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Utah school board says 'cougar' nickname too offensive to women

GRAND FORKS - It's not likely to lead to federal lawsuits, legislative action or statewide petition drives, but another nickname controversy has erupted, this time in Utah.

GRAND FORKS - It's not likely to lead to federal lawsuits, legislative action or statewide petition drives, but another nickname controversy has erupted, this time in Utah.

Future students at a high school scheduled to open in 2013 recently voted on a nickname for their sports teams, a number of news sources reported Thursday. The top vote-getter, with 23 percent, was Cougars.

One might think that makes sense. After all, the teams at Brigham Young University, the premier athletic operation in Utah, are known as the Cougars.

But members of the School Board in Draper, Utah, soon to be home to Corner Canyon High School, demurred.

The name "Cougars" might be offensive, they said, to some women.

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Thanks to a current network TV show and other uses, the term "cougar" has worked its way into the language as a reference to older women who seek the companionship of younger men.

So, the school board said, Corner Canyon High's teams will be the Chargers.

Reaction has been resoundingly negative, much of it along the "political correctness run amuck" lines.

Responding to an account posted on USA Today's website, Joe Gulick of the University of Northern Iowa wrote, "This needs to show up in Sports Illustrated's signs of the apocalypse. I think God is going to decide he's finally seen enough."

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