31 July 2007

Welcome to Ole Miss:Big Ten fans

This blog is in response to the series : How we are perceived. In that series I asked all 11 Big Ten universities' fans their thoughts on Ole Miss. I thank the fans who took the time to answer a few questions. I was surprised at how open Big Ten fans were to talking about Ole Miss sports. This blog is a short glimpse of the Ole Miss today.

Dear Big Ten fans:

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Ole Miss. Many of you were knowledgeable and informed on Ole Miss and our traditions. I was a bit disappointed in some of the comments, in particular the rebel flag and racist comments. I asked for your thoughts and it seems you were honest. I hope to shed a new light on Ole Miss for you. This blog is just a short glimpse of the Ole Miss today.

All universities have their scars and black eyes. Ole Miss is definitely among them. Ole Miss today is a much different place than it was even 20 years ago. I am amazed at how much it has changed even since I was there from 1992-1995. It seems many of you have old images stuck in your head regarding Ole Miss. I hope to enlighten you on changes that have accured over the last few decades.

First let me start off by saying that Ole Miss hasn't used the Rebel Flag in over 20 years and asked the fans not to bring the flags to football games 10 years ago. They issued a "stick ban" and now confiscate any type of flag in the stadium. Regardless, the majority of Ole Miss fans have happily agreed to the change.

Our previous mascot, Col Reb, has been retired. The University in 2003 retired the Col and is in the process of updating to a new and younger mascot. We've been waiting for 4 years now. Hopefully the University will let us have a mascot once again.

Where is the name "Ole Miss" from? The Ole Miss site states :" The University's nickname -- Ole Miss -- became part of University 100 years ago, in 1896, when it was selected in a contest held to identify a new student publication, the yearbook. It was suggested by the late Miss Elma Meek of Oxford. Each succeeding issue of the annual has been given this copyrighted identity."

Is there still racism in Mississippi? Yes. However, my personal opinion is that there is no more or no less racism present than in any other place. I live in Ohio now and I can see no difference between here and Oxford. Mississippi is 36% African American, compared to 15% in IL, 11.4% in OH, 8.3% in IN, 9.9% in PA and 5.6% in WI. IOPAA Simply put, Mississippi is two times more diverse than any state where a Big 10 university is located.

Here are some facts that I found on the University of Mississippi's website:

  • Total enrollment on The University of Mississippi’s three campuses and The University of Mississippi Medical Center is almost 17,300. Sixty-five percent of all students are from Mississippi, and 18 percent are minorities. International students come from 68 nations. (Northwestern only has a black student population of less than 6 percent, Michigan 8.1 percent.)--The journal of blacks in higher education

  • UM produced its 24th Rhodes Scholar in 1998. Since then, it has produced five Truman Scholars, seven Goldwater Scholars, a Marshall Scholar and five Fulbright Scholars. UM was named one of three 2004 Truman Foundation Honor Institutions in the nation.

  • 1,286 students have participated in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College since it opened in 1997 and the Barksdale Honors Scholarship has provided more than $1.3 million. Reader's Digest calls the Honors College one of the nation's three finest.

  • The Lombardi Program on Measuring University Performance ranks UM among the nation's Top 50 public research universities.

  • External funding for research, service and education projects on the Oxford and Jackson campuses topped $100 million each of the past six years. UM is home to more than 30 research centers.

  • The American Academy of Forensic Scientists ranks the UM degree in forensic chemistry among the top five in the country.

  • The University's endowment stands at $421.4 million, placing it among the nation's best endowed public institutions per capita.

  • The School of Business Administration's insurance risk management program is ranked among the top five in the country.

  • Sports Illustrated rates tailgating in the Grove as one of America's premier college events, placing it No. 3 on a list of 100 things to do before graduating.

  • UM is home to the world's largest blues archive, Living Blues magazine (the country's longest-running magazine dedicated to blues music) and "Highway 61," a blues radio show produced weekly for Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

  • University of Mississippi Medical Center surgeons performed the world's first lung transplant in man and transplanted the heart of a chimpanzee - man's closest genetic relation - into the chest of a dying man.

  • One of the South's first universities to admit women, and the first to hire a female faculty member.

I invite y'all to take a trip to Oxford. Oxford is one of the most unique places you will ever visit. Here is a bit about Oxford from oxfordms.com: (I also suggest taking the time to watch the video of oxford found on this website.)

  • Oxford has earned the distinction as a Designated Retirement Community by the state of Mississippi’s Hometown Retirement program and was named one of Money magazine’s top six retirement communities in July 2001. Oxford has also been highlighted by Where To Retire, Fortune, Travel 50 And Beyond, Men’s Journal, Modern Maturity, Time magazine and many other national and regional publications as being an ideal retirement destination. The Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation’s Retiree Attraction Program offers information and tours for interested retirees who want to learn more about the town. Visit www.retire.oxfordms.com to contact the Retiree Attraction Program Director or for additional information on retirement in Oxford.

The most well known sports related event at Ole Miss is tailgating in the Grove. The Grove has been named in numerous sports list as one of, if not, the best tailgating in college football. Take the time to read a few articles on the Grove experience. Then come on down, you will love it. :

I hope this information has been helpful. I do hope that you take the time to visit Ole Miss and Oxford. Better yet, ask your athletic directors to schedule us in a future game.


The Hotty Toddy Blog


Anonymous said...

To anyone who has followed college football for at least 10 years, I think the enduring image of Ole Miss football is the people in the crowds with Confederate battle flags. I know that the flags are banned now, but that doesn't change the fact that most scenes of Ole Miss games I have seen in my lifetime have had the flag.

TM said...

What you speak is the truth. But…

One has to their self just what kind of message it sends when the entire student body shouts, “THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!” in place of “His truth is marching on.” in the rendition of Slow Dixie.

Boilermaker football blogger said...

I used to work with a guy who played in the Arkansas State marching band and remembers performing at Ole' Miss with all the rebel flags. He talked aboued how the directors of the band would tell the African American members to be careful and march ont he inside of all formations. It's not to see that in 2007 things are getting better. Good luck this coming season!

The Hotty Toddy Blog said...

Hopefully we will start wining again and you will see more games and realise we dont have the flag anymore.
There are a few fans who yell that. 99.9% of Ole Miss fans hate it and cringe whent hey hear it. The students are self policing and there is currently an awareness education being presented.
Boilermaker football blooger,
I am not sure what years he played in ASU's band but it would have had to been years ago... even years before I was there... As long as I can remember, started going to games in the early 80's, Ole Miss fans would never had hurt or been mean to African Americans or anyone for that matter... ask when he was there. It also could be that his band director saw the rebel flags and assumed incorrectly that the fans would hurt someone. Ask him if he was ever mistreated at Ole Miss while he was there. I doubit it.

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