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Thoughts about Ole Miss’ ongoing mascot saga «

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Thoughts about Ole Miss’ ongoing mascot saga

I wrote the below blog during the vote for a mascot, and not much as changed since then. Ole Miss continues to be embarrassed by people stupid enough to introduce legislation to bring back Colonel Reb and by adopting a Black Bear when a make over of Colonel Reb into a Revolutionary War patroit would have served the school better. Anyway, here’s my blog from last summer …

It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since Ole Miss shelved Colonel Reb and the Rebels have been without a sideline mascot for so long.

Every time I stood on the sidelines in recent years and saw mascots from other schools, I was reminded of how stupid it is for Ole Miss not to have a mascot. There is probably no other situation at Ole Miss that embodies the term ineptness more than what has gone on with the mascot challenge over the last seven years.

Make no mistake, though, Pete Boone did the right thing in shelving Colonel Reb in his current form when he did. In 2003, it was a time that the NCAA was reviewing mascots and teams like Arkansas State ended up with a new name and a new mascot. Exactly how Arkansas State could have lost the name ”Indians” when Florida State retained ”Seminoles” remains a mystery to me and shows how the NCAA runs roughshod over smaller programs while allowing the larger schools to do as they please, well, at least unless they begin flaunting it, like USC did under Pete Carroll.

Had Boone not taken the action he did, there’s little doubt in my mind that not only Colonel Reb, but Ole Miss and Rebels, would have come in the cross hairs of the NCAA with there having been a major risk of losing all three.

While Boone did the right thing, the ensuing campaign to find a new mascot he ran that resulted in Bruiser and Mr. Clean – or whatever he was – was nothing short of a laughing stock. Bypassed in that that campaign was the skipping over of the Colonel Reb logo shown on this site, which was designed by Torch Creative, Inc. and would have been an acceptable replacement – at least in my opinion, and the opinion of many others.

When it comes to a mascot, Ole Miss doesn’t need a Hotty or a Toddy, a Bear, or a Land Shark, or whatever – it has a mascot and that mascot is Colonel Reb.

Let old times be forgotten, because in current form, Colonel Reb is dead thanks to Robert Khayat being stupid enough to say that Colonel Reb was a plantation owner back in the day. Any opportunity to rehabilitate Colonel Reb, or any semblance of the the form he had appeared in since the 1940s, was lost at the point Khayat finished uttering those incredibly stupid words.

I still feel there’s room for Colonel Reb to be rehabilitated, that is transitioned into a kinder and gentler, and more importantly, politically correct, version. The guys at Torch Creative are ready to do that. Boone, for some reason, seems averse to dealing with them.

I’m not one to think that Ole Miss needs something for the pre-school or juvenile crowd. That’s incredibly short sighted. My kids are far beyond the potty training stage – or juvenile phase – and I have the knowledge that while they may be fans at a young age and impressed by a muppet, when they get old enough to start slugging down beer and running cars into stationary objects, a school’s mascot isn’t quite as impressionable.

The trick is to have a mascot to appeal to the masses – the kids, the teenie boppers, the preppies, the middle aged crowd and the old timers. It’s doable and it can be done without have to turn to some symbol that is on the far periphery of the school – like the Cardinal or Bear.

The mission should be all about a redesign of Colonel Reb – not about finding something remotely tied to Ole Miss and trying to sell it to a fan base because of political correctness.

But the agenda has been set and the decision made. Ole Miss will muddle through this – again. It’ll manage to take center stage during the middle of a Rebel five game winning streak – or an upset loss – as it will flame some of the passionate.

I’m all for stakeholders having a say, but in the end, a decision has to be made and it’s up to the leadership to gain consensus and support, even from those that may be disappointed by the outcome.

But, in the end, isn’t leadership – or the lack of it – the reason Ole Miss hasn’t had a mascot for the last seven years?

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