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. sielingfan

    And the lesson is: Democracy < old white b!tch.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Guest

    So,when are the bears going to get upset?

    January 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bubba™

    Cougar is only a derogatory name if you think it applies to you. Otherwise its really very innocuous. :)™

    January 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • MaraNicoleee

      I completely agree with this statement. Very true very true.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Paula Almquist

    They should just call themselves "The Pumas."

    January 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Ah, but wouldn't offend all of the shoes...?

      January 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    About 10 years ago or so they the salt Lake Triple-A baseball changed its name from the Buzz to the Bees, because they didn't like the word Buzz since it can be associated with being drunk.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    This is, without a doubt, the stupisesr thin I have ever heard of.
    Whwn I think of a cougar, I think of...a big feline!
    And example of political correctness gone horribly awry.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jbov

    Sooo...was the mascot going to be the animal cougar? Or just a picture of Courtney Cox's face?....

    January 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pete/Ark

    "Stupidity thy name Is Utah".

    January 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pete/Ark

    "Stupidity thy name Is Utah". Do ALL of these people learn ONLY from "reality"(SNICKER) TV ?

    January 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BOMBO ©

    When are Norwegians going to get upset about the Minnesota Vikings name?

    January 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    If your fans make fun of your name, then thier not fans, and they need to be elsewhere with so much time on thier hands.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Exuse me...I meant to say they're not your fans.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Not proud of your name? Then keep the name and scrap the school. 🙂

    January 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scott

    Go SIUE Cougars!

    January 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anomic Office Drone

    The mere fact that parents know what cougar means is proof that the term is dead and will soon only mean mountain lion once again.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
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