No bull: Live mascot shelved for '07
USF fans hoping to see a live bull on the sidelines at Raymond James Stadium this fall will have to wait at least another year to see a real Rocky on the field.
The idea had generated much excitement last summer, but a year later, all kinds of logistical problems have kept a live mascot from being cleared for fall Saturday grazing with the Bulls.
"There's been some apprehension, and we always want to err on the side of caution," said John Massaro, a local Beef O'Brady's franchise owner who has shepherded the drive for a live mascot. "A lot of people want to see this happen. We just have to put it together in a safe manner."
Massaro had lined up a donated Brahman bull calf last summer, but the details couldn't be worked out in time for the 2006 season. A year later, with little progress in addressing the logistical issues, that original Rocky is up to 850 pounds, which Massaro said is too large to be safely introduced in a public setting. He'd prefer a 250-pound calf that could be raised around people, making it more comfortable in public and lessening fears of any injury risks.
Greenlighting a large live mascot would put USF in a vulnerable position should anything unfortunate happen on the sidelines, so there's understandable concerns from the university's perspective. USF also has had turnover in its marketing department, with associate athletic director Tom Veit and assistant Kosha Irby both leaving their positions in the past six months. Massaro said he "absolutely" is still hopeful a plan can be crafted to allow for a live mascot for the Bulls down the road.