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.

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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.

Sigh.

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!

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