The University of Mississippi student mascot selection committee has released artist's renderings and descriptions of three finalist concepts, and polling begins at 8 a.m. today to gauge the opinions of alumni, students, faculty, staff and season ticket holders.
The artwork shows each of the three concepts for a new Ole Miss mascot – Rebel Black Bear, Rebel Land Shark and Hotty Toddy – dressed for football and basketball and also in attire suitable for the Grove or other gatherings. The renderings, descriptions of each concept's personality and origins, and poll are available at mascot.olemiss.edu. Polling will remain open for eligible participants through Oct. 12.
Mascot selection committee co-chair Ty New, a senior from Olive Branch, said the committee is very pleased with each of the concepts.
“I think once the Ole Miss family sees an actual rendering, they will be able to better embrace the ideas," he said. "The drawings have a great 'Ole Miss' feel to them, only adding to the appeal of these final, most popular choices. We eagerly await the results of the poll. Go Rebs!"
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Earlier in the selection process, focus groups representing different parts of the Ole Miss community identified characteristics that are vital to a new Rebels mascot. According to those groups, the ultimate mascot should unify the Ole Miss community, have a Mississippi connection, be unique, adapt from the Grove to the game, fit the Ole Miss culture, project a proud image, be timeless and not trendy, have the ability to be active and appeal to children.
The polling site includes a slide that reaffirms the university's commitment to the Ole Miss Rebels brand.
"The new mascot will not lead to our becoming the Ole Miss Bears, the Ole Miss Land Sharks, or the Ole Miss Hotty Toddys," the slide reads. "We are, and will remain, the Ole Miss Rebels."
Chancellor Dan Jones expressed support for the student committee.
"From the very start, this has been a student-led process, and I am impressed with how our students have handled it," Jones said. "They have been creative, thoughtful and professional. I am proud of our student leaders."