We don’t personally know Pete Boone, director of athletics at the University of Mississippi. Or Chancellor Dan Jones or anyone else in the administration at Ole Miss.
But we do know what’s proper and fair. We understand constructive criticism, civility and decorum. And what is going on in anonymous ads placed in several daily newspapers across the state and aimed at Ole Miss athletics is not it.
A group calling itself the Forward Rebels Foundation has placed full-page color ads in a number of papers, including the one in Tupelo, the past two Mondays. The ads are critical of the university administration and, especially, the athletic director. We understand more ads are coming.
The first was titled, “Are you tired of losing, Ole Miss fans?” and this past Monday, “It’s time for a change, Ole Miss fans” along with a picture of Boone and the word “Unacceptable” underneath.
While claiming to support Ole Miss coaches and their teams, the ads actually are creating a distraction that can only hurt the morale of current teams, hinder recruiting and undermine the financial support needed to conduct college sports programs.
At best, the ads are tacky and disrespectful to a university that has made major strides in recent years in improving its academics and its national image. At worst, they are petty and malicious.
Who are the members of this group? What is their agenda? No names, not even a president or treasurer, appear in the ads or on the group’s web site. What do they have to hide? It has been suggested that it is led by someone who is not even an Ole Miss alum. Is that true?
This group does not deserve support. The many thousands of dollars spent on these ads could have been better spent providing university scholarships for needy students in our state. What a waste.