The folks in Oxford have set the standard for under performing athletics and academics for over 50 years. Why would anyone be surprised that they are awful?
Forget the newspaper ads, the group Forward Rebels on Monday put out a press release calling for Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones “to immediately terminate Athletic Director Pete Boone and to hire a professional, outside search firm to begin an open, objective, and nationwide search for our new leader of athletics.”
The release states that the problems at Mississippi run deeper than just two bad seasons of football. “Under Boone’s watch, Ole Miss has seen a steady decline in sports and in public support, and it is time to make the right decision to steady the ship.”
“Forward Rebels is certain that Ole Miss will begin a new era, and we implore our leader to stand up for what’s best for Ole Miss. Chancellor Jones, rise above socioeconomic status, race, and all other artificial barriers, and lead Ole Miss to a better day. Ole Miss has had enough of the same group of Mississippi friends patting each other on the back as Ole Miss is run into the ground. Ole Miss needs a leader who is not beholden to individuals, corporations, or groups who simply enjoy power. Ole Miss needs a leader who is only beholden to demanding and driving excellence in all facets of Ole Miss Sports.
Ole Miss needs a leader who is of the people, not above the people, and we, along with all of our players, eagerly await the opportunity to succeed.”
The contact listed on the release is Lee Habeeb. Habeeb is the 50-year-old co-creator of a number of successful right-wing radio shows including The Laura Ingraham Show. Late last month, he took part in a Q&A feature regarding Forward Rebels with The Daily Mississippian Online.
In that piece, Habeeb said that he was “approached and agreed to volunteer” to be the spokesperson for Forward Rebels. “We had a gut feel that we’d be attacked for the ads by some who were determined to protect the status quo, but we also knew we’d get support from the Ole Miss fans as this story unfolded.”
If you think Forward Rebels with its “we’re not political insiders” message sounds like an Ole Miss sports version of the Tea Party movement, you’re right. In fact, the group “TEA Party Oxford” will be holding a meeting on Tuesday night and the keynote speaker is none other than… Lee Habeeb.
Clearly, the man helping to run the show for Forward Rebels knows how to play the media and he knows how to play political hardball. So if anyone thinks this group of ad-placing Boone-bashers will fade quietly into the night, you might want to think again. Habeeb will likely keep right on pushing.
Of course, the more he and Forward Rebels push, the more likely it is that Chancellor Jones will dig in his heels. If the chancellor of the University of Mississippi caves to a group of people placing ads in newspapers it would set an awfully bad precedent. Who might place ads — and for what reason — next?