Rebel the Black Bear may not be long for the Ole Miss sideline.
Ole Miss’s Associated Student Body is set to vote on a new mascot for the university.
The controversial Colonel Reb was removed by the school in 2003, and replaced by Rebel in 2010. However, it has never seemed like the black bear has been fully embraced by the community. Now, he could be replaced by a new mascot that has more ties to the recent vintage Ole Miss football program: the Landshark.
From The Clarion-Ledger:
Dion Kevin III, president of the Ole Miss Associated Student Body, said in a letter that students will be able to vote on the Landshark as the new mascot, which would replace the Black Bear mascot chosen in 2010.
“The Landshark as we know it today has its origins in football, but has since expanded to symbolize Ole Miss’s fight spirit and athletic prowess,” Kevin wrote. “On September 26th, we will all have the chance to leave a legacy of unity and excitement in a referendum vote in this year’s Fall Election.”
Ole Miss’s defense has been colloquial known as the “landsharks” since 2008, when Tony Fein did a shark-fin gesture after making a stop on Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. It has remained a nickname since, and gained popularity during the height of the Hugh Freeze era.
The Landshark would give Ole Miss a very unique mascot among FBS programs. Currently, three FBS football teams—Baylor, Cal, and UCLA—have bear mascots. There are no current primary shark mascots in the FBS ranks, although UNLV has previously utilized one as tribute to former basketball coach Jerry “Tark the Shark” Tarkanian.