through the initial press release and thought that maybe the universities studied as part of "other universities that have gone through similar mascot changes" would be No. 1 (mascot change), not No. 2 (moniker change). So I asked him to provide the universities in the study. He responded this morning with a list of universities and all were universities which underwent a moniker change (Marquette, Arkansas State, St. John's, etc.). So if they're presenting to the Board of Trustees that there was no evidence of endowment erosion at these schools which all changed their monikers, the goal here must be a moniker change, yes?

I decided to dig further on their website and read the actual resolution adopted by the Urbana Champaign Senate that began the process that led to the Kingfisher Task Force. On the front page of that resolution:

WHEREAS, this resolution does not seek to change the 'Fighting Illini' moniker.

And the final paragraph of the 11-page resolution:

While some colleges ultimately decided to change the team's name in addition to adding a new mascot, this mascot proposal is NOT intended to serve as a team name change. Rather, it is a singular yet critical step in the right direction of creating new, inclusive traditions for students and our entire community.

This was my recollection. And why, every time I've seen a reference to the kingfisher, I thought of it in the mascot category. Indiana never had a mascot, and then they added a bison, and then they removed the bison, and then they added a man with a beard and a cowboy hat named "Mr. Hoosier Pride" and then removed him after only one year, choosing to go mascot-less again. That's what I believed this effort to be. Should a school that doesn't have a mascot on the sideline add a mascot? A bison to represent the "Hoosiers" and a kingfisher to represent the "Illini"?

I probably need to back up a bit. As I've written before, the history of the word "Illini" goes back well before the Native American imagery. The student newspaper was changed from The Student to The Illini in the 1870s, before there was a single athletic team. The editorial announcing the name change claims to have coined the word "Illini" at the time, writing this in 1874:

And then, like a rosy-cheeked bride, we are all aglow over our new name. Had you noticed it? Did you ever see it before? Do you know what it means and where it comes from? Sound it "trippingly on the tongue." Accent the second syllable and pronounce with us, Il-li-ni. Good! Try, try again until it fits the tongue as well as Illinois, simply a Frenchman's modification of the same word.

The term then existed for decades before Native American imagery was added. Before that change, "Illini" for Illinois was similar to "Hoosier" for Indiana or "Sooner" for Oklahoma or "Tar Heel" for North Carolina -- a colloquial term used for the people of the region. At the outset of college athletics receiving national attention and every university adding a moniker, "Fighting Illini" was adopted, Native American imagery was added (namely, Chief Illiniwek), and it was very clear that "Fighting Illini" was tied to Native American imagery.

There's much more that I'm not covering here. I wrote about most of it here. There's a misconception that "Illini" refers to a Native American tribe in the region (similar to when Eastern Michigan used "Huron" and North Dakota used "Sioux"), but that's not the case. According to this article from the Illinois State Museum, the term "Iliniwek" was used to describe several tribes in the region who spoke similar languages in the 1600s. But by the 1700s, the term had mostly disappeared, resulting in six tribes in the region in the 1700s (none named "Iliniwek") and, by the 1800s, only two tribes remained: Kaskaskia and Peoria. The main legacy of the word "Iliniwek" is that one version of that term used by French settlers ("Illinois") became the name of the state. And then "Illini" became the name adopted by the student newspaper in 1874.

With the retirement of Chief Illiniwek in 2007 and the elimination of the war chant in 2017, has the Native American imagery been completely removed from the term Illini? Obviously not. Fans choose to wear clothing with the Chief logo and still yell "chieeeeeef" at a very specific part of the 3-in-1. It is a tradition that some do not want to leave behind. And they make that argument quite loudly.

Which is what led to the pursuit of a mascot on the sidelines (at least the way I understood it). The name would stay, but add different imagery. My guess at the time was that the school might adopt a military-themed mascot given that the "Fighting" was added to "Illini" in 1921 as part of the campaign to build the football stadium as a World War I memorial (all of these links come from the Fighting Illini FAQ page on the University Archives website if you'd like to read more). But that has not been the direction this has gone. We first heard of an otter mascot and now we hear of the kingfisher mascot.

