University Student Starts Petition to Change Ole Miss’ Mascot to Landsharks

Photo by Callie Daniels Bryant (2014)
Photo by Callie Daniels Bryant (2014)

For five years since October 2010, Rebel the Black Bear has been Ole Miss’ official mascot. However, many fans continue to disagree with the Ole Miss Mascot Selection Committee for choosing the black bear.

Sam Fowlkes, a student at the University of Mississippi, joins the dissenters. He has started a petition on to change the Ole Miss’ official mascot to the Landsharks.

He wrote below:

“Everywhere you look on gameday in Oxford, the story is all about the Landshark. Whether it is in the defense making plays, the hype video, the flag waving, or even the fan cams, the landshark is an embodiment of the team and the University. This petition is a preliminary attempt to gather interest from the student body and alumni on potentially associating the Landshark with the University of Mississippi. The only apparent association with Ole Miss and the Black Bear is the mascot on the field; however, this petition and further actions are not an attempt to undo the past or any work done on the previous mascots. The Landshark has a distinct relationship to the students, faculty, and alumni, and I am trying to determine if there is enough support for me to pursue future actions. With your help, I can present the ASB senate with a tangible petition showing support, where we can then determine future actions on changing of the mascot.”

As of 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30, the petition has 3,326 signatures with 1,647 more needed to reach 5,000.

To understand the story behind the Landsharks, read this feature on Tony Fein, the original Landshark. As the Ole Miss linebacker back in 2008, he threw the first Fins Up on national camera during the Ole Miss – Florida game.

Since then, the Fins Up and the Landsharks have been the unofficial part of the Ole Miss fandom.

Sam Fowlkes has been reached for a statement.

Correction: His name is Sam Fowlkes, not Fowlker.

Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor at She can be reached at


  1. We are the Ole Miss Rebels. If Colonel Reb is dead on the field (but never dead in our hearts and memories), just do away with ALL on – field mascots, including that mangy excuse for a bear.

  2. I completely agree with you that the Landshark is way more relevant to Ole Miss. However, I don’t think it would be possible for that to be our official mascot, due to the Landshark brewing company already trademarking the name.

  3. We have a mascot. his name is Col. Rebel. He is a non-denoinational “cartoon” charictature. whoever came up with this Black Bear thing must’ve spent too many nights in Jim Urbaneck’s garden. Give us a referendum with all of the choices available-old & new. Land-Shark is good for now, but what about when the Defensive philosophy changes?
    Bring Back Col. Rebel (Blind Jim)!!!!!

  4. Absolutely bring back Colonel Reb! When the players were asked – they had NO problem with the Colonel Reb. If you are offended – go to another college!

  5. why not both.DSU has Okra pod and a statesman.
    the bear for the little kids kids and the shark for the rest of us.Seems to work for DSU.I have been there and seen them both at the same time.

  6. Full disclosure, I am a Col Rebel fan. But the bear is just so silly, and the way the Jones P C mafia pushed it on the fans is shameful. At least Landsharks has grown from within the Ole Miss fan base. I can see myself wearing a Landshark logo, no chance in the hell I ever accept that bear.

  7. The black bear is the dumbest thing ever…what does that have to do with Ole Miss?? And who refers to them as the University of MS Black Bears anyways??

  8. Landsharks is a great idea. The black bear has no ties while land sharks is unusual and will remind supporters of Tony Fein.
    Remembering great players is a tradition at Ole Miss.
    Besides land sharks would work well for men’s and women’s team.

  9. Landshark is the name for one part of one team.

    be real, we’ll never get Col. Reb back, but we have one of the famous WildRose Kennel in Oxford. why cant we get them to supply us with a Lab name him/her Reb or Dixie, boom. Adorable alternative to a stupid fuzzy costume. Tennessee/TAMU/Tusla all have one, it’s a simple alternative

  10. Get rid of that stupid bear! Bring back Col. Reb. The university is losing thousands on Col Reb items. No one will ever buy black bear stuff. As for the landshark it is better than the stupid bear but we are The Ole Miss Rebels. We need Col. Reb. That is the only change we should be considering. Get the Col back and add a landshark on the sideline too!

