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. george lewis


    January 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cub

    Think of how cool it could be – they could have a contest every year where a student's mom gets voted to be the new mascot! She could make guest appearances and be the spokeperson for the school. Endless possibilities...

    January 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin j. omlor

      LOLOLOL...................That's hysterical !!

      January 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Steven Albert

    So, if I want to force a school to change its mascot, all I have to do is start a trend that associates the name of the mascot with a "derogatory" notion?

    January 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flagrante Delicto

      Works in the scientific community. The colassal JEWFISH is now the Goliath Grouper.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Todd

    If you look at anything long enough you will find that that word can be used a derogatory remark.

    January 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bentley76

    This is funny- a school is in hot water because some soccer moms are offended by a word that refers to them cheating on their husbands. If it didn't refer to them directly, then they would have nothing to be offended about- right?

    January 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • bentley76

      There are many other derogatory words that refer to women who date younger men- besides cougar (which is tame by all standards) there are worse words like MILF.
      The only people who should be offended or ashamed by the word should be the ones who have something to be offended about.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin j. omlor

      can I have a list of their names ?

      January 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Flagrante Delicto

    I am offended by and object to the "Chargers" mascot name. I have a small very pe-nis and I am intimidate­d, in fact, embarrassed­ by the school's new mascot name. Everyone knows that a horse is, well, "hung like a horse." This infringes on the rights of men everywhere of diminutive appendage.

    Cougars, on the other hand, are majestic mountain creatures which are endangered and deserve recognition. Nothing offensive about that!

    January 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin j. omlor

      So what you're just a little pony. Not everyone can be hung like a horse. Otherwise, there'd be no comparison.

      January 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hippediva

    Who hired that bunch of idiots? Obviously, they haven't cracked a book in years but are all too willing to inflict tv-made manure on the English language. They should all be fired.

    January 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Belinda

    I don't see what the big deal is! If you are attractive enough for young men to be interested in you, then why would anybody be offended by the word cougar? when I think of cougar as it applies to older women, I'm thinking Cindy Crawford
    and Sophia Loren, Cher.etc. What woman wouldn't want to be thought of in those terms young or old. I'm thinking it just has to be complimentary!! It certainly does not mean you are cheating on your spouse...just that you look good enough to. By the way I am cougar age and it is certainly a thrill to be thought of as cougarable!!

    January 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. john cougar mellencamp

    theres nothing wrong with cougars.

    January 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin j. omlor

      i think this entire commentary is giving the poor cougars a bad name.

      January 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. surfsouthbay of the dumbest things ive read this week. so we should rename the animal or what?

    January 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bunnay

    oh get real. our society has become obsessed with being politically correct and worrying about offending people. get over it already. you have a small part of society, a really small part, that dislikes the term. if we based everything on whether it offended someone we'd never get anything done. heaven help me, this is getting ridiculous.

    January 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KennedyCougar

    Omg, really? People need to get a GRIP. My HS was CR Kennedy and we were PROUD to be the Cougars. Omg, get a LIFE.

    January 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Denman

    Really glad to see that ALL PROBLEMS AT CORNER CANYON HIGH ARE SOLVED. I mean, if they weren't, the senior management and school board in the district wouldn't be spending a lot of time on such an idiotic issue...RIGHT?

    January 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michelle

    I think this is rediculous. I cannot believe that a school board would force them to change the mascot. There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling them the cougars. My kids went to a Jr High with a Trojan (a warrior) as a mascot, should that be changed because of the same name being used as a brand of condoms????? There comes a point when we need to say grow up and stop spending time looking for controversy.

    January 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tully

    Let's just Ban EVERYTHING, and be done with it.

    January 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
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