This is all similar, I believe, to the efforts at Stanford in the 1970s after they had removed "Stanford Indians" as their moniker. I rarely will cite Wikipedia here, but in the interest of time, here's a synopsis from the Stanford Tree entry which gets right to the point:

From 1972 until 1981, Stanford's official nickname was the Cardinal, but, during this time, there was debate among students and administrators concerning what the mascot and team name should be. A 1972 student referendum on the issue was in favor of restoring the Indian, while a second 1975 referendum was against. The 1975 vote included new suggestions, many alluding to the industry of the school's founder, railroad tycoon Leland Stanford: the Robber Barons, the Sequoias, the Trees, the Cardinals, the Railroaders, the Spikes, and the Huns. The Robber Barons won, but the university's administration refused to implement the vote. In 1978, 225 varsity athletes started a petition for the mascot to be the griffin, but this campaign also failed. Finally, in 1981, President Donald Kennedy declared that all Stanford athletic teams would be represented exclusively by the color cardinal.

However, in 1975, the band had performed a series of halftime shows that facetiously suggested several other new mascot candidates it considered particularly appropriate for Stanford, including the Steaming Manhole, the French Fry, and the Tree. The Tree ended up receiving so much positive attention that the band decided to make it a permanent fixture, and the Tree came to be embraced by the Stanford community at large.

Sound familiar? Student votes on things like "Robber Barons" and referendums to "restore Indians" and petitions for various mascot implementations. All that's missing is Alma Otter.

But where our situation departs from that -- and the central focus of this article -- is the elimination of the name. Stanford changed to "Cardinal" and then debated whether to switch to the Robber Barons, the Sequoias, the Trees, the Cardinals, the Railroaders, the Spikes, or the Huns. They ultimately chose to stay with the Stanford Cardinal, and the band's mascot -- the Stanford Tree -- became the mascot on the sideline during games.

I've been under the impression that the Kingfisher movement is one of perhaps several proposals give us a Stanford Tree. But then I read the press release and wondered if we were having our own "Robber Barons or Railroaders?" debate. I'm looking at orange and blue bird logos which mimic the old Chief logo (see above) and not proposed mascot outfits which seems to suggest that this effort is to eventually replace Fighting Illini with whatever otter or kingfisher is chosen.

I told Evan Lemberger all of this. That this was the article I was writing and if he had any clarifications from the Kingfisher Task Force he'd like included in the article to let me know. I did not hear back.

Which just serves to confuse me further. I've spent a lot of time going over all of the information here -- the resolutions, the presentations before the Board of Trustees, etc. And I've found myself wondering things which, on the surface, seem ridiculous. I spent an hour last night going back through all of this and asking myself if this student organization is under the impression that they're proposing a complete rebrand for the university athletic teams when they're really tasked with coming up with a mascot for the sidelines. And then I flip that back on myself and think, "Wait, am I thinking that this is an effort to add a mascot to the sidelines when the university is really looking to rebrand the athletic teams as the Kingfishers?"

I finally decided that all of my confusion rested on the word "mascot."

  • Michigan State has a mascot. It's a Spartan. They're the Spartans.
  • North Carolina has a mascot. It's a ram. They're the Tar Heels.
  • Indiana has a mascot. It's the Hoosiers. But they don't have a mascot.
  • Georgia has a mascot. It's an actual bulldog on the sidelines. They're the Bulldogs.
  • Missouri has a mascot. It's not an actual tiger on the sidelines. It's a furry costume named Truman.
  • Michigan has a mascot. It's the Wolverines. They've never had a mascot, though.
  • Western Kentucky has a mascot. They're the Hilltoppers. It's an anthropomorphic blob.

Some schools have live animals on the sideline. Some schools have a costumed mascot that directly represents the university moniker. Some schools have a costumed mascot on the sidelines that has nothing to do with the university moniker. Some schools have a widely recognized symbol but refuse to have anything represent that symbol on the sidelines. And we use the term "mascot" to describe the animals and the monikers and the symbols and the costumes.

Which one is the Kingfisher supposed to be?

