Fans Throw Fins Up for Landshark, But Others Say Change Is Fishy

Student-led triumph or kinky sex act? The new landshark mascot at Ole Miss has its defenders and detractors

The late Ole Miss linebacker Tony Fein made the landshark famous. Now the university has made it the official mascot for Rebels sports teams.

Not surprisingly, Ole Miss’s decision to ditch its never-popular black bear mascot in favor of the landshark – bolstered by a student referendum last week in which 81 percent of students voted for it – has its detractors.

“Landsharks? You’ve got to be kidding!” Sidna Brower Mitchell, an Ole Miss alumnus who was editor of the Daily Mississippian when James Meredith integrated the university, wrote to recently. “Frankly, I’m not happy with such definitions as ‘a person who subsists by cheating or robbing sailors on shore’ or ‘a land-pirate or a land-grabber or one who seizes upon land by force or chicanery.'”

Mitchell also pointed to a definition of landshark that appears in the parody site, “Does Ole Miss really want to be associated with a definition that promotes a kinky sex act, particularly among young kids?”

And that was one of the milder reactions. Others took an even dimmer view:


But, judging by social media reaction, many fans and students favor the new mascot, noting that the landshark movement has been student-led ever since Fein first threw his hand against his forehead and made the sign of a shark fin back in 2008. Fein, a veteran of the Iraq war who passed away in 2009, started a tradition that quickly gained traction among players and fans alike.

The coach of the Ole Miss Women’s Golf team tweeted this photo after Chancellor Vitter’s announcement of the new mascot:

Meanwhile, others expressed their support in both conventional and unexpected ways:

Rick Hynum is editor-in-chief of He can be reached at

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