I've been to a couple of Utah State athletic events during my time here, and as a bit of a mascot connoisseur, I payed some attention to the antics of Big Blue, the University's bull mascot. Even with my high standards, I thought he did a pretty good job. However, this story in the USU paper shocked me to my core.
USU actually has a "beheading ceremony" in which the identity of senior mascots is revealed at basketball games, in front of thousands of people. This is a breach of one of the top two rules of being a mascot - don't take off your head in public (the other major rule being "don't talk"). The fact that this is done at center court with everyone watching is especially appalling.
Imagine if you went to the mall on Dec. 24th, and Santa stood up, yanked off his beard, and was identified and honored for his Christmas service. How would your kids react? This beheading ceremony is pretty much the same thing. Big Blue should be be his own being, not some guy in a suit whose identity we can learn at season's end. To take the head off in public ruins the mystique of the suit for the children out there, and I think it cheapens it for everyone else.
The USU mascots keep their identity secret throughout the year, according to the article. That is commendable, and a higher standard than many schools use. However, that is all thrown out the window at this ceremony. Some may say, "Well, they deserve recognition for their service." Recognition, however, is something you sacrifice when you become a mascot, kind of like when you are a CIA officer and you pull of some great, secret operation and you can't tell anyone (in fact, it's exactly like that).