| Traditions and Revenue Meet in the Middle
BY MYRA BEAN
In the past, so many traditional things were set in the schools. So much stuff was happening when these school traditions became a part of university life.
Ole Miss is taking away Colonel Reb while Mississippi State is losing its cowbells.
You say it’s a big difference. Not really. Both are traditions, even though not very old, with the schools.
The fight for Colonel Reb is a lot more vocal than for the cowbells and really is hitting the school’s pocketbooks. Unlike Miss. State fans who have found a way to get those cowbells in the stadium, the mascot Colonel Reb is not allowed on the field anymore.
That’s why that fight is more heated.
But have both schools waited too long to remove these symbols from the university?
Ole Miss officials seem to think the university will not be adversely effected moneywise by the banning of Colonel Reb but the new coalition puts those thoughts to the test.
Already students are not buying the tickets and the first game is next Saturday. Usually students tickets are the first to go but not this year.
Earlier in the year, Ole Miss was citing Colonel Reb as affecting enrollment of minority athletes and other minority students. They even thought people from other states would not come to the University of Mississippi because Colonel Reb had something to do with the race issue.
There has been the fight with "Dixie" as the school’s song. There is the flag. There was a time when people fought to get into Ole Miss and the national guard had to be called out.
Those days, thank God, are long gone. People can go wherever they want to go and can afford to go if there is some entity about the school which offends a particular set of people.
Granted the officials want to continue bringing in money and want to take away anything that offends people, but it just may be a little too late for the removal of Colonel Reb to make a difference.
The only short term difference seems to be in the alumni who usually puts a lot of money into the school during the football season.
What would be a mathematical equation for this problem?
Obviously, the banning of traditional university icons like Colonel Reb and the cowbells have been well thought out.
These officials had to know what the ramifications to the money belt would be. They had to know what risks the schools would be taking when these announcements came.
Granted, the cowbells was an NCAA decision, but Colonel Reb was strictly a school decision. Miss. State officials really did not have to stick their necks out and risk getting them chopped off with the cowbell decision.
Ole Miss officials are in a totally different boat. I too wonder how long the REBELS will be a part of the university name.
The single most important thing is both decisions have to do with tradition.
This contest going on for a new mascot is going to get pretty interesting. The name Rebels stays but a new icon will have to be associated with the name. Will it be like the Auburn Tigers with a War Eagle as the mascot? Or the Alabama Crimson Tide with an elephant?
This could get interesting.
The question does arise out of these situations: what good are traditions if they can so easily be replaced?