Feb 20, 2014, 5:26 PM PST
San Francisco State University is considering saying “See you later, Alligator” to their mascot. Most mascot changes occur as a result of controversy or relocation. Fortunately, SF State doesn’t have either issue. What they do have, is a purple alligator that makes very little sense.
“I’m about 90% sure that we are not going to be the Gators,” SF State President Leslie E. Wong recently told the student-run Golden Gate Xpress. “It’s overwhelming that people don’t get the gator thing at all.”
Wong wants to improve the school’s athletic program and is spending $2.1 million to renovate the gymnasium and locker rooms on campus. He doesn’t think the Gator carries as much value.
Sure, there are memories. The Gator has been SF State’s official mascot since 1931, when an unidentified reader submitted the idea to the student paper and it won. The Gator was meant to be called “Gater” as a creative reference to the Golden Gate Bridge, but it didn’t stick. Spelling something intentionally wrong at a higher institute of learning is a tough sell, after all.
The Golden Gate Xpress even dug up yearbook photos from the 60s of a live gator named Al (get it?) that used to make visits to the campus. It’s highly unlikely Al was a native of the San Francisco area, though. Alligators can be found throughout the southeast, but almost never in California.
While there’s nothing terribly wrong with the current mascot, Wong could give SF State the opportunity to come up with something that better represents San Francisco’s rich history and natural beauty. Ideas could include a seal, a migratory bird that represents the commuter aspect of the college, a river otter like Sutro Sam, heck, the San Francisco Bulls’ mascot is even currently available. Pretty much anything makes more sense than an alligator.
In order to change mascots, they’d have to purge all of the items and logos that have a gator on them. The soon-to-be throwback merchandise might become a nice novelty down the road, and the college would hope to make some money back by selling merchandise featuring their new mascot.
As an SF State alumnus, I never really got the gator thing. It really wasn’t a big deal, though. They don’t, however, have an alternative in mind, and if they find a new one after a while, it better not be a crocodile.
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