Cardinal Club Makes Return to Ole Miss


Casey Neale

Austin Eagle

Tradition is a sensitive topic on the Ole Miss campus these days, with the loss of Colonel Reb as a mascot and the recent ban on playing Dixie.  However, one group of students is striving to restore a tradition.

In 1927, the Cardinal Club was formed by the Iota Sigma honorary fraternity.  Its purpose was to entertain all visiting athletic teams during their stays on the Ole Miss campus.  The club was modeled after two already existing organizations: “The Bears” at the University of Tennessee and “The Longhorns” at the University of Texas.

The old Cardinal Club (slideshow), which was considered a prestigious organization on campus, shares many similarities with the new.  The new Cardinal Club is aiming to generate and encourage school spirit among students for all university athletic events.

“One thing we want to do is add some more excitement around Ole Miss Sports. And it’s not just the big three: football, basketball and baseball, ” president of the Cardinal Club Peyton Beard said. ” We also, just want to make the environment more exciting and more electric to be a part of.”

For the past 40 years, some feel Ole Miss has lacked a recognized spirit organization.  As a result, Ole Miss athletic programs haven’t garnered the kind of school spirit and support seen at some other programs.

“Ole Miss is about tradition, and we do a lot of things around here for tradition’s sake and we found this organization that was spirited and said, ‘Hey let’s do it’,” Sovent Taylor, advisor to the Cardinal Club, said. “This is showing Ole Miss fans, hey we can revive a tradition.”

This kind of attitude is precisely what is getting more students involved in the club.

For Cardinal Club member Paris Buchannan, the Club’s tradition runs deep, for both of his grandparents were members.

“It’s really unique cause I mean, with this just now starting back… I remember talking to one of them about it; and he just thought it was really neat that we were bringing it back.  It’s different, but it’s still the same concept, it’s still the Cardinal Club,” Buchanan said.

Some of the events sponsored by the Cardinal Club include the Rebel Run, a tradition that freshmen participated in at the first home game, Rebel Road Trip, and an opportunity for students to attend non-home sporting events.

Currently, the club has about 35 members who meet weekly to discuss different issues of student concern. Through the Cardinal Club, Beard and Taylor hope to get more people involved in every sport here at Ole Miss.

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~ by cdneale on November 18, 2009.

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