It’s probably not quite the same thrill as destroying the Death Star, but for one evening, everyone’s favorite squid-faced rebel hero, Admiral Ackbar, was the talk of the college football world. That is because ESPN aired a commercial documenting the now infamous campaign by University of Mississippi students to have the Star Wars character as their new school mascot. Hit the jump to learn more about the campaign and to view the commercial.
The notion of Admiral Ackbar becoming the head “Rebel” generated a significant grass roots push on the Ole Miss campus sometime after the dismissal of previous mascot, “Ole Reb”, in 2003. Mississippi students created Facebook groups and used other social networks to garner support. They also maintained a now defunct website, notatrap.org, which, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, served as central command for the campaign (I think its absence today says more about the lack of discretionary funds by most college students, rather than the passion and commitment of those running the campaign).
The enthusiasm and momentum for such a bold and unusual nominee led many students to believe Admiral Ackbar had a legitimate shot of being selected. The campaign eventually reached such a fever pitch last winter that Lucasfilm issued a statement to the University that offered the following:
“Lucasfilm is flattered that our Star Wars fans at the University of Mississippi are considering electing Admiral Ackbar as their mascot. The last time we checked in with Admiral Ackbar was leading the Rebel Alliance Fleet on a critical mission so it will be difficult for him to show up for the games!”
This of course is just a nice way of saying, “Yeah, not going to happen.” Still, the attempt by Ole Miss students was worthy, as ESPN recognized the hubbub and filmed a commercial on the subject over the summer that aired during Monday night’s game between Virginia Tech and Boise State. If you would like to follow the ongoing selection process of a new Ole Miss mascot, you can head to their website, but be sure to check out the commercial below.