Edit: Evan did respond to my email this evening. His response:

I included those universities that underwent a name change as well as a mascot change because I wanted to focus on the schools that had to take on the most financial burden in their rebranding efforts. It was an effort to eliminate as many variables as possible. If Illinois wanted to adopt a new mascot without changing the name, and my assessment is reflective of the true nature of things, that would demonstrate to the board that our transition could actually be cheaper than most other schools.

Including new logos are standard procedure for a new mascot. The previous mascot had its own logo, so there's no reason we can't create and promote our own.


vlad on August 1, 2023 @ 07:07 PM

Wikipedia refers to the moniker as the "team nickname."

I took "symbol" to refer to imagery, i.e. using the Kingfisher logo instead of (or in addition to?) the Block I.

Dman68 on August 1, 2023 @ 08:38 PM

Ole Miss is on their second iteration for a mascot since retiring Colonel Reb. The first iteration, a Black Bear named Rebel, did not seem to popular with the students so they came up with a Land Shark. This was developed from a "fins up" gesture that Tony Fein, who returned from military deployment and was a LB on the team. He died of a drug overdose. Several athletes on other Ole Miss programs copied his gesture and the Tony the Land Shark replaced Rebel the Bear. Many alumni and fans who still associated with Colonel Reb petitioned to remove the Land Shark. When Ole Miss went on the road, their opponents fans mocked the land shark and their bands would play Baby Shark. From what I understand, the Land Shark's appearances have been reduced to outside the stadium and the new un-official stadium mascot is Lane Kiffin's dog Juice.

danny on August 1, 2023 @ 09:19 PM

Another case study to include - in the 60’s the Northwestern students voted to rebrand their mascot as the Purple Haze, but was rejected by the school administrators. Purple Haze is a better choice than the Wildcats.

Gadwallgetter on August 1, 2023 @ 09:40 PM

This is all so confusing, but I would pay good money to see Michigan with a real Wolverine on a leash on their sidelines! They are mean dudes!!

Douglascountyillinifan on August 7, 2023 @ 05:42 AM

Gnawing on Juwan Howard's leg!

Tolkien73 on August 1, 2023 @ 09:56 PM

Robert, thanks for digging into this. IMO, the issue is that "mascot" can mean different things to different people. It sounds like the kingfisher folks are trying to get a kingfisher in place of the Chief for marketing purposes and on the sideline at games, but without changing the name of the sports team.

To me, this is completely asinine. The Chief is gone. And I don't particularly miss him. But if anyone even breathes a word about changing the name of the team to the Kingfishers, the Defenestration of Prague will look like Sunday school by comparison.

Dman68 on August 1, 2023 @ 10:12 PM

I feel their primary motivation is that they feel if they get a "mascot" implemented, the general consensus will shift their perception of Fighting Illini away from Native American imagery. The task force also wants the university to disassociate themselves from that imagery and condemn further mention of the Chief which includes telling fans not to wear Chief apparel. They got several Native American activist groups to write the Chancellor to ask the university to get a mascot soon as not having one will still evoke Native American imagery which is harmful to their culture. The task force conveniently says that having a mascot will give the community something to rally around and promote spirit. They say that they want one that will be all inclusive and unify the campus community. How is this inclusive of the great majority that simply don't like their proposed mascot? I see this as further dividing, not unifying. I hope the BOT and the Chancellor as well as the DIA will listen to the alumni, faculty, students,, donors, and fans that don't want this mascot to happen and not make a decision from a task force that grew out of only 4000 students and 100 university senate members in 2020 who most are probably no longer associated with the university.

Illinimac68 on August 2, 2023 @ 10:30 AM

Yet the use of animal imagery as symbolic of our fans seems distinctly Native American. Is the Kingfisher to be the "totem" of our "tribe?" If we adopt the Kingfisher, or for that matter Alma Otter, have we culturally appropriated the concept of animal imagery?

Efremwinters84 on August 1, 2023 @ 10:38 PM

Sorry, but I was totally unable to comprehend/translate. And these two lines did not help:

  • Indiana has a mascot. It's the Hoosiers. But they don't have a mascot.
  • Michigan has a mascot. It's the Wolverines. They've never had a mascot, though.



