The Georgia Bulldogs will kick off their football season on Sept. 26 when they face the Arkansas Razorbacks. However, the team will be missing a very notable figure. The official mascot, Uga X will not be allowed to attend games this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Charles Seiler, the handler and owner of Uga X, told Marc Weizer of the Athens Banner-Herald revealed why the white English Bulldog won't be roaming the field on Saturdays this fall.
"It's my understanding the SEC and NCAA consider the field a 'bubble,' and the only people allowed in the bubble are essential," Seiler said. "As of now, no dog on the field." Uga X, who also goes by Que, made his debut in 2015 after a three-month audition. Seiler went on to say the mascot is one of the big attractions at the games, which can lead to mass crowds in one spot.
"The whole idea is to have people not to congregate," Seiler said, "and if you know anything about the dog he's kind of a magnet and he draws people, and they’re trying to avoid that." This will be the first time since 2009 the Bulldogs haven't had their mascot on the field. At that time, Uga VII died suddenly two days before a home game. He was 4 years old.
"This is a very sad day for the Seiler family but also for all Georgia people," Damon Evans said, who was the University of Georgia director of athletics at the time. "Just as his ancestors, he had captured the hearts of college football fans everywhere as the country's No. 1 mascot. He had been truly embraced by all those who follow the Georgia Bulldogs across the country. We will miss him dearly."Uga is considered a member of the team as the dog attends every home and away game. Last year, Sports Illustrated named UGA the best mascot in college football history.
"Though every new dog is added to the “Uga” line—Uga X is the latest—each also has its own unique name, is given a custom-made jersey and a varsity letter, and resides in an air-conditioned on-field doghouse," Torrey Hart of Sports Illustrated wrote. "When his day comes, each Uga is buried in a marble vault alongside his fallen predecessors outside the football stadium."