Dec 29, 2016; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels mascot Rebel the black bear pumps up the crowd before the game between the Mississippi Rebels and the Kentucky Wildcats at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Ole Miss sure loves to give us the old switcheroo when it comes to mascots. The school voted to replace Rebel the Bear in favor of a new Landshark mascot, which will be unveiled before the start of the 2018-19 athletic seasons, per MagnoliaStateLive.com, which obtained a letter from university president Dr. Jeff Vitter, who announced the move.
“Upon learning of the [Associated Student Body] poll of students, we sought input from the executive committees of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, the Staff Council, the Faculty Senate, and the Graduate Student Council, as well as from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Spirit Squad head coaches,” a portion of the president’s letter read. “In each case, the support for the Landshark mascot was unanimous. In addition, the past presidents of the Ole Miss Alumni Association and the boards of the Alumni Association and M-Club enthusiastically endorsed the action of the Alumni Association executive committee.”
Students voted for the move, with over 80 percent voting in favor of the change.
Vitter made it clear that this move will not have any impact on the school’s identity as the Ole Miss Rebels.
“…I want to state unequivocally that we are — and always will be — the Ole Miss Rebels. And I am asking all Rebels to unite around our new Landshark mascot,” Dr. Vitter said in the letter.
This marks the third time in less than 20 years that the school has changed its mascot. Before Rebel the Bear, there was Colonel Reb, who was phased out due to some seeing the figure as racially divisive and insensitive.