Here's why the NCAA won't let Butler's live bulldog mascot into tournament games

Blue III, Butler’s live bulldog mascot, made the trip to Detroit with the team for its NCAA tournament game against Arkansas on Friday.

But Blue won’t be allowed to watch his squad live from Little Caesars Arena, and it’s not because of a pizza allergy. Instead, it’s one of those pesky NCAA rules.

An NCAA spokesperson explained the organization’s position back in 2011. Yes, this has happened quite a few times before.

“In preliminary rounds, given the limited space, tight turnaround at venues with multiple sessions, the rule is no live animals may enter the building,” the NCAA’s David Worlock explained.


Related: See more of our favorite mascots: 

The best mascots to pick during March Madness
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The best mascots to pick during March Madness

No, there's no team called the "Ibises" in the tournament this year. Sebastian the Ibis is the mascot for the Miami Hurricanes. It's a little misleading, sure, but you can't say an ibis isn't unique in this bracket of tigers, bisons and wildcats.

(Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A regular old pig wouldn't be that intimidating. Luckily for Arkansas, a bright red hog called a "razorback" is a pretty big step up. 

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The South Dakota State Jackrabbit would probably fare pretty well in a game of basketball. He's a mean, lean, speedy machine. 

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Somehow, putting a bandana on a bipedal grizzly bear makes it much more endearing. Good job, Montana. 

(Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)

No. 1 seeded Virginia boasts a Cavalier as its mascot. Normally, human mascots aren't all that exciting, but we have to give this guy credit for that impeccable goatee. 

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Yes, UMBC retriever, you are a good boy.

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Do not challenge the Michigan State Spartan to any sort of physical competition. You will lose. 

(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

As weird as the Syracuse Orange may be, it's a classic. Never count out the Orange.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Hey, Cincinnati, what is a bearcat? Is it a bear? Is it a cat? Is it half bear, half cat? We need answers! But we love it, regardless. 

(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Did you know that originally, a "jayhawk" was a Civil War guerrilla fighter? That makes the Kansas Jayhawk a lot more impressive.

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

TCU's horned frog looks like an amphibian made of stone. That'd be hard to play basketball against, and also, it just looks super cool.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The undeniable top dog of this and every year's crop of mascots is the Butler Bulldog. Though Butler is a 10 seed and likely won't make it to the championship, the team's mascot deserves all the treats and belly rubs in the world.

(Photo by David Hahn/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)

BONUS: Do not ever pick the Providence Friars. We would also recommend avoiding direct eye contact. This thing is terrifying. 

(Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


If you thought the NCAA would stop Blue from having a good time in Detroit, you would be mistaken. He’s taking in all of the sights and sounds.

When this happened back in 2016, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg found out where Blue watches the game.

“I drove him back to the hotel and then I went back to catch the game,” Blue III’s handler, Michael Kaltenmark, told Yahoo Sports. “I did turn the TV on in the hotel room to the game so he could watch. He was kind of groggy when I got back to the hotel because he was taking a nap. He saw that I was excited about the game, so he perked up pretty quick. I was in a good mood because the Dogs won, so that put him in a good mood.”

Blue III’s predecessor, Blue II, was granted permission to enter the arena by the NCAA to cheer on his Bulldogs when Butler made the Final Four back in 2010 and 2011.

“At the Final Four, Blue II caused a media frenzy,” Kaltenmark said. “I think it was really great for Butler. He sort of was able to take some of the spotlight off them, and at the time I think Brad Stevens and the team appreciated that. The response from the media and the fans in 2010 and 2011 blew me away. We were doing appearances from sun up to sundown.”

Blue is always a star.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

More March Madness coverage from Yahoo Sports:

Cinderella’s upset bid ends on physics-defying miss
Loyola Chicago stuns Miami on last-second shot for upset win
Oklahoma wastes Young’s heroics in NCAA tournament
NCAA player winks at NBA legend after insane shot
Loyola’s 98-year-old nun loved buzzer-beater

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