An LSU fan created an online fundraiser to buy Clemson University a new mascot prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship game.
Dion Grossnickle said he created the GoFundMe page during the 1st quarter of the game as a joke. The fundraiser went viral online and received over 181,400 shares, as of Friday, Jan. 24.
“After turning on the national championship game on Monday the 13th, I [felt] bad for the Clemson Tiger,” Grossnickel said. “It seems that the university purchased their mascot costume from the clearance rack from TG&Y in 1981.”
Grossnickle realized the post went viral around halftime. As a fan of both football teams, his biggest fear was upsetting Clemson fans, he said.
The page creator said he is happy to find Clemson fans had a good sense of humor.
The fundraiser far surpassed its original goal of $1,000, raising over $3,000 as of Friday, Jan. 24.
Grossnickle reached out to the Clemson Athletic Department when the page starting bringing in money. The department decided to donate the funds to the Tigers United University Consortium, an organization dedicated to saving wild tigers worldwide. Auburn University, Clemson University, Louisiana State University and the University of Missouri form the consortium.
Digital advertising junior Vanessa Dinh said she thought the joke was light-hearted with good intentions.
“I think the fundraiser was a funny little jab at Clemson,” Dinh said. “But it definitely had good intention. They may not need the money, but they definitely need a new mascot.”
CBS Sports ranked the Clemson Tiger 4th on its list of the scariest mascots in college football in 2014.
Twitter users compared Clemson’s tiger mascot to LSU’s Mike the Tiger leading up to the national championship.
“Why the Clemson mascot look like an off-brand Tony the Tiger??? #CFPNationalChampionship,” twitter user @themodernalien said.
Digital Content Strategist for the Dallas Cowboys Taylor Stern also tweeted about the Clemson mascot.
“Why does the Clemson Tiger mascot look like the abandoned stuffed animal you find 20 years later in the attic?” Stern said.
Why does the Clemson Tiger mascot look like the abandoned stuffed animal you find 20 years later in the attic? pic.twitter.com/kqWVHwm4q0— Taylor Stern (@TayStern) January 14, 2020
Several Clemson fans joined in on the fun and donated to the fundraiser.
“I donated because I am a proud Clemson Tiger,” one user wrote.
Over 350 people donated to the page, with the average donation ranging around $10.
The LSU Tigers defeated Clemson 42-25 on Jan. 13, claiming the National Championship title.
Click here to view the GoFundMe page or make a donation.