Shemp89 on August 2, 2023 @ 10:30 AM

Think this section hearkens back to Robert's opening:

Mascot = the symbol of your athletic programs Mascot = the person in the costume on the sidelines

The Olaf Rules on August 2, 2023 @ 12:39 AM

Alma Otter or nothing.

rml on August 3, 2023 @ 11:57 AM

lol. I'm holding out for HAL 9000. As our D stuffs a run, his red eye shines from the scoreboard as he intones, "I'm sorry, Dave, I can't let you do that.")

thumpasaurus on August 11, 2023 @ 02:17 PM

honestly, as far as just being a mascot, Alma Otter is by far my favorite. it's kind of a silly thing that grew out of a pun on a campus landmark. people should just start showing up in otter costumes tbh.

we don't really need to focus-group a whole-ass graphics package to make a mascot happen. it doesn't have to be that serious.

rfowler on August 2, 2023 @ 07:18 AM

I recently participated in the B1G1OK event in Chicago, and I have to admit that seeing all the mascots from other Big Ten schools added to the fun of day. It would be nice if Illinois had something to represent us besides a few cheerleaders. I am not advocating for the Kingfisher - there are other interesting ideas out there(Block 'I', some sort of Abe Lincoln thing, a doughboy, etc...).

pbillini70 on August 2, 2023 @ 09:08 AM

I understood the objections to having a student dressed in Native American garb "dancing" at games. What I always had trouble with is the objections to the "chief" logo. It was a dignified image not a cartoon figure like chief Wahoo. Nevertheless that ship has sailed.
So let's leave the name as Fighting Illini and forget about any mascot on the sideline....

Efrem on August 2, 2023 @ 09:46 AM

Here's the thing about this all. We don't get to decide if Native American people think the Chief logo is "dignified" or offensive. They do

We can say its dignified all we want but it doesn't matter

I totally agree with you on the mascot thing. This kingfisher deal seems like we're trying to force something that's not at all needed.

Just win games....

RonSwanson on August 2, 2023 @ 10:02 AM

I've had a change of heart over the years regarding our symbol/mascot after learning more about our nation's history. To be brief, I believe we should at the very least create a mascot - I propose an owl, a fierce and wise creature to represent our university's athletic teams.

Personally, I'd rather do away with the Fighting Illini nickname altogether because I don't believe an institution of higher learning should advocate fighting.

As far as the kingfisher goes, just plain dumb. Yes, it's got some orange and blue in it, but how cares? Are Badgers red and white? Are wolverines navy and maize?

Illinimac68 on August 2, 2023 @ 10:11 AM

The use of animal imagery seems to be drawn from Native American traditions. Is this cultural appropriation?

STLINI on August 2, 2023 @ 10:48 AM

Thanks for digging into this Robert. I agree that I still don't understand exactly what this group is trying to change, and why it's even needed. Seems like one of those things where if they get their foot in the door, they'll never be satisfied until we are the Illinois Kingfishers.

MIlliniB on August 13, 2023 @ 04:45 PM

Bingo. The Chief is gone. The War Chant has been retired. Now they want the Kingfisher to be the mascot/symbol? Do you think progressives will ever be satisfied? Of course not. They will have another demand after if this one is satisfied.

I don't trust them.

wesd2005 on August 2, 2023 @ 12:11 PM

If the intent is to come up with the solution that will piss off the fewest people, then don’t change anything – it’s impossible to come up with something that everyone will be in favor of. I believe it is best for us to not change anything.

If the intent is to appease the “we need a mascot” people, then we should be looking for something fun. Alma Otter or something similar would probably be best. Cartoonish mascots are subject to ridicule (mainly from other schools) but are otherwise harmless, and no one will be clamoring for a nickname change.

All the stuff about needing a unifying symbol and what the mascot stands for, etc... comes across (to me at least) as corporate sounding nonsense. These are sports teams – they mean a lot to us, and I generally plan my life around them, but ultimately they are teams playing a game.

Same issue I have with the recent choices for professional teams (Guardians/Commanders). Those teams absolutely needed to change their name, but they chose the blandest names imaginable with a bunch of stupid reasoning about what it stands for. They chose names that were intended to offend the fewest amount of people without finding something that people actually like.

All mascots/nicknames should come about organically. The more these things get debated or designed, the worse it gets. We accept most sports teams and school nicknames because they’ve been around for generations.

