New school can’t be Cougars because middle-aged women might be offended

Students at a new Utah high school are facing disappointment after their choice for a new school mascot was rejected for one of the strangest reasons possible: Board members deemed it might be seen as offensive to middle-aged women.

The BYU Cougar statue — Wikipedia
The BYU Cougar statue — Wikipedia

As reported by Salt Lake City Fox affiliate KTSU, Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon High announced its new mascot and school colors on Wednesday, with Canyons School District officials proclaiming that the school's teams will be called the Chargers, using a blue and white color scheme.

That's all fine and good except for the fact that the school's future student body -- which was given the opportunity to select its own future mascot -- had chosen to be the Cougars. With some 23 percent of the student vote, the Cougar choice was far preferred to other options, which included the Chargers, Diamondbacks, Falcons, Raptors, Broncos, Bears and Cavaliers.

The reason why the future student body gravitated toward Cougars is pretty clear: Area collegiate power BYU uses the Cougar as its mascot and enjoys an enormous fan base of area residents and those who follow the Mormon faith (BYU is a Mormon institution).

Corner Canyon High conceptual drawing —
Corner Canyon High conceptual drawing —

Still, the Canyons School Board refused to accept the Cougar as a mascot out of fear that it might offend older women. In the current edition of the Webster Dictionary, the second definition for cougar sights a slang terminology that refers to "a middle-aged woman seeking a romantic relationship with a younger man."

To say that the board's reaction to having a school play as the Cougars was a bit over the top is certainly an understatement, particularly when one considers the fact that BYU and a host of other high schools in Utah use the Cougar as their mascot. By pulling the right to pick their own mascot away, the school board turned what appeared to be a nice nod toward student self determination into a first overbearing act of a new administration that doesn't even exist yet. Appoint Dean Wormer as principal and the student rebellion will be ready to go by the first day of school.

[Related: Jazz mascot drops cake on fans from upper deck]

More significantly, why would the board even offer "Cougars" as a potential mascot choice if it wasn't prepared to accept it? That lack of logic is positively baffling. Surely everyone could have saved themselves a lot of face if they simply had not allowed prospective students to choose to be the Cougars in the first place.

Of course, there's still plenty of time for the Canyons School Board to re-consider and give the students back their Cougars. Corner Canyon isn't scheduled to open until fall 2013, so the initial announcement of school colors and mascot was seen as a way to get positive attention for a project that remains on schedule.

Needless to say, it doesn't seem to have quite worked out that way.

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