Butler began its 2016 NCAA Tournament run Thursday with a 71-61 win over Texas Tech, yet the literal face of the program wasn’t there to savor it.

Butler’s mascot, Butler Blue III, was denied entrance into PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., because the NCAA prohibits live mascots from attending tournament games prior to the Final Four. This isn’t the first time Butler’s English Bulldog mascot has been turned away at the gate, but it’s still a mind-boggling rule.

“Given the limited space, tight turnaround at venues with multiple sessions, etc., the rule is no live animals may enter the building,” NCAA spokesperson David Worlock told reporters in 2011.

Don’t worry, though. Butler Blue III still was able to watch the Bulldogs’ first-round tournament victory over the Red Raiders, even though he wasn’t able to delight the crowd like he typically does during Butler home games throughout the regular season.

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

Leave it to the NCAA to make life difficult, even for a pooch.

Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Butler, Texas Tech