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. What Is Wrong?

    Are you serious?? Cougars are like lions. They are strong and powerful and they rule the world. So can you take its as that and not an older woman hitting on young guys? Thank You!

    January 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana safe in Alaska

      I would equate an old woman trying to scope a much younger man to a ferret as a ferret is always trying to take the youngling out of the nest.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Crystal

    Damn Utah stop being so anal and making the state look even worse!

    January 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hated Utah

      The whole state is like a giant sphincter.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hawkeye

    Hey simon 66 A juicey fox story huh,well who to he ll posted the story CNN FOX DIDNT.You know fox makes mistakes just as cnn does.One of the mistakes that fox makes,is to be fair and balanced.I feel that fox should be as biased as cnn and all 3 major news networks.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trapper John

      That's ALL you got out of the story? Are you a dullard?

      January 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kernel Hairy Potter

      He's not a duck.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sonic10158

    sounds like someone was a little too sensitive and lacked knowledge on what a cougar is

    January 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bailey sovine

    The litmus test on mascot name names being offensive is simply this... stick your head into pubs all across America and shout "Hey... cougars, tigers, Redskins, Lakota, White Trash, Bible Thumpers, Negras fighting Irish, etc." When a person gets offended, you have a problem. I highly doubt that any person would be offended by "Hey Cougars." "Hey Redskins," on the other hand is a vile racist monicker. Anyone who attempts to make a comparison bgetween the mascot name cougar and the mascot name Redskin is either so diluted they cannot see right from wrong or just plain stupid. It's truly funny how so many folks down here in Southern Appalachia scream about political correctness but then themselves get offended when the insult makes fun of them.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jake, Ambivalent American using triple entendres in a never-before-seen adventure of amazing proportion!

    I just wanted to say that cougars are okay sort of...and sort of not.
    That's it.
    That's my comment.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. definitions

    Decent words are even feeling the pressure these days. I actually used to hunt cougars with my gay grandfather before the bleeding hearts took over. Cougar is a mountain lion you perverts. And my grandpa was happy you butt humpers. These words are only twisted in twisted minds.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. theresa

    the use of the word cougar is derogatory! not the other way around! this world has EVERYTHING BACKWARDS!

    January 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kelsey

    These days almost everything has a derogotory connotation, like the word cougar, which has come to mean an older woman who is seeing a younger man. Such famous cougars include Demi Moore and recently Jenifer Lopez. Denying a school a popular mascott choice simply because a few moms are offended is proposterous. I think to most a cougar symbolizes strength, agility and feirceness, all very redeeming qualities in an athletic team. If someone should choose to want to represent these quallities, i think that they should in no way be impeeded. Schools should be free to chose whatever mascott that they want. A mascott represents the school's intentions and values and should at all costs be decided by the school. My school's mascott is the lion, the mighty king of the jungle. I feel that the lion helps us form our team spirt and motivate us to play harder. When i see that lion on the floor of our gym, i know i'm at home and i know that i need to channel my inner lion to pull out a win.
    The simple fact that a cougar can mean something else, should absolutely not be a reason for a school to not choose it. The schoool district needs to get over itslef and let all school have a free choice of mascotts. And by the way, a cougar isn't okay but a devil, the very definition of evil, wether you are religious or not, is?

    January 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. theresa

    Let me clarify..I mean the use of the word cougar to describe an older woman dating younger men is derogatory.The cougar cat has nothing to do with it.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana safe in Alaska

      And theresa I think you are derogatory to nature. Please delete yourself, you know ,for the kids.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. james

    This is just plain stupid. The School Board will never get the confidence of the students again–Dumb–

    January 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. george lewis

    I think the mormons invented the newest meaning for cougars. I'm sure that if a man back then had 20 wives, some of them had to be cougars and others had to be cheetahs. WHO CARES

    January 19, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ct

    My team name is the welfare men. We get half of every point you make without taking the field.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana safe in Alaska

      And that could be used as a racial slur in todays pathetic mindset even though you didn't mean it that way.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Travis

    It's almost ashaming for me to say I live in Utah, haha it's kinda hilarious this article, I'm surprised they haven't complained to BYU yet about the Cougar name. Ohhh Utah 🙂

    January 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dana safe in Alaska

    How sic is this, some welcome killing of babies(abortion) but holy cow to say cougar may hurt the feelings of a woman with physiological problems that's old who wants to rob the cradle is beyond insane. What now we can only call the cats Pumas, mountain lions, what?

    January 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
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