My issue with the kingfisher is due to the presentation – the logos, branding, etc... I don’t believe this is intended just as a costumed character on the sideline. I'm sure the people involved mean well, but I just don't think it's necessary.

illinois81 on August 2, 2023 @ 01:37 PM

One nit to pick and an opinion. IMO, people spend entirely too much time trying to disassociate Illini and Fighting Illini from Native Americans. As Robert describes above, Illini was derived from the name of the state, Illinois, and the name of the state was derived by french explorers from the name of the Native American confederation of related tribes, the Illiniwek. That there were only two tribes left by 1870 is hardly surprising given the genocide they were subjected to and formal efforts to kick them out of the state--hence the Peoria (i.e. the last vestiges of the Illiniwek) are now located in Oklahoma. In any case, it is a clear lineage of Illiniwek to Illinois to Illini, then Fighting Illini.

Second, I believe many in the administration recognize that introducing a mascot (not moniker) on the sidelines today would bring about many more boos than cheers. They truly want to develop some level of buy-in from students, faculty, staff, fans, etc. and have a smoother transition. It will take time, but those who are anxious for change now may win out.

One last jab at a fellow big ten fan base, or 2. The tribe called Michigimea was a member of the Illiniwek confederation. Sounds to me like the folks to our northeast are Illini, as well.

Alaskan Illini on August 2, 2023 @ 03:19 PM

Like many, I reminisce about the Chief, and what he meant to those of us fortunate to be around when he performed. I remember the first time I saw him at an Illini football game - 1983. I'd not grown up in Illinois, and was a transfer student after separating from the USAF, so I was unprepared for the moment when he appeared. I was breath taken - there are no words to describe what I felt at that moment, and felt every single time I got to see him afterwards. Given the University's position or wanting to comply with the NCAAS's mandate, I understand their decision to do away with the Chief. What I will offer up is that doing away with the Chief and it's association with Native American culture has done away with any thought of Native American culture I might have had. In my mind it was a positive reminder of Native American's and their culture - however mis-represented it may have been.

We've gone 17 years without the Chief, and I'm sure we'll not see him again, at least associated with the University. We don't need an otter and we certainly don't need a fuckin' kingfisher to represent the University of Illinois. The Fighting Illini is more than enough, and we don't need a cartoon character on the side lines.


Chief4ever on August 4, 2023 @ 12:15 AM

^^^^ THIS!!!!

cmi2phx on August 5, 2023 @ 10:52 PM

Yes to this

blackdeath on August 2, 2023 @ 04:23 PM

A couple of decades ago, there was an attempt to have a costumed mascot – not the Chief — on the sidelines, at least of basketball games. I don’t even remember what the terrible thing was. It was stupid, laughable in the wrong ways, and an utter failure. Only part of its failure was that it was random and contrived, some kind of bird maybe? I don’t remember hearing that anybody liked it at all.

I always felt the main reason that mascot failed so quickly and utterly was not design related but rather that ours is a fan base that is neither used to nor craves to have a mascot on the sidelines. It’s just not part of our fan base’s culture.

I totally agree that the Chief had to go, even though I grew up with him and found him stirring and wonderful, and all of the good things. I can really relate to what Alaskan Illini says above. As I came to understand how cultural representations work, and what arguments were made for removing our chief, I realized he had to go.

Finally, it is obvious to me that this fan base really needs to move on. Some of us have already done so, and some of us are resentful and bitter and pledge never to forgive the university or give up the fight. I’ve got to say a cringe in embarrassment every time I hear chief supporters shouting “Chief” during the three in one at football and basketball games. I glance around, and many who do that are red faced and show anger all these years later. What the hell place does that have in what is otherwise a lighter element of our community life and entertainment? If having some kind of a mascot on the field could help get our broadly diverse fan base over the Chief, I would be all for it. I think, however it is just going to take time and maybe a little bit more pragmatic acceptance on the parts of those who continue to harbor a grudge. So really what we are talking here is that it’s going to take more time. As of now, I am completely certain that there are younger Alina fans who have learned to angrily shout “chief“ like the embittered older fans, and yet they never saw the chief perform for themselves. Soon all that will really be remembered and pastime is the anger. That is a sad, pathetic legacy. I hope we as a fan base community are better than that.

