We ranked the University Athletic Association mascots three different ways

 A player in a deep red uniform grasps a football as he runs away from a player in white, who is trying to tackle him.

Washington University quarterback Johnny Davidson evades a University of Chicago Maroon pass rusher in a fall 2018 game. (Photo by Grace Bruton | Student Life)

It is the sweet spot of the spring sports season: The Washington University baseball team currently holds the number one ranking in the nation, men’s and women’s tennis are on hot streaks and track and field continues to perform well. So we put our heads together and came up with the most timely, informative article that will keep our readers in the loop about everything happening in the Wash. U. sports community: We ranked the University Athletic Association mascots. You may be thinking, “I’m glad they’re finally doing this, but I wish I had more of it, and I wish it was weirder”—fear not! We have produced not one, but three lists ranking UAA mascots based on completely legitimate, totally sincere criteria. 

Classic cage match

8. University of Chicago Maroon

7. New York University Violet

6. Case Western Reserve University Spartan

5. Carnegie Mellon University Tartan

4. University of Rochester Yellow Jacket

3. Emory University Eagle

2. Brandeis University Judge

1. Washington University Bear

The Maroon occupies the cellar of this grand royale due to the fact that, given its complete and utter intangibility, a color cannot reasonably beat any opponent. I suppose if I wanted to even the playing field, I would represent the Maroon with a painted wall or some other arbitrary device (though Chicago has something called Phil the Phoenix, that’s not what the teams are called)—but I do not want to. If maroon were a color in the ROYGBIV echelon, I would consider putting it anywhere other than the bottom spot, but as maroon is a wine-red bastard child of the primary color wheel, I have no choice but to put it where it belongs. I give the clear edge to the Violet (which NYU supporters might claim should be a Bobcat) because of its membership on that secondary color wheel. I’m not a coward. 

You may be surprised to find the Spartan ranked so low, but it should suffice to stipulate that as Case Western is located in Cleveland, this is a Spartan from Ohio. I don’t need to explain myself any further. Ohioans, be thankful it is even ranked above the violet. 

Coming in next, we have the Tartan which, upon investigation, is a small, schnauzer-like dog wearing a plaid bandana around its neck (which accrues significant style points). However, I have to put the Yellow Jackets ahead because of their aggressive tendencies and their ability to both sting and bite adversaries. Dogs look hilarious with bee stings in their mouth—I urge you to look it up, you will not be disappointed. But regardless of the cute factor, the Yellow Jacket still holds the advantage and will eventually take down the Tartan. 

Rounding out the top three, we have the Eagle, Judge and Bear. I’m taking advantage of the ambiguity of “Judge,” and I choose to define it as Ruth Bader Ginsburg wearing boxing gloves and a powdered wig. Her short stature gives her elusiveness, and her mental acuity far eclipses everyone else in the field. As a champion of women’s rights and a staple on the Supreme Court for nearly thirty years, she undoubtedly knows everything there is to know about eagles; therefore, she knows how to beat one. But this logic can only extend so far—if it were a black bear, I would hesitate to count out RBG, but a grizzly can run up to 35mph and climb trees, cutting off Justice Ginsburg’s best escape route. Wash. U. shreds the field and takes the day. 

— Grady Nance, Senior Sports Editor

Most likely to land an internship at Goldman-Sachs

8. Maroon

7. Violet

6. Yellow Jacket

5. Eagle

4. Spartan

3. Judge

2. Tartan

1. Bear

As expected, this list starts with the colors: Violet and maroon. Maroon ends up in last place because it is a worse color. Maybe Goldman-Sachs could use a touch of sky blue or a nice forest green to lighten the mood, or decorate, but maroon? Nobody likes maroon. This one isn’t even close.

Now, the resume reader gets to the real candidates. Maroon and violet are thrown out almost immediately, but a yellow jacket could be appealing. First of all, a yellow jacket never gives up, and much like people who intern at Goldman-Sachs, it has no morals. In fact, yellow jackets are almost as annoying as people who actually want to get an internship there. However, in terms of smarts, this thing would be pretty much useless. Without the hive, it kind of just hangs around and attacks things that bother it, which isn’t stellar resume material. Plus, everyone knows that all interns do is please the actual employees, and nothing a yellow jacket does is remotely pleasing, so it ends up near the bottom.

