JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The University of Mississippi will take the landshark as the school’s new on-field mascot, upending the short reign of the black bear.
Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter announced the move in a letter Friday, a week after students backed the switch in a campus vote.
The nickname for athletic teams remains the Rebels, but Ole Miss retired Colonel Reb from the sidelines in 2003. Critics saw the bearded old man as reminiscent of a plantation owner. Some backers still demand the return of Colonel Reb.
Despite that change and the removal of other Old South symbols, Vitter states “unequivocally” that the school’s nickname “always will be” the Rebels.
The landshark comes from a celebratory hand signal that Ole Miss athletes started using in 2008.