UPDATED: Witness fancy marketing at its fanciest here.
The University of Mississippi's UMAA Foundation is expected to announce this evening a new capital campaign that hopes to, among other things, expand the Rebels' Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to roughly 70,000 seats by bowling in the facility's north end zone.
It's been a busy, busy offseason in Oxford - Athletic Director Pete Boone and company leapt into a positive public relations assault as fan tensions grew dangerously towards an organized mutiny following an 0-for-3 postseason run by the Rebel football, basketball and baseball teams. You might say a fire has been lit under several blazer-clad asses around Yoknapatawpha (worry not: it's surely in the form of a tastefully constructed chiminea somehow involving the proper amount of tablecloths and doilies).
All of sudden, change is afoot around a culture that traditionally abhors modernization: construction of a new basketball arena is also expected to be announced this evening. This follows a brand new marketing initiative set forth this summer by a brand new staff. And rumors abound that Ole Miss will eventually create an on-campus habitat for a black bear, its newly elected mascot.
But if all this progress has you worried about a real sea change of culture at one of the nation's most Good Ol' Boy infiltrated university communities, fear not: the new marketing team has already been forced to address one of the many unpublicized symptoms the "upscale tailgating culture" The Grove produces: tardiness.
A new commercial for season tickets features former Rebel Deuce McAllister returning the opening kick off against Arkansas in 1999* for a touchdown, highlighting a fandom tenet so basic and assumed that any self-respecting SEC fan would assume only Yankee college football fans and people in California need reminding: "If you miss kick off, you miss a lot." Alas, first quarter absenteeism is rampant at Ole Miss home games, but then again, it's hard to never lose a party and get to the stadium before 11:30.
(*In the spirit of full disclosure, this writer witnessed only 80% of that particular play during his freshman year in Oxford, entering the student section of "V-H" just as McAllister crossed the Rebel 25-yard-line. The culprit? A date's constricting high heels. Consider all of your conceived stereotypes reinforced.)