Why is Ohio State's Mascot named Brutus?

Last Modified Sep 20, 2023 21:26 IST
Ohio State mascot Brutus
Ohio State Mascot Brutus

Founded in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, The Ohio State University, often called Ohio State or OSU, evolved into Ohio's ninth university under the Morrill Act of 1862. Guided by Governor Rutherford B. Hayes, it transitioned from agriculture and mechanics to a comprehensive research university, formally becoming "the Ohio State University" in 1878.

Ohio State University, classified as an "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity" institution, boasts a substantial $7.4 billion endowment. Alongside its academic accomplishments, the Ohio State Buckeyes football program, part of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, has a storied history with eight national championships, 41 conference titles, and a program valuation exceeding $1.5 billion.

Ohio State mascot Brutus

Behind the football triumphs is an intriguing aspect of Ohio State's tradition—the beloved Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye. Brutus made his debut in 1965, initiated by the visionary ideas of Ohio State students Sally Huber and Ray Bourhis. These students recognized the need for a mascot and successfully convinced the athletic council to explore the concept. At that time, mascots were primarily live animals brought into stadiums, and even the idea of a buck deer was entertained but ultimately rejected due to logistical challenges.

The choice of the buckeye as the mascot stems from its status as Ohio's official state tree. Initially, a simple papier-mâché nut was crafted and worn over the head and torso, with legs protruding. This makeshift creation made its first appearance on October 30, 1965, during the Minnesota vs. Ohio State homecoming football game. As time progressed, the fragile papier-mâché nut was replaced with a more durable fiberglass shell. A campus-wide "Name the Buckeye" contest led to the selection of the name "Brutus Buckeye" on November 21, 1965. Kerry J. Reed, a then-Ohio State student, conceived the winning name. "Block O" took on the responsibility of caring for Brutus in December.

Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye Appearance

Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye sports an iconic look featuring a buckeye head, a Block O hat, a scarlet and grey shirt adorned with "Brutus" and "00," red pants with an Ohio State towel draped over the front, and high white socks paired with black shoes. Notably, both male and female students serve as Brutus Buckeye, representing the spirit of Ohio State.

Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye's Off-Campus Adventures

Brutus Buckeye's popularity extends beyond the confines of the university. He has made memorable appearances in ESPN's This Is SportsCenter advertisements, Home Depot commercials promoting Glidden paint, and various NCAA video games. Additionally, Brutus has engaged in humorous antics, even appearing on The Daily Show as a guest correspondent and amusingly being "eaten" by a giant squirrel, a playful nod to his nutty identity.


Q. What is the history behind the name "Brutus Buckeye" for Ohio State's mascot?

A. The name "Brutus Buckeye" was chosen in a campus-wide contest in 1965, inspired by Ohio's official state tree, the buckeye.

Q. How did the idea for Ohio State's mascot, Brutus Buckeye, originate?

A. Ohio State students Ray Bourhis and Sally Huber initiated the idea of having a mascot in 1965, which led to the creation of Brutus Buckeye.

Q. What are the distinctive features of Brutus Buckeye's costume and appearance?

A. Brutus Buckeye's costume includes a buckeye head, a Block O hat, a scarlet and grey shirt with "Brutus" and "00," red pants with an Ohio State towel, and high white socks with black shoes.

Q. Has Brutus Buckeye made appearances beyond Ohio State events?

A. Yes, Brutus Buckeye has made appearances in various advertisements, including ESPN's This Is SportsCenter and Home Depot commercials, as well as in NCAA video games and on The Daily Show as a guest correspondent.