By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The Ole Miss Rebels could be represented on the sidelines at athletic events by a horse, a “land shark,” characters named “Hotty and Toddy,” a lion or a bear.
The five concepts were chosen from a field of 11 by University of Mississippi stakeholders after a committee had considered more than 1,000 suggested mascots.
A mascot company will develop the five with artists’ renderings and back stories, including personality, clothing, expression and other considerations before presenting them again to the Ole Miss family.
“Other important issues are also being considered such as trademarks (and) particulars involved with housing/keeping wild animals,” states mascot. olemiss.edu.
Ole Miss officials removed longtime mascot Colonel Reb from the sidelines in 2003. Some people have attacked him as a caricature of an Old South plantation owner while others say he is simply a kindly old gentleman.
Students voted early this year to participate in a process to create a new on-field mascot.
More than 13,000 alumni, students, employees and season ticket holders voted in an online poll in late June and early July to pick the five current choices. Of those, nearly 4,300 were identified as alumni and more than 6,000 as students.
Some respondents criticized the “Hotty and Toddy” character concept, based on words from the university’s best-known cheer, for its “Muppet-like” description.
“If they make it to the next poll, the Ole Miss family will have an opportunity to see and vote on the graphic depictions for the pair,” the website states. “We recognize that verbiage has caused confusion; we hear you and we will make this right.”
University officials have repeatedly said that the school will continue to be called “Ole Miss” and that its teams will remain the “Rebels.”