SRQ Magazine | September 2014
Although Sarasota can make a solid claim to the label of “college town,” its prominent schools aren’t known for sports. Perhaps that is why the mascot gallery in the area boasts characters more quirky than feisty. But if there were a bloody sideline brawl between New College of Florida’s Null/Empty Set and Ringling College of Art and Design’s Rembrandt the Armadillo, who would take the victory lap around the stadium and who would be a smear on the track? Only an SRQ Deathmatch can show us for sure.
BEST ORIGIN STORY Winner, Brackets
New College When the school constitution was updated in 1980, prior mascot Brownie the Dog, a campus stray, had died and the charter committee could not figure out a reasonable replacement. In Brownie’s stead, the school left a blank field demarked as [ ] in the document instead, according to NCF spokesman David Gulliver. Math whizzes quickly label this the null set. Ringling When Dr. Arland Christ-Janer came on as college president in 1996, he helped the school boost its accreditation but also wanted the trappings of a reputable college. That included school colors, a new logo and, of course, a mascot. The quirky, distinct armadillo was chosen and given an artist’s name, according to Ringling spokeswoman Christine Lange.
SPARRING ABILITY Winner, Dillos
New College None. In fact, alumnae note the mascot is intentionally not focused on fighting (which most mascots would note was lame).Ringling The word armadillo is Spanish for “little armored one,” and spirit animal experts note the naturally shielded nature of the beast protects the tender interior.
ONLINE PRESENCE Winner, Brackets
New College Used less in marketing, a Google search for New College Empty Set brings back 66 million results, and New College Null Set brings another 3.87 million. And the college’s Center for Career Education hosts a blog entitled “Filling the Empty Set.” Ringling Remy is a regular on the Ringling Facebook and Twitter feeds, and Ringling Armadillo Football has its own Facebook page. A Google search for Ringling fighting armadillo brings back 388,000 results.
NOVELTY Winner, Brackets
New College The Empty Set was named by TheBestColleges.org as the “most baffling” college mascot in the entire nation. Near as we can tell, no other college has a mascot anything like it. Ringling We can’t find an American institution besides Ringling with an armadillo mascot, but of note, the official mascot of this year’s World Cup in Brazil was Fuleco the Armadillo.
REPRESENTATIVE ATTRIBUTES Winner, Brackets
New College The undefined set, students say, represents not an emptiness but a universe of infinite possibilities. Ringling Armadillos, the Center for Disease Control says, spread Hansen’s Disease, a form of leprosy.
COSPLAY POTENTIAL Winner, Dillos
New College At a recent intercampus game, New College students crafted a set of brackets out of PVC pipes to wave in the bleachers.Ringling Animation major Hamilton Lewis (now a Dreamworks employee) raised funds for a sideline armadillo mascot costume 15 years ago and the costume remains in use today.
STAR POTENTIAL Winner, Dillos
New College The Empty Set Circus lets students learn to tightrope as part of an extracurricular activity. Ringling A team of Ringling students, including Michael Klim, Stanley Moore, Dominic Pallotta and Michael Sauls, created the short film “Dilla” for a 2010 thesis, and the clip has more than 158,000 hits on YouTube. Klim, Moore and Sauls have all since done animation work for major Disney films including Wreck-It Ralph, Monsters University and Brave respectively.
OVERALL WINNER: Brackets