Dropping the nickname Rebels would cost UNLV athletics nearly $1 million

We know exactly how much it would cost the UNLV athletic department to replace the nickname Rebels.


Back in February, UNLV was concerned with a proposed bill in the Nevada Legislature. That bill could have required UNLV to drop the Rebels nickname.

As a result, UNLV readied documents to figure out just how much this would cost the athletic department.

UNLV’s chief marketing officer, Vince Alberta wrote in an email to the university president, Keith Whitfield: “Athletics’ cost to remove the Hey Reb! from its various assets is $215K. The cost to Athletics to remove the “Rebel” name is nearly $1M or ($981,285 to be exact). I emphasize those numbers are only Athletics’ cost.”

We’ll get back to the emphasis on those being only costs to the athletic department. But the numbers!

Thanks to a public records request, here is how UNLV came up with $981,295.

The most expensive item is the for the football team. It would cost just under half a million dollars to replace all the Rebel branding for UNLV football.

The team got new uniforms in 2020, all of which display Rebels across the chest.

It would also cost six figures to replace the men’s basketball team’s equipment featuring Runnin’ Rebels.

My favorite cost is the $24,000 for bucket hats and $12,000 for beanies for all student athletes. It is one of the few items not associated with a specific team or building.

UNLV ended up not incurring this expense, as universities were ultimately excluded from the bill in the Nevada legislature.

But, with the removal of Hey Reb!, UNLV did incur costs of $215,000.

This is just the cost for the athletic department and not the university-wide cost or the cost to physically remove the Hey Reb! statue from campus. But at least we know it would cost $15,000 in the future for a new mascot costume.

Now the interesting part of these costs, is that they do not match what Howard Watts told the Associated Press.

Watts was the Nevada Assemblyman sponsoring the bill that could have conceivably forced UNLV to remove the nickname Rebels. But he removed universities from his bill after UNLV told him it would cost between $11.6 million and $16.9 million to remove the nickname Rebels.

If it cost the athletic department $981,295 to drop the name Rebels, then it would cost the rest of the university at least $10.6 million.

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