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. Tom

    That's because fun of any kind is illegal in the state of Utah.

    January 20, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Random bystander

      agreed

      January 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lanoom

    The idea that it conflicts with BYU's Cougar is somewhat valid, but should've been thought of before the mascot was put on the ballot.

    The idea that it's offensive to older women is stupid.

    January 20, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. oh pulleeeeezzzzzzzzz

    i attended at school where the mascot was an indian, i am american indian, i didnt attend any games because i didnt care to go see some white boy with paint on his face and feathers jump around like he had ants in his pants, that is offensive. but to be offended by a cougar.. come on now, thats just ridiculous.

    January 20, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Bob Knippel

    I suppose had the name been "Rocks", it would have offended the very same people.

    January 20, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jeff

    Oh wow how stupid is this! America always trys to come up with somthing new to complain about!

    January 20, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. justworng1

    People are ignorant, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Cougar, it's a powerful animal, fools & trolls.

    January 20, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. justworng1

    Sorry, Not People, Parents, backword parents in nowhere Utah, brilliant

    January 20, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. pam

    This is just plain silly. If the first thing you think of when someone uses the word " cougar" is an older woman with a younger man, then your thought process is off. I think it is only offensive if the shoe fits.

    January 20, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Frank J Semin

    Gross Catholic High School in Bellevue, Nebraska is known as the Cougars. All four of my children graduated from Gross. Does that make me a bad parent?
    Frank

    January 20, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tricia

    I've never made the connection between older women who 'like' younger men being called cougars. What does cougars have to do with it?

    January 20, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. CullThePopulace

    Cougar, a defamatory mascot?
    Want to see defamation (and utter horribleness) at its best? Do a search for Nicholls State University and look for their mascot. A Civil War, "Colonel." It looks like the gestapo. Hilarious, horrible and a pathetic waste of nearly $50,000.00 by a third-tier 'college' in Louisiana.

    January 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Truthwillsetyoufree

    Stupid article... if Cougar is derogatory it would be that women are called that. But its and animal as a mascot. not old women... Dumb to inflict this upon peoples minds that dont think that way.

    January 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. junkfee

    If you think that "cougar" is a derogatory term and shouldn't be used as a mascot you seriously need to get a life. The term "cougar" is the official name of an animal- not your urban slang.

    If this is a problem to you- YOU are whats wrong with this country. Political Correctness is a disease that must be eradicated.

    rjp

    January 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Crocky

    I just find it ridiculous that this even happened. As a middle-aged woman who has, on occasion, dated much younger men, I see no problem with the term. Must be that these older women have nothing better to do than to complain. Get a grip, get a life, and get over it. A cougar is a noble animal. Let it be.

    January 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Linann

    If it were a picture of an older women, yes. A big cat no.

    January 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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