The next few candidates possess some qualities that make them spectacular for Goldman-Sachs. The eagle is smart, fast, cunning and generally just a pretty cool animal.  However, it is somewhat outclassed by Spartans and judges in the communication and team building departments, where being able to talk is key. A judge—specifically Ruth Bader Ginsburg—would probably have an extensive resume and be overqualified for the job, whereas a Spartan just gets to the top half of the list by virtue of being human, so judges land in third.

Now, you may be wondering, what could possibly be more likely to get an internship at Goldman-Sachs than a judge?  A Tartan, which is a small dog, would easily take it, because the Tartan would be a friendly, fun and calming presence in the workplace, and it would win the interviewer over with cuteness.  

Finally, at the pinnacle of all of the internship candidates, the bear roars to exert its dominance over every other UAA mascot. It also roars at the resume reader, the interviewer, and all other relevant parties in the selection of an intern, threatening them with violent death until they hire it. Since this is an absolutely foolproof plan, the bear lands at number one on the list.

— Nate Ackerman, Contributing Writer

Most likely to be a Disney hero

8. Maroon

7. Yellow Jacket

6. Spartan

5. Tartan

4. Violet

3. Eagle

2. Judge

1. Bear

The least likely out of all the mascots to be a Disney character would—by far—have to be the maroons. While perhaps a royal, distinguished color, this has absolutely no imagination behind it. It is neither whimsical nor playful, with no creativity depicted in its deep red shades. What would the storyline be? Who knows—no one would watch a Disney movie about maroon.  

Ranked seventh are the yellow jackets. Perhaps a fat, meandering bumble bee would be ranked better, but the image of a yellow jacket is intimidating instead. How would a viewer get behind a yellow jacket as a protagonist, especially when it couldn’t have any costume changes midway through? 

The Spartan and the Tartan are ranked sixth and fifth, respectively. Specifically, the Spartan lacks the relatability needed to be a true star. There can be no redemption arc for the Spartan, no going from sweeping the ashes to leaving a glass slipper at the midnight ball. The Tartans beat them out from that spot because of their undeniable cuteness.  Keeping in mind the audience that Disney is catering to—including six to 14-year-old children—a little terrier wearing a scarf could be a compelling storyline. As a bonus, imagine the costume potential. And while it’s hard to imagine a Tartan being heroic, those writers are paid a lot; I’m sure they could come up with something.  

Ranked fourth is the violet. While ranked higher than maroon due to its pale lavender hues, the vagueness of violet could be depicted as virtually anything on the big screen. Disney could go in the direction of ‘Inside Out’ but with colors—regardless, the character of Violet seems more compelling than anyone named Maroon. The eagle ranks third because of its simple presence. An eagle is intimidating and strong, yet also graceful and beautiful—an easy hero to root for.  

In the second spot, and giving the Bears strong competition, is the judge. There is so much potential here with a Ruth Bader Ginsburg-esque figure, rising into the high echelons of a profession dominated by men. She’s an easy figure to root for; if Ruth Bader Ginsberg isn’t a Disney hero, then who is? The answer is our number one contender, the Bears. Bears have it all; they are adorable as cubs, strong, can run fast, and are remarkably intelligent (have you seen a bear root out trash hidden in a tree? Terrifying but also impressive). Now, a judge may be more intelligent initially, but a bear would ultimately be the best Disney character for children to laugh at, be entertained by and follow through its escapades.  

— Clara Richards, Senior Sports Editor 


More commentary from the Student Life sports staff:

Why new NCAA transfer rules could ruin college basketball 

A love letter to my city’s spirit…creature: Why Gritty is so much more than a Cheeto-furred mascot

Skip free or die trying: My run-ins with the world of two-legged transportation

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