New Mascot for Ole Miss


The University of Mississippi will be getting a new mascot. Students voted 2,510 to 856 on Tuesday this week to replace Colonel Rebel, the mascot the school removed in 2003.

Colonel Reb was the traditional mascot of Ole Miss. Traditional doesn’t actually mean old in this case, however. While the University of Mississippi was founded in 1848, Reb, a white-haired, bearded symbol of a planter of the old south, had actually only been the school’s mascot since 1979.

Many students on campus objected to the way Reb appeared to glorify the pre-Civil War south. Despite his apparent resemblance to Colonel Sanders, Reb was actually physically based on a black man, Jim Ivy, a campus fixture in the early twentieth century. Ivy, who died in 1955, was blind and said to quip: “I’ve never seen Ole Miss lose a game.”

For the last seven years Ole Miss athletic teams have been without a mascot, though Reb is still very popular with campus sports fans. New mascot possibilities include a riverboat gambler or a colonial soldier. Perhaps sarcastically, some students have pushed the school to choose Star Wars’s character Admiral Ackbar as the new Ole Miss mascot.

Before World War II, Ole Miss teams were known simply as “The Flood.”

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer