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Opinion

If I were Athletic Director at Ole Miss (Part 4)

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Most all of the problems at Ole Miss or directly or indirectly related to poor marketing.  Whether you are speaking of symbols such as the mascot and Colonel Rebel, the increased use of playing “Dixie” by the marching band, promotion of season tickets, or game day atmosphere on campus it all comes back to marketing or the lack of.  Fans and supporters were confused by decisions because they were not explained the details of why those decisions were made.  Again I would say that the majority of these problems should have been addressed 20 years ago.  So here is where we are now and what we should do. If Telesouth Communications had or still has any hand in the marketing at Ole Miss then it should cease immediately and full time personnel employed by the university and athletic departments be put in place and be held accountable by the university. Ole Miss is a unique and fun place so game day during athletic events should be a mirror of that image.  Family fun events and other social events will be added to the line up on football game day at other locations around campus such as the south end zone of the stadium or the area between the stadium and basketball arena. Improvements in pre-game festivities inside Vaught Hemingway will be added to encourage fans to arrive in the stadium earlier.  Changes will be made in the public address as well as the sound system and video boards.  New cheers will be developed to encourage participation by fans of all ages.  The marching band will be encouraged to expand a music line up that also includes more playing of the university fight song “Onward Marching Rebels”.  There will not be elimination of the playing of Dixie or shouting Hotty Toddy.  We want to expand the experience for all.  Students will be encouraged to wear more of the school colors and costumes to enhance our image during televised games. We will explore the use of outside sources to create and develop a higher quality of radio and TV commercials to promote our product throughout the state and bordering states. We will make improvements in our sports broadcasting crews.  If possible these broadcast rights will be put out for bid and seek the most possible revenue.  We would also seek to improve the quality of the broadcast crews since the broadcast portray an image of the university. The change and adaptation of the Black Bear has created a divide in our supporters and fans.  We will reach out to everyone in attempting to get everyone on the same page.  We want to make sure everyone understands that the change is for “on the field” mascot only and not a change of our nickname of Rebels.  This project was handled poorly and damage control is needed in order to move forward. We will seek to make significant increases of our “walk up fans.” It is my belief there are as many as 15,000 of these fans that simply need a reason to become Ole Miss Rebels.  But first we have to give them a reason to do so.  Winning in the major sports of football and basketball helps but it does not cure all.  We need to make Game Days an event and that we will do. We will instruct our television and media partners such as CBS and ESPN that we are Ole Miss, not Mississippi.  While certainly proud to represent this state we also cherish our uniqueness in our name.  Ole Miss is the name on our uniforms and that is how we will be labeled. We will be proud and thankful for all of our fans and supporters.  It takes all of our fans from our most generous alumni to the family that can only afford to come to Ole Miss on special occasions. As the Athletic Director at Ole Miss I tell you “we expect to win, we believe we will win, we will win.”  We are Ole Miss!]]]]> ]]>

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