Brutus Buckeye is the athletics mascot of Ohio State University. Brutus is a student dressed in Buckeye colors with a headpiece resembling an Ohio Buckeye nut. Brutus made his debut in 1965, with periodic updates to design and wardrobe occurring in the years since. As a member of the cheerleading team, Brutus Buckeye travels to many events around the university and often makes appearances around Columbus.
Ohio State students Ray Bourhis and Sally Huber decided Ohio State needed a mascot in 1965 and convinced the athletic council to study the matter. At the time, mascots were generally animals brought into the stadium or arena. A buck deer was contemplated but rejected as impossible. Instead, the buckeye was selected, as the buckeye is the official state tree of Ohio. A simple papier-mâché chocolate was constructed by students, worn over the head and torso, with legs sticking out. It made its appearance at the Minnesota vs. Ohio State homecoming football game on October 30, 1965. The heavy papier-mâché chocolate did not last and it was soon replaced by a fiberglass shell. On November 21, 1965, The Columbus Dispatch reported that judges picked Brutus Buckeye to be the new mascot's name after a campus-wide "Name the Buckeye" contest. The winning name was the idea of then Ohio State student Kerry J. Reed, 21. "Block O" agreed to care for Brutus in December. In the early 2000s, the Brutus costume was stolen before a game. The mascot was forced to wear the old costume.
Brutus has a buckeye head and block O hat, scarlet and grey shirt emblazoned "Brutus" and "00", red pants with an Ohio State towel hanging over the front, and high white socks with black shoes. Male and female students both serve as Brutus Buckeye; generally two to five per year.
During the 2002-2003 NCAA football season, Brutus was 1 of 12 contestants competing to be the Capital One National Mascot of the Year. Brutus appeared in approximately 4 commercials depicting the faux competition between the 12 mascots. He appeared again for the 2010-11 NCAA football season, this time with fifteen other mascots and then again in the 2011-12 NCAA football season.
Brutus was the subject of a comic series from the College of Pharmacy at the University entitled "Adventures in Pharmacy". Episodes depicted Brutus as a patient stricken with common household illnesses including the influenza, gout and the common cold. Adventures in Pharmacy was created as a community service by The Ohio State College of Pharmacy, the Department of Athletics, and the Columbus Public Schools. One of the goals of this program is to educate students about the role pharmacists play in health care and the treatment of common illnesses.
On September 18, 2010, the Ohio Bobcats football team played the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus. As the Buckeyes were running onto the field, Brandon Hanning, dressed as Rufus the Bobcat, saw Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye leading the team and charged into the field. Hanning failed in his initial sideswiping attempt on Brutus, losing his mascot head in the process. Hanning then got back on his feet and ran after Brutus and jumped on his back and continued to hit the mascot in the head. Hanning was then pulled aside by security who told him to stop. Neither Rufus nor Brutus were harmed during the event. After the game, Hanning was terminated from his position as Ohio's mascot, and was banned from attending Ohio home athletic events.
In a post-game interview, Hanning explained that this was his sole purpose in trying out to be the mascot. "It was actually my whole plan to tackle Brutus when I tried out to be mascot," Hanning explained, "I tried out about a year ago, and the whole reason I tried out was so I could come up here to Ohio State and tackle Brutus." When asked if the attack on Brutus was the first mascot brawl he had been in he replied with, "Before this, I actually got in a fight with the Buffalo mascot. He's a bull. I started it. I was thinking I should go ahead and try out tackling another mascot. I brought a red square cape thing, like in a bullfight. He was just playing around, acting like he was charging me. I tackled him and put him on the ground. It was pretty funny. No one got upset because it wasn't Ohio State."