Opinion: Missing mascot head allows for further transformation of athletics

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Riptide mingles with fans in the Wave’s 38-21 loss against Georgia Tech Sept. 6 in its inaugural game at Yulman Stadium. 

Mackenna Barker, Associate Sports Editor

The abduction of Riptide the Pelican’s head has shaken Tulane sports. The absence of the pelican at sporting events is disconcerting, and Tulane Athletics is trying to relocate the mascot’s head while simultaneously working on redesigning a new head for Riptide.

Though Tulane plans to bring Riptide back, new and improved, this situation presents an interesting opportunity for Tulane fans to decide what mascot might be a better replacement.

Choosing a mascot is no easy task. Much deliberation should go into the process. If Tulane wanted to stick with the representation of the Louisiana state animals, it could look to the crawfish or the white crappie, the state’s unique freshwater fish.

Though very symbolic and special to New Orleans, the crawfish and a white crappie don’t have the makings of a great mascot, though they would certainly bring a comical element to sporting events.

Ultimately, if athletics adopted a new mascot, it could reflect the new era Tulane athletics is moving toward. Tulane has put millions and millions of dollars into transforming its athletics image into one of an emerging competitor with one of the most prominent collegiate althletics programs in the nation.

Therefore, I propose Tulane make a bull shark the mascot to usher in a new era. These sharks reside in warm, shallow waters along coasts around the world. After Hurricane Katrina, many have been sighted in Lake Pontchartrain, and the fish have been known to swim up the Mississippi River.

These sharks, while small, earn their respect for being extremely aggressive, a tip the Green Wave could take to become a real contender in sports. The intimidating animal would serve as a declaration: Tulane means business.

The name, of course, should be left to a student vote. Some suggestions, however, might be Bruce, the most iconic shark name ever, or Poseidon, a powerful name and a tribute to the unofficial mascot that appeared a few times in the ’80s.

Riptide may not be going anywhere for a long time, however, even if the mascot head is not located. Nevertheless, if Tulane adopts a new mascot or redesigns Riptide in the coming years, Tulane athletics should continue its transformation through its mascot’s design.