|University||Ohio State University|
|Description||Anthropomorphic buckeye nut|
|Origin of name||Winning entry in competition|
Brutus Buckeye is the athletics mascot of Ohio State University. Brutus made his debut in 1965, with periodic updates to design and wardrobe occurring in the years since. As a member of the spirit squad, Brutus Buckeye travels to many events around the university and often makes appearances around Columbus.
Ohio State students Ray Bourhis and Sally Huber decided Ohio State needed a mascot in 1965 and convinced the athletic council to study the matter. At the time, mascots were generally animals brought into the stadium or arena. A buck deer was contemplated, but, because bringing live animals as mascots was common at the time, this was rejected as impossible. Instead, the buckeye was selected, as the buckeye is the official state tree of Ohio. A simple papier-mâché nut was constructed by students, worn over the head and torso, with legs sticking out. It made its appearance at the Minnesota vs. Ohio State homecoming football game on October 30, 1965. The heavy papier-mâché nut did not last and it was soon replaced by a fiberglass shell. On November 21, 1965, The Columbus Dispatch reported that judges picked Brutus Buckeye to be the new mascot's name after a campus-wide "Name the Buckeye" contest. The winning name was the idea of then Ohio State student Kerry J. Reed, 21. "Block O" agreed to care for Brutus in December. In the early 2000s, the Brutus costume was stolen before a game. The mascot was forced to wear the old costume.
Brutus has a buckeye head and block O hat, scarlet and grey shirt emblazoned "Brutus" and "00", red pants with an Ohio State towel hanging over the front, and high white socks with black shoes. Male and female students both serve as Brutus Buckeye.
On September 18, 2010, the Ohio Bobcats football team played the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus. As the Buckeyes were running onto the field, Brandon Hanning, dressed as Rufus the Bobcat, saw Sean Stazen, dressed as Brutus Buckeye, leading the charge. Hanning failed in his initial sideswiping attempt on Brutus, losing his mascot head in the process. Hanning then got back on his feet, ran after Stazen, jumped on his back and continued to hit the Brutus mascot in the head. Hanning was then pulled aside by security who told him to stop. Neither mascot was injured, and Ohio State won the game, the final score 43-7.
In a post-game interview, Hanning explained that this was his sole purpose in trying out to be the mascot. "It was actually my whole plan to tackle Brutus when I tried out to be mascot," Hanning explained, "I tried out about a year ago, and the whole reason I tried out was so I could come up here to Ohio State and tackle Brutus."
After the game, Hanning was terminated from his position as Ohio University's mascot, was banned from further affiliation with the school's athletic department, and he dropped out to attend Hocking College. Ohio University issued an apology, stating they "regret the negative effect [Hanning's actions] may have on the relationship between the two schools".