Utah School Board Rejects “Cougar” Mascot For New High School
It’s a sign of our times I suppose but I was still surprised to read that a Draper, Utah school board rejected the nickname “Cougars” for their soon to open high school. The reason? They feared it would be offensive to middle-aged women, especially single or divorced middle-aged women who have been tagged “cougars” by the media for their supposed interest in younger men. According to an article in USA Today, the Canyons school board rejected the nickname–selected by the students by the way–because the word “cougars” now refers to women who seek romantic relationships with younger men. However a board spokesperson, Jennifer Toomer-Cook, said that the nickname was rejected because of the intense rivalry between two college teams, the BYU Cougars and The University of Utah Utes,
“People were saying, with the colors and the nickname, is this BYU north,” Toomer-Cook said. “There were a lot of reasons against having Cougars as the nickname, but if you boiled them all down, the reason the board went with something else is if there was a mascot that could potentially divide a community, why go there? The board chose Chargers because there are horses in the community and it is unique. There are three other schools in the state with the Cougar mascot.”
I have to wonder if they were also worried about being known as “Cougar Town” north, a reference to the ABC series of the same name starring Courtney Cox.