Friday, October 20, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State holds ninth cybersecurity week
Mississippi State University recognized its cybersecurity awareness week from Monday to Thursday. The week offered various speakers and an information booth for students, faculty and staff to discuss the importance and relevance of cybersecurity. Topics covered included self-awareness of information and best practices. Security and compliance officer Tom Ritter said much of this year's cybersecurity week centered on identity theft prevention. "Identity theft was one of the more prominent topics because of things like the Equifax breach," Ritter said. "Over 143 million consumers had their identities stolen." Ritter said MSU has standardized two-factor identification across all its passwords. With two-factor identification after a password is put in on a screen, a user will verify the login on a different device before being allowed in.
 
MSU-Meridian professor weighs in on stock market
The stock market has been on a tear lately, with large value increases, especially in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow set a new record high of 23,000 this week. An MSU-Meridian finance professor explained to Newscenter 11 what this means for local people who do invest, or are thinking about investing. Dr. Paul Spurlin says if you have already had money in the stock market as an investor, the uptick is great news. If you're someone who is considering investing, Spurlin says it could go well, but there's no guarantee the high will continue. "We may have some small downturn, or we may have reached a peak that it takes a while to go further, so it's a mixed bag," said Spurlin. "Yes, if you get in now you could continue to see some of this performance, but if you get in now, things could turn down for you."
 
Ole Brook grad is Mississippi State's first homecoming king
Mississippi State will crown a homecoming king Saturday night for the first time in the school's history and the student body chose a Brookhaven man for that honor. Anthony Daniels, the son of Rudy and Susan Daniels, will reign with queen Victoria V. Vivians of Forest this week. Along with eight class maids, the two seniors will be presented during halftime Saturday as the Bulldogs take on the Wildcats of University of Kentucky in Davis Wade Stadium. Daniels is studying psychology with a concentration in pre-med. His older brother Alexander lives in Brookhaven, while his younger sister Victoria is a junior at State studying business information systems. The Daniels family has called Brookhaven home since moving there from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated their city. Daniels has been an active member of Phi Gamma Delta for all four years at MSU and is the fraternity's former philanthropy chair. He said he'd rather try for something and fail than not try at all.
 
On the court: Vivians balances basketball with being homecoming queen
Victoria Vivians has learned to balance her time on two different courts this week. On Monday, the senior guard for the Mississippi State women's basketball team found out that she had made the Preseason All-Southeastern Conference team with teammate Morgan William. Vivians and William got to talk about that and the preparation on the court for the 2017-18 season at SEC Women's Basketball Media Day in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday. Vivians was probably asked a couple of times also about what's about to happen on Saturday. She will take her place on the MSU Homecoming Court and will be crowned queen at halftime of the 3 p.m. football game against Kentucky. It's an honor that Vivians does not take lightly.
 
Amped Innovations now open in Starkville
Amped Innovations, founded by Mississippi State University alum Derek Schulte, and current MSU seniors JC Long and Benton Estes, provides technical repair services to residents, students and businesses in the area. Schulte, Amped Innovations CEO, said they repair phones, tablets and computers. They can repair electric guitar amplifiers, too. If it uses electricity, Schulte said they can fix it. To submit a "fix-it ticket," visit the company's website. Schulte said he will personally pick up the device, repair it and drop it back off after the repair is complete. The company also operates based on a price-match policy, so if a customer can find a different company in the area that offers the same services at a lower rate, Amped Innovations will match that price.
 
Stion to close its Hattiesburg solar panel plant
A green energy company heavily incentivized by Mississippi is shutting down, raising questions about whether the state will get repaid. Solar panel maker Stion notified the state Tuesday that it would close its Hattiesburg plant Dec. 13, laying off 137 employees. "Intense, non-market competition from foreign solar panel manufacturers, especially those based in China and proxy countries, has severely impacted the viability of our business," the San Jose, California, company said in a statement released by spokesman Frank Yang. Stion is the fourth green energy deal made by former Gov. Haley Barbour to flop. Earlier, solar equipment maker Twin Creeks and biofuel maker KiOR went out of business. Electric car maker GreenTech Automotive has ceased production. Mississippi's state government is owed at least $92 million by those companies. Clay Chandler, a spokesman for Gov. Phil Bryant, said Bryant was "disappointed" by Stion's shutdown, but said Stion's failure is another example of why Bryant reversed Barbour's policy of investing in startups.
 
