It’s possible the Ole Miss on-field mascot could be headed for yet another makeover.
The Ole Miss Associated Student Body announced Monday its intention to hold a campus-wide vote to change the Rebels’ mascot for the third time in the last two decades.
In a tweet, ASB president Dion Kevin III explained the organization’s desire to hold a “Landshark Referendum” on Sept. 26.
“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,” Kevin said in part. “... After a decade of success under the Landshark, it’s time to make it a lasting part of our history.”
While the vote could potentially lead to more change in Oxford, the outcome is not binding, university spokesman Ryan Whittington said. Any official change will have to be facilitated by the school’s administration and athletic department.
The school’s recent history is filled with turmoil when it comes to the on-field mascot. Colonel Reb was ousted in 2003, and although the school held a vote in the immediate aftermath of the mascot’s removal, it wasn’t officially replaced until 2010, when Rebel the Black Bear won yet another vote.
The latest vote will be held along with the homecoming and fall personality elections. According to the Oxford Eagle, there will not be a write-in option on the mascot vote, only to keep the Black Bear or change it to the landshark.
Dating back well before 2003, Ole Miss has undergone a transformation to separate itself from Old South symbols, including the Confederate battle flags and the anthem “Dixie.”
Regardless of the vote’s outcome, however, Ole Miss teams will remain the Rebels.
The school announced Tuesday that it will face Louisville in the 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The exact date and start time have not been finalized.
The Rebels previously participated in the event in 2014, defeating Boise State 35-13. The 2021 matchup will mark the first meeting between the two schools.
“We are thrilled to once again be part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. We always set the goal to end the regular season in Atlanta, so it’s only fitting that’s where we begin it,” Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said. “With our strong alumni base in Georgia, Rebel Nation will arrive in full force to experience this premier matchup in the nation’s finest new stadium. In addition, the Atlanta market is a key recruiting area for our staff, and this trip offers a tremendous opportunity to compete in front of those prospects.”
Upcoming Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game matchups include Washington-Auburn (2018), Alabama-Duke (2019), West Virginia-Florida State (2020), Georgia-Virginia (2020) and Alabama-Miami (2021).
Along with the rest of the SEC, Ole Miss released its 2018 schedule on Thursday.
Ole Miss will open the season Sept. 1 against Texas Tech in Houston. Ole Miss will also host Southern Illinois (Sept. 8), Kent State (Sept. 22) and Louisiana-Monroe (Oct. 6) in other non-conference matchups.