As someone who admittedly likes to stir the pot, I have watched with some amusement at the “Admiral Ackbar” movement by students at Ole Miss to replace Colonel Reb. It’s drawn a lot of ink partially because of its so far fetched. I have an idea how to fix this mess, but let’s look at how we got here.

The administration decided that Colonel Reb was evocative of imagery that didn’t serve the highest and best interests of the University of Mississippi. They made the call to do away with Colonel Reb, which is certainly within their province. The problem was that a lot of diehard Ole Miss fans weren’t really on board with the decision and felt it was “crammed down” upon them. The administration then embarked on a course to let the students choose the replacement for a mascot many weren’t that disenchanted with in the first place. Then, under the category of the worst thing you can give someone is exactly what they ask for, a group of students chose an obscure Star Wars character that looks like a cross between a lizard and a catfish to replace Colonel Reb. It seems to be a stare down of sorts, but it has netted Ole Miss even worse press than probably leaving the original decision alone. In fact, this week, the University has hired a Jackson-based marketing firm to navigate the strong currents of sentiment to help the students make this replacement.

Though I am sure LucasFilm might be thrilled at the thoughts of the royalties generated off of the cartoon character as the mascot of a D1 program, it’s really just an artful way for students to tell the administration to go stick it in their eye. Ackbar’s famous line “It’s a trap!” has been championed by students in thoughtful protest and it is even the basis for the site of the non-Rebel rebellion at www.notatrap.org. Now that that’s been done, where do we go from here?

So, here’s my idea.

What about having no mascot at all? Why not just be Ole Miss?

Bear with me here.

I know we have heard of post-partisan in the political context (though admittedly, that ain’t working out how most people “hoped”). Why not be post-mascot? Look at the schools in the SEC. Most mascots were chosen decades if not over a century ago. We have all sorts in the SEC. From barnyard animals (Hogs and Gamecocks) to an old warrior (Commodore) to dogs of various sorts (Bulldogs and hounds for the Volunteers) to various cats of prey (Tigers and Wildcats) and a swamp critter (Gators). I mean, I think it’s been a long time since an SEC team had to choose a new one. I could make an argument that just about every SEC mascot carries some brand-related baggage. Why does Ole Miss need a mascot in the first place? Losing Colonel Reb hasn’t been bad luck or anything. Since Colonel Reb has left the sidelines, Ole Miss has won two cotton bowls and scored a presidential debate. I actually think that it’d be a pretty cool thing for Ole Miss to be able to be the only major college program in the country that doesn’t have a mascot.

Between chants of “We are . . . Ole Miss” and “Hotty Toddy” at various sporting events, I think Ole Miss could come to the realization that “Ole Miss” is the brand to promote and build brand equity around and not some cartoon caricature. And the good thing about “Ole Miss” is that it can connote the really good things about the University. People can take what they want from it. For it seems that all Ole Miss fans, regardless of race or background, can generally agree on one thing . . . they like “Ole Miss”.

So why not just go with it?