'The Coast is the killing ground for illegal narcotics,' MBN director says
An Ocean Springs traffic stop and a Gulfport police officer's task force work led to the nation's first ever indictment of an international drug trafficking manufacturer in China, a federal official said Thursday. Xiaobing Yan, 40, is accused of manufacturing fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, often called designer drugs, and selling them on the Internet and through more than 100 distributors around the nation, U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst Jr. of the Southern District of Mississippi said in a news conference in Gulfport. A federal indictment unsealed Monday alleges Yan and one of his companies, 9W Technology Ltd., are considered by the DEA to be one of the most significant drug trafficking threats in the world, Hurst said. From January through September, Mississippi had 41 drug overdoses and most of those were from synthetic opioids, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director John Dowdy said. "The Coast is the killing ground for illegal narcotics," Dody said.
 
High Court rules MAEP full funding not mandated
The state Supreme Court has rejected the argument that the Legislature must fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the mechanism used to provide the bulk of the basics for the operation of local school districts. In a unanimous ruling, announced Thursday, the state's highest court ruled that despite a law passed in 2006 that said the MAEP "shall be fully funded" after 2007, the Legislature was not bound each year to fully fund the local school districts. The lawsuit over full funding of the MAEP was brought by former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove on behalf of 21 school districts, including Clay County, Prentiss County and Okolona from Northeast Mississippi. A majority of the Court in an opinion written by Justice Leslie King of the Central District said, in part, the law was not mandatory because the governor was not bound by the statute.
 
MAEP lawsuit: State Supreme Court upholds dismissal
The Mississippi Supreme Court says there is no mandatory requirement for the Legislature to fully fund K-12 education in the state. The court Thursday let stand a Hinds County chancery judge's ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed on behalf of 21 school districts in the state over Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding. In the unanimous opinion, the court decision, written by Justice Leslie King, said state law doesn't obligate the governor to sign a bill fully funding MAEP, therefore the statute cannot be construed as mandatory. "Additionally, because the governor is not obligated to sign any bill fully funding MAEP, the districts have not shown any injury, as they cannot show that, even had the Legislature passed a bill fully funding MAEP, that bill would have become law," the opinion said.
 
Governor's office: JPS takeover decision faces no timeline
Jackson parents, students and teachers were hoping the answer would come Thursday to the question that's sparked anxiety for many: Will the state take control of the city's schools? The answer, for now, remains in limbo. Gov. Phil Bryant, who was widely expected to make a decision Thursday on whether to grant a state takeover of the district, ended the day with no comments on the matter. Bryant indicated last month that he was reviewing material from the district as he considered the state Board of Education's request to declare the Jackson Public School District in a state of emergency. Clay Chandler, a spokesman for Bryant, reiterated there is no timetable for the governor to make a decision. "Whatever he decides will be done with the best interests of students in mind," he said in a statement.
 
AP source: Trump calls GOP senators to offer support, including Wicker
President Donald Trump has called three GOP incumbent senators to offer his support after they've come in the crosshairs of former White House adviser Steve Bannon's anti-establishment campaign. Trump made the calls on Wednesday to Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, John Barrasso of Wyoming and Deb Fischer of Nebraska, all of whom are running for re-election. The calls were confirmed by a Republican Senate aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose the private conversations. The three lawmakers are among Bannon's targets as he searches for primary opponents against incumbent Republican senators he views as overly establishment. Bannon has vowed to try to primary every Senate Republican up for re-election, with the exception of Ted Cruz of Texas. The calls were first reported by Politico.
 
Trump offers support to GOP senators in Bannon's cross hairs
President Donald Trump called three Republican senators this week and expressed support for their 2018 re-election bids, aligning with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the senator's intra-party feud with Steve Bannon. Trump dialed GOP Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, according to five people familiar with the calls. He promised to help the three senators against any insurgent challengers, one of these people said, and said he hoped they would be reelected. The calls are expected to eventually be followed by formal endorsements, GOP senators said. Wicker, Barrasso and Fischer declined to comment on private discussions with the president. Wicker wasn't available for comment. Bannon has criticized both Fischer and Barrasso and has told people he would like state Sen. Chris McDaniel to beat Wicker.
 
