LSU’s Mike The Tiger Tradition: Like No Other
LSU’s Mike The Tiger tradition is like no other. When you think LSU, you think Mike The Tiger. In 1934, LSU made the decision to buy a tiger from a local zoo. They did so by collecting a quarter from students on campus to raise $750. Over the years, the numerous Mikes have spent time on the side lines at football games. Mike and his well-timed roars were used to intimidate opposing teams as they ran onto the field in Death Valley. With the new Mike VII coming to the campus soon, there are many unanswered questions. This tradition of having Mike on the field is in jeopardy. The previous mascot, Mike VI, a Bengali-Siberian hybrid, was diagnosed with cancer and euthanized last year to save him the pain of suffering. Since his passing, LSU has started the search for Mike VII, hoping to have him on campus by August.
With the history of Mike The Tiger appearing at LSU Football games, how does the decision to keep him in his habitat at all times affect the tradition?
Kate: I feel like keeping Mike in his habitat will take away from the LSU tradition. Having Mike on the field was such a unique piece of the Death Valley game experience. His presence is a power boost of sorts for the players and fans. His roaring when the opposing teams run by is a great way to rattle a visiting team to get in their heads.
Brandon: Keeping Mike in his habitat will take away one of the biggest pieces of history at LSU. The live Tiger appearing at games has been an ongoing tradition for years, and with the Tiger no longer being brought out during games, the game day presence won’t be the same.
What does Mike The Tiger mean to LSU?
Kate: Mike is an integral part of the LSU experience. The state of Louisiana is proud of the LSU football team, and Mike is just as much a part of that team as any player or coach. His presence adds another layer of excitement and energy to the game experience. His presence is a symbol of pride and confidence that gives the team that extra edge.
Brandon: Mike means everything to LSU. The atmosphere on campus is overwhelming with him being there, and he has been a huge part of the LSU history for several years.
LSU isn’t the only college football school to have a live mascot, but where does Mike rank in terms of top live mascots?
Kate: Depending on the year and the website, Mike The Tiger lands solidly on “all fours” in the Top Five of love for college mascots. When he would make appearances at every game and roar at the opposing teams, no one could out rank him. Even after he stopped attending games, his ranking didn’t falter much.
Brandon: Mike has to rank in the Top Five. Obviously, there’s Ralphie from Colorado, Nova from Auburn, and a ton of others. If we’re talking terms of the most feared mascot, Mike definitely takes that top ranking.
Will the new Mike The Tiger ever see Tiger Stadium through his cage on game day? Or will LSU keep him in his habitat his entire life?
Kate: I don’t know if Mike VII will ever attend a football game. I would love to think that he will be back in the stadium. There will be so many outside factors that will determine where he will spend his time.
If he spends his whole life in his habitat, he will have a wonderful life. He will be well taken care of.
Brandon: With the previous Tiger passing away from cancer, I don’t see LSU allowing the new Tiger to see the field. To be cautious and keep him in his habitat is likely the best way to go. Though it drastically takes away the tradition, the health of the new Mike is more important.
It seems most likely that Mike VII will likely remain in his habitat his entire life. Ultimately, the LSU staff will make the final decision on Mike VII’s game day role. Game days in Baton Rouge definitely won’t be the same without Mike’s roaring presence on the field. Mike VII will certainly be on campus enjoying a newly renovated habitat and waiting for visitors. He will certainly be as intimidating as ever.
On the field or off, this great tradition of college football will geaux on!