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Miami mascot gets hit with unsportsmanlike conduct penalty
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- Officially it was unsportsmanlike conduct, but it could have been called illegal Ibis on the field.

Sebastian the Ibis
Sebastian the Ibis got a little too involved in the Hurricanes celebration and drew a 15-yard penalty.
Sebastian the Ibis got a little too involved in the Hurricanes celebration and drew a 15-yard penalty.

After Najeh Davenport scored the 3-yard touchdown run that sealed Miami's 37-20 Sugar Bowl victory Tuesday, he got a big hug and kiss from the Hurricanes mascot, Sebastian the Ibis.

The overzealous act by the costumed cheerleader resulted in a 15-yard penalty against Miami, forcing Todd Sievers to kick the point after from 35 yards out.

A penalty for too many men of the field moved the kick back 15 more yards, but Sievers still hit the 50-yard PAT.

So, it was no harm done despite the foul on the fowl. Davenport had a good laugh at Sebastian's antics.

"We're buddies," Davenport said. "I see him at all the basketball games and we kid around."

The birds' antics ruffled Miami coach Butch Davis' feathers. He was seen screaming at a member of his sports information staff on the sideline, and the mascot was booted off the field.

Sebastian returned a few moments later and was on the field celebrating with the team as the game ended.

Connie Nickle, who is in charge of the mascots at Miami, said it's not unusual for Sebastian to run on the field.

"He's done it before and not been penalized," she said. "It just matters how sensitive the refs are."

It's not the first time a mascot has drawn a flag in a big bowl game.

In the 1985 Orange Bowl, Oklahoma's Sooner Schooner drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that cost the Sooners three points.

Oklahoma and Washington were tied 14-14 when Tim Lashar kicked a field goal that apparently put the Sooners in front by three in the third period.

However, the kick was nullified by an illegal procedure penalty and the Ruff-Neks, the students who drive the Schooner, did not see the flag.

The Schooner galloped onto the field, as it does every time Oklahoma scores, and the officials threw another flag for unsportsmanlike conduct, costing the Sooners 15 more yards. This time Lashar's kick was blocked.

Oklahoma eventually went ahead 17-14 but Washington rallied to win 28-17.

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