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Why your mascot sucks: University of Oregon

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I’m going to call him Puddles. I refuse to call him The Duck, not even if there’s a fire.

Origins

Originally, the University of Oregon did not go by the Ducks. Instead, it was known as Webfeet or Webfooters.

Oddly enough, the name came from some New Englanders who helped George Washington and around 10,000 troops fend off defeat by the British in 1776.

The names migrated west to Oregon in the 1840s from Massachusetts and caught on in the Pacific Northwest.

L.H. Gregory, the sports editor of the Oregonian, was credited with coining the nickname for the school. However, as time went on, writers struggled to incorporate Webfoots into headlines and instead went with Ducks.

Later on in 1926, students voted to make Ducks the school’s primary nickname, as it beat out Timberwolves and Lumberjacks in a vote.

A second student-body election occurred in 1932, and Ducks won out again over Trappers, Pioneers, Yellowjackets and Spearsmen.

I don’t blame them for keeping ducks, those other names are garbage...

Donald? Is that you?

Leo Harris, Oregon’s first athletic director, struck a deal with Walt Disney in 1947, sealed with a handshake.

That deal was for the university to use Donald Duck’s likeness as the school’s mascot, as long as it was done in good taste.

The deal stood for 20 years, over that time Disney provided several versions of the duck for the school’s use. With Walt Disney’s death in 1966, it was determined that no formal deal or contract was in place between the school and Disney.

Harris was able to produce a picture of himself and Disney shaking hands with Disney wearing an Oregon Letterman's jacket. However, that was insufficient proof of an agreement.

In 1973, a written contract was produced so that the university could continue using Donald’s likeness.

However, not everyone associated with the university was on board with the decision, including the school’s football coach Jerry Frei (1967-71). He wanted the duck to sport teeth to better show off that they are “Fighting Ducks.”

Ok, but Jerry, Ducks don’t have teeth...

Donald’s likeness faced another potential ousting in 1978 when a cartoonist for the university newspaper submitted his own drawing as a replacement, but the student body voted it down, choosing to keep Donald by a landslide of 2-to-1.

Bro, you can’t beat Disney, its everywhere...

One student even went as far as to say that, “if that sleazy Duck makes it, I’m going to OSU (Oregon State University).”

Donald then found more support on his 50th birthday in 1984 during a visit to Eugene. He was met by 3,000 to 4,000 students who presented Donald a cap and gown and was named an honorary alumnus.

However, I don’t know how someone that never wears pants can be made an honorary alumnus.

When I didn’t wear pants to college, they told I was being “inappropriate,” and needed to “leave immediately.”

Double standards...

Speaking of... if Donald Duck never wears pants, why is it that he wraps a towel around his waist when he gets out of the shower?

It’s something that has been keeping me up at night for years, and I DEMAND ANSWERS!

I for one am glad that the real-life mascot version of the duck is not the same as a real-life Donald mascot.

Puddles... er no?

Oregon’s first live mascot Puddles surfaced in the 1920s when a live duck was escorted to football and basketball games. However, the Humane Society repeatedly complained about a live duck attending games, so the tradition ended in the 1940s.

However, the name Puddles is still used to this day as an unofficial nickname of the school’s duck mascot.

Oregon only refers to its mascot as “The Duck,” and is persistent that his name is not Puddles.

In 2015, the assistant AD for communications, Andy McNamara quashed any hope of the university officially naming the mascot Puddles.

“The Duck is The Duck,” said McNamara. “Puddles was the name of a live duck the student body paraded around in the early 20th century.”

However, in March of 2017 the basketball team played Oregon State in the hardwood version of the civil war and the players donned shooting shirts that depicted the Duck and OSU’s mascot as Rockem Sockem Robots, with the Duck winning the fight, by making the beavers head pop up.

The back of the shirt says “Puddles vs. Benny.” The school’s official response was that someone at Nike, the school’s apparel provider made the decision to refer to the duck as Puddles.

While everyone around the university calls him Puddles, Oregon refuses to do such, which I just don’t understand... Puddles is an awesome name for a water fowl.

Calling him “The Duck” seems like an insult. He deserves a name and Puddles is too good to avoid. The universities unwillingness to call him Puddles sucks.

I’m not going to call him The Duck. Even if there’s a fire!

Roboduck...? Mandrake...? Duck Vader...?

“KILL IT WITH FIRE” *likely the Duck’s response.

Oregon unveiled a secondary duck mascot in 2003 at halftime of the Stanford game.

A large egg appeared on the field and once it cracked, out popped a jacked alien-esque duck, which proved to be a sidekick to the Duck, as it was not limited by its size like the Duck was and he was able to do more acrobatic moves like back flips.

The introduction of the secondary duck gave Oregon the opportunity to have a licensed mascot, given that Disney owned its primary mascot.

Whether it was a marketing ploy or a potential fallback if Disney decided to end its agreement with the school, it turns out that it was a bad idea...

Most fans were unsure on how to feel about the duck. Sadly for Roboduck, its reign did not last long, as he was phased out in 2007.

I think where Oregon went wrong with Roboduck was in its design. It was too futuristic, ahead of its time and wasn’t nearly cuddly enough.

His head also really resembled a Shoebill Stork...

While terrifying in appearance... (especially when you consider that its nearly 5-foot-tall), it’s actually a kind creature, proven by the fact that one was photographed picking up a duck and moving it, out of its way.

That duck is thinking, ‘what the duck, I’m gonna die!’
� Mark Kay/Solent

Whether you call him Puddles, Donald, or The Duck, it’s clear that he has a special place in the hearts of both those associated with Oregon and others around the country.

Let’s just hope, for Oregon’s sake, they don’t try and roll out another jacked duck-like creature in the future...

Mascot Suck Index - Oregon

Suck Ranking University Mascot Mascot Suck Index
Suck Ranking University Mascot Mascot Suck Index
1 University of Minnesota Goldy Gopher 100
2 Ohio State University Brutus 94
3 Purdue University Purdue Pete 92
4 Kent State University Flash the Golden Eagle 90
5 University of Illinois Chief Illiniwek 89
6 University of Nebraska Herbie Husker & Lil' Red 86
7 University of Iowa Herkey The Hawk 85
8 University of Oregon Roboduck 70
9 Michigan State University Sparty 63
10 Northwestern University Willy the Wildcat 62
11 University of Michigan N/A 60
11 Central Michigan University N/A 60
11 University of Southern Florida Rocky the Bull 60
11 Rider University AJ 60
15 University of Oregon Puddles 45
16 University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Pounce 40
17 Purdue University The Boilermaker Special 10
18 University of Tennessee Smokey 8
19 University of Wisconsin - Madison Buckingham U. Badger 0