  11. Why not give Col. Reb a makeover? First, I wish he would stay as he has for decades, but that’s not happening. So maybe instead of him being dressed as an old southern gentleman that some might argue is a plantation owner, how about Col Reb as a military type rebel? So we keep Colonel Rebel, but just change his appearance.

  12. The hell with the best n landshark.colonel reb was the Maa it way before anything n it needs to b brought back bc it’s original n the mascot was such a hit with the kids n fans all over.if u don’t like the frikin colonel rebel then take ur behind n pull for another winner.i was born a ole miss rebel waving the rebel flag n singing dixie n hollering at colonel rebel .hotty toddy !!!

  13. BEAR? WE DON’T WANT A STINKING “BEAR”! LAND SHARKS SOUNDS GOOD TO ME. Thank about this. Sharks don’t have butts so no one can kick it. Bulldogs have big Butts an will get it kicked this weekend!

  14. I agree with the people who want Colonel Reb back as our mascot. I hope the new Chancellor will respect our traditions! The liberal administration at Ole Miss has not respected our traditions, and this should be reversed!

  15. Since these days we are compelled to be politically correct, let us analyze this issue from that standpoint.

    Col. Reb – supposedly racist so he’s out (not my view).

    Black Bear – well, he is racist too. And what about the rights of the brown bear, the grizzly, and let us not forget the polar bear – God forbid.

    Land shark – hum… Too many shark attacks, bad for tourism, teeth reminiscent of police attack dogs. Nope, he won’t do at all.

    Got it. What about a blob? Just a big old gooey lump of nothing with neutral colors. Looks like something that comes out of your nose when you have the flu.

    That’s it ! The Ole Miss Flu Boggers!!!!!!! Hotty Toddy changed to Hotty Snotty. Problem solved………..

  16. You need to bring back Col. Reb! The only real Ole Miss mascot! It got changed because some blacks bitched about it, and the stupid leaders of the U of M had to change it because if they didn’t the blacks would start a riot because they didn’t get their way as usual. We have seen in the past! It’s their way. It’s just their mentality level!

  17. The only reason the mascot got changed was because of the blacks bitched about it! Plane and simple. So this who you can blame!

  18. This needs to be changes back as soon as possible! Screw that stupid bear. What a dumb ass idea it was to change it any way! You have some real idiots running Ole Miss. Time for some changes!

  19. Landsharks is a name for the defense and for a good reason. We are the Ole Miss REBELS and Col. Rebel is our mascot. End of story. Any thing else just continues to make us a joke in the NCAA and SEC!

  20. Bring back Colonel Reb and forget about Game Day, ESPN or Sports Illustrated covers, we will go back to being irrelevant in the SEC with inferior athletes and half full stadiums

  21. Some of you replying to this are idiots! The flag is out, our colonel is out. Period. A dog or horse named Rebel as a mascot is a grand idea!

  22. Col. Rebel is our/my mascot, the “LandShark” thing is very cool and let’s have fun with it. “LandShark” is an attitude or a message or even a warning to players from other schools. Or just a way to cheer on the Rebels to victory. Col. Rebel is my mascot! Hotty Toddy!

  23. I’m with y’all – if we can’t have Col. Reb back, take em all off!! That BLACK BEAR business is the stupidest and most embarrassing thing EVAH!! WE ARE OLE MISS REBELS and thus COL REB is appropriate! ! Stop trying to patronize us about the stupid bear and give us Col Reb!!!

  24. Fein = Landshark, well, that connection is really a stretch. It sounds like the school is taking the playbook right from Jimmy Buffett. If not, and the school says it is after ‘Fein”, that story is worse. He was arrested not long before he died of a drug overdose. He vomited and aspirated the material. Is that really what Ole Miss is going to change their mascot to represent? IF Ole Miss wants to represent successful athletes, what about honoring the legacy of Manning or Chuck Mullins? It would almost seem disrespectful not to honor those plays and make the Fein the player of choice that the entire school would follow? I really don’t get it. That is what Ole Miss wants to be represented by, a player that died of a drug overdose? Is that what you want to tell your children? I would go back to the Jimmy Buffett story first and never admit the other.


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