It is odd for a sports team to have a cartoon character as their mascot, and a very recognizable one at that. However, this does not apply to The Ducks, the University of Oregon football team, as the famous Donald Duck of Walt Disney fame is featured on their official logo, wearing a hat and shirt in the green and yellow Oregon colors, looking very competitive.
To discover the origin of the team name and their mascot, one needs to go as far back as the time of the American Revolution, the 18th century. A group of courageous Massachusetts fishermen who helped save General George Washington and his 10,000 troops from defeat from the British. After the war, many of them moved eastward to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, where the name ‘Webfoot’ stuck with them. Oregon, in fact, was originally known as the Webfoot state.
L.H. Gregory, sports editor of the University gazette The Oregonian, is credited with popularizing the Webfoots as a school athletic nickname. Afterwards, editors searching for a keyword to use in the place of Webfoots in newspaper headlines settled on Ducks. Two student-body wide elections confirmed the name (some contenders included the Lumberjacks, Yellowjackets, Pioneers, Trappers, and Spearsmen) and cemented it in Oregon lore, where it is still used up to this day.
After the team name was decided, getting a mascot was the next step. The very first mascots were live, a literal duck named Puddles, borrowed from Millrace. An exuberant fraternity brought him to a game in the 1920s, and he and his various offspring served as mascots until the early 1940s, when complaints from humane societies brought the lively practice to a halt. Leo Harris, the University of Oregon’s first athletic director, then entered into a verbal agreement with Walt Disney, who allowed Donald Duck to be used as the mascot, as long as depictions of him were done in good taste. For 20 years, the company provided the school with various depictions of Donald Duck, until the famous cartoonist and company head’s death in 1966. Upon his death, both the school and the corporation realized that there had been no formal written contract for their special relationship. When Disney lawyers looked into the matter, a picture of Walt Disney and Leo Harris in matching jackets with the Oregon Duck logo was produced by the university. A formal agreement was reached in 1973, where the university was given permission to continually use the logo and mascot for Oregon sporting events. In return, the mascot’s appearances were controlled by Disney- they had the final say over where the mascot performed. Just last year, however, Disney and the university agreed to release the mascot from the Donald Duck trademark, giving the university full control over their mascot. The trademark agreement still covers the graphical art logo.
Now that you know the history of the team and the logo, why not make this Oregon Ducks Football Logo your desktop? Cheer for the Ducks this year, especially in their games against rivals Oregon State Beavers and the Washington Huskies.