|Wednesday, June 18
Move made to modernize mascot image
OXFORD, Miss. -- Mississippi will sideline its Colonel Rebel mascot this football season, taking another step to distance itself from the South's Confederate past.
Ole Miss officials have said they want a more intimidating mascot than the Southern gentleman with his cocked wide-brimmed hat, snow-white goatee and cane.
The school will not have a mascot until a suitable one is approved.
Athletic director Pete Boone said there are no plans to change the school's longtime nicknames "Ole Miss" or "Rebels." The school has been toying with a Colonel Rebel change for about eight years, he said.
In the last decade, Mississippi has been steering its image from the Old South by phasing out symbols that some say are racially divisive. Confederate battle flags, once pervasive at football games, have been banished and "Dixie" has been dropped as the school's unofficial fight song.
But unlike the Rebel Flag and ``Dixie,'' there has been no outcry to oust Colonel Rebel.
Boone said changing Colonel Rebel has more to do with modernizing Ole Miss' image than vanquishing Confederate symbols from campus.
The private Ole Miss Loyalty Foundation that supports sports has spent $30,000 for the New York-based Phoenix Design Works to study Colonel Rebel, Ole Miss lettering and logos.
School officials have said it is unlikely a replacement will be set before the basketball season or possibly next year.