The Ron Artest of sports mascots? Clearly it's the Stanford Tree, in trouble yet again after another shameful display at a basketball game. You may recall back in February, when the Tree was ejected from a men's basketball game between Stanford and Cal for being drunk. (He/she/it registered a Breathalyzer blood-alcohol level of 0.157, three times the legal limit in California for trees.) The Tree once again became the center of attention during Sundays's Women's NCAA Basketball Tournament game at the Pepsi Center in Denver between Stanford and Florida State, ejected after refusing to heed the instructions of tournament officials to clear the floor at halftime.
The Stanford Tree was born in the early 1980s, after the University was forced to drop its Indians nickname for Cardinal. For the first decade, the role of the Tree was generally performed by the Stanford Band managers' girlfriends; in the mid-1980's, however, the Band adopted a more formal selection process for its Trees. Today's Tree candidates must go through grueling and humiliating physical and mental challenges known as "Tree Week," where candidates are known for performing dangerous stunts.
The latest tree is Thomas Elwood Leep, who replaced Erin Lashnits, who was dismissed for the drinking incident. There have actually been 16 people to have worn the costume in the storied history of the Tree, a mascot which now may be looking for a new home. Wonder if the Dallas Cowboys are hiring?