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Posted on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

A Michigan mascot? Athletic director Dave Brandon is open to the right idea

By Staff

Michigan is one of only three Big Ten schools without a mascot roaming its athletic events, but athletic director Dave Brandon has put some thought into changing that.

In an article on Michigan Today, an online newsletter for Michigan alumni, Brandon says a mascot can help lure the next generation of Wolverine fans.

From the Michigan Today story, which also includes an extensive look back at Michigan's previous foray into the world of mascots:

"I'm struck by the fact that when opposing teams come to our stadium, and they bring a mascot, all of our young fans are lined up to see if they can get a picture taken with it, whether it's the Penn State Nittany Lion or Sparty," Brandon told Michigan Today. "That's a little annoying to me.

"You can't get your picture taken with a Block M. Mascots are really embraced by the youth demographic and we want to take advantage of that, for all the reasons that are obvious."

Later in the article, Brandon told Michigan Today the biggest barrier is the design:

"We're interested in doing a mascot but it has to be something that fans love, that children love and everyone can embrace," Brandon explained. "So far we haven't figured out a way to do it. Until we come up with something we love, we don't have a mascot."

The Big Ten's mascots include those at Iowa (Herky the Hawk), Michigan State (Sparty), Minnesota (Goldy Gopher), Nebraska (Herbie Husker), Northwestern (Willie the Wildcat), Ohio State (Brutus), Penn State (an unnamed Nittany Lion), Purdue (Purdue Pete) and Wisconsin (Bucky Badger).

Illinois retired its controversial mascot, Chief Illiniwek, in 2007 and joined Indiana and Michigan as the only mascot-less schools in the conference.


Tony Dearing

Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

A comment was removed because it violated our conversation guidelines. Please do not post comments in all caps. Thanks.

Elsie Swanberg

Sun, Jun 19, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

How about Michi-GANDER

Go Blue

Sun, Jun 19, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

Anyone remember Brandy (think that was the name), the little Jack Russell terrier that appeared at half time? A blue M box appeared on the field and out came Brandy pushing a ball with her nose to the goal posts for a TD. Wasn't a tacky mascot but got the point across that anything Michigan is a winner.


Sun, Jun 19, 2011 : 3:27 a.m.

Michigan does not have to be like the other schools, Dave. We don't need a gimmick, we just need to be Michigan. Forget the mascot.


Sun, Jun 19, 2011 : 2:11 a.m.

Bullwinkle was our mascot for years. Bo got rid of him, but he is still a fan favorite. Everybody still does the bullwinkle dance whenever the pep band gets going. Here's a little video from 1986 with Bullwinkle directing the band. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Skip ahead to 4:56 to see the Moose with the weather forecasting bunion in all his glory.


Sun, Jun 19, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

Sparty's mascot is so lame, and so is OSU's. It would be hard to come up with a half way decent design. Only if someone can come up with an ultra cool concept that inspires fans everywhere.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 11:20 p.m.

Just something that popped it to my head..out of the blue... How about a mascot that looks like a little blue and red man callled a &quot;Noid&quot;. He could run around while the crowd chants...&quot;Avoid the Noid!&quot;. Then he could pass out pizzas. Just a crazy idea I came up with. You think Dave would go for it???


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

Fat legged Sparty is the dumbest mascot in all of sports. The name Spartans is as bad as the name Ypsilanti. Why spoil the Wolverines with a mascot that'll chew its leg off to get out of a trap?


Sun, Jun 19, 2011 : 3:06 a.m.

What's wrong with the name Ypsilanti?


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

This is not the hipster way!


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

We need an ironic mascot, like a sparty!


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

The mascot should be Fred Flinstone. Then the mascot will look just like Brady Hoke

Chad Williams

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

Im sick and tired of people thinkin that because they have a UM degree or whatever that they should be the only people who should be entitled to enjoy michigan football. Obviously Brandon has business sense and being a &quot;Michigan Man&quot; himself wants to keep tradition that we do have. His decisions such as the FIRST ever night game or throwbacks isnt about you fans. For one fans dont win games, and looking at our recent &quot;home field advantage&quot; even before RR became was quite pathetic for being the largest crowd. 15-20 years ago a home game was almost but a gurantee victory for us. What does that say about the fan base? You want a winning program you need players to love michigan. Its not much to love about a program that year after year underacheives majorly. Not every recruit will be a kid they grew up loving michigan or hating osu. As of today our tradition is like a 3rd world country compared to half the SEC schools. Im in it for whatever wins football games, and again the fans we do have suck. 112,000 people and Autzen stadium is half the capacity and is the most hostile place to play today.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

&quot;Not much work being done on this....lots of other things to do! Someday...maybe!! Go Blue!&quot; Quote in an email from Dave Brandon last night. Looks like we are getting way ahead of ourselves.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

Bring back Bullwinkle.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

Why does Brandon say Michigan needs a mascot to &quot;help lure the next generation of Michigan fans?&quot; Michigan doesn't need to &quot;lure&quot; fans.....far from it. I think it's all about licensing and creating new revenue streams. And if that's the case, then say it, Brandon. Don't try to spin it.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

Dave, Dave, come back to earth baby. Focus on expanding the endzone seating or something more directly related to revenue generation.

