By Jonah Grinkewitz

A new big, bold (and blue) flavor is here just in time for dads hoping to grill out on Father’s Day.

After launching the Big Blue Q barbecue sauce last November, Old Dominion University is once again teaming up with The Dirty Buffalo for another product to spice up your cooking and grilling routine: The Big Blue Belly Rub.

Inspired by the University tradition of students visiting the bronze statue of Big Blue in Webb Center to rub his belly for good luck, the Big Blue Belly Rub combines sweet and smoky ingredients including brown sugar, paprika and chipotle powder for a spice rub to enhance the flavor of grilled or roasted meats and vegetables.

Starting June 12, the dry rub, which costs $8.99, will be available for purchase year-round at all Dirty Buffalo locations and on the restaurant’s website. One hundred percent of royalties from the resale of officially licensed products – like this one – go toward student scholarships. When purchasing ODU-branded products, customers should choose trusted businesses that include the CLC hologram label or tag on their retail items.

“We are excited to partner again with The Dirty Buffalo who crafted a spice rub that pays homage to an exciting ODU tradition,” said Brian Eubank, executive director of licensing. “Big Blue Belly Rub will be perfect for summer grilling and football tailgates.  I’m excited to continue to celebrate our traditions through officially licensed products which support student scholarships.”

The tradition of rubbing Big Blue’s belly started in 2013 when members of ODU’s Student Government Association – including now Student Engagement & Enrollment Services Chief of Staff Fred Tugas – saw a similar statue at another university and conceived the plan to unveil a 7-foot-tall likeness of ODU’s beloved mascot.

As the tradition steps into a new chapter, Tugas reflected that, “The Big Blue Statue immortalized ‘REP ODU: Responsibility. Engagement. Pride.’ which was a campaign started by President Luis Ferreira and I’s SGA. The statue was the exclamation point that served as a symbolic reminder that our community is proud to be Monarchs and active citizens on campus and in our local community.”

If you’re looking to browse more officially licensed ODU products, you can do so at the inaugural ODU Craft Fair on June 22 at New Realm Brewing Company in Virginia Beach.  The free event, presented by the ODU Alumni Association, will feature more than 40 local vendors selling one-of-a-kind goods.