Butler opened up its NCAA Tournament on Thursday afternoon down in Raleigh with a victory over the Big 12’s Texas Tech. Many fans made the trip to see their Bulldogs take on the Big 12 program, but one familiar face was nowhere to be seen inside PNC Arena. Butler Blue III, Butler’s live bulldog mascot who hits the road to support the team and make friends with the fans, made the trip but was not allowed inside due to, what else, silly NCAA rules.

As noted by Sporting News, this is not the first time Butler’s lovable mascot has not been allowed to come inside. The same problem popped up in 2011, although the NCAA allowed the mascot to come inside for the Final Four in 2010 and 2011, when Butler was a participant in each.

So where did Butler Blue III watch the game? Per Yahoo Sports:

“I drove him back to the hotel and then I went back to catch the game,” Kaltenmark told Yahoo Sports. “I did turn the TV on in the hotel room to the game, so he could watch.”

Kaltenmark had to negotiate to get Blue III’s predecessor entry to the Final Four in 2010 and 2011, but the NCAA will not make an exception for early-round games. NCAA spokesman David Worlock told reporters in 2011 that “given the limited space, tight turnaround at venues with multiple sessions, etc., the rule is no live animals may enter the building.”

Dog lovers across the country have started coming together in a show of united support for Butler Blue III, because people love dogs more than the NCAA.

Butler Blue III made good use of his time away from the tournament though. He put in some work on the treadmill.

Hey, it’s more work than I put in on the treadmill today.

[Sporting News]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.