After years of deliberation culminating in students voting, the Ole Miss Rebels finally have a new mascot. The Rebels were in need of a new mascot because they are trying to shed the Confederate image that has been tied to the University since its establishment in 1848. Seven years after starting their search for a new mascot, Ole Miss finally succeeded, sort of.
"Rebel Black Bear" beat out "Rebel Land Shark" and "Hotty Toddy" as the new mascot for Mississippi. The students were allowed to vote on one of those three as the new mascot, but frankly Ole Miss completely missed the mark with the options given to the students.
The students of Ole Miss have a petition with over 3,500 signatures saying that they want to keep their same old mascot Colonel Reb, who many Mississippi faithful still love. However, that idea was shot down because Ole Miss is trying to separate themselves from the past.
The true travesty in this situation isn't the loss of Colonel Reb, but the addition of a mascot not named Admiral Ackbar. Blame who you want in this case, whether that be Lucasfilm for not allowing their Star Wars character to be used by the University, or blame Ole Miss for not shelling out enough cash to get the character.
Admiral Ackbar would have been immediately the most recognizable mascot in sports. When Lucasfilm said no to the mascot, ESPN and Ole Miss ran a commercial that swept the nation. While many people saw the commercial simply as an attempt at humor, it was a real campaign to land Ackbar as the Rebel mascot.
If Ackbar would have been installed as the mascot at Ole Miss, the University surely would have benefited with a spike in merchandise sales and possibly enrollment.
In the end, it was all a trap. Mississippi missed an opportunity to cash in on a golden mascot opportunity, leaving potential fans on the doorstep of cheering for the Rebels. Rebel Black Bear will have to do the trick for the Ole Miss faithful, even if they never find themselves attached to their new mascot.