For a beloved OSU icon, Brutus Buckeye has a bit of a rough life. As would anyone else who had been kidnapped no less than five times, thrown in a dumpster near 11th Avenue, painted blue and gold by the enemy, abandoned at Port Columbus, and held hostage by Lantern reporters. Given his advanced age, we hope his future journey will be a little less rocky.
Brutus first appeared at Ohio State’s Homecoming Game against Minnesota on October 30, 1965. Four years later, in 1969 Brutus was abandoned at Port Columbus after leading his team to victory in the Rose Bowl. He hitched a ride back to campus. The 1970s were rough years for Brutus, too: In 1971, Brutus was taken from a van in Ann Arbor the night before the Michigan game by members of the Michigan chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity. They carried him into the stadium the next morning—after painting maize and blue stripes all over his head. He was rescued by friends before being taken onto the field.
In 1972 Brutus was kidnapped again, this time from his home in St. John Arena; someone cut the lock from his door and held him for several days before leaving him, greatly damaged, outside of Bricker Hall. Another time, reporters from The Lantern held him until 1,000 students signed a petition saying they wanted to keep Brutus. In more recent history, Brutus was taken from a car near 11th Avenue in the early hours of the morning. After witnesses made calls to radio stations to alert the police of his whereabouts, Brutus was found in a dumpster a few blocks north of his last known location.
Brutus has also undergone several makeovers. Brutus’ original look was papier-mâché; a few years later he was updated to fiberglass. That change added a few (as in 80) pounds to his figure. Meanwhile, the Department of Athletics began receiving complaints because Brutus began tripping over bystanders on the sidelines. In 1975, the athletic department tried to replace Brutus when it took over his contract from the Ohio Staters, Inc. The fans booed the interloper—who looked nothing at all like our beloved mascot—off the field at his first game. In 1976 Brutus was back on the sidelines. He underwent subsequent makeovers in 1977, 1981 and 1982, at which point he decided to just change up his wardrobe every few years. As to retirement? There is only one mascot, and Brutus is here to stay.
Filed by C.N.