Sweet Briar College and Alfred University presidents forge high-stakes wager on Sports Illustrated contest

Posted on June 30, 2016 by Joelle Ziemian

Indie Indiana vs. …

After six weeks of voting in the Sports Illustrated Division III Great Mascot Debate, the Sweet Briar Vixens have reached the final round. The College toppled the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz in the Final Four and are now head-to-head against the Alfred University Saxons.

Each college is so certain of its dominance in the contest that the presidents have agreed to a mighty wager. The president of the losing team will wear the costume of the victorious school’s mascot.

Sweet Briar College Phillip Stone has no doubt that Alfred University President Mark Zupan will be dashing as a Vixen with a pink bow.

Alfred’s president has a sense of humor. He is not even formally in his new office, since he officially starts his role on Friday, July 1. Zupan comes to Alfred from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business.

L’il Alf

The colleges are kindred spirits. Both are historic and nestled in mountain foothills — Alfred University was founded in 1836 and sits in the Allegheny Plateau. Founded in 1901, Sweet Briar College overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. The two colleges offer more than 40 undergraduate majors and boast a small faculty-student ratio.

The Saxons are named after Alfred the Great, the former King of Wessex, an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in Great Britain. The Vixens are named after a female fox. Students voted to create the moniker in the late 1970s — perhaps thinking of the line in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”:
“Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd! She was a vixen when she went to school. And though she be but little, she is fierce.”

Whether Shakespeare’s famous line inspired Sweet Briar’s nickname or not, the Vixens are undeniably fierce opponents in online contests — this year alone, they won contests to bring “Fight Song” artist Rachel Platten and “Late Night” host Seth Meyers to perform on campus.

Online voting continues through July 6 at 10:30 a.m. ET.