More Mascot Mania

To follow-up on my post Monday on high school mascots, I have now assembled a fairly comprehensive national data set of high school mascot names.  In total I have 19,786 high school mascot names from a school athletics site called MaxPreps.  According the the US Dept of Ed’s Digest of Education Statistics there 23,800 secondary schools, not all of which have a mascot.

It will take me a little while to analyze it, but here are some things that stand out right away:

For good or bad, political correctness has not overtaken high school mascot names  There are still 430 schools whose mascot is the “Indians,” 72 still called “Redskins,” and 209 still called “Crusaders.”  There are 348 “Devil” mascots compared to only 18 “Angels.”

The national names, like those that I examined more closely in Texas, appear to be mostly animal mascots.  Among those predator birds and big cats predominate.  Among human mascots, the most common are Indian names (of some sort), Raiders, Pirates, Warriors, etc…  Whether animal or human, mascots tends to have a fierce and intimidating quality. 

One of the more frightening is the Marshall High School “Lawyers” from Cleveland, Ohio.  Just imagine chants of “Go Lawyers” as the football team charges down the field.

The question that I have not yet been able to explore is whether newly selected mascots differ from ones selected many years ago.  It may well be that new mascots are much more PC, while the non-PC names atrophy over time as those schools close.

8 Responses to More Mascot Mania

  1. Greg Forster says:

    Another question I’d like to hear from you about is the public/private breakdown. Does your data set have private schools?

  2. um says:

    Is this the best use of your time?

  3. Greg Forster says:

    Why not? Jay’s job is to find out facts that inform debate. Well, a lot of people are complaining that PC has taken over the world, and mascots are often used as examples. For instance, Mark Steyn’s extremely successful book has an extended section where he points to a handful of mascots that were changed for PC reasons and generalizes that as the basis of an extended argument, complete with visions of the future in which Islamic schools with mascots like the Jihadists and the Infidel Slayers will play against Christian schools with mascots like the Doves and the Inoffensives.

    Well, turns out Steyn may be off base. I never would have guessed there were 209 schools whose mascots were the Crusaders. Assuming that almost all Crusader mascots are at private schools and the data set is roughly 10% private schools (Jay, do you have an actual number on that?) that would mean about 2,000 private schools in the data set, so a whopping 10% of private schools would have the Crusaders as their mascot. That’s astounding! And whether you like it or hate it, it’s important to know.

  4. […] More Mascot Mania, Jay Greene reveals that PC hasn’t annihilated the “Redskins” or […]

  5. saxdrop says:

    Yuma High School’s mascot (in my homel state of Arizona) is actually the Criminals. I’m guessing you won’t find any duplicates of that mascot in your database.

    You can imagine the signs and chants that went on when we played them in football. “Hey Yuma, don’t drop the soap!” was probably my favorite. And you thought “Go Lawyers” was bad.

  6. sylvia says:

    You think “Lawyers” is bad — “Johnny Barrister” is the mascot at John Marshall HS in Los Angeles. He has a large paper mache head and wears a graduation cap and gown. As you can imagine, we didn’t win a lot of football games.

  7. Greg Forster says:

    I was going to make a joke about what would happen if the Lawyers ever played the Criminals, but frankly, it’s just too darn easy.

  8. Jimmy Horton says:

    I own a data base of 70,000 schools and the information from url to address. I am seeking a list of Mascots and school colors for a project and could use any help in locating these you may have.
    Thanks, Bojack

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