I talked a little bit with AD for communications Michael Thompson yesterday, the university spokesman for Rebel, the Black Bear.
The new mascot was subtly introduced at a few spring events, children’s hospitals in Jackson and Memphis and on Grove Bowl Saturday on campus – but not at the football game.
Rebel’s absence at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium was a strategic decision but not in the way most fans expected.
It’s all about a “connection” with the mascot and the children right now, and the baseball game presented a better opportunity with the kids. Choosing baseball over football had nothing to do with how adult fans might react, Thompson said.
In fact, Thompson said by his estimate two adults in left field booed the mascot when it took the field.
But that lasted for only 10 seconds, because Rebel was surrounded by smiling children.
Makes it kind of hard to boo the mascot in that setting.
The reaction to the mascot at a handful of events was everything the administration was hoping for, Thompson said.
Rebel will have a full day of mascot activity for the Ole Miss season opener against BYU on Sept. 3.
Thompson wouldn’t say if there will be a special introduction ceremony of the mascot, but sometimes the non-answer is your answer. I wouldn’t expect the Bear to appear quietly in the Grove.