Life at KU

Say hi to Big Jay and Baby Jay, your KU mascots!


For some students, showing school pride means going to a football game, buying a shirt or joining a club. For a select and sweaty few, school pride means wearing a giant costume. If you’re new to the idea of a school mascot, here’s everything you need to know about these lovable symbols of school spirit!

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School mascots are one of the ways to bring good luck and raise school spirit, especially at sporting events. They’re often an animal or other character that represents good qualities about the school, its sports team and students as a whole. Many mascots are based on local history or an animal native to the school’s area.

Who are the KU mascots?

Go to a Jayhawks football game or women’s Jayhawks basketball game and you’ll find Big Jay or Baby Jay there. Big Jay was “born” in 1953, while the smaller but equally fierce Baby Jay came along in 1971. Wondering what a Jayhawk is? It’s a mythical bird that combines the noisy blue jay and the sparrow hawk, a stealthy hunter. What a perfect way to inspire cheering from fans and to get the team to hunt down a bold victory.

Check out these fun videos to see Big Jay and Baby Jay in action!

What do school mascots do?

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Mascots dance, hand out prizes, do fun or silly tricks – whatever it takes to get the crowd excited. Because it’s hard to yell in the costume, mascots often use exaggerated gestures to communicate. And while mascots can’t do intricate dance moves, you might be surprised to see how much fun Big Jay and Baby Jay can have. So be sure to cheer extra loudly for some good motivation.

Who else helps cheer on the team?

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In addition to mascots, you’ll often find cheerleaders, skilled dancers who perform acrobatics, getting fans cheering for the home team. And don’t forget the marching band – these talented musicians will play songs to raise your spirits. Together, mascots, cheerleaders and the marching band are a big part of the college sports experience. So cheer for Big Jay and Baby Jay, and show your school pride!



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