Mississippi Senator Back at Work, Faces Questions on Health
Longtime Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is back at work in Washington after a health setback and facing questions about whether he's up for the rigors of his job. Entering the Capitol on Thursday for a vote, Cochran was asked about his fitness to continue serving. Frail and speaking softly, he told reporters that "it's up for the people to decide" as aides ushered him into a Senate elevator. At the White House, President Donald Trump said he had great respect for Cochran, praising his return. Cochran is a leadership loyalist and returned to Washington to help pass a GOP budget plan that's crucial for the party's hopes on cutting taxes. "I have such respect for him because he is not feeling great. I can tell you that," Trump told reporters. "And he got on a plane in order to vote for the budget and I have great respect for that man."
 
Jerryl Briggs named president of Mississippi Valley State University
The state College Board on Thursday named Jerryl Briggs as president of Mississippi Valley State University. Briggs has served as the acting president since June. And the wording of his title is key. If he had officially been named "interim president" he would have been out of the running. Briggs comes to the helm of the 2,502-student campus following the departure of former president William Bynum. Bynum was tapped in late May to lead the Delta Devils' rival Jackson State University. In a statement, board trustee Shane Hooper, who chaired the Mississippi Valley search committee, credited the instrumental role Briggs played in increasing the Delta-based college's enrollment. "Mississippi Valley State University is on an upward trajectory," Hooper said.
 
Briggs leaves 'acting' behind, assumes presidency of Mississippi Valley State
A week following a campus visit by members of the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, the board named Dr. Jerryl Briggs new president of Mississippi Valley State University. "Throughout the listening sessions held last week, we heard the Valley community say that the university's next president should be someone with vision, who will bring stability to the office and build on the current success," said Shane Hooper, a board trustee and chair of the Valley search committee. "Dr. Briggs clearly has a commitment to the history, legacy, culture and mission of the university, as well as a vision for the future." Briggs received widespread support from alumni, students and faculty during last week's listening session.
 
College Board approves less debt for children's hospital
The University of Mississippi Medical Center won approval Thursday from College Board trustees to borrow up to $91 million from outside sources to finance expansion of its children's hospital. The hospital and medical education complex had asked trustees for permission to borrow up to $132 million. But parent University of Mississippi is now agreeing to lend up to $40 million over the medium term to the medical center from its own cash reserves, instead of borrowing that money from a bank. Medical center officials say they may not need all that money, planning to pay for construction in part using private donations and state bond money. "I just want to thank the university for working with the medical center," said trustee Alan Perry of Jackson. "I think we're to a place where we all feel comfortable."
 
Attorney general's opinion allows for relocation of Confederate statues on UM campus, Square
Debates surrounding Confederate monuments and their potential messages of history and racism have intensified across the country, and Oxford and Ole Miss now find themselves at the center of it all regarding the possible relocation of Confederate statues. A recent opinion issued by Deputy Attorney General Mike Lanford said statues could be relocated as long as it remains on public, county property. The opinion applies to both the statue located on the Square near the courthouse and the memorial in the Circle. In a statement to The Daily Mississippian, Ryan Whittington, assistant director of public relations for social media strategy for the university, said the attorney general's letter will have no effect on the work the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on History and Context is doing. Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement, said the decision to keep the statue in its original location means the community must now prove it doesn't condone the racism some associate with Confederate memorabilia.
 
Auburn agriculture professor seeks to expand irrigation in Alabama
The latest numbers tell the irrigation story: In Alabama, only 15 percent of the land currently available for farming is irrigated, a far cry from Mississippi's 61 percent of cropland and Georgia's 40 percent. Over time, that lack of irrigation translates into huge revenue losses for the state's agricultural industry. "Farmers often struggle in deciding when and how much to irrigate, and this prevents them from achieving their full yield potential," said Brenda Ortiz, associate professor in the Auburn University College of Agriculture's Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences and an agronomist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. "For many Alabama farmers, irrigation is a new practice, so they are looking for training, technology and information to support their decisions." With grants totaling more than $1 million, Ortiz -- along with fellow College of Agriculture faculty members and colleagues at other universities and agencies -- hopes to increase irrigation adoption and close the irrigation knowledge gap in Alabama.
 
