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Otto the Orange is the mascot for the Syracuse Orange, the athletic teams of Syracuse Universitymarker in Syracuse, New Yorkmarker, USAmarker. Otto is an anthropomorphic orange, wearing a large blue hat and blue pants. Traditionally regarded as gender-neutral, Otto can usually be seen at Syracuse sporting and other events. A team of 4-6 students serve as Otto, each one passing tryouts and a training program.

History

Before Otto

The Syracuse Mascot was originally a Native American character named Saltine Warrior (Syracuse is sometimes known as the Salt City). The character was born out of a hoax in which it was claimed that a 16th century Onondogan Indian chief was unearthed while digging the foundation for the women's gymnasium in 1928. In 1978, Native American students successfully petitioned the University to discontinue Saltine Bill, citing the mascot's stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans. During the 1978 season, the University introduced a Roman Gladiator, but the idea proved largely unpopular among fans.

Otto becomes the official mascot

For 17 years the university was unable to settle on a mascot until the chancellor appointed a group of students and faculty to create a mascot and logo. The cheerleaders and mascots were at a UCA Cheerleading Camp in Tennessee that summer, and narrowed the field down to two potential names - "Opie" and "Otto". It was concluded that the name "Opie" would lead to the inevitable rhyme with 'dopey', and settled on "Otto". Later that fall, word got out that the cheerleaders were calling the latest mascot costume Otto, and the name stuck.

University administration considered introducing a new mascot (a wolf or lion were likely candidates), but the student body supported Otto. He was recognized as the official mascot of Syracuse University in 1995.

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