The Ole Miss Rebels could soon have a new mascot roaming the sideline.
The change won’t be immediate, and it isn’t guaranteed yet, but they’ve crossed a big hurdle. Students were asked to vote whether they wanted to change the mascot from a black bear named Rebel, to a Landshark.
The original mascot, “Colonel Reb,” was replaced in 2003 after being deemed racially insensitive.
The vote to change the mascot to a “landshark” passed in overwhelming numbers, with 81-percent of the students voting to make the change.
Via the Daily Mississippian:
“We hope this will be a catalyst for a transition toward a new mascot, the Landshark,” the announcement read. “We believe that affection for the Landshark serves as a symbolic rallying point, something lovingly embraced among students from a variety of backgrounds- races, religions, creeds, or political affiliations. To that end, it is clear that the student body believes the Landshark deserves to represent our school’s spirit on the field, in the Grove, and in our hearts.”
The black bear that replaced Colonel Reb was never really embraced after being introduced in 2010. Meanwhile, the Landshark stems from an iconic play in Ole Miss history in which Tony Fein celebrated a big stop on Florida superstar Tim Tebow by making a shark fin hand gesture.
Change is likely to come, and if you keep your eye out, you might soon see a bear costume for sale on Craigslist in the Oxford, Mississippi area.
Photo Credit: Ole Miss Athletics