Due to safety concerns, Michigan State University officials have ruled beloved mascot Sparty the Spartan will no longer be permitted to participate in parades.
“Participating in parades increases the risk of heat stroke and health related concerns regardless of temperature and duration,” MSU spokesperson Emily Guerrant confirmed to the Lansing State Journal. “It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of Sparty and his team.”
Guerrant says the policy is “still in development,” and came about due to concerns students “pushed themselves too hard” in hot weather.
Students who don the current Sparty suit, an oversized foam-rubber Spartan in body armor, are required to include a copy of a health record or physical examination report, as well as proof of health insurance when trying out to play the mascot.
However, Sparty spirit isn’t completely lost for Michigan State fans, as there are still a few exceptions to the parade rule. He is still expected to participate in MSU’s annual homecoming parade in East Lansing this fall, and should the Spartans win a national championship, Sparty would almost have to have a presence.
“If [the basketball team] did that and we had a parade right away in April, I think there would be a strong chance of seeing Sparty,” Guerrant said.
Until that happens, though, Sparty should still be a fixture at football games, including a few road contests.