‘J.J.’ will not be Georgetown’s bulldog mascot


(Via @GeorgetownJack)

We’ve spilled lots of pixels on the adorable J.J. — Georgetown’s bulldog ‘mascot-in-training’ for a bit more than a year — mostly because he’s been so gosh darn adorable.

There was the time he first posed by a basketball.

And the time he popped balloons at Midnight Madness.

And the time he made his Verizon Center debut.

And the time he hung out with Butler’s bulldogs, as seen above.

This, alas, is a less cheerful tale. J.J.’s time as ‘mascot-in-training’ has concluded, with the school deciding to move the pup off-campus, and to find a new solution for its open mascot position. Via a release from the school:

In April of 2012, our community welcomed Jack, Jr. (J.J.) to Georgetown as mascot-in-training. We housed the young puppy while consulting with trainers and experts to ensure that he was adjusting to life on campus.

Since that time, J.J.’s caretaker and walkers have worked to orient him to campus and train him for mascot duties. We also worked with professional trainers to help J.J. learn about life on a busy college campus. Recognizing that the lifestyle of a mascot is exciting and hectic, involving many people, thousands of screaming fans, and regular appearances at events both on and off-campus, we wanted to ensure that our puppy would be happy with this unique lifestyle.

After 15 months of monitoring and training, in consultation with these experts and the breeder, we determined that returning to a home environment is what is best for J.J.

We cannot express enough our gratitude to the Hochstetler family for their gift to our community. We are also grateful to Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J. and the Jack Crew for providing care and training for J.J. and Jack the Bulldog (Jack, Sr.). We look forward to working with them and members of our community as we make plans for our next live mascot.

While Jack, Sr.’s official mascot duties ended last year, he will continue to live on campus. The tradition of a bulldog mascot at Georgetown is a cherished one, and it will continue.

The Hoya — which broke the news Wednesday morning — has much more on this situation.

UPDATE: Keeper of the Georgetown mascot Christopher Steck posted a statement on the news.

As you may have heard, Georgetown has decided that JJ will not be the next university mascot. The university’s decision is a surprise and disappointment to me. I genuinely believe that JJ would thrive as the next university mascot.

Nonetheless, I admit that I am not at all certain of my judgment on the issue. It is based on an interpretation of JJ’s behavior and mannerism that could be mistaken.

Also, it seems fair to say that the university’s approach is one of caution and that such an approach is appropriately prudential given the role of the university mascot.

I have not been told what exactly this means for the mascot tradition. My hope is that the university moves quickly to establish a transparent and collaborative process for determining the next steps, one that welcomes the various voices of the entire Georgetown community.

I am grateful for my time with Jack and JJ.

Stay tuned.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · July 31, 2013