Candy Hiller

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

The kids can enjoy others mascot. If we had one it would get old very fast and make the school look silly.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

I was in the stadium the day when they pranced out &quot;Willy the Wolverine&quot;: a poor attempt at a mascot. The student section booed at that raggedy thing louder than it did when Desmond got tackled in the end zone on that 2-pt conversion attempt vs. MSU. Please don't repeat history. If it is an attempt at increasing licensing revenue, I say let's focus on the product between the sidelines - not the sideshow on the sidelines.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

Well, maybe David Brandon knows what he's doing. I read recently that the people responsible for the sorry &quot;Willy&quot; are now responsible for Groupon. He's trying to stay ahead of the curve, though I am personally extremely opposed to a &quot;mascot&quot; for the same reason that I oppose a &quot;legacy&quot; jersey. Our &quot;brand&quot; is special, largely due to its tradition of winning, ethics (save the recent problem), and experience of M football. In business, you can't stay stagnant, but this specialness does not need tampering in such money-grubbing ways. Mascots and legacy jerseys just speak of a quick money grab rather than really improving the Michigan experience.

Dog Guy

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

a mayor on a leash


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

If you want your picture standing next to mickey mouse then go to disneyland. I seriously doubt children are crying because we don't have a mascot. I remember, about 20 years ago, a couple of students tried to push this mascot thing through. They had a brown furry costume and all. It was hideous. The thought of it sends shivers through my spine. How can we all want and profess quality and dignity and then field a cartoon as our symbol? The Block M stands on its own. And the only likeness of a wolverine should be an actuall likeness, not a fabrication. I am a resounding &quot;NO&quot;, &quot;HE** NO&quot;!


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

Say it ain't so, Joe !


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 11:31 a.m.

The horror... the horror...


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 5:23 a.m.

A giant ear of corn...I mean maize!!!!


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 4:51 a.m.

Hey Guinness, I was just thinking about using the term uptight to describe some of the comments. However, I'm conflicted actually, if they come up with something cool, I could dig it, but if it's tacky, I won't. Maybe something like an agile, athletic Wolverine wearing a winged helmet would be cool. You can't use the Movie X-Men Wolverine because it would probably seem to violent for the PC crowd, besides, unless you can get Hugh Jackman, it would be lame. So Go Blue, TiM!!! And so on and so forth...


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 4:14 a.m.

Wow, a lot of uptight people around here. Geez, a mascot wouldn't distract you from the game unless you had adult ADD or something. Do you folks also get distracted by the water boys? I don't really care either way. I'm just thinking, if you're not interested in a mascot, I don't think they'll actually require you to pay attention to it.

Stephen Landes

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 2:32 a.m.

Let's NOT follow the lead of Colorado. They have a bison as their mascot and they sell BISON BURGERS! what could be worse than dining on your mascot? I attended a football game there and thought that Ralphie (the Bison) really should be worried. Like everything else on that campus Ralphie is sponsored, but his sponsor is Outback Steakhouse. That should give a Bison &quot;paws&quot;.....

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

I hear Wolverine tastes like chicken.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 12:23 a.m.

&quot;....Brandon told Michigan Today. &quot;That's a little annoying to me.&quot; You Know whats annoying to me? All those crappy pizzas you sent out for years before anybody did anything about fixing the problem.

Ken Boyd

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

Yes, very good comment Craig. I was wondering the same thing. So far so good with Brandon, but heck, a entry level marketing intern could made the RR decision. This year will tell us something about the real Brandon.

Johnny Smith

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

Hey check out this great article I found that breaks down the impact freshman for the 2011 season, it is well written and very insightful... <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 12:05 a.m.

This one brought me out of my summer recess from these blogs! Tacky, very tacky. No No No No NO!


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

no no no----a thousand times NO. if we are so concerned with 'young fans', then offer them seats that are considerably less than $60 a pop. how many parents with young children can afford to bring them to football games? they certainly aren't going to bankrupt themselves because after 130 years we've decided to have some 'thing' parading the sidelines.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 10:45 p.m.

