Friday, December 9, 2016  SUBSCRIBE   
Legislative leaders' proposal makes additional cuts
The 14-member Legislative Budget Committee approved a budget proposal Thursday morning for the upcoming fiscal year that is $195.3 million or 3 percent less than the budget for the current year. Key Budget Committee members -- House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate -- stressed that additional revenue may be found by the time the Legislature OKs a final budget plan in March. Still, the document approved Thursday during a hearing in the Woolfolk state office building highlights the difficult financial situations facing legislators when they convene the 2017 session in January. Under the proposal, both the universities and community colleges face cuts of more than 6 percent.
Legislative budget panel proposes cuts, layoffs
The Legislature's budget panel proposes eliminating 1,999 unfilled state government positions and removing most agencies from civil service protection to allow agency directors to eliminate staff and positions. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee -- House Speaker Philip Gunn, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and key House and Senate leaders -- on Thursday adopted a frugal spending proposal for the coming budget year. The plan includes expected savings of $13 million from removing most state agencies from State Personnel Board protection, which would allow agency directors to more easily lay off people and eliminate positions. It also would "delete" unfilled positions and funding for them. The proposal would cut the budget for most larger state agencies, including universities at 6.7 percent.
FY 2018 legislative budget outlook: Cuts for most
State legislative leaders Thursday proposed cuts to most state agencies totaling $195 million next fiscal year in fashioning a $6.1 billion budget proposal. The proposal, if adopted by the 2017 Legislature, would cut state spending by 3 percent overall. The Child Protection Agency, debt services, highway patrol officers, K-12 education, vocational education and foster care would be safe from cuts, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said in a press release. The Legislature's proposal released Thursday could be impacted if economic factors change between now and when lawmakers are expected to approve the 2018 budget in March.
Deer tagging bill not expected in legislative session
A state representative has said he does not intend to reintroduce a bill calling for mandatory tagging and reporting of deer and turkey harvests in the coming legislative session. In the 2016 session, House Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Committee chairman Scott Bounds, R-Philadelphia, authored House Bill 1164, which if passed, would have required the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks to implement a system of tagging and reporting deer and turkey harvests. However, it failed to navigate its way through the legislative process of becoming law. "It gets down to having the votes to pass it," Bounds said. Bounds said he thinks the key to gaining support for tagging is getting people to understand its importance.
Tax increase expected with new Oktibbeha road bond
Oktibbeha County residents could incur a 2.4-mill tax increase next year needed to support a $14.5-million road bond. The 2.4-mill increase could be reduced to 1.4 mills if a previous tax increase for maintenance is used to retire the bond's debt, but District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer said he prefers keeping that mill on the books for annual maintenance and improvements. "If we pull that 1 mill out of circulation, it could have an impact on our upkeep efforts," Trainer said. "I'm excited to see what we can get done." Districts 1 and 4 have the highest property assessments in the county, while District 4 has 25 percent of Oktibbeha County roads -- the highest mileage of any district. Districts 2 and 5 each have about 22 percent of the county's roadways, while District 1 has 19 percent and District 3 has 12 percent. Districts 2 and 5, however, have the lion's share of Oktibbeha County population, Trainer said, which includes Starkville residents.
Drought, the South's unwelcome guest, stays despite rains
Recent showers and storms have slightly eased the South's severe drought, but experts say it wasn't enough to make up for months of dry conditions before the rain finally fell. Nearly the entire region remains abnormally dry, and much more rain is needed before the drought's demise can be declared, said Mark Svoboda, who directs the National Drought Mitigation Center. The center's weekly U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday, describes some improvement due to recent rains, but its map shows the South stubbornly covered in oranges, reds and browns, which is bad news for a region becoming accustomed to wildfires. Conditions generally improved in areas that saw at least 3 inches of rain in the past couple weeks, including eastern Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, the report shows.
Sen. Lott On President-elect Trump
As president-elect Donald Trump continues to build his cabinet, Mississippians and other Americans are wondering what leadership will look like in his presidency. Sen. Trent Lott represented the state for more than 17 years in the Senate, and was Majority Leader and Minority Leader for many of those years. He retired from the Senate in 2007 and currently works at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Mississippi Public Broadcasting asked him what he was looking for from a Donald Trump presidency. Lott says the president-elect will find he needs the help of Congress for much of what he wants to get done.
Donald Trump's Cabinet Selections Signal Deregulation Moves Are Coming
Business leaders are predicting a dramatic unraveling of regulations on everything from overtime pay to power-plant emission rules as Donald Trump seeks to fill his cabinet with determined adversaries of the agencies they will lead. The president-elect's pick Thursday to head the Labor Department, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, is an outspoken critic of the worker-pay policies advanced by the Obama administration. Mr. Trump's choice for the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is a primary architect of legal challenges on President Barack Obama's environmental regulations. Appearing in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday as part of his postelection "thank you" tour, Mr. Trump said he will push to do away with regulations that are crimping job growth. "On regulations, we're going to eliminate every single regulation that hurts our farms, our workers and our small businesses," he said.
Obama authorizes larger raise for federal employees
President Obama has authorized a larger-than-expected pay increase for federal employees, just in time for the Christmas bills. In letters to the House and Senate, Obama authorized an average pay raise for 2017 of 2.1 percent, instead of the 1.6 percent he submitted in August. "However, in light of the decision of Congress to provide a 2.1 percent pay increase for military personnel in 2017 and reconsideration of current and projected economic conditions, I have concluded it would be appropriate to revise my original alternative plan for locality payments so that the total combined cost of the 1.0 percent across-the-board base pay increase and varying locality payments will be 2.1 percent of basic payroll," Obama wrote.
John Glenn, American Hero of the Space Age, Dies at 95
John Glenn, a freckle-faced son of Ohio who was hailed as a national hero and a symbol of the space age as the first American to orbit Earth, then became a national political figure for 24 years in the Senate, died on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio. He was 95. Ohio State University announced his death. Mr. Glenn had recently been hospitalized at the university at the James Cancer Center, though Ohio State officials said at the time that admission there did not necessarily mean he had cancer. He had heart-valve replacement surgery in 2014 and a stroke around that time. He had kept an office at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, which he helped found, and also had a home in Columbus. In just five hours on Feb. 20, 1962, Mr. Glenn joined a select roster of Americans whose feats have seized the country's imagination and come to embody a moment in its history, figures like Lewis and Clark, the Wright brothers and Charles Lindbergh.
MUW Takes Time Out to Honor Staff and Faculty
Mississippi University for Women staff are recognized for their work and years of service. The university held its annual staff recognition luncheon Thursday afternoon. Employees are recognized after reaching at least five years of service. Workers also donated toys to the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program. More than 100 workers enjoyed a traditional Christmas meal with dessert.
USM investigating allegations of misconduct with SAE fraternity
The University of Southern Mississippi is continuing to address allegations of misconduct and incidents of vandalism within the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house. In early November, SAE fraternity was suspended after a possible violation of student conduct on homecoming weekend. In a letter sent to the fraternity on Monday, Tom Burke, vice president for student affairs and vice provost, said the university is addressing the allegations of individual and organizational misconduct by the fraternity, regarding allegations of Code of Student Conduct violations and other policy violations. USM is specifically addressing those allegations related to violations of the university's Alcohol and Drug Policy.
Bud Kirkpatrick announces retirement from Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Southern Miss
A leader in the Hattiesburg community was honored Thursday after announcing his retirement from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Mississippi. Bud Kirkpatrick was recognized for his service to the institute during their Christmas Social program. He was given a plaque, a gift certificate and a cake in recognition of his service to the organization. "To be honoring me in this manner is a little overwhelming really, because I just did the work that I did for them because I think it's a valuable asset to our community and our university and it was a great opportunity and a great joy to do the work for them," Kirkpatrick said.
Website: Only one school in the US has better Greek life than U. of Alabama
The University of Alabama has one of the most active Greek scenes in the country. More than 11,000 students -- about 36 percent of the entire study body -- are involved in one of 62 different fraternities or sororities. Those numbers are enough to give UA the distinction of having the largest fraternity and sorority community in the nation in terms of overall membership. That's not enough, however, to land it at the top of a recent list of universities with the best Greek life. Niche has issued its 2017 list of colleges and universities with the best Greek life. The list is based on student reviews and participation. UA landed at number two on the list, just behind Virginia's Washington and Lee University.
Cosmopolitan, Seventeen magazine executive speaking at Auburn U. fall graduation
Auburn alumna and executive managing editor of Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines Maria Baugh will be the guest speaker at Auburn University's fall graduation ceremonies Saturday in the Auburn Arena. Approximately 1,599 new graduates will receive degrees. Baugh will speak at a 10 a.m. ceremony for the College of Architecture, Design and Construction; Samuel Ginn College of Engineering; School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; College of Liberal Arts; and College of Sciences and Mathematics. She will speak again at a 2 p.m. ceremony for the College of Agriculture; Raymond J. Harbert College of Business; College of Education; College of Human Sciences; School of Nursing; and University College.
Ex-LSU art professor testifies at federal trial of her discrimination, harassment suit
A former LSU art teacher who claims she was fired in 2012 for complaining about alleged gender discrimination, sexual harassment and misappropriation of student fees testified Thursday that the head of her department called her by the dismissive term "trailing spouse," because her husband is also a professor at the school, when she sought higher pay. Margaret "Margot" Herster told a Baton Rouge federal court jury she was explaining to School of Art director Rod Parker in the fall of 2009 that her annual pay at the time -- $25,000 -- did not match the amount of work she was performing as a digital art instructor. Herster said Parker proceeded to call her a "princess" and told her she was acting like an 8-year-old. Herster's husband, LSU law professor Scott Sullivan, testified right before his wife took the stand and said "dual hires" -- the hiring of a husband and wife by the same institution -- are not uncommon in the academic world.
U. of Florida student falls victim to immigration scam
What started as an ordinary day for Shreyansh Parakh ended with him scared and broke. He was scammed. Fearing he would be deported for filing his student visa paperwork incorrectly, Parakh, a recent University of Florida graduate, said he wired $750 to a stranger in Alabama after a 3-hour conversation which detailed personal information. "I just did whatever he asked me," said Parakh, 25. Around 11:30 a.m. on a late October day, Parakh's phone rang. A voice on the other end told him there was a mistake with his visa paperwork, that he would be deported if he did not immediately pay $50 to fix the mistake and a $700 security deposit which he hoped to later get back. Parakh, originally from India, said he panicked, but had a nagging doubt about the legitimacy of the call.
Vanderbilt poll: Tennesseans more optimistic after Trump victory
Tennesseans are much more optimistic about the future of the state and country as Republican President-elect Donald Trump prepares to enter the White House than they were six months ago, according to a new poll from Vanderbilt University. Meanwhile, Gov. Bill Haslam continues to enjoy high favorability ratings in the state. And as the Tennessee General Assembly begins a new legislative session next month, the majority of Tennesseans say they are supportive of a modest gas tax increase to pay for road, bridge and other transportation improvements -- a proposal that some political observers expect from Haslam this year. The survey was led by Vanderbilt's Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.
In D.C. interview, U. of Kentucky president refuses to apologize to student paper
On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto stopped by the Chronicle of Higher Education to talk about campus sexual assault and UK's legal case against the university's student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel. That case centers on a sexual harassment and abuse investigation of former entomology associate professor James Harwood, in which he and the university settled on his resignation rather than punishment in the case. Regarding an apology, Capilouto said none is needed and accused the Kernel had provided too many details about the case. The Kernel has never identified any of the victims in the case.
Admissions letter causes Texas A&M campus evacuation
A well-intentioned attempt to make an admissions letter stand out caused a building on the Texas A&M University campus to be evacuated for more than two hours Thursday morning. Around 10:20 a.m., staff at the General Services Complex at the corner of Agronomy and F&B Roads reported a suspicious package to the Texas A&M University Police. Someone in the admissions office discovered wires within the package and a note that read "flip switch." The College Station Police Department's bomb squad responded to the building, which was evacuated. A robotic device was used to remove the package from the building, where it was rendered safe with a water cannon, police said.
Texas A&M welcomes Princess Astrid of Belgium as part of economic mission
Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium was welcomed to Aggieland on Wednesday with an escort by Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp through a Ross Volunteers sabre arch as she stopped in College Station as part of a weeklong economic mission in Texas. A flurry of camera flashes from Belgian and local media followed the princess' movements around campus during the day's tightly scheduled proceedings, which included presentations of a bouquet, a specially made scarf representing the university and the state and artwork of an Aggie ring. While there was some pomp and circumstance involved in the royal visit, both Belgian and local officials said the day was ultimately an important opportunity to strengthen Texas A&M and Bryan-College Station's economic ties to the Western European nation. "This is about creating jobs, it's about technology commercialization and it's about funding research inside the community, which ultimately creates economic impact," said Brett Cornwell, executive director of Texas A&M Technology Commercialization.
U. of Missouri System hiring, recruiting practices should be revamped, report says
To increase diversity and equity in the University of Missouri System, the top priority should be to revamp hiring practices for faculty and staff and recruitment for students, an official involved in the process said. A diversity and inclusion audit report on the university system and a response to it were released Wednesday. S. David Mitchell, MU School of Law professor and associate dean for academic affairs, was chairman of the UM System Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, which prepared the 21-page response to the audit put together earlier this year by IBIS Consulting Group. Mitchell said expanding the system's reach, or that of any campus, to potential candidates could be as simple as placing an ad somewhere new.
Uncertain future of state funding looms over U. of Missouri System curators meeting
The University of Missouri System Board of Curators won't have to hash out a budget until spring, but concerns about funding the four-campus system arose in several presentations at the curators' meeting Thursday. The curators heard presentations about economic development, system efficiency, financial aid and enrollment. They couldn't shake the specter of a possible decline in state funding. Last year, the UM System grappled with a $3.8 million reduction in state appropriations, according to previous Missourian reporting. The curators lessened the blow by instituting a hiring freeze, halting raises and reducing some salaries and expenses. It's uncertain how much state funding the system will receive next year.
New federal data show American universities awarded a record number of Ph.D.s in 2015
American universities awarded a record number of doctorates in 2015 -- although the rate of growth in the number of Ph.D. recipients continued a several-year decline. And the 55,006 recipients were more likely to be men and to be American citizens or permanent residents than they were the year before. Those are among the findings of the newest version of the federally supported Survey of Earned Doctorates, covering the year 2015. The survey, the best available data on Ph.D. graduates, is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago on behalf of six federal agencies: the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Colleges push to note sexual misconduct on transcripts
Colleges that expel students whom they suspect of having committed sexual assault are being asked to go further by specifying the reason for expulsion on their transcripts. Victims' advocates say it's critical to ensuring that such students don't end up on other campuses without their new schools knowing the potential risk and to holding them accountable, long term, so they can't just move on with a clean slate. Virginia and New York already have such a requirement and a California congresswoman, Rep. Jackie Speier, introduced a bill Thursday that would expand it nationwide while allowing such notations to eventually be expunged. Speier, a Democrat from the Bay Area, said most schools already note incidents of cheating on students' records, so it makes sense to note if someone was expelled for sexual misconduct. Opponents, though, say such transcript notations would be unfair.
Ohio is site of next showdown over campus carry
As campus carry legislation continues to spread, Ohio has emerged as the next battle site. It is one of the larger of the 18 states that do not permit guns on campus. The Ohio Senate and House of Representatives have both now approved legislation that critics deride as the "guns everywhere" bill. Governor John Kasich, a Republican, has not indicated whether he will sign the bill, which has strong support from his party. The legislation removes blanket bans on bringing guns to certain places, such as college campuses and day care centers. Individual colleges, day care centers and other organizations could still regulate guns in their facilities. But even if colleges' boards don't rush to welcome guns on campus (and they aren't currently expected to do so), critics say the legislation would effectively make it too easy to bring guns on campus.
Stanford class pulls students out of tech bubble and into real world of government bureaucracy
They're some of the brightest students in the country -- a group of wunderkinds known for hacking their way through any problem thrown at them. So what could possibly stump a Stanford University student? Government bureaucracy, it seems. In a lecture hall nestled in Stanford's Environment and Energy building, dozens of engineering, science and arts students were put through the bureaucratic ringer this year when they took Hacking 4 Defense and Hacking 4 Diplomacy. The courses -- taken for credit and taught by Stanford instructors -- let teams of students choose from a list of real problems plaguing the government, paired them with sponsors from the Defense or State departments, and tasked them with not just finding a solution, but coming up with a viable product that the government would actually use. "It was really humbling," said Katie Joseff, 21, a human biology major who took Hacking 4 Diplomacy this fall.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State eager for another bowl opportunity
Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen smiles when he thinks about what his program accomplished in the last eight years. The Bulldogs have competed for the Southeastern Conference Western Division title. In 2014, they started the season with nine-straight wins and were ranked No. 1 for five-straight weeks. MSU also has been a regular at bowl games in Mullen's tenure. "You say, 'Hey, we're getting an opportunity to go to a bowl game because of what you all have done in the classroom, not just the guys that are here, but the guys before you. Over the last couple of years, how we've worked, what we've been able to do in the classroom for our players, that work has now paid off,' " Mullen said Thursday during a question-and-answer session with ESPN college football analyst Anthony Becht at the bowl's introductory press conference in St. Petersburg.
Bulldogs prep for St. Pete
Mississippi State may have been the last of the 80 teams to advance to a bowl game this year but it will not keep the Bulldogs from enjoying the experience. MSU begins its preparations this afternoon to play Miami (Ohio) in the St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 26. The Bull-d o g s qualified for the postseason with a 55-20 victory over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl to finish 5-7 and a 971 academic progress rate score. "The opportunity for our guys not just to go to a bowl game but to come to Florida and a beautiful city with unbelievable weather, there's a lot of excitement in our locker room," said Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.
Miami went through 'football hell' to match up with Mississippi State
Mississippi State and Miami (Ohio) officially began concentrating on the St. Petersburg Bowl on Thursday. Each team's coach, Dan Mullen and Chuck Martin, met in Florida for a press conference a little more than two weeks from kickoff on Dec. 26. "We're getting an opportunity to play in a bowl game because of what (we) have all done in the classroom," Mullen said. "Not just the guys who are here, the guys before over the last couple of years. How we've worked, what we've been able to do in the classroom for our players. That work has now paid off." MSU captured its sixth win in Oxford with a 55-20 win in the Egg Bowl. While his players celebrated the season finale win, Mullen assured them their season may not be finished. The Bulldogs reached a seventh consecutive bowl berth because of their APR.
Bowl game offers Mississippi State's run defense a chance to shine
A common theme lies throughout the regular season for Miami (Ohio). Most aspects of the team struggled through the first six games -- all losses. During the final six games -- all wins -- each facet of the RedHawks improved. The running game is no different. In the six losses, Miami rushed for 99.1 yards per game on 2.6 yards per attempt. In the six wins, its rushing attack found traction, averaging 167.8 yards, including four performances of at least 200 yards. The RedHawks' yards per carry jumped to 4.2. They bring that improved rushing game to the St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 26 (10 a.m., ESPN). They'll square off against a Mississippi State defense that ranks 13th in the SEC,allowing 461 yards per game. That number is weighed down by one of the worst pass defenses in the country. On the ground, MSU (5-7) allowed 178 yards per game, which ranked seventh in the conference.
Mississippi State's Ross, Simmons, Lewis earn All-SEC honors
The postseason honors keep coming in for Fred Ross. On Thursday, The Associated Press named the Mississippi State wide receiver first-team All-Southeastern Conference, while defensive standouts Jeffery Simmons and Leo Lewis were named Freshman All-SEC by the league's coaches. On Tuesday, Ross, a senior, was named second-team All-SEC by the league's coaches. On Monday, he accepted a invite to the 2017 Reese's Senior Bowl. Ross has 68 catches for 873 yards and a league-best 12 touchdowns. MSU (5-7) will play Miami University (6-6) in the St. Petersburg Bowl at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 26 (ESPN), at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Mississippi State's Fred Ross named first-team All-SEC by league's media
Fred Ross' final season at Mississippi State was worthy of a first-team All-SEC selection, according to the league's media. The Associated Press announced its SEC awards on Thursday, which included Ross' first-team selection. The senior was the only Bulldog to receive a postseason award. He was also the only MSU player named all-conference by the league's coaches earlier this week. He was named to the second team. It's the first time since 2008 that only one Mississippi State player was selected All-SEC by the AP. It's the first time since 1988 that only one Bulldog was selected All-SEC either by the AP or the coaches. Ross finished second in the league with 68 receptions. He also led the SEC with 12 touchdown receptions.
Mississippi State's Lewis, Simmons named to All-SEC Freshmen team
Mississippi State had two players named to the All-SEC freshmen team for the first time since 2011. Leo Lewis at linebacker and Jeffery Simmons on the defensive line were named All-SEC by the conference's coaches on Thursday. Kaleb Eulls and tight end Malcolm Johnson were the last Bulldog freshmen duo to receive the honor. Lewis, the SEC Freshman of the Week following an Egg Bowl victory on Nov. 26, finished the regular season second on the team in tackles with 72. The total led all SEC freshmen. Simmons tallied 38 tackles along with 3.5 tackles for loss. He is tied for the team lead in forced fumbles with two, a mark that leads all SEC freshman and is sixth overall in the league.
Breanna Richardson epitomizes consistency for Mississippi State
Vic Schaefer has plans for 7 tonight. The Mississippi State women's basketball coach won't be preparing a pre-game speech for his team. Instead, he will be on hand to watch senior Breanna Richardson take part in graduation ceremonies at Humphrey Coliseum. "Three-and-a-half years is pretty quick," Schaefer said of Richardson. "It shows tremendous discipline and work ethic. She is going to do it with a 3.5 GPA (grade-point average). That is just outstanding. I couldn't be more proud of her. I am not going to miss it." The graduation ceremony will be a warmup for Schaefer and Richardson prior to No. 5 MSU's game against Southern Mississippi (7-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Hattiesburg.
Mississippi State's Victoria Vivians named to Wooden Award watch list
Victoria Vivians was named to the John R. Wooden Award watch list Thursday. The award is presented annually to the nation's top women's basketball player. It was the second consecutive year that the Carthage native was named to the watch list that contains 30 nominations. Vivians has also been named to the Wade and Naismith watch lists. Her teammate Morgan William is also on the Naismith list. Vivians leads Mississippi State in scoring this season at 14.6 points per game. She scored 16 points when the Bulldogs improved to 8-0 with an 85-81 overtime win at Iowa State in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday.
Tom Anagnost named new Mississippi State soccer coach
Mississippi State University Director of Athletics John Cohen announced on Thursday the hiring of Tom Anagnost as the soccer program's new head coach. Anagnost comes to MSU from North Carolina State, where he spent the past season as an assistant coach, aiding the Wolfpack to a NCAA Sweet 16 berth. Anagnost will be formally introduced at a 1 p.m. press conference on Dec. 14 in the Babe McCarthy Media Room in the Humphrey Coliseum. Anagnost, who becomes the Bulldogs' fifth soccer head coach in program history, has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach, first with the Michigan Wolverines in 2015 before joining NC State. Prior to his assistant coaching jobs, Anagnost was the head coach of the University of Miami (Fla.) women's soccer program for two seasons from 2011-12.
Super Bulldog Weekend 2017 set for April 7-9
The 32nd annual Super Bulldog Weekend, a Mississippi State spring homecoming tradition featuring three days of athletic events, will take place April 7-9 on the MSU campus. The event is being presented by The Retreat, Life is better in a Retreat Cottage. Kickoff for the Maroon and White spring football game at Davis Wade Stadium will be at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 8. Admission to the spring football game is free. Coach Andy Cannizaro's Diamond Dawgs host Kentucky in a three-game set at Dudy Noble Field with times at 7 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Coach Vann Stuedeman's MSU softball team welcomes South Carolina at 6 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday and noon Sunday. Coach Matt Roberts and the men's tennis team will play host to Texas A&M at 3 p.m. Friday and LSU at 1 p.m. Sunday. Additional details on Super Bulldog Weekend will be announced at a later date.
Super Bulldog Weekend set at Mississippi State
Mississippi State's Super Bulldog Weekend has been set for April 7-9, 2017. The MSU baseball team will host former assistant Nick Mingione's Kentucky squad that weekend with game times slated for Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. The annual Maroon-White spring football game will kickoff on April 8 at 3 p.m. The softball team will also be in action that weekend hosting South Carolina and the men's tennis team will welcome Texas A&M on Friday and LSU on Sunday.
Mississippi State releases dates, times for Super Bulldog Weekend
Mississippi State announced the dates and times for next year's Super Bulldog Weekend. The 32nd annual event will take place April 7-9, 2017. Kickoff for the Maroon and White spring football game at Davis Wade Stadium will be at 3 p.m. on April 8. Coach Andy Cannizaro and MSU baseball host a familiar face in former assistant coach Nick Mingione, who is now at Kentucky. The first pitch of the three-game series at Dudy Noble Field will be on April 7 at 7 p.m. MSU softball hosts South Carolina for a three-game series as well starting at 6 p.m. Friday. The men's tennis team will play host to Texas A&M on Friday and LSU on Sunday, April 9.
Dallas Cowboys can clinch NFC East with win over Giants
The Dallas Cowboys have everything in front of them, and one little nagging thing behind them: the New York Giants. The winners of 11 straight games, the Cowboys (11-1) can clinch the NFC East and move a step closer to nailing down home-field advantage for the conference playoffs if they can beat the Giants (8-4) at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night. While the Cowboys insist this is just another game, you know there has to be some churning inside them in facing their division rivals. After all, the Giants are the reason Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and company aren't perfect. The Giants' Odell Beckham Jr., a former LSU star, remembers facing Mississippi State's Prescott when they were in the SEC, and he offered Elliott advice on life in the NFL before the season. "I love to see Zeke out there celebrating," Beckham said. "I love to see Dak out there with a smile. You just want to minimize that this Sunday."
Ole Miss fires offensive coordinator Dan Werner, Barney Farrar
Ole Miss' shopping list grew from one coordinator to two Thursday morning. In what was unexpected news, the school announced co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner, who held those titles the previous five seasons, would not return next season. The school also announced Barney Farrar, Ole Miss' assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations, would not have his contract renewed and was no longer a member of the staff. Farrar's name was brought into the spotlight during April's NFL draft. Photos of an alleged text exchange between former Ole Miss offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and John Miller, assistant athletic director for football operations, were posted to Tunsil's Instagram. Farrar received permission from the SEC to recruit on the road in place of Werner, who had to deal with extenuating circumstances with his family. Ole Miss' 2017 recruiting class is currently ranked 60th in the country, according to 247 Sports' composite rankings, and last in the SEC.
U. of Tennessee explains hiring process of recruit's sister as Butch Jones' assistant
The University of Tennessee football program knew there would be some eyebrows raised when it hired Ashley Smith in July as the executive assistant to coach Butch Jones. Smith is the older sister of Trey Smith, a five-star offensive tackle from Jackson, Tenn., who verbally committed to Tennessee on Tuesday. Smith announced his commitment live on ESPNU from the University of Jackson School auditorium with his sister and father flanking him. Tennessee spokesman Ryan Robinson said Thursday that Ashley Smith, a Tennessee graduate, went through the normal university hiring process before she was hired with a salary of $50,000. Robinson said Tennessee posted the job online, and Smith was one of three final candidates to be interviewed. "I understand people might try to connect the dots, but I think once you see what she brings to our department they would understand why we hired her," Robinson said.
Kentucky sells out allotment of tickets, offers more for bowl-thirsty fans
Big Blue Nation is quenching its desire for postseason play in football. The University of Kentucky sold its initial allotment of 8,000 tickets for the Dec. 31 TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., in just three days. Kentucky is making its first bowl appearance since the 2010 season and its first trip to the TaxSlayer Bowl, which was formerly known as the Gator Bowl. The school has obtained additional lower-level tickets at 67,246 EverBank Stadium in order to fulfill all ticket requests. Lower-level tickets may be obtained by visiting or through the TaxSlayer Bowl's website. "The passion of our fans is a major reason we were selected to play in the TaxSlayer Bowl and we are thankful they have already made plans to follow us in such great numbers," Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said.

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