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USC merchandise is selling 30% more than last year, Palmetto Shirt Co. says ahead of first football game

This redesigned Cocky cartoon is only available for USC Golf merchandise. Next up is a tennis design, according to Eric Nichols with the athletic department.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — As Gamecock fans get ready for this season's first football game, Palmetto Shirt Co. owner Rusty Koss says his University of South Carolina local licensed merchandise shop is seeing a 30% increase in volume. 

"This is probably the best launch, the best volume that we’ve seen in the past five to seven years," Koss said. "We’ve had to turn around shirts a lot faster than what we thought we would, but we’re making it happen."

The company introduced the new inventory in June. One design Koss hopes to add soon is the new 'Swinging Cocky' cartoon. This design features a more detailed, animated mascot swinging a golf club. 

"It was rooted in the idea of trying to show more personality from our mascot," USC Athletic Department Marketing Director Eric Nichols explained.

The university released this design on golf apparel, but it has plans to tailor the design toward other sports soon. First on the list: tennis.

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Nichols says the new cocky design and is planned to be part of the license for companies like Palmetto Shirt Co. to use.

"If we’re allowed to launch it, we’ll run it," Koss shared.

USC students shared their thoughts on the updated look with News 19. 

"Personally I think it’s the best mascot ever, but I do like the way they redesigned it and I just think it’s a great touch," Lilly Kosoglow shared.

Jonathan Zellmer said the look was "more kid-friendly" and Bill Frye said the "cartoony" design was "pretty cool."

"It gives it more life," Tanner Horne said about how the Cocky mascot unites students. "It brings in the non-sports fans. A sense of ‘Aw this is pretty cool."

On Monday, the university also changed the name of its live mascot. Previously, his name was Sir Big Spur. Now, it's The General.

While students seemed to like the Cocky cartoon, they weren’t too sure about the new name for the live Gamecock.

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"I don’t know…" Liz Ginter started. "I like the other one better."

August Wu agreed: "I think it’s okay…but not really."

Nichols said the athletic department initially wanted to use the name 'Big Spur," but it was too similar to the previously-used "Sir Big Spur." For that reason, Nichols said they looked into a different option.

"We got the nickname 'Gamecocks' from General Thomas Sumter," Nichols explained. "We wanted to reflect that with the name of the live mascot, so we called it 'The General."

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