Ole Miss Replacing Black Bear Mascot With Landshark; Rebels Nickname Staying Put
Ole Miss announced a Landshark will "replace Rebel the Bear" as the team's on-field mascot, though Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter "reiterated that the name of the university's athletics teams will remain the Ole Miss Rebels," according to Bracey Harris of the Jackson CLARION-LEDGER. Vitter said that the goal is to "unveil the new mascot" by the '18 season. The retirement of Rebel the Bear, which the school adopted seven years ago, was "effective immediate," and it was not on the field for Ole Miss' 44-23 loss to Auburn on Saturday. The move comes after a student government-led poll where 81% of more than 4,100 respondents "endorsed the Landshark as the school's new mascot." Ole Miss' long-standing Colonel Reb mascot "was retired from the field in 2003 amid the university's efforts to distance the campus from Old South symbolism" (Jackson CLARION-LEDGER, 10/7). In Jackson, Hugh Kellenberger noted there is a "significant number of Ole Miss fans who would do anything to have Colonel Reb back." Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork inherited the mascot issue "from a previous administration," and it is likely he is not "interested in really wading knee-deep into the fight" (Jackson CLARION-LEDGER, 10/7).