ESPN News Release

September 6, 2010

ESPN Spot on Ole Miss to Debut Tonight

During Boise State, Virginia Tech Game

Watch the ESPN Ole Miss Mascot Spot

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students leading the search for a new Ole Miss mascot are excited about an ESPN spot about Ole Miss that debuts tonight during the Boise State-Virginia Tech game set to broadcast on ESPN at 7 p.m. (CST).

The spot, which was filmed this summer on campus, highlights Ole Miss student creativity and the inspirational quality of sports by focusing on the student group that campaigned for Star Wars character Admiral Ackbar to be the new Ole Miss mascot. Ackbar, who was not one of final 11 choices put forward by the committee this summer, is the leader of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi.

Mascot committee co-chair Margaret Ann Morgan, a sophomore from McComb, said the network approached the committee about the spot this past spring. Committee members saw it as a good way to alleviate some of the confusion surrounding the mascot selection process, she said.

“We know that ESPN is a well-respected voice in sports, and we saw the spot as both a professional and humorous way to deal with some of that confusion,” she said. “The final product absolutely highlights Ole Miss and its students in a positive way by showing a wide range of students including the students who came up with the Ackbar idea.”

Ty New, a senior from Olive Branch and mascot committee co-chair, encourages Ole Miss fans and alumni to visit the ESPN website later this week to view the longer, four-minute video that includes picturesque scenes of the Oxford Square and Ole Miss campus.

“There are so many cool scenes of Oxford, and it is a great representation for the nation to see what Ole Miss has to offer,” he said.

UM Dean of Students Sparky Reardon said, “We realized that ESPN is the most powerful voice in sports television, and they came to campus to meet with us on the concept before any filming was approved. We were also aware of ESPN’s investment in the SEC and concluded that they would produce this with Ole Miss’ best interest in mind.”

The spot provided a way to finally put the Ackbar movement to rest and to alleviate confusion over the intense media coverage the idea received last spring, Reardon added.

The ESPN spot is part of a series based around the theme “It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports.”

In the meantime, the selection process for the new Ole Miss mascot continues. In July, the committee polled Ole Miss students, alumni, employees and season ticket holders and then narrowed the mascot choices down from 11 options to five: a land shark, a bear, a horse, a lion or two characters named Hotty and Toddy (listed in no particular order). The student committee is now working with design professionals to develop graphics for the options, and they will unveil the strongest of those ideas in the coming weeks. At that time, stakeholders will have an opportunity to express their views on the options through another poll.

The poll results will be made public later this fall, and the mascot selection committee will review the results and make a final choice on the new mascot. For more information on the selection process, visit http://mascot.olemiss.edu/

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