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Frequently Asked Questions

Who were the members of the Mascot Committee?

Chaired by Terry Driscoll, the committee included alumni, students, faculty and staff. View the complete list of members.

Will W&M change the name of its athletic teams or its colors?

No, this is simply the addition of a school mascot. William & Mary will continue to be the Tribe in green, gold and silver.

How did you generate mascot ideas?

We announced an official submission period for W&M mascot ideas; it was April 1, 2009 - June 30, 2009. More than 800 individuals submitted ideas for review by the mascot search committee. Our blog was a great way to get more information about the suggestions we received and the five finalists mascot concepts.

What is a mascot anyway?

A mascot is a person, animal or object adopted by an athletic team and thought to bring luck.

What was the process for selecting the new mascot?

The mascot committee was responsible for encouraging participation and reviewing mascot ideas. Five finalist mascot concepts were posted for public comment on December 8, 2009 and a public feedback survey was available until January 7, 2010.

More than 11,000 individuals completed the feedback survey. The committee carefully reviewed the feedback collected during the public comment period. Ultimately, the mascot committee made a final recommendation to President Taylor Reveley.

I'm confused. Isn't Tribe William & Mary's mascot?

No, Tribe is the nickname for W&M athletic teams. An athletic nickname is the name officially adopted by a college or university for the members of its athletic teams. The nickname might also be used to refer to all students, alumni, faculty and staff at a college or university.

A school's mascot and nickname may be interchangeable - or not. Consider Harvard with John Harvard as the mascot and Crimson as the nickname. Now you know.

I've read a lot on the Mascot Blog and Facebook group about the NCAA ruling. What's the short explanation?

In 2004, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requested that several member institutions, including William & Mary, submit a self-evaluation to determine if the Native American imagery or nicknames used at the schools were hostile or abusive. Schools found in violation would not be permitted to wear the offending logos during postseason competition or be allowed to host postseason NCAA athletic events on their own campuses.

In May 2006, the NCAA agreed with the W&M's assessment that the nickname "Tribe" was not offensive but ruled that the university should stop using two feathers on its athletic logo. In July 2006, the university appealed the ruling regarding the use of the feathers to the NCAA’s executive committee. On August 3, 2006, the NCAA upheld its initial ruling that the feathers attached to William & Mary's athletic logo are unacceptable under their regulations.

How can we be the Tribe without feathers?

Yes. Actually, Tribe has come to mean the people at W&M. Here are a few other definitions:

  • any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders, etc.
  • a division of some other people
  • a class or type of animals, plants, articles or the like
  • a class or set of persons, esp. one with strong common traits or interests
What was the committee process like?

Our work started with discussions about the guidelines for mascot submissions. And, we had a lot to do on the communication front to get the word out. Next, we developed a checklist to screen mascot ideas and encouraged your ideas during the April 30, 2009 - June 30, 2009 submission period. We posted notes from many of our meetings and discussions. Next, we examined hundreds of ideas looking for the right one! After working with Torch Creative on concept drawings, we announced five mascot finalists. We then reviewed feedback from 11,000 individuals who completed a survey during the public comment period. The final step was a recommendation to President Reveley.

When was the W&M mascot chosen?

The committee followed this time line. We included a lot of time for alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends to submit ideas (April 2009 - June 2009). And, since we expected to get numerous submissions, we built in a 30-day public comment period. We completed our search for a mascot in March 2010. We announced the new Tribe mascot at a campus event on April 6, 2010.

Didn't W&M have a green blob in a tri-cornered hat as a mascot?

Colonel Ebirt (Tribe spelled backwards) was an unofficial mascot for about fours years - 2001 to 2005.

What's the history of mascots and nicknames at W&M?

A couple of years ago, University Communications prepared this history of the university's mascots and nicknames.

How was the William & Mary community included in the mascot search?

We encouraged participation at every stage - more than 800 individuals submitted ideas for a William & Mary mascot and more than 11,000 provided comments and feedback on our five finalists. The mascot search committee reviewed more than 22,000 comments received during our public feedback phase.

Using social media, we offered a host of ways to be involved: