Wednesday, March 21, 2018  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State nets $1.8M grant for analytical equipment facility
Following the approval of a $1.8 million grant, a planned building in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park has come closer to fruition. The Economic Development Administration grant was announced Monday By Republican Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and will be used to fund construction of a new building for MSU's Institute for Imaging and Analytical Technologies (I2AT). "That center basically houses a lot of our analytical equipment, like our microscopy equipment, our X-ray equipment, CT scanners and those kind of things," said MSU Associate Vice President for Corporate Engagement and Economic Development Kathy Gelston. "It's been a dream for a number of years. Our current director, which is Zach Rowland and Marc McGee, who is the director or the Research Technology Corporation really worked hard with the EDA, to get their representative from Atlanta, and help them see our region."
Community supports Mississippi State detective battling cancer
The Starkville community is coming together to support Brad Massey, a 42-year-old detective with the Mississippi State University Police Department, in his battle against stage-four colon cancer. The MSU Police Department, Starkville Police Department, Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department and Mississippi Highway Patrol have joined forces to host a raffle to raise money for Massey's cancer treatment. "He's got some astronomical medical expenses right now," Sheriff Steve Gladney said. "We wanted to all pitch together to help him and his family in their time of need." Tickets for the raffle cost $100 and can be purchased from OKSD, SPD and MSUPD. Four hundred tickets are available, and the winner of the raffle will win $10,000. Gladney said the rest of the money raised will go toward Massey's medical expenses. The raffle drawing will take place April 17.
Starkville joins opioid litigation
The city of Starkville will join an opioid litigation case after aldermen voted unanimously in favor of the action at Tuesday's meeting. The litigation would be one of hundreds of cases that cities, counties, states and other entities such as hospitals are bringing against opioid manufacturers and distributers across the country in a multi-district litigation suit. The cases are being consolidated in the federal court in the Northern District of Ohio. Aldermen approved the litigation relatively easily, after City Attorney Chris Latimer explained the matter. Latimer explained that the proposal with the law firm Smith, Bobinger and Smith, is based on contingency fees. He said that means that, if the city gets money from the case, it attorney fees would be paid from those winnings. If there's not enough awarded from litigation to cover attorney fees, or if the city doesn't receive any money, there's no cost to the city.
Roberson named Oktibbeha County board attorney
Rob Roberson will serve as Oktibbeha County's new board attorney after receiving unanimous support from county supervisors. Roberson, who serves as District 43's Republican representative in the Mississippi House of Representatives and has a private practice law firm in Starkville, was one of nine candidates to interview for the board attorney position on Monday. The board's decision to hire Roberson came in open session after a brief executive session. Eight other attorneys -- Haley Brown, Marty Haug, Jay Hurdle, Bennie Jones Jr., Ben Lang, Chad Montgomery, Johnny Moore and Lydia Quarles -- interviewed for the position on Monday. Roberson said he felt any of them could have done well for the county and he was thankful supervisors selected him.
City continues negotiation for land acquisition
The Starkville Board of Aldermen look to expand its Parks and Recreation property after discussing land acquisition during closed executive session. Aldermen authorized Mayor Lynn Spruill to negotiate for five parcels of property up to the appraised value with property owners. Spruill would not disclose the amount of the appraised value. The roughly 51 acres is located just immediately south of the Sportsplex. Spruill said she is hopeful the acquisition will come to fruition, and members of the board are supportive as well. "I think everybody wants us to have a top-notch sports facilities," Spruill said. "That's what this will allow us to do." Spruill said the potential property expansion would allow for its park area to have more options like additional soccer and baseball fields.
Governor to appoint Hyde-Smith to Senate
The announcement sent late Tuesday afternoon from Gov. Phil Bryant's office offered one big clue to the identity of his selection to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. The big announcement that's been speculated about since Cochran started talking retirement will be revealed Wednesday at noon at the Military Memorial Museum at the Old Train Depot in Brookhaven, Ag Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith's hometown. Hyde-Smith, 58, is Bryant's pick to replace Cochran. Her name has been on the short list along with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. When asked Friday at The Daily Leader office if she'd accept the governor's nod, she stayed mum. But while the beef cattle farmer and former state senator stays quiet, others are talking.
Gov. Phil Bryant to appoint Cindy Hyde-Smith to Senate seat, but some in GOP are worried
Gov. Phil Bryant at noon Wednesday is expected to announce he's picked Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to replace Sen. Thad Cochran. The announcement will be at the Military Memorial Museum in Brookhaven, Hyde-Smith's hometown. The move is likely to gain approval from President Donald Trump in lead-up to one of the most important midterm elections in the country, and the powerful Farm Bureau is expected to mobilize behind Hyde-Smith, a key factor in Bryant's decision, GOP sources said. But some state Republicans are worried over the choice, fearing Hyde-Smith, a relatively recent convert to the Republican Party, would allow an anti-establishment GOP candidate or Democrat to take the seat.
Advocates hope Hyde-Smith's historic appointment spurs other women
Cindy Hyde-Smith's expected appointment today as the first woman to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate is fueling hope among advocates that the historic moment encourages more women in the state to run for Congress. "We're thrilled," said Jenn Gregory, program director for the Stennis Center for Public Service in Starkville, Miss., which has been training women to run for elected offices. "Having a woman represent Mississippi is historic. We feel like it's definitely time for a woman to represent Mississippi. The United States Senate is the perfect place." Gov. Phil Bryant is appointing Hyde-Smith, the state's agriculture secretary, to fill the seat of Republican Sen. Thad Cochran. Cochran, who is in his seventh term, announced he will resign by next month. The move comes as a record number of women are expected to run for Congress this year, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.
Mississippi hires pension director from Georgia government
The Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System is hiring a new director from Georgia. Ray Higgins will be the sixth leader of the Mississippi government pension system in its 66-year history. The current director, Pat Robertson, is retiring June 30 at the end of the current state budget year. Higgins will work with her during June, and he succeeds her as director July 1. Higgins is coming from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, where he has been deputy commissioner for finance and administration since 2011.
Mississippi community college leaders rally for state funding
Andrea Mayfield stood on the steps of the Mississippi Capitol Tuesday to explain that $32 million in cuts to the state's community and junior colleges in two years is a failing grade for the state's future. Mayfield, executive director for the Mississippi Community College Board, joined a crowd of dozens of community and junior college leadership, faculty, students and others to promote more funding for the state community college system. As state legislators prepare to make final decisions related to revenue and appropriations bills to meet the Saturday deadline, conversations have intensified in the Capitol. EMCC President Tom Huebner made the rounds discussing with lawmakers the value of the Scooba and Mayhew campuses.
Community colleges rally for more funding
Educating over 75,000 students a year, community colleges in Mississippi are banding together asking lawmakers for more support and funding. "When the funding goes away or dwindles or is cut, our quality begins to be questionable," said Dr. Mary Graham with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. "We don't want that. We want to make sure we continue to offer the best programs possible so we can train our students." Dr. Graham says lawmakers have made cuts to their budgets over the past three years which has in turn causes community colleges to cut programs and fire teachers.
Judge temporarily halts new abortion ban
Just 18 hours after Gov. Phil Bryant signed the nation's toughest abortion ban into law, a federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order, saying the law is likely to be found unconstitutional. Within an hour of the signing on Monday afternoon, the Jackson Women's Health Clinic sued the state over its ban, which prohibits abortions at the 15th week of pregnancy. The clinic, which is Mississippi's only abortion provider, had argued that banning abortions so early violates a woman's constitutional right to have an abortion before the fetus is viable. That evening, the plaintiffs asked for a temporary restraining order, saying that a woman currently in her 15th week of pregnancy had been scheduled for an abortion at 2 p.m. Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves agreed with the plaintiffs, issuing a temporary restraining order on the law for 10 days.
Judge blocks Mississippi 15-week abortion ban from going into effect
A federal judge Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order to keep Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, the most restrictive in the nation, from going into effect. Monday, Gov. Phil Bryant signed HB 1510 into law, making it illegal in Mississippi for a woman to obtain an abortion after 15 weeks gestation. Mississippi's previous law restricted abortion access within the state to 20 weeks. The state's sole abortion clinic, Women's Health Organization, located in Jackson, does not perform abortions past 16 weeks. In his ruling Tuesday, Reeves said the restraining order would be in effect for 10 days. He asked for "expedited briefings" on whether the court should issue a "preliminary injunction and whether that relief should be consolidated with a trial on the merits."
Congressional candidates share ideas to grow economy
All eight candidates for the House seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper shared economic platforms with several of the state's business leaders Tuesday in the first candidate forum of the 2018 election. Candidates spoke 5-10 minutes each to attendees of the forum, hosted by the Business & Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC), about what they would accomplish if they were elected to Washington.
Candidates seeking Gregg Harper's seat stump on economy, healthcare
Candidates running for Mississippi's 3rd District U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Gregg Harper stuck to the usual themes of economic development, health care and infrastructure while speaking to an influential business group Tuesday. Harper announced in January that he is not running for reelection. A crowded field is seeking to claim his seat -- six Republican candidates and two Democrats (a state representative and a police officer). During a forum sponsored by the Business and Industry Political Education Committee, candidates from both parties made the usual promises of making sure Mississippians have a voice in Washington and expressed their dedication to job creation.
Omnibus Deal Near as House, Senate Leaders Prepare to Meet
Congressional leaders and the White House have struck a preliminary deal on a roughly $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill. GOP and Democratic aides were putting the finishing touches on the mammoth package and were expected to file it later Wednesday morning for House floor consideration. The "Big Four" leaders on Capitol Hill -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California -- were expected to meet shortly to go over the details. The tentative agreement, if finalized, would put Congress in striking distance of ending a long-running saga marked by five stopgap continuing resolutions since the fiscal year began Oct. 1, and two brief partial government shutdowns that raised questions about lawmakers' ability to govern.
Austin Bomb Suspect Mark Anthony Conditt Is Dead After Blowing Himself Up
A man who police believe carried out a string of package bombings in Austin is dead, putting an end to a weekslong hunt to track down and stop the bomber who left the Texas capital and its residents on edge. Law enforcement officials, who identified the suspect as 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt, said they traced the white male to a hotel in this Austin suburb, about 20 miles north of the city. In a confrontation with the police, the suspect detonated a device and died, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said. Shots were fired during the encounter with police. Officials said they hadn't yet identified a motive, and they would be investigating whether any accomplices had helped the suspect.
U. of Mississippi mandates active shooter training to all staff
All faculty, staff and administration at the University of Mississippi have been ordered to complete a state-mandated "Active Shooter Situations: What Should You Do?" online training before May 18. The web-based video training course is intended to comply with a December 2017 executive order from Gov. Phil Bryant and includes a roughly 20-minute video series that has three quizzes. All state employees are required to complete the course by the May deadline. Amanda Drew, emergency management coordinator for the University Police Department, said this training will add onto the already existing practices for incoming students and faculty. "Our crime prevention unit has always been active in running these types of courses, and there are courses for faculty as well," Drew said. "Active shooter events are unique ...because they happen and end quickly and occur for several minutes before intervention. Those involved are not always trained well enough to protect themselves. This web training will just add on to what we're already doing."
Auburn University research VP appointed chancellor of Penn State-Harrisburg
John M. Mason Jr., vice president for research and economic development at Auburn University, has been appointed as chancellor of Penn State-Harrisburg and will begin the new role effective Aug. 1. Mason joined Auburn University Sept. 1, 2008. In his role, he served as the university's chief research officer and has been a member of the president's cabinet, having provided leadership for strategic planning for Auburn's research enterprise and economic development initiatives. He has been a permanent member on the Provost's Council of Deans, the University Academic Program Review Committee and the University Promotion and Tenure Committee. Mason also served as a president's appointee to the University Senate and has been the president of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation.
U. of Arkansas, Razorback Foundation emails show messaging team-up
A University of Arkansas, Fayetteville athletics spokesman encouraged the nonprofit Razorback Foundation to sidestep a reporter's questions to avoid setting a "precedent," one of several instances found in emails of the nonprofit and the university coordinating on public messaging. The foundation has blocked access to its records by saying it is a separate legal organization not subject to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. Emails obtained from the university through the open-records law show the two regularly give and take feedback on how to communicate with media, fans, trustees and donors. Discussions ranged from minor edits on newsletters to strategy about what financial information to release, how and when. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has reviewed nearly 22,000 pages of emails exchanged between three dozen UA employees and the Razorback Foundation as part of an effort to examine whether the nonprofit operates as the "functional equivalent" of UA. That is one of the legal standards that would determine whether the foundation is subject to the state's Freedom of Information Act, a lawyer said.
Hazing deaths: Colleges, others could face civil penalties under bill that clears legislative hurdle
The first piece of anti-hazing legislation after last fall's death of an LSU fraternity pledge passed its initial hurdle Tuesday in the Louisiana Legislature. Under Senate Bill 91, anyone found responsible for a hazing-related death could face additional legal damages in civil court. Defendants could include the perpetrators, as well as universities and national chapters of organizations that don't have clear anti-hazing policies. Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, sponsor of the bill, said his goal is to deter behavior that leads to hazing deaths. The criminal policy in place hasn't changed any conduct, he argued. This month, an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury that investigated the death of LSU freshman Max Gruver indicted a former student with negligent homicide and three others with hazing.
Columbia police investigate hazing at U. of Missouri FarmHouse fraternity chapter
The University of Missouri on Friday referred the founding chapter of FarmHouse fraternity to the Columbia Police Department for investigation of hazing, just days before a joint announcement with the international headquarters of the organization that the chapter has been closed. The fraternity was already on disciplinary probation for hazing when MU and FarmHouse International Fraternity issued a joint news release Tuesday stating it would be closed. "The chapter's actions, including failing to adhere to the national organization's hazing and alcohol policies, were in direct contradiction to FarmHouse values and our code of conduct," Christian Wiggins, CEO of FarmHouse International, said in the news release. "We will not tolerate this kind of behavior in the fraternity, and we appreciate the university's partnership as we have worked through the investigation and arrived at this conclusion." While MU is not disclosing what occurred that prompted the referral, the decision to send it to police underscores the serious nature of the offense.
Colleges changing their policies after visits from controversial speakers
In 2016, white nationalist Richard Spencer visited Texas A&M University, intending to -- by his own admission -- rile the campus and shake the status quo. It was the start of Spencer's circuit of colleges and universities nationwide, but he was by no means the only controversial speaker to rattle students. While always being hotbeds for issues of free expression, colleges in the past year have dealt with provocateurs who invite themselves to campus -- and some administrators are responding by making more restrictive their policies on outside speakers (or are at least reviewing those rules). Shortly after Spencer's first Texas A&M appearance, the university changed its policy allowing any outside speaker or group to rent a space. Instead, they would need the backing of an affiliated student group -- this was a reaction to Spencer's talk, said spokeswoman Amy B. Smith. Spencer didn't have such a tie to the institution.
Veterans' organizations oppose Republican higher education bill
Late last summer, President Trump signed into law a long-awaited update to the GI Bill -- a rare moment of bipartisanship in the first year of the Trump administration and a major victory for veterans' groups. Just half a year later, though, the same organizations are lining up to oppose House legislation to reauthorize the law governing federal student aid, college accountability and many other aspects of higher ed. The bill, they argue, is a giveaway to predatory programs. These groups said the legislation would make veterans more vulnerable than ever to for-profit colleges of questionable quality. The debate over the bill -- and over what should be included in a Senate version -- shows just how far the positioning of key Republican lawmakers has shifted against long-standing regulations on colleges and universities, even when those regulations are backed by veterans' groups. It also demonstrates a new commitment among those organizations to working closely with each other on federal policy that could affect student veterans.
Why One Academic Filed a Claim Against Cambridge Analytica to Get His Own Data
David Carroll, an associate professor of media design at the New School's Parsons School of Design, paid close attention to how candidates were collecting potential voters' information online during the 2016 presidential election primary. After all, it's what he studies. He noticed that Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, was using the company Cambridge Analytica to collect data from voters, and that a watchdog group had labeled Cruz's online practices invasive. So he filed a request to see what data the company had collected on him. In March 2017, Cambridge Analytica sent Carroll some of his data, including his voter issue profile. The profile chart listed him as, among other things, a "very unlikely Republican" and rated his "Immigration Importance Rank" as eight out of 10. Now Carroll has filed a disclosure claim against Cambridge Analytica's branch in Britain to provide him details of how the company gathered a profile of his personal beliefs.
A U. of Wisconsin campus pushes plan to drop 13 majors, including English, history and philosophy
The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point has proposed dropping 13 majors in the humanities and social sciences -- including English, philosophy, history, sociology and Spanish -- while adding programs with "clear career pathways" as a way to address declining enrollment and a multimillion-dollar deficit. Students and faculty members have reacted with surprise and concern to the news, which is being portrayed by the school's administration as a path to regain enrollment and provide new opportunities to students. Critics see something else: a waning commitment to liberal arts education and a chance to lay off faculty under new rules that weakened tenure. Students are planning a sit-in at the campus administration building on Wednesday in a demonstration called Save Our Majors.
Major design change altered FIU bridge cost, schedule
Construction of the pedestrian bridge that collapsed and killed six people in the Miami area was behind schedule and millions over budget, in part because of a key change in the design and placement of one of its support towers. Documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public-records request show that the Florida Department of Transportation in October 2016 advised Florida International University and its contractors to move one of the bridge's main support structures 11 feet north to the edge of a canal, widening the gap between the crossing's end supports and requiring some new structural design. The span's signature, 109-foot-tall pylon was to be built atop a base at the span's northern end. It was designed for basic support and to contribute to the aesthetics of the bridge, which was touted as an architectural marvel that would connect the rapidly growing university to the nearby community of Sweetwater. Henry Petroski, a Duke University civil engineering professor, said even seemingly minor changes in a bridge's design can lead to failures.
Why Phil Bryant picked Cindy Hyde-Smith to replace Thad Cochran
Alan Lange writes at "The least kept secret in Mississippi politics right now is that Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant will tap MS Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith at noon today in Brookhaven to be the replacement for US Senator Thad Cochran. ...In talking with multiple sources familiar with the vetting process, Hyde-Smith became the choice of highly confidential yet extreme vetting process, which has gone on over the last few weeks. Bryant's political instincts are pretty good in terms of Mississippi politics. Nevertheless, professional opposition research and polling were scrutinized, and it was clear that there were no 'perfect' candidates. ...However, their internal deliberations came to the following conclusions of why they believe Hyde-Smith made the most sense."
Even GOP master strategist Karl Rove can't predict clear, easy future of his party
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "During a quiet dinner here at a usually packed downtown restaurant rendered nearly vacant by spring break, I had an opportunity to break bread with one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in American politics in the last half-century -- Karl Rove. Rove, 67, served as senior advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000-2007 and deputy White House chief of staff from 2004-2007. During his tenure with Bush, Rove oversaw the White House offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs. ...The prospect of a third Rove book -- this one an as-yet untitled historical analysis of presidential decision-making -- brought him to Mississippi State University's Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library to conduct research. Rove said his Grant research centered on the 'Gilded Age' president's 1874 decision to veto the so-called 'inflation bill' after the Panic of 1873."

Mississippi State advances to NIT semifinals at MSG
Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Mississippi State advanced to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York with a 79-56 victory over Louisville on Tuesday night. Mississippi State (25-11) will face Penn State (24-13) on March 27. Lamar Peters opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer and Mississippi State led by at least nine points the rest of the way. Weatherspoon scored eight points during a 12-3 run to start the third for a 51-31 advantage and MSU cruised.
Mississippi State is headed to MSG after beating Louisville
Aric Holman wanted to come home. The Mississippi State Bulldogs wanted to go back on the road. Both parties got want they wanted Tuesday night, with the Kentucky-bred Holman providing a huge boost off the bench as fourth-seeded MSU rolled to a 79-56 win over the third-seeded Louisville Cardinals in front of 10,718 frigid fans at the KFC YUM! Center. Mississippi State (25-11) advances to next Tuesday's semifinals against Penn State (24-13), which upended Marquette in an earlier quarterfinal Tuesday. Louisville, playing under interim coach David Padgett, finishes the season 24-13. Both NIT semifinals and the championship will be played at legendary Madison Square Garden in New York. In order to make that happen, coach Ben Howland's Bulldogs had to win two road games against power-five conference teams in less than 72 hours.
Big Apple bound: Bulldogs beat Cardinals to reach NIT semifinals
An impressive result on Tuesday night will send the Mississippi State Bulldogs to historic Madison Square Garden. Riding another powerful performance from Quinndary Weatherspoon, Mississippi State knocked off Louisville 79-56 in the quarterfinal round of the National Invitation Tournament. The Bulldogs (25-11) will now face Penn State (24-13) in the semifinal round of the NIT Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The contest will be at either 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. on ESPN. MSU advances to the NIT Final Four for the second time in program history, with the last appearance there being in 2007. Quinndary Weatherspoon had 19 points and career-high 14 rebounds for his third double-double of the season to spark the Bulldogs. Aric Holman added 16 points eight and eight rebounds, while Nick Weatherspoon and Xavian Stapleton each added 12 points.
Mississippi State men beat Louisville to reach semifinals of NIT
Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds Tuesday night to lead the Mississippi State men's basketball team to a 79-56 victory against Louisville in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament. The win pushed MSU (25-11) into the semifinals, where it will face Penn State (24-13), which defeated Marquette 85-80 on Tuesday night, at 6 or 8:30 p.m. March 27 at Madison Square Garden in New York. "That was a phenomenal win," MSU coach Ben Howland said. "This is so exciting for our team. The way they came out here prepared. The way they prepared for this. Remember, we played Sunday, just like they did. They played Sunday night, we played Sunday morning. We had to travel, so to travel that much and show up with that kind of effort is really gratifying for me as their coach, and I can't say enough about our entire team. How hard they worked and prepared for this because we wanted to go to New York City and go to the (Madison Square) Garden badly and they displayed that in how they played today."
Mississippi State routs Louisville basketball in NIT quarters
Mississippi State led for all but two minutes in a 79-56 rout that ended Louisville's season in the NIT quarterfinals on Tuesday at the KFC Yum Center. Louisville finished with a 22-14 record and enters the offseason with a multitude of questions to answer. The Cards got 13 points and 10 rebounds from junior forward Ray Spalding and 11 points from junior wing Deng Adel. But they shot 35 percent as a team, lost 16 turnovers and struggled rebounding, trailing by as many as 27 points. Louisville's inconsistent, frustrating campaign ended with a thud. The Cards acquitted themselves well with back-to-back wins over Northern Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State, but their flaws bubbled to the surface at the wrong time -- against a red-hot Mississippi State team.
What to expect for Mississippi State in Sweet 16 against NC State
Mississippi State is in the Sweet 16 for the third straight season. It's quite a feat, especially considering it has made only four such appearances in program history. But the Bulldogs want more and have anticipated more all season. In a championship-or-bust season, the expectation is to get to Columbus, Ohio. But first, the Bulldogs must survive in Kansas City. Mississippi State (34-1) will take on fourth-seeded North Carolina State (26-8) in a Sweet 16 matchup at 6 p.m. Friday (ESPN) in Kansas City. The Bulldogs need two wins in three days to return to the Final Four. If MSU wins, it would play either second-seeded Texas or third-seeded UCLA in an Elite Eight matchup. The Kansas City region is the only region with its top four seeds still alive. The Wolfpack is the primary concern for the Bulldogs right now, of course, so what should MSU expect? How tough of a challenge will this be for Vic Schaefer's team?
Going to Kansas City to root on the Mississippi State women? Here's what you need to know
The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs are headed to Kansas City later this week for the Sweet 16. Are you planning on joining the top-seeded MSU women's basketball team? If so, here's what you need to know about Kansas City.
Mississippi State's Johnnie Harris selected Assistant Coach of the Year
Mississippi State's Johnnie Harris was selected as the Assistant Coach of the Year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Harris has served as the Bulldogs' associate head coach under Vic Schaefer for the past six seasons after following him from Texas A&M. "I think it is long overdue," Schaefer said. "There is no question in my mind that Johnnie is the best in the business. I was not taking the Mississippi State job if she was not coming with me. She has been so valuable to our success here at Mississippi State and I couldn't be happier for her. I think it is an honor that is well-deserved. We are very proud of her."
Mississippi State's Johnnie Harris receives WBCA's top honor
Johnnie Harris has been by Vic Schaefer's side in the six years they have worked to put the Mississippi State women's basketball program on the national map. Harris' hard work and dedication in helping the Bulldogs to one of the best seasons in school history was recognized Tuesday, as the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) named her Division I Assistant Coach of the Year. "It is such a tremendous honor to be named the Assistant Coach of the Year," Harris said. "I appreciate the WBCA and the committee for selecting me, and I am so thankful for the opportunity coach Schaefer has given me to do what I do. We have such a great group of players and staff here at Mississippi State, and I share this with all of them."
Bulldog bats best Braves
Four-hit nights by Josh Hatcher and Hunter Stovall helped lead the Mississippi State baseball team to a 17-1 victory over Alcorn State Tuesday night at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs (11-10) got back in the win column by setting new season highs for runs (17) and hits (18). Seven different players collected hits as the Bulldogs scored in six different innings. "We really did a great job of competing in the box tonight," MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. "We had some really good at-bats up and down the lineup. Zach really gave us a great start. He threw strikes. That's the most important thing, especially after you get a lead." MSU got things going early with five runs in the first inning. State will close out its five-game homestand at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday against Texas Southern.
Mississippi State's Josh Hatcher plays key role in rout
By the time the seventh inning ended Tuesday night, Josh Hatcher already had two doubles, a single, two RBIs, and a walk. He also had played errorless first base. But Hatcher wasn't finished. Mississippi State interim baseball coach Gary Henderson needed Hatcher to pitch. Hatcher didn't hesitate and delivered two scoreless innings to help MSU beat Alcorn State 17-1 at Dudy Noble Field. With another game against Texas Southern at 6:30 tonight before a weekend series at Missouri, Hatcher's ability to give the Bulldogs (11-10) a few innings was crucial. "Going into the game that was an option when you have 18 innings in two days," Henderson said. "I was glad when he got out there and he (was able to throw) all three pitches for strikes, got some punchouts. (He) enabled us to keep one of our guys available and fresh for tomorrow." Hatcher and second baseman Hunter Stovall had four hits. He completed his evening by allowing one hit and striking out four.
Fitzgerald limited in Mississippi State's spring opener
The only thing covering Nick Fitzgerald's right ankle was a cleat and tape. After weeks of demobilization and rehabilitation from the injury he suffered in the 2017 Egg Bowl, Mississippi State's starting quarterback was on the practice field for the first spring practice of the Joe Moorhead era. Fitzgerald wore a yellow jersey, which is reserved for those limited from contact, but he still will take part in the new system and run it this spring. "He did what he can do. He did the seven-on-seven, the individual drills," Moorhead said. "We're going to ease him back in. We don't want to get too far out in front of our skis. He's going to do the things he's capable of doing." Fitzgerald's return was part of what Moorhead deemed a productive practice.
Bulldogs conduct first practice with Moorhead
After months of recruiting, hiring assistant coaches and organizing the program to his liking, it was finally time for Joe Moorhead to coach football at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs' new head coach held his first team practice on Tuesday afternoon and liked how his team picked up the new concepts. "I was pleased with the effort and thought the execution and the learning was good," Moorhead said. "We talked about preparation, effort and execution and I thought the coaches did a good job providing the information to the kids in the meetings and them coming out and applying it on the field. "There were some assignment busts in all three phases but that's to be expected on Day 1 with a brand-new offense, defense and special teams. We'll look at the film and clean it up, but I thought it was a positive first day and something to build off of."
