Stony Brook University mascot Wolfie pumps up the crowd before...

Stony Brook University mascot Wolfie pumps up the crowd before the start of a game in Stony Brook on Feb. 22, 2020. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Wolfie, the mascot of the Stony Brook University Seawolves, has proven to be a little bit too popular. 

University officials had to pull the furry gray seawolf from a statewide Mascot March Madness competition this week after realizing fans were stuffing the ballot box in favor of Wolfie in the competition that's similar to the NCAA single-elimination basketball tournament held at this time of year. Mascot Madness is broken down into five rounds and is ongoing.

“We’ve determined that one or more students cast an excessive number of votes in violation of Mascot Madness rules. We brought these concerns to SUNY's attention and offered to withdraw Wolfie from the competition,” read a post on Stony Brook's Instagram that college officials shared Wednesday.

“Your support and love for Wolfie have not gone unnoticed, and we appreciate your dedication to fair play and sportsmanship. Thank you for being part of our community and upholding the values of integrity and fairness,” read a statement from the university.

Mascots from throughout the SUNY system are featured in the competition, from Victor the Viking of Hudson Valley Community College to Walter the Wildcat of SUNY Polytechnic. Wolfie, who often wears a red Seawolves hat, made it past the second round against the Wildcat with more than 60% of the vote.

The rules say voters can cast one vote every 12 hours. In order for a vote to count, fans had to verify their choice via an active email or the captcha in the vote block.

SBU officials could not immediately say how the excessive votes were detected. One supporter voted for Wolfie “568 times,” according to the fan's Instagram post.

Wolfie had previously claimed the title in 2022 and 2023. Wolfie ran a vigorous campaign for this year’s title as well, saying in an online profile that the book “The Art of War” influenced the tactics to help win Mascot Madness for the third time in a row. “After that, you might as well crown me the supreme ruler of SUNY Mascots,” the mascot wrote.

At least one local mascot remains in the competition and has made it to the Final Four. Farmingdale State College’s Ram-bo, the mascot there since 1912, is facing Blaze the Bronco of SUNY Delhi in the semifinals that end Friday. The finals run April 2-4.

Ram-bo, in an online profile, said that winning the competition would mean a celebration at the college's "annual Fountain Fest with my fellow Rams!"

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