U. of Florida crowd shouts down white nationalist speaker
White nationalist Richard Spencer may have been the guest speaker at the University of Florida Thursday, but protesters and the student body had the last word. Spencer, leader of a white nationalist movement, ended his two-hour scheduled talk at UF's Phillips Center nearly 25 minutes early after having to yell over a heckling crowd for much of the event. The controversial event brought an estimated 2,500 protesters to the university despite fears it would be a repeat of the "Unite the Right" demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent in August. The Charlottesville event, which Spencer helped organize, ended when a man drove his car into a group of people, killing one and injuring 19 people. Almost 500 tickets were distributed for the 1,700-seat theater, although some left without taking their seats. Police in riot gear towered over those in attendance from the second level of the Phillips Center, in case violence broke out. But by the time the event started, it was clear the majority was there to disrupt the speech, not hear it.
 
U. of Florida bell tower trolled white supremacist with black national anthem
As white supremacist leader Richard Spencer prepared to take the stage at the University of Florida, a concert of bells rang through campus leaving a poignant message of unity. Laura Ellis, a music professor at the university, went up 11 flights of stairs in the school's carillon tower on Thursday to play "Lift Every Voice and Sing," also known as the black national anthem. "I think it was an appropriate time to play this song, to show our support for those who need it the most," Ellis told CNN. "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was first written as a poem in 1900 by James Weldon Johnson as part of a celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday at the all-black Stanton School in Jacksonville, Florida. On Thursday, the sound of bells echoed through campus, as police officers in riot gear, Spencer's supporters and anti-Spencer protesters carrying signs against fascism, neo-Nazis and white supremacy flooded the school.
 
Spencer's talk at Florida met by protests and attempts to shout him down
When Richard Spencer stepped out on stage at the University of Florida Thursday, it was following weeks of preparation, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on security, and repeated condemnations by administrators and professors who said they deplored Spencer's brand of white supremacy but were constitutionally bound to let him speak. He was instantly met with boos -- members of the crowd attempting to shout him down. Anxieties both among students and university leaders abounded for weeks. But there were few reported scuffles and injuries in Gainesville. Spencer was able to address the crowd shortly after the scheduled 2:30 p.m. starting time. By a little after 4 p.m. Thursday, he had departed, though protesters still lingered. W. Kent Fuchs, the Florida president, had urged students to stay away from the Spencer talk. He spent part of the day in a booth set up by the Chabad Jewish Student Center to encourage students to respond to Spencer's hateful message by doing good deeds for others. At the end of the day, Fuchs tweeted a link to an article about that activity, and his take on it: "Love and good deeds always overcome hate and evil."
 
LSU president reinstates alcohol ban on Greeks, says they did not take it seriously
LSU President F. King Alexander announced Thursday that the university will reinstate an alcohol ban at fraternity and sorority parties on campus until at least January 2018, citing revelations in recent days that some students had not "absorbed the severity and seriousness of the current situation." After LSU freshman Maxwell Gruver died last month, in an incident police said was the result of alcohol poisoning and hazing at the Phi Delta Theta house, Alexander froze all Greek activities, ranging from philanthropy to parties. Alexander said in a letter to Greek students that he has learned new information that made him reconsider the decision to allow drinking at parties. "During this time, I have been approached by a variety of individuals ranging from current students to parents and alumni, who have shared information with me through confidential conversations," Alexander said in the letter. "These details demonstrate that there are those among us who have not yet absorbed the severity and seriousness of the current situation. It also underscores that there are a few who seek to maintain the status quo despite continued warnings about the dangers inherent in such actions."
 
Texas A&M University System Board of Regents OK tuition hike for inflation adjustment
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved a systemwide increase in tuition Thursday, including an increase for the campus in College Station that could see some incoming students paying at least 3.7 percent more than the 2017-2018 tuition rate. The increase, which was considered during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Regents on the campus of Tarleton State University in Stephenville, will go in effect with the fall 2018 and fall 2019 semesters, respectively, and was cited as a necessary adjustment to keep up with inflation and to