Mississippi State begins spring football practice under Moorhead
Since he was hired as Mississippi State's new head football coach late last year, Joe Moorhead has spent his time for the most part in meetings and on the recruiting trail. Finally, on Tuesday, Moorhead got to do what he loves to do when he led the Bulldogs onto the practice fields for the first time as spring practice got underway for MSU. "After a couple of months of focusing on recruiting and winter workouts and getting everything organized from a structural and organizational standpoint, it felt great to just get back on the field and coach," Moorhead said. "It felt good to have the opportunity to see these guys in our system and start teaching." It's a whole new world for the Bulldogs this spring. Not only is Moorhead orchestrating the show, but MSU has eight new on-field assistants as well. That means there's much more to do and adjustments to make as State goes through the next month of workouts.
Mississippi State's Dontavian Lee looking forward to healthy senior season
In the third quarter of Mississippi State's season opener last year, Dontavian Lee burst into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown. It may not have seemed like much in a game that was already 41-0 at that point, but for Lee it was long overdue. It was the first career score for the then redshirt junior, who has spent most of the past few years fighting through nagging injuries. "There really wasn't a big 'ra-ra' feeling because I felt like I should've already been in the end zone," Lee said. "I felt like I've let myself down and let my teammates down because that was the only time I got in the end zone. I really don't even like to think about that." Lee was once again banged up throughout the fall but fought through to appear in all 12 regular season contests.
No. 23 Mississippi State softball team preparing for big weekend homestand
The national spotlight continues to shine of the Mississippi State softball program as the calendar hits the second half of the season. In the initial Ratings Percentage Index figures released Monday by the NCAA, the Bulldogs are ranked 18th. It is the highest MSU has been positioned in the initial rankings. The Bulldogs have cracked the top 15 one time. Typically, being in that top 18 gives a team a chance to play host to one of 16 NCAA regional tournaments in late May. In most seasons, a team or two in the top 16 isn't able to host due to poor facilities or other campus conflicts. MSU (25-4) will try to protect that ranking at 6 tonight (SEC Network) when Central Arkansas (13-12) comes to Nusz Park. It is the first of a four-game homestand, as Georgia comes to town for conference play this weekend.
Kermit Davis says Ole Miss will 'respect the flag and the national anthem'
When Kermit Davis addressed Ole Miss fans Monday, he took the time to explain his vision for Ole Miss' program. He said his team will be "relentless, athletic, explosive" and "unselfish." They'll play fast and smart, try to get easy points in transition and play with "great body language." And one more thing. "We're going to be a team that respects the flag and the national anthem." It's been rare for college coaches to take a stance on national anthem issues. College football teams are usually in the locker room during the anthem, and there hasn't been an issue with Ole Miss' men's basketball players the past two seasons. Per an athletic department administrator, Ole Miss student-athletes, in all sports, have been "educated about the importance of freedom of expression, and that won't change." Davis' statement drew a sizeable cheer from those in attendance Monday at The Pavilion.
UF's Mullen takes personal approach in ACCENT talk
That he learned ballet, jazz and tap dancing as a child and taught in the public school system in New York City were a few things University of Florida students and others learned about their new football coach. Dan Mullen, hired away from Mississippi State University in December to be head coach of the Gator football team, was the featured guest at an event Tuesday night at University Auditorium sponsored by the UF ACCENT Speakers Bureau. An audience of about 200, mostly UF students, attended the hour-long event moderated by Ted Spiker, UF journalism department chair. The first question Spiker asked Mullen was when the coach knew he wanted to be involved with football. "I went to a career day in kindergarten as O.J. Simpson," Mullen said. "He was like the coolest football player ever, back then. He was 'The Juice!'"
Former Vols football coach Butch Jones cleared as Alabama football 'intern'
Former Tennessee football coach Butch Jones officially is part of Nick Saban's staff at Alabama as of Tuesday. Saban said Jones is "an intern, an analyst" after the Crimson Tide's practice Tuesday. Jones coached at Tennessee for almost five seasons. He was fired with a 34-27 mark on Nov. 12 after the Vols were crushed at Missouri. Jones was on the Alabama sideline during its Pro Day event two weeks ago, wearing Alabama gear. Initial reports indicated that Jones was being considered for an analyst role on Saban's staff.

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