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Ole Miss associated student body to hold vote regarding on-field mascot

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The Landshark could replace Rebel the Bear.

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NCAA Football: Mississippi at Texas A&M Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that Ole Miss students and alumni are set to re-litigate the on-field mascot debate that tore people apart back in 2002-2003. A decade and a half ago, the Rebels’ on-field mascot, Col. Reb, was yanked off the field for his especial likeness to an antebellum plantation owner. The mascot was and remains a racist avatar of a racist ideology and history, and anyone still in support of Col. Reb needs to log off and go read We Are Not Afraid.

On Monday, the associated student body at Ole Miss announced that they are going to hold a vote regarding Ole Miss’ on-field mascot. For about seven years, the Rebs’ on-field avatar has been a black bear — named Rebel the Bear — out of deference to William Faulkner’s short story, The Bear. Perfectly vanilla and inoffensive.

But that may change after Ole Miss’ ASB announced the upcoming vote. Rebel the Bear could be replaced by, appropriately, a Landshark. Here, in part, is ASB President Dion Kevin III’s statement regarding “the Landshark referendum.”

The Landshark as we know it today has its origins in football, but has since expanded to symbolize Ole Miss’s fighting spirit and athletic prowess. It was started by Ole Miss defensive linebacker and military veteran Tony Fein in 2008 during our historic upset of the Tim Tebow-led Florida Gators. With 41 seconds left in the game, Tim Tebow ran an option left, identical to a scoring play earlier in the quarter. As the play developed, Fein powered across the field and met the Gator offense with a crucial stop. After the play, Fein rose up, hand to helmet, and the Landshark was born.

Kevin goes on to point out that all Ole Miss sports adopted the Landshark gesture after major defensive successes, and that fact has unified athletes and students alike.

So, on Sept. 26, 2017, the associated student body at Ole Miss will vote either “yes” or “no” on whether the Landshark should replace Rebel the Bear as the Rebs’ on-field mascot.

Our newsroom is fairly evenly split on the matter. We’ve created a poll below. It will conclude at midnight on Sept. 26.

Poll

Should the Landshark replace Rebel the Bear?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Yes
    (1768 votes)
  • 24%
    No
    (589 votes)
2357 votes total Vote Now