School scraps 'Cougars' as mascot after complaints that it's derogatory
Students chose the cougar as their mascot, but some parents complained about the term's use in regard to women.
January 19th, 2012
02:31 PM ET

School scraps 'Cougars' as mascot after complaints that it's derogatory

It's tough to pick a mascot these days.

Over the past few years we've seen several instances of schools being pressured to change their mascots because of cultural sensitives like Miami University of Ohio having to go through a 25-year process to change from the Redskins to the Redhawks.

But we've never heard of a mascot that offended, well, older women.

The Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah, needed to choose a mascot and after 23% of students who voted decided they wanted to be the Corner Canyon Cougars. Falcons, Raptors and Diamondbacks were the other choices on the ballot.

But that didn't sit well with parents who called in and complained that "Cougar" was a derogatory word because of how it's made its way into our vocabulary for older women who like to date younger men.

"We have received numerous e-mail messages and phone calls from parents and patrons in Draper asking us to reconsider the inclusion of 'Cougars' as a mascot option," David S. Doty, superintendent of the Canyons School District, wrote in a memo to the Board of Education. "Opposition to the 'Cougars' focuses on a concern that the mascot, combined with the school’s blue/white/silver color scheme, will be too similar to Brigham Young University. Many also have commented on the negative double entendre of the word 'cougar.'"

A cougar mascot doesn't seem to present a problem at well-known Brigham Young, in Provo, where 19 varsity teams, including 10 women's teams, compete under the Cougar nickname.

But down the road in Draper, the school board scrapped "Cougars" from the list of mascots and settled on the Chargers.

Maybe in Draper the ABC sitcom "Cougar Town," starring Courtney Cox, didn't go over real well.

For reference, because we know you were curious, we dug up a few statistics for you.

According to the 2010 census:
- Draper, Utah has a total population of 42,274 people.
–There were 12,685 people age 35 to 54. The median age there is 30.7.
–There are 5,709 women ages 35-54.
–Median age for women is 30.1. Median age for men is 31.2

And according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources:
–There are roughly 3,000 total mountain lions in the state of Utah "plus or minus 1,000."
- But it’s tough to get a true estimate. “The elusive nature of the big cats, compounded by their penchant for nocturnal activities, makes them difficult to count,” Kevin Bunnell, mammals coordinator for the DWR, told the Salt Lake Tribune.

While no doubt everyone has their own view on the matter of picking mascots and what is politically correct, it seems like the list of things you can't call your team continues to grow.

And you never know, this story may not be over yet. "Chargers" may be deemed offensive to people who are up to their necks in credit-card debt.

What do you think? Was the decision to scrap the mascot a legitimate one, or is this a case of people being slightly oversensitive?

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Filed under: Animals • Utah
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Boomer in Mo

    Good grief!

    January 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hack man

      How about the beavers then?

      January 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe blowsky

      Beaver College, in PA, changed its name to Arcadia University. It originally grew from the Beaver Female Seminary.

      February 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jenn

    The detractors of the team name need to STFU.

    January 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotAgain

      Clearly the men in that town need to go home and ask which one of their wives wrote the complaint...

      January 21, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. George in AZ

    What a load of crap! This situation tells me that (1) there are still too many thick-headed, thin-skinned people in this country and (2) political correctness is a huge load of crap – particularly how is is played today. There is a time and place to be proper (a much better thought than being PC) but not every time someone feels they have been wronged in some manner without finding out the ground truth. What a sad commentary on the society in America is becoming since the sitting President took office and put his butt-boys and -girls in charge.

    January 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Docholliday

      Butt-boys. Good call. Nice! I prefer the 5% of those "we're perfectly normal", straight-hating, breeder-baiting, heterophobes. But of course, it's perfectly acceptable, it's okay. Just the rest of us "breeders" are the problem.
      Hope this helps

      January 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ma & pa

    'Definitions' defined it definitively.

    January 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Docholliday

    Idiot LIbtardianssss

    January 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cheryl Weinrich

    What a load of pooo! I think that parents need to be a lot more worried about other things besides what the school mascot is. Kids need to be kids and cheer on the team and have fun with sports without stupid stuff imposed on them by "politically correct" parents. The term "Cougar" as a derogatory term was imposed on us by media and the entertainment industry. Do you let them dictate your life?? I try not too. I hope most people don't.

    January 20, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. broncobeauty

    Another example of society being sanitized by political correctness. Utah is a strange place, I prefer to call it the bubble.

    January 21, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. wolfloversk

    I love how they just completely scrap the kids' ideas. If they wanted to be "politically correct" they could at least choose a synonym like "puma" or "mountain lion." How 'bout "catamount"? Your talking about the one of animals with the most names in North America... and they couldn't even stick with the basic idea? I wonder if somebody just liked "chargers" better than "cougars" and used this as an excuse for why they didn't listen to the kids. I vote they scrap "Chargers" and go with "Puma concolor" (spelled with italics of course.) Then they can be politically and scientifically correct.

    January 21, 2012 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. virgincapt

    Why is being a mascot derogatory?

    January 21, 2012 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. Hugh Jass

    Go MILFS!!!

    January 21, 2012 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. bezerkur

    bad name choice for older women in denial. id like to represent the cougars in a class action law suit for deflamatory damages.

    January 21, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  12. sdmom

    Really?? Is this the pressing issue in our country today. Maybe these citizens/parents should put more effort into getting more teachers and more funding for our schools instead of complaining about the mascot, oh brother. I went to a school where our mascot was a Hillbilly, The Eucalyptus Hills Hillbillies, of course after having the name for a mascot for well over 20 years it too was changed and to what you may ask...... The Cougars.

    January 21, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. Andrew

    for the school to get so many calls about this, Corner Canyon must be FULL of cougars! All young guys who want a sugar mama: get out to Corner Canyon NOW! and wear your tightest pants!

    January 21, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. Southeast Kansas

    I can remember way back when the Cherryvale Kansas team was known as the "Cherryvale Cherries". Now they compete as the "cherryvale Chargers" Oh well, times do change.

    January 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ma & pa

    Trouble making political correctness nazis. They attempt to make us afraid to speak lest we offend their misapplied context of any word (their mistake, not ours). Make us afraid or hesitate to speak freely is their prime objective. Political correctness nazis are intimidaters, deliberately taking things the wrong way, so we will rephrase or apologize. They are breakers of clarity of thought with the intention of getting everyone thinking in a constricted, channeled contextt.

    January 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
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