In the tradition of all authority to trample love and devotion, an outsider (or perhaps a group of) has decided to cut into the heart of a people’s birthright. Ross Bjork, University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) athletic director has in all his Kansas wisdom arbitrarily and highhandedly told the world that no renditions of the grand old song, “Dixie,” will be played at Ole Miss games. He made this autocratic avowal prior to last year’s college football season.

“We felt that it’s the right thing to do. It’s time to move forward,” Bjork said. “It fits in with where the university has gone in terms of making sure we follow our creed, core values of the athletic department, and that all people feel welcome.”—except the ones he just rejected.

This statement is pathetic only because the man who said it has no clue, no intimation of what he is talking about. If I were in charge I would pay off his contract and tell him to go back to Kansas. I would offer no explanation, just pay him off and see him off. Any man who makes a statement like that could never understand how wrong he is. He doesn’t even make scalawag grade, simply an academic wannabe brought in by a contemporary, typically captured, university, captured and closeted away from academics as well as athletics (I would do the same with President Jeffrey Vitter though being from New Orleans he should at least know the history of attendance on Jefferson Davis’ funeral in that historically rich city, and the meaning of “Dixie”)

I watched the Clemson-Alabama game recently and at one time would have enjoyed two Southern teams matched up in a championship game. But no more. Whether it was The Tide against the Tigers or Ohio State vs Washington, the universities have gone by the way of public grade and high schools (never a great idea themselves) and have become political institutions both academically and athletically (Oxford imitators but, in reality, have sculpted mediocrity into a twisted grandiloquence).

Now, bureaucrats governing as mellow minions and sweet gentlemen who would never harm a fly (nor probably shoulder a rifle if called upon) are in charge. They desire to be loved by the middling lots of humanity who themselves never stand for or understand principle. Instead of leading students academically or athletically they make claim to a “creed”…and “core values.” Rubbish. They have no more core values than Charles Manson.

I have cheered the teams from my Mississippi roots all my life, and though I attended Mississippi State I grew up cheering the Rebels, the Bulldogs and the Golden Eagles (formerly the Southerners), but no more will I cheer, watch or attend. In fact, all three have been have captured by liberal modernity.

To the Ole Miss administration who, like all universities now are run by overpaid pedestrian scholars and not alumni, taxpayers or students, decided through crass political thought to squelch the wonderful music of “Dixie” I say: may you play Harvard and lose; may you play Massachusetts and lose; may you play Gettysburg College and lose while the ghosts of the University Grays on nearby Cemetery Ridge watch and haunt you.

Following your aggravation of Southern heritage, love and devotion, I assume you will soon be following the example of Colin Kaepernick and also reject the Star Spangle Banner, written by a Southerner, Francis Scott Key, a member of the American Colonization Society, a group advocating, for the good of society, that blacks be shipped up and sent back to Africa. Consequently, no heritage can be attached to his poem because of the hate attached to it. Reject it, too, Mr. Bjork, if you have the backbone.

Interestingly, Ole Miss has for the last three or four years fielded teams competitive for and vied for the national championship while beating the beast, Alabama, two consecutive years. However, the decision was made this past August to rid Mississippi of the grand ole tune “Dixie,” and by golly, the Rebels (Black bears) dropped to the also-rans at 5-7 (and to top it off they failed to sign possibly the top high school running back in the South from Clinton, Mississippi). Good. I now pronounce the curse of Dixie on you. May you never win another game till you play “Dixie” again. I hope it’s not as long as it was for the Red Sox.

During a speech from the balcony of the Old Capitol building in Jackson in 1862 Jefferson Davis made the following comment: “It happened that several persons were conversing of a certain battle, and one of them remarked that the Mississippians did not run. ‘Oh no!’ said another, ‘Mississippians never run.’” I doubt this has any meaning for Ross Bjork or Jeffrey Vitter. They are, indeed, runners.

Goodbye Rebels. Goodbye Bulldogs. Goodbye Golden Eagles. May you follow the fans you have chosen.

Paul H. Yarbrough

I was born and reared in Mississippi, lived in both Louisiana and Texas (past 40 years). My wonderful wife of 43 years who recently passed away was from Louisiana. I have spent most of my business career in the oil business. I took up writing as a hobby 7 or 8 years ago and love to write about the South. I have just finished a third novel. I also believe in the South and its true beliefs.

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