College Basketball Nation: Admiral Ackbar

Meet the Ole Miss Rebel Land Shark

October, 7, 2010
For much of 2010, the University of Mississippi has been in the process of replacing its mascot, Colonel Reb. This process started swimmingly: Students voted on the mascot they'd most like to see replace the old, potentially offensive standby, and their choice was minor "Star Wars" character and legendary Internet meme Admiral Ackbar.

Unfortunately, Ole Miss officials refused to fall into that trap. (Sorry.) So they commissioned a group of new mascots to be voted on by the school. A group of students winnowed the 1,000 or so ideas to 11, and now to three. And, no surprise, the three finalists make about as much sense as Mr. Ackbar ever did.

You can see the sketches here. There's Rebel Black Bear, Rebel Hoddy Toddy and, my personal favorite, Rebel Land Shark. Each are drawn wearing their various getups, with an outfit for The Grove, Ole Miss' football tailgating field, an outfit for football games, and an outfit for hoops events. You have to admit, they're looking pretty sharp.

Naturally, some Ole Miss fans are not amused by the selections. From the Clarion-Ledger:

"This needs to be killed," Davis said. "I can't imagine how embarrassing it will be if one of these creatures runs across the field."

Ha, creatures. That's one way to describe them.

Would it have been any more embarrassing to just let Admiral Ackbar be the selection? At least he was a Rebel, right? Sharks are not leading any sort of rebellion. Let's hope not, anyway. That would be terrifying.

Ole Miss students are hilarious

February, 25, 2010
Of all the new mascot submissions Ole Miss officials prepared themselves for, I'm betting they didn't expect a serious challenge from a little-known Star Wars character. And yet, here he is.

Do you know Admiral Ackbar? Even if you like Star Wars, you might not; it's not like Ackbar is Chewbacca or R2. The fishy character is best known for his famous "It's a trap!" line from "Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi," a line that's managed to become something of an Internet meme in recent years, culminating with appearances on "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" earlier this month.

Which is where Ole Miss students come in. After Mississippi officials decided to officially do away with the controversial Colonel Reb and search for a new mascot, students voted on the mascot they'd most like to see take Reb's place. The winner? Admiral Ackbar. High five, Ole Miss students. You guys win. Too funny.

Of course, not unlike Luke Skywalker's journey from desert peon to (spoiler alert!) savior of the Galaxy, the good Admiral's path to mascotdom is fraught with challenges:
Officials say there's virtually no chance the fish-faced leader of the Rebel Alliance in the movie could become the on-field mascot for the Rebels of Ole Miss. The Associated Student Body president dismisses it as "comic relief."

And, of course, there's that whole "using a licensed character for profit motives" thing that probably isn't going to fly with George Lucas' army of Sith lawyers. Still, though, a rogue faction exists. They are small. They are young. They are taking on an institutional Empire of legal prohibitions and stuffy old men in tweed jackets. Their goal, however, is noble, and that is the only thing that matters. I feel like I've heard this story before.

Ole Miss students, you rakish devils. May the Force be with you.