Famous programs like Michigan can have a mascot and still maintain all the rest of its storied traditions. Even Notre Dame has the little green dude pacing the sidelines, whatever his name is. The kids who come to games would love it and it would be cool to see 'Willie the Wolverine&quot; or whoever he is doing push-ups after Michigan touchdowns. It is stale of a program to never make changes or enhancements of any kind to anything. The only things that I would never change are the helmets and the fight song, which make U-M unique and very special.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

Speaking about OSU's mascot Brutus, this was kind of funny: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Terry Star21

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 3:08 a.m.

Funny and sad - brutus got beat up, he ran, tried to hide, went down like a sack, and had no defense. Strikingly similar to the buckeyes football team in Ann Arbor this November !


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

There is dignity being the quiet non-participant in such things. No mascot. Our &quot;mascot&quot; is the final score on the scoreboard. Our &quot;mascot&quot; is fielding a team of fine young men dedicated to the Michigan tradition of honor, hard work and excellence. Our &quot;mascot&quot; is the shadow of Yost, Kipke, Crisler, Oosterbaan and Schembechler hovering over the field. Come onto the field ... tap the &quot;M Club&quot; banner ... then strap up and play Big 10 football. That's all we need.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

Absolutely! Avoid tackiness! Remember the &quot;halo&quot;!


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

Interesting. Probably the three worst programs in the Big Ten have no mascot...........I AGREE! NO MASCOT! KEEP IT THE WAY IT IS!


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Win that gets new fans. You WIN WHEN this happens it will have stripes on the shoulders.

Rob Pollard

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

No, no, no. There is a 99% chance it will be goofy and distracting (see the Irish's lame mascot). Knowing Brandon, he will do this, and try and tie it to the X-Men character, if Marvel throws in a few hundred thousand towards the HD video board.

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

Marvel would demand money from the that would be easily made with millions to spare by the merchandising alone. Official Michigan T-shirts etc that had Wolverine on them would not only be purchased by Michigan fans, but by comic book fans as well. I think the licensing rates Marvel would want is really a red herring argument, the cross merchandising of UofM and Wolverine would more than pay for it. It would be a profitable venture for both Marvel and Michigan.

Ken Boyd

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

No way! Marvel holds all the licensing, and as such they would want US to pay. Michigan would have to write checks to Marvel. This is a BAD idea! Oh, and do not tell me that because we are MEEECHIGAN they need to pay us, you are drinking too much of the Maize cool-aid.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

a mascot would certainly add a lot as far as merchandising, it's surprising that they havn't had one from the point of view that there would be dollar signs attached. I purpose that before they do anything they say a decent % of profit made off the sale of such stuff should be for childrens charities. wolly the wolverine? heck, don't have animal, have it be like a sparty man but made to look like Bo!


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

Brandon sounds like he is catering to the WalMartWolverines. Anybody with a degree from UM is too dignified to want a mascot.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 9:58 p.m.

Now *that's* a laugh! I'm talking about the second sentence of course.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

Bring back Willie the Wolverine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Johnny Smith

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

Hey check out this article I found on why we DON'T want a mascot in Ann Arbor. It is really funny... <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

no no no NO NO NO! no mascot, mascots are weak. AND you CAN take a picture with a block M, there is one at the NE corner of the stadium nad I have a picture of my kids there.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

The wolverine is a member of the weasel family. We should be able to find a cute weasel and add some nasty teeth.

David Briegel

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:12 p.m.

We go to away games and have had fun with Willie the Wildcat. I think he is the best mascot of our bunch. I'm not sure that Michigan really needs a mascot. I agree with Hailmary.

David Vande Bunte

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

It shouldn't be all that hard to design one...Bucky the Badger would be a decent template, and then just modify the coloring, length of claws etc until it looks more like a Wolverine instead of a Badger. OR: Just get permission from Marvel Comics to use Wolverine.

Nikki River

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

Well, I'm thinking something like this: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 11:58 a.m.


Stephen Landes

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

That's my kind of Wolverine! Take no prisoners...

Bertha Venation

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

I hear there's a spare bear out Dexter way.....


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

I guess I took it for granted that the largest crowd in college football in the greatest stadium, &quot;The Big House&quot; negated the need to dress someone up in a Wolverine costume.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

I like most of the Big Ten mascots except the Ohio State mascot it just seems dumb to me and if Michigan decides to have one they better hit the mark. Something like the San Diego chicken which gets a lot of press and works well would be a possible idea. How do you make a wolverine a popular mascot ask the fans and see what they say!


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

Yea. The Buckeye nuthead is really creepy looking.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

We should get one and tie it to the visitor's bench.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.


John of Saline

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

I believe, long ago, we had one.

Rich Rezler

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 6:36 p.m.

Several. The Michigan Today article linked to in this story does a nice job of documenting them.