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Otto the Orange Squeezed out of ACC Tournament

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Syracuse University, as part of its self-imposed postseason prohibition, banned Otto the Orange from the Atlantic Coast Conference’s annual mascot basketball game on Thursday.

Of the ACC’s 15 team mascots, Otto was the only one absent during halftime of the North Carolina-Louisville quarterfinal game.

On February 4, Syracuse imposed a ban on postseason play for its basketball team, then 15-7, for violations in 2007 that included academic violations, the eschewing of drug test procedures, and payment offered for students doing volunteer work at a YMCA. Syracuse University had reported the infractions to the NCAA back in 2007. The governing body recently suspended Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and vacated more than a hundred of his wins.

Despite the ban, the conference tournament still features a Syracuse banner, as well as the university’s logo on the tournament’s official souvenir T-shirts, although Syracuse-specific tournament T-shirts are not on sale.

Otto should not feel overly alone; in 2006, Stanford’s Tree mascot precipitated a fine for the university from the NCAA due to “multiple violations of tournament policies.” Student mascot Tommy Leep, as the Tree, was suspended from an NCAA Women’s Tournament. He had danced in an un-designated area and refused to leave the court promptly after halftime.

The Tree and Otto may have been suspended and banned, but not vilified the way Winnie The Pooh reportedly was in Poland. Pooh was banned from a Polish playground because of his “dubious sexuality” and being “inappropriately dressed,” according to the Croatian Times. One town councilor reportedly said, “The problem with that bear is that it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe. It is half-naked, which is wholly inappropriate for children,” adding that a Polish fictional bear should be the substitute, noting, “Ours is dressed from head to toe, unlike Pooh who is only dressed from the waist up.”


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