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University of Minnesota Duluth sends yellow Champ mascot back to doghouse

The University of Minnesota Duluth will form a committee to help create a different Champ costume after facing backlash from fans over the new costume.

Football player playing in outdoor stadium
Minnesota Duluth mascot Champ high-fives a fan on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, at Malosky Stadium in Duluth. This is the debut of a new design for the UMD mascot.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — Succumbing to public pressure following the debut of a new yellow Champ mascot costume last week, the University of Minnesota Duluth announced Tuesday the previous iteration of its gray Bulldog mascot costume will return for the 2022-23 school year.

“We have heard from our students, alumni, fans, and supporters over the last few days and appreciate all of the passion for and loyalty to Champ. The previous UMD Champ mascot will return for the current school year,” UMD published Tuesday in a news release .

The UMD athletic department in partnership with the university’s marketing and communications department will work with a committee to gather input and examine concepts for a new Champ costume. Those who are interested in taking part can sign up via an online form .

“In addition to the committee, there will be opportunities for members of the campus and community to participate in the selection process,” read a UMD news release .

Champ, the Bulldog mascot, has a new mascot suit with a brighter yellow tone and a shorter jersey. Immediate reactions on social media were not positive.

The university began the process of updating its gray champ costume in 2021 to bring it in line with the current logo, which is yellow. UMD has transitioned away from using different colors of the Champ logo over the last decade.

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In addition to brand uniformity, UMD wants the new Champ costume to feature modern enhancements, such as cooling features for the safety of the performer. The costume debuted on Thursday included those enhancements, such as breathable fabric and a cooling fan in the head of the costume. The current costume does not include any of those features.

Football player playing in outdoor stadium
Minnesota Duluth mascot Champ high fives a fan on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, at Malosky Stadium in Duluth. This is the debut of a new design for the UMD mascot.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

UMD showed off its new yellow, growling Champ costume on social media on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 1, before unleashing the new Champ that night before a crowd of 3,576 fans at James S. Malosky Stadium during the Bulldogs 31-21 football win over Southwest Minnesota State.

According to a News Tribune reporter who covered Thursday’s football game at Malosky Stadium, the new yellow Champ received the same reception from fans as the previous gray Champ.

However, critics on social media had already displayed their disgust, comparing the new Champ costume to Winnie the Pooh. An online petition called for the return of the previous Champ costume .

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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