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Rebels' mascot update could bring trouble

By By Stan Torgerson / sports columnist
May 20, 2003
The latest edition of the Ole Miss fan newspaper, The Ole Miss Spirit, reports Ole Miss has hired a design firm, The Phoenix Group, to study Colonel Reb, the school's mascot, and possibly suggest changes.
Chuck Rounsaville, the paper's editor endorses the idea of changing the long time symbol of Rebel athletics.
That ought to get him some letters. It may also get him some new subscribers or the loss of some old ones.
If every symbol should look like a "warrior-hot, bothered and ready to explode," Alabama fans can stop carrying around toilet tissue on a stick with a box of laundry soap attached and the warrior-like words "Roll Tide" underneath.
Or that Tennessee Volunteer wearing buckskins, carrying a rifle and looking as if he'll shoot the first rabbit that crosses his path.
How about the old time naval officer wearing the funny hat who is supposed to inspire Vanderbilt's Commodores by dressing like one. A commodore, that is.
Maybe an ugly pig with long tusks has the image to be desired. Obviously Arkansas fans must think so. They've lived with one for years, even to the extent of wearing hats made in the image of a hog's head.
O.K., I'll grant that Tigers, Bulldogs, Alligators, Wildcats and Gamecocks can be made to appear ferocious but wouldn't most fans prefer their favorite school to have a mascot of their very own with unique design rather than share a Tiger (LSU and Auburn) or a Bulldog (Georgia and Mississippi State).
If Chuck will think back to the day when Ole Miss dropped the rebel flag as a symbol he will realize how much hell will be raised if the consultants shave that funny beard off Colonel Reb, put him in more modern clothes or throw out the entire concept and ask the fans to accept perhaps the Ole Miss Magnolias as the symbol of choice.
The address is Ole Miss Spirit 1296 North Lamar Blvd, Oxford, Mississippi 38655 in case you'd like to make known your opinion.
Division I members by state
Make a guess. Which SEC state has the most NCAA Division I schools?
We argue in Mississippi there are too many schools for the number of quality players available and that's why we're at a disadvantage in football and/or basketball.
In other words, we're cutting the slices of a small pie too thin.
For the sake of this study by the NCAA, I-A and I-AA schools were considered to at the same level. In Mississippi we have six Division I schools, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Mississippi, Jackson State, Alcorn and Mississippi Valley. Jackson State, Alcorn and Mississippi Valley are I-AA, of course. But they still give scholarships, and they still compete for players with the big three.
Let's get back to the original question. Which state has the most Division I schools. Which splits their own pie into the thinnest slices?
It will probably surprise you to learn the answer is Louisiana.
There are 13 Division I schools in that state, the highest number of any state in the Southeastern Conference.
Second is Tennessee with 12. Florida has 11, Alabama 10, South Carolina 10, Kentucky six, Mississippi six, Georgia five and Arkansas four.
If you'd care to look at the big picture, that means all Division I, II and III schools that are members of the NCAA, here are the total schools for each state and the breakdown by divisions in numerical order. Louisiana 14-13-0-1; Tennessee 22-12-6-4; Florida 23-11-12-0; Alabama 18-10-6-2; South Carolina 23-10-13-0; Kentucky 13-6-4-3; Georgia 28-5-16-7; Mississippi 11-6-2-3; Arkansas 13-4-7-2.
In other words, Mississippi has the fewest NCAA schools, rather than the most as some people believe.
If you think the car, insurance or convenience store business is competitive, translate the recruiting of star athletes into the above numbers and see what you get.
Cheating. That's what.

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