October 14th, 2010
07:45 PM ET

Ole Miss goes with a bear; Georgia has another Uga

He is no Admiral Ackbar, but Rebel Black Bear will do for the University of Mississippi.

Mascot changes can be a serious business in college sports. Viewers of ESPN got a taste of this earlier this year, when the sports network ran a spot about some University of Mississippi students who were trying to nominate "Star Wars" character Admiral Ackbar to represent Ole Miss' teams.

Ackbar backers will be distressed to know their guy didn't make it. On Thursday, the Ole Miss Rebels announced they are going with a bear.

That's Rebel Black Bear, to be exact. He succeeds Colonel Reb, whose goatee and garb conjured images of the Old South. Ole Miss has been without an on-field mascot since 2003, when Colonel Reb was benched. With Ole Miss left as the only Southeastern Conference school without such a mascot, students pushed for a replacement.

A student-led selection committee chose Rebel Black Bear over fellow finalists Rebel Land Shark and Hotty Toddy after reviewing extensive polling of students, faculty, staff, alumni and season ticket holders.

The committee’s website notes that the stories about Mississippi’s black bear “have been shared for generations,” and that novelist and Mississippi native William Faulkner wrote a story called “The Bear,” in which the bear Old Ben “stands as a symbol of pride, strength and toughness.”

The school always insisted it would keep the Rebels nickname – and that name inspired the well-publicized effort by some students to draft Ackbar, the squid-faced leader of the Rebel Alliance in “Star Wars VI: The Return of the Jedi.”

But not everyone was sold on Ackbar representing Ole Miss, including, reportedly, Lucasfilm. Ackbar wasn’t even one of the final 11 choices put forward by the committee this summer.

The school expects to start using Rebel Black Bear on-field in 2011.

Mississippi isn’t the only SEC school celebrating a mascot succession. The University of Georgia is expected to introduce its latest bulldog mascot, Uga VIII, before the Georgia-Vanderbilt football game on Saturday in Athens, Georgia.

While Mississippi’s bear will be someone in a costume, the Ugas of Georgia are real bulldogs. Uga VIII replaces Uga VII, which died last year.

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Filed under: Mississippi • Sports
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    of course no blog here baout ahmidinjads vist is there.
    oh no i might post.
    put it where i dont post.
    oh how clever you are.
    when asking who to balme?
    look in the Mirror.

    October 14, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    YOU reporters.
    lie and spin some more.

    October 14, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rob

    No Ackbar, but it looks like they chose and Ewok

    I'm not sure the Georgia bulldog "7" story is what we call in the real world: "interesting".

    October 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • DIRT ROAD SPORT

      The symbol of VIII represents a count of 8 not 7 !!! Jeez, does the new fangled educational system not instruct the classics anymore, ie Roman numerals?

      October 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    Actully Ga. is one of MY States.

    October 14, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. kem

    I am surprised that how much American universities spend time on these silly things? Shouldn't the students focus more on studies??

    October 14, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      @kem wow, aren't you like 100 years late with that argument

      October 14, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      it's the south, give them a break... college sports gives them a stage to parade their anti-intellectualism and display their cultural inferiority and backwardness.

      October 15, 2010 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. nick nicholson

    so they change the rebel to the BLACK bear? now what's racist?

    October 14, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kyle

    gheyest comment of the day

    October 14, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Homer

    What a Bunch of Sh!t.......Col. Reb offended somebody Black & the weak A$$ Liberal school heads got scared & changed it to a Bear? I am surprised they didn't change it to the Black Panthers. This is not going to go over very well with Ole Miss fans. I hope they Boycott the Athletic Department Until the reinstate the Col.

    October 14, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robita

      I'm glad the "Colonel" was pitched in the garbage. You two tooth hillbilly yokels seem to think that symbols of slavery are cool and acceptable. Well why don't you people just have Hitler as the mascot for your entire accursed region of the country and be done with it.

      October 15, 2010 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Embarrassed alumni

    What a joke!!!! Somebody will find a way make any mascot offensive Where is PETA? Isn't this exploitation on animals? We should just be without a mascot if we can't have the col. Reb. I am embarrassed to say that I am from a school that is so weak!

    October 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeremy

    As a current student, let me shed some light.

    First of all, the students didn't push for a mascot replacement, but instead organized the mascot voting after it was pronounced that either the students could choose their own mascot, or have one chosen for them.

    Secondly, it's a black bear because that's the kind of bear native to Mississippi. As opposed to a brown bear or a grizzly bear.

    But really, I think most students would have rather not had an on-field mascot at all. Not many care, and those who do would have rather had nothing than not have Colonel Rebel.

    October 14, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clay Herring

      NOW HERE IS THE REAL TRUTH TO STORY !!

      October 15, 2010 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ray Jackson, MS

    It should have been Captain Carpetbagger with Dan Jones ugly face on it.

    October 14, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MizzKeen

    Uga is one of the best treated dogs in the world...he gets to go to every Georgia game!

    October 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nuttjob

    Ole Miss has been making a lot of wise decisions lately. First, bringing in Coach Nuttjob, now the Black Bear; what's next, bulldoze the Grove and build a marijuana plantation?! oh wait....

    October 14, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CityGirl

    My suggestion for a new mascot/team name was based on a novel, Southern ideal of inclusivity and unity over exclusion, humiliation and segregation.

    The Ole Miss or preferably, the University of Mississippi "Kin" – embracing students, athletes, coaches, faculty, alum, parents and Oxford, MS – united in Kinship – and with the "KinSHIP", a Mississippi River steamship, or the KinFOLK as mascots. The idea of KinFolk favors a "family" of mascot characters of various races and cultures - and embodies the spectrum of southern, collegial and familial pride. The KinDred Spirits would be an ideal name for boosters and cheer squads; conversely, the KinDREAD could be the more imposing and threatening embodiment of the sports teams.

    October 14, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      What are you smoking

      October 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • allshookupinbama

      LAME Citygirl, REALL LAME...

      October 14, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wardamneagle

      Get a life citygirl!

      October 14, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MSU Fan

    I'm from Mississippi and I'm proud of it. I am a MSU fan. But for Ole Miss, the ban of the Stars and Bars was a disgrace. Getting rid of the Colonel is ridiculous. Black Bear? Give me a break....

    October 14, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      The rebel flag is crap.

      October 15, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
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