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Students stuff ballot box in mascot poll


By Simit Shah
Sports Editor

Who said school spirit is dead at Georgia Tech?

While attendance was lackluster at basketball games this winter, many questioned students' devotion to Ma Tech as charges of student apathy once again surfaced. However, a handful of students did their part to defend the Yellow Jackets' honor from their computers (in typical Tech fashion) last weekend.

The saga began on the newsstand as Sport Illustrated crowned University (sic) of Georgia's UGA V the best collegiate mascot in America. The ugly mutt adorned the cover of the magazine as well. While Tech did make the list of "America's Top 50 Jock Schools" at 49, many at the North Avenue Trade School felt our beloved Buzz had been slighted.

To verify the results of SI, a local web site, Access Atlanta, decided to conduct an online poll. That's where Byron Thibodeaux entered the picture. A freshman Computer Engineering major, Byron received word of the poll through the Georgia Tech band mailing list. Friday afternoon, after noticing that Buzz was losing to UGA, Byron posted a plea on git.general for his fellow students to vote for Buzz. He also observed that the poll let users vote more than once.

From that point, a handful of students bombarded the site, registering in the neighborhood of 160,000 in approximately 24 hours. Students used everything from UNIX scripts to a program called ghostmouse to register vote after vote.

"I think this is our way of showing school spirit," said junior Miles Edson, who figures he cast around 10,000 to 20,000 votes. "It was something that was easy to do, and we couldn't let UGA win."

Buzz won handily after Access Atlanta shut down their poll late Saturday. The mighty Yellow Jacket received 162,297 out of 243,080 total votes. Meanwhile, UGA V languished in fifth place with 9,091 votes after a quick start.

Apparently, the pollsters at Access Atlanta knew something was up. They included this comment with the results:

"Remember that there is nothing scientific about this poll, except perhaps for the science used by some of our readers to stuff the ballot box."

The site also noted that Tech's current enrollment is 12,000. Some Bulldogs must have voted for Buzz.

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Copyright © 1997 by Jason Waymire, Interim Editor and by the Student Publications Board