Top Cat: University of Kentucky's Scratch Named to 2003 Capital One All-America Mascot Team
July 31, 2003
The 2003 Capital One All-America Mascot Team
Albert - University of Florida
"Last year, college mascots flocked to join the All-America mascot team, and this year the contest for the 12 coveted spots was even more ferocious," said Pam Girardo, mascot spokesperson at Capital One. "We look forward to watching the finalists go beak-to-beak and snout-to-snout to claim the Capital One National Mascot of the Year title beginning in September. May the best mascot win!"
Being named an All-American comes with its fair share of perks - the recognition, the photo shoots, a national television advertising campaign, the parties, adoring fans, bragging rights and the cash (each member of the mascot team receives $5,000 for its school's mascot program). Capital One started the All-America Mascot and National Mascot of the Year contests last year to pay homage to the top college mascots in the country. Mascots traditionally have been the Rodney Dangerfields of the sports world.
"Capital One is all about challenging the status quo," said Girardo. "While most people glorify the star quarterback or lineman, Capital One wants to recognize the unsung hero of college football - the mascot. They embody the true spirit of college football and it's time they had their day in the sun."
This year's pack of characters was chosen from Division IA and IAA athletic programs with college football teams. Nomination kits, which were mailed to the Division IA & IAA athletic departments in March, were due back on June 6, 2003. A panel of judges, including original Phillie Phanatic David Raymond; mascot guru and historian, Dr. Roy Yarbrough; and representatives from ESPN and Capital One, selected and notified the 12 finalists in June. Judging criteria included interaction with fans, sportsmanship and community service.
The selection of the team sets the stage for a fierce battle for the coveted Capital One National Mascot of the Year title beginning in early September. Fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite mascot of the 12 through real-time, online polling at www.capitalonebowl.com. The winner will be selected based on the judges' ranking (50 percent) and the on-line voting results (50 percent). The Capital One National Mascot of the Year will be announced during the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2004, and will receive an additional $5,000 (for a total of $10,000) for its school's mascot program.
"We are extremely proud of Scratch's recognition as a member of the Capital One All-America Mascot Team," UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. "We look forward to supporting his campaign for the title of Capital One National Mascot of the Year starting in September."