The University of Oregon has a pretty sweet agreement with Disney. Thanks to a handshake agreement with Uncle Walt himself, Oregon can use Donald Duck as their mascot. Named Ronald Duck, Puddles, or just simply The Oregon Duck, the mascot is one of the best-looking and recognizable in all of college athletics. The catch: since Donald is owned by Disney, there’s a lot of legal mumbo jumbo that restricts what the mascot can do and how he can be marketed.
Oregon company, Nike, never met a challenge it couldn’t try to milk a ton of money out of. In 2003, an egg was wheeled out during half-time. And out popped Donald’s replacement: Mandrake, a rad mascot that’s totally cool and in your face!
Mandrake did some acrobatic stunts and was immediately embraced by the Oregon fans just like they embraced their weird, ever changing fashion show they inaccurately call uniforms. Mandrake remains the mascot to this day, and people have completely forgotten Donald and that strange agreement.
… no, wait. The fans hated Mandrake, who they referred to as “Roboduck” and “Duck Vader”. He was quietly shelved, and Donald returned to his place of prominence in Oregon lore. He even had uniform set based on him, the first ever football uniform based on its costumed mascot.
But Mandrake and his disturbingly well-defined duck abs will live on forever. Haunting our dreams.