An Open Letter To Penn State Athletics: It’s Time For An Actual Lion Mascot
Penn State Athletics,
Let me be frank. We need a real lion.
Now, before you say, “Why would we risk having a wild animal on campus?” this is in no way, shape, or form a plea to replace the Nittany Lion. The Nittany Lion is one of, if not the best, mascots in all of college sports.
As an active college football fan, one of my favorite things is seeing the schools with live animal mascots on campus. So my question is: Why can’t Penn State do the same?
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a Nittany Lion. Since our beloved mascot was based on mountain lions that, as of the 1880s, no longer reside in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, I have something else in mind. I would like to propose that Penn State introduce a brand new, real-life lion to the school.
The only obvious issue is the weather, which does get extremely harsh here during the winter. Still, zoos in cold climates around the world have lion exhibits year-round, so I’m sure Penn State can construct an accommodating enclosure for our feline friend.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “There’s no way a lion can be a mascot for Penn State.” To that, I say, why not? Plenty of other schools have actual, live mascots. Colorado allows a buffalo to run on its field, Georgia has a bulldog, and Texas has a real longhorn that sits on the field during games.
So you’re telling me a live longhorn can be on the field during a football game, but we can’t have a real lion?
Of course, big cats are a little more dangerous than dogs or buffalo, but other schools already do it. For starters, LSU has a real tiger that lives between the football stadium and basketball center in Baton Rouge. It had seven tigers, and the first tiger dates back to 1934.
Even real-life lion mascots exist on college campuses, like North Alabama’s Leo III. Leo is the only live lion mascot in the country that lives on a college campus, and I think we should change that.
With that being said, there’s only one thing left to do: give our new lion a name. Should he or she bear the Nittany Lion namesake? Maybe we could take the easy route and go with Nittany Lion 2.0?
I’ll leave this one in your hands, Penn State Athletics.
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About the Author
Kotelnicki’s hiring was first reported Thursday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions survived a late Minnesota comeback attempt to split the series.