A true cinderella story, massive online intrigue and then scandal. The College Sports on SiriusXM mascot championship had all of it, leaving the championship bout between No. 16 seed Cosmo (BYU) vs. No. 16 seed Big Red (Western Kentucky) very much in question.
Due to the cancellation of spring sports, fans have become enraptured with Twitter polls, with SiriusXM’s poll receiving loads of attention from not only BYU fans, but BYU administrators, coaches and players. Both Cosmo and Big Red weaved their way through a field of 64 mascots for the championship round, which wrapped up at 10 a.m. MST on Friday.
The results? Cosmo inched out the victory, but with the ultimate decision put in question before resting upon the winner:
After looking into the voting of the Championship match-up, it has been determined that @BYUCougars' @byu_cosmo is the 2020 SiriusXM Mascot Bracket Champion. Thanks to all schools and fans that participated! pic.twitter.com/Y4IF5efhiu— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) April 17, 2020
Why was the declaration of a champion put in question? Well, voter fraud was alleged throughout the tournament and came to a head during the championship round with Sirius tweeting the following:
The polls have closed, but due to suspicion of voter fraud an investigation is underway. https://t.co/BixCzMHxIL— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) April 17, 2020
It begs the question of how does one cheat on a Twitter poll, and why would they? Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, in the estimation of some, with fans willing to perhaps spend money out of their own pockets to achieve a truly manufactured national championship.
On the popular BYU message board, cougarboard.com, instructions were posted on how to pay for extra votes in several instances, of which one can be found here:
Western Kentucky pleaded voter fraud, with WKU student Braden Kemmerer perhaps leading the allegations:
When it’s obvious, yes. pic.twitter.com/PhjKAo7315— Braden Kemmerer (@BradenKemmerer) April 17, 2020
Still following? Still interested? Likely so, which is a reflection of where we’re at with sports being canceled for the foreseeable future.
The mascot championship captured the imagination of BYU fans, faculty and even administrators, with BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe making a video with Cosmo just prior to the championship round:
Cosmo has played such a valuable role in the experiences of all Cougar Nation, including my family’s time at BYU. Let’s show this Cool Cat how much we appreciate him by giving him a victory in the Final Round. He’s earned it! https://t.co/ROdOPALHbU pic.twitter.com/RJnjXvMN24— Tom Holmoe (@TomHolmoe) April 17, 2020
BYU Vice President Matthew O Richardson also lent his online support.
BYU community relations coordinator Jack Damuni, who is one of the more entertaining follows on Twitter, chimed in as well.
So what will it all mean for BYU athletic history? Perhaps one Cougar fan lampooned it best with this tweet: