UPDATE: Five possible sideline mascots announced at Ole Miss

OXFORD — The University of Mississippi says nearly 13,100 alumni, season ticket holders, students and others have voted online to narrow a list of possible school mascots.

While sports teams will still be called the Rebels, an animal or human character is being sought to replace the Colonel Reb image that was retired about seven years ago amid complaints it was too reminiscent of the Old South.

The Ole Miss Mascot Selection Committee says the top five choices, in no particular order, are a horse, a land shark, Hotty and Toddy, a lion and a bear.

Ole Miss’ signature cheer is “Hotty Toddy.” The mascot committee says the phrase could be embodied by a pair of Muppet-like characters.

From the Ole Miss mascot committee:

The five mascot ideas that gained the most support are (in no particular order):

– Horse

– Land Shark

– Hotty and Toddy

– Lion

– Bear

Ole Miss received votes from 13,084 responses from students, faculty, staff, alumni and season ticket-holders. See below the breakdown of each group:

– Alumni 4,280

– Season Ticket Holders 1,492

– UM Students (Oxford, Tupelo, Southaven) 5,794

– UM Employees (Oxford, Tupelo, Southaven) 917

– UM Medical Center Students (UMMC – Jackson) 159

– UM Medical Center Employees (UMMC – Jackson) 442

The mascot committee released the following on what is next …

“At this point our mascot professionals are creating graphic depictions for each of the five ideas above. These considerations would include clothing, expression, personality, etc. Other important issues are also being considered such as trademarks, particulars involved with housing/keeping wild animals, and other challenges to sort through. When all of this is accomplished, and the committee has given careful consideration to all of the information before them, we will present a number of these top five candidates in another poll for viewing and preference selection by the Ole Miss family. Between two and five of the mascot candidates the committee considers to be viable options will be included in this next poll.”

The Associated Press