Dixieland Will Take It's Stand: Colonel Reb Will Always Be Our Mascot
Since 2003 the University of Mississippi has been without an official "on-field" mascot. At that time, University officials led by Chancellor Robert Khayat decided to make a decision that has forever changed the face of their University and began a period of sadness for members of the Ole Miss family.
As many now know, the University of Mississippi's new on-field mascot is a black bear named "Rebel". The Colonel Reb Foundation has shown it's disliking towards the bear, and claim that it is a Louisiana black bear. Since day one of this bear nonsense rumors have been floating around that the mascot is in fact the Louisiana black bear.
Many critics of the efforts to bring back Colonel Reb commonly state that the supporters of the CRF are "beating a dead horse", meaning they feel that bringing back the Colonel is not going to happen. They also accept the fact that this foolish bear is the new mascot.
Picture if you will. A Louisiana black bear, the official mascot of the flagship university of the State of Mississippi. Now, does that make any sense to you? I think not. Some say the bear is the American black bear, which is a species also native to the state. The majority of the state's bear population is the Louisiana black bear species. Over two-thirds to be exact.
Back in 2003 Chancellor Khayat decided to lead efforts to remove Colonel Reb as official mascot and official logo of the University of Mississippi. At that time an emergency student election was held by the student body of Ole Miss in which 94% of the students voted to keep Colonel Reb as the mascot. Though an overwhelmingly large portion of the students were in support of the Colonel, Chancellor Khayat and Athletic Director Pete Boone chose to remain without a mascot for the seven years following.
Do you agree with the University's decision to banish Colonel Reb?
There has been a massive effort led by members of the student body at Ole Miss as well as many alumni to retain Colonel Reb as the official mascot, yet the administration cares not what the people want. Athletic Director Pete Boone and current Chancellor Dan Jones refuse to acknowledge the fact that the majority of the Ole Miss family wants Colonel Reb over the bear, and insist on making the very University they claim to love look completely foolish.
Colonel Reb has been the face of the University of Mississippi since 1937, and the on-field mascot since 1979, yet we need to turn our back on him and let him die? Absolutely not.
Students and alumni will continue to fight to bring their beloved Colonel back to the sidelines of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, the Tad Smith Coliseum, Swayze Field, and all other venues on campus at Ole Miss.
Efforts to bring back the Colonel have been headed by the Colonel Reb Foundation which has been active in the crusade to bring back their mascot since he was removed. From passing out lapel stickers that read "Colonel Reb is my mascot" to putting up a billboard on Highway 6 in Oxford reading "Colonel Reb Forever, Louisiana Black Bear Never". They even went as far as getting their own Colonel Reb costume made that they wear around campus on gameday and that they wear into road games.
When they attempted to bring Colonel Reb into the stadium, they were denied access into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, yet there are no SEC regulations or University policies in place that prohibit his entrance. When asked about the issue, security personal simply stated "it's a Colonel Reb thing".
I can guarantee all readers of this article, that on September 3 when the Rebels open the 2011 football season against BYU, that bear will see the more hatred than anyone can ever imagine. Hopefully it will be a message to the University when they hear the outcry of booing and rejection towards Rebel the Bear.
Many say Colonel Reb was banished because he brings of memories of the "Old South" and slavery. For all of those people that feel that way I have a name to throw at you. Jim Ivy.
Noted historian David Sansing has stated for years that Colonel Reb is modeled from a man known as "Blind" Jim Ivy. Ivy was a very well known figure on campus at Ole Miss in the early 1900's. Ivy was a peanut vendor in Oxford and was for a long time known as the mascot of the university. When the nickname of Ole Miss was voted to "Rebels", Jim Ivy was there and a part of Ole Miss. It was two years following the vote to change the name that the first Colonel Reb logo was developed.
In Sansing's eyes, “If you look at the photo of Blind Jim in the three-piece suit, with the hat, there's a striking resemblance. The original Colonel Rebel emblem is a spitting image of Blind Jim Ivy, except for white skin".
Jim Ivy was blind in one eye, and in the Colonel Reb logo, the Colonel's right eye is never visible. I'd say that's pretty reasonable evidence to prove that the logo was modeled from Jim Ivy.
There is a member of the Ole Miss family missing, and our family will not be whole until the Colonel is brought back as official mascot and logo of the University of Mississippi. Many students, fans, alumni, and other supporters are saddended by the fact that their beloved mascot has been forever locked away by the University.
It has been said that the University has lost millions of dollars in donations from alumni and friends of Ole Miss due to the removal of Colonel Reb. One would think a financial hit as large as that would be a wake up call to Chancellor Jones and Pete Boone.
Please visit the Colonel Reb Foundation's website at www.saveolemiss.com to learn more about this story. You can also make donations to the CRF at that site. You can learn about all of the events involving Colonel Reb and what you can do to help the effort to bring our mascot back.
Some of the above information is from the Colonel Reb Foundation at www.saveolemiss.com. The author of this article has no affiliation whatsoever with the foundation or it's members, but fully supports those efforts to bring Colonel Reb back as official on-field mascot and logo of the University of Mississippi.
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