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For the suburb of Sydney, Australia, see Mascot, New South Wales. For the American city, see Mascot, Tennessee.

A mascot is some thing, typically an animal or human character used to represent a group with a common identity, such as a school, professional sports team, or corporation. American university sports teams are often identified primarily by their mascot. Sports team merchandise often bears the team logo as well as mascot. The team will employ an individual to accompany them to home and away games who dresses up as the creature.

A mascot is not always an animal or person; for example, Stanford University's mascot is a color, and its band's mascot is a tree.

In the United States, there has been controversy surrounding some mascot choices, especially those of human characters. For example, the Champaign-Urbana campus of the University of Illinois' mascot is the "Fighting Illini," a reference to the Native American Indian tribe after which the state of Illinois is named. This choice is considered to be offensive and politically incorrect to many, and may be a case of exploitation of an oppressed race. Others counter that the university is attempting to honor their heritage and recognize the contributions of the First Nations of America. Such debates are not unique to large universities: Alfred University, a school of about 2,000 students in Western New York State has the "Saxon" as its mascot. Its representation is a charging knight in armor. Meant to symbolize strength and courage, others protest that the Saxon represents chauvinism and rape.

Wikipedia is currently having a vote to decide its mascot. [1]

See also: list of mascots, List of unusual U.S. college mascots

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