OXFORD – "Don’t make a mistake, you will regret later," said Ole Miss alumnus and Batesville business owner Kay Nickle, regarding the Colonel Reb issue.
Ole Miss released the news this week that Colonel Reb will no longer be the school’s mascot.
According to history records, the Rebels named was adopted in 1936, but the mascot Colonel Reb did not appear on the scene until 1979.
He has been so popular that many alumni have no problem considering him a part of tradition at the school.
"If they take this away, what’s next? The name Ole Miss?" Nickle asked. "This is like taking the Tigers away from South Panola or the Wave away from North Delta. You wouldn’t want that."
Colonel Reb, like any mascot once established, is expected on the sidelines. He is like an extension of the cheering and dance squads. The children crowd to get a chance to shake his hands and let him rub their heads.
He gets to pose for many photo opportunities and is a very gracious host.
Ole Miss Athletic Director Pete Boone was out of town and could not be reached for comment, but his office did refer all media calls to the comments made in the Oxford Eagle earlier in the week.
Boone told the Eagle, "It’s an idea we’ve been thinking about and discussing for eight years. It’s not something that’s new."
So, is the controversy about Colonel Reb about race, tradition or what?
"Colonel Reb is not about the past," Nickle said. "It’s about tradition."
In other published newspaper reports, the emblem is said to inhibit recruiting of African-American students to the university.
Some students past and present who are not offended by the emblem still say if it hurts the image of the university, "it’s time to move on."
One alumnus was quoted in The Clarion-Ledger calling for fans to boycott the first quarter of the first home football game this year.
"Colonel Reb is not broke, so don’t fix it," Nickle said.