By Dan Shanoff
Special to Page 2

Last week, Indiana University athletics director Michael McNeely announced the school had launched a search for a mascot. After extensive focus-group testing and market research, the mascot will be chosen by a university committee. McNeely told the Herald-Times in Bloomington that the goal isn't to create a "HoosierMan." (However, we can only assume he has an interest in having his mascot appear in the "This is SportsCenter" ads and the 2002 Battle of the Mascots.)

Two key points to keep in mind:

(1) A mascot is not the same thing as a nickname.
For example, the Wisconsin nickname is the "Badgers." UW's mascot is "Bucky Badger." Clear enough? And yet, so often confused.

(2) What, exactly, is a Hoosier?
While many fans from other Big Ten schools (or Texas Tech) might appreciate an IU mascot true to an older definition (that is, an "ignorant rustic" -- i.e., "hick"), Page 2 defers to Webster's most recent, if less-than-helpful answer: "Someone who is from Indiana."

With that, Page 2 would like to offer up its own ideas for the IU committee's perusal, based on an examination of the leading mascot genres:

Candidates for new Indiana University mascot
Genre Representative examples Pros Cons Potential IU applications
Nickname caricature
in cartoonish

Florida's Albert the Alligator; Nebraska's
Li'l Red; the inimitable Stanford Tree
Can easily mingle with
the crowd
Have been known to draw T's from refs, fight fans of opposing team "The
Blooming(ton) Onion, sponsored by Outback"; "Hickory the Hayseed"; "Calbert Chaney"
Live animal
Colorado's Ralphie the Buffalo;
Georga's UGA the Bulldog
Much more menacing and/or inspiring than an excitable sophomore
in a fur suit
Potential charges of animal cruelty; unnatural attachments (we mean you, Georgia) "Hoozie the Woozy Horse"; "Indy the Bison" (bison appears on state seal)
Person dressed up
Notre Dame's Leprechaun; Florida State's Seminole;
Illinois' Chief Illiniwek
If you're looking to stir some emotions ... ... hmm, because the fact is most are racist. "Indiana Jones"; "Marion Indiana"; "Jimmy Chitwood"
Modes of transportation
An exciting
way to get
around campus; a reflection of the state's glorious history
What's the
go on that baby?
"Hoosier Scooter"; "Hoosier Hayride"; an IROC Z-28
Cobi (Barcelona '92), Izzy (Atlanta '96) or any other Olympic
Leeway to pretty much throw anything you want out there near the cheerleaders Little relation to your team, your nickname, or any tradition related to your school; absolutely no chance at mascot-related merchandise sales; universal mockery "Hoosier Daddy"; "H to the Oozzo, S to the Izzay"; "Coach Knight"

Dan Shanoff is a regular contributor to Page 2.