Let’s all just enjoy the moments here on earth that we choose to share with others at games.

OrangeBlazer on August 2, 2023 @ 05:47 PM

I'm a pretty avid and obsessive follower of Illini sports, and I have no recollection or awareness of any such attempt.

I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I would be curious if any other readers recall this, because if it did happen, I have apparently completely blocked it out.

wesd2005 on August 2, 2023 @ 06:21 PM

I'm not quite old enough to recall it, but from brief online research it was in January 1982. The O-B bird or Orange and Blue bird was introduced and was present at 1 basketball game. It was essentially a San Diego Chicken knockoff and nobody liked it. There's a few articles about it from other mascot related stuff, but not much else. Curious to know if anyone actually saw it or has any memory of it happening.

larue on August 2, 2023 @ 07:18 PM

I was in the Hall when the bird was introduced. I have to say, the person in the costume was actually very good, but the crowd immediately, and very vocally, hated it. They also tried to get the crowd into an Orange/Blue chant, which was immediately rejected.

I agree with the post above that our fans have no history with, and mostly no desire for, a sideline mascot. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

OrangeBlazer on August 2, 2023 @ 08:50 PM

Thanks very much--this was before my time then, which explains why I didn't know about it.

But now I kind of wish there were some pictures or videos--sounds hilarious (in a bad way).

Perry Range's van on August 3, 2023 @ 09:40 AM

Your info is correct.. The guy in the outfit was actually a local high school senior (who I won't out as he was horrified at the response). It was a game without many students so the reaction could have been worse. My favorite part of the whole deal was the chorus on WDWS call in saying he should be brought back for a 2nd game and shoved back in the big egg he hatched out of the 1st game and shipped back to where he came from.

HNLINI on August 2, 2023 @ 04:39 PM

I agree with our distinguished poster from the 49th State!

Of all the things in the world I don't understand (and there are many), the level at which I don't understand what the Belted Kingfisher has to do with the University of Illinois may exceed them all. It seems very capricious, and more than a bit arbitrary, and I fail to associate UIUC with the Belted Kingfisher in any way, shape or form. I feel like a noninsider listening to an inside joke - I'm not in on it, so I'm just, for lack of a better way to explain it, confused by the whole thing.

This whole topic of a new mascot seems like a conversation started by people who are uncomfortable with silence (simply because they don't enjoy the silence") - "So, about that mascot thing . . . "

How about instead of worrying about a mascot, the U of I Community simply enjoys the fact that we have a relevant, quality football team again?


IlliNYC on August 3, 2023 @ 05:17 PM

Team name is clearer than moniker, right?

There are team names and there are mascots. Appreciate Robert digging into this…seems like the kingfisher folks don’t really know what they want…but I know I don’t want a dumb kingfisher bird as either a team name, moniker or a mascot.

astrosjake on August 4, 2023 @ 06:05 PM

The student body's lack of participation in football gamedays is an absolute embarrassment. They are in no position to be making these sorts of proposals. Say what you want for or against the Chief, but having a campaign to add something as stupid as the kingfisher because you're trying to "promote inclusivity", while you don't even go to the games to support the team yourself, is about as self-righteous as it gets.

The students that as a whole don't support the team may be in favor of this, but the alumni, fans, and students that actually do pour money into this program would reject it from day one.

Ransom Stoddard on November 3, 2023 @ 02:41 PM

I realize you wrote this message before the season started, but student participation at home games has been pretty, pretty good this year. It could be better, but it takes time to break old habits.

If there's a gripe to be made about the student section, it should be to get them back in the East Main rather than stuck in the NEZ. It's a travesty that they're put out on an island, and no wonder their attendance was so poor for so long.

Ransom Stoddard on November 3, 2023 @ 02:41 PM

I realize you wrote this message before the season started, but student participation at home games has been pretty, pretty good this year. It could be better, but it takes time to break old habits.

If there's a gripe to be made about the student section, it should be to get them back in the East Main rather than stuck in the NEZ. It's a travesty that they're put out on an island, and no wonder their attendance was so poor for so long.

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