The University of Toledo is nixing Shrek as its new mascot, though it actually was considering it.
Toledo fans were so close to making the world of college athletics green with envy. Unfortunately, officials at the Ohio school have eliminated any possibility of making Shrek their new mascot.
According to ESPN reporter Darren Rovell, the school has backed out on its promise to make the change from Rockets to Shrek if their tweet on the subject garnered 500,000 retweets.
The school’s spokesperson, Christine Billau, insists the tweet was meant to be fun, but had become too much of a distraction for the school. We’re not entirely sure how a tweet of a giant green ogre served as a distraction to the school’s students, alumni and faculty, but we’ll take Toledo’s word for it.
In fairness, even if the tweet had met the school’s minimum, the Rockets would have faced a serious legal challenge to complete their mascot conversion. DreamWorks Animation currently holds 12 trademarks for the popular cartoon character. It’s highly unlikely they would have allowed Toledo to use the image without serious compensation coming their way.
Despite the obvious legal difficulties, it’s hard not to see this as a massive loss for the world of college athletics. Seeing Toledo make the move from a generic moniker like “Rockets” to Shrek could have really opened up a new world for athletic departments all around the country.
Just imagine the fun Auburn, LSU and Clemson fans could have enjoyed trying to beat the other institutions to move away from a boring mascot like “Tigers.” Just think of the merchandise revenue increase possible after announcing a switch to the Auburn Aladdins.
Alas, college sports seem to be destined to continue with their antiquated nicknames of old. The likes of Pixar, Disney and the rest of these amazing cartoon movie producers are going to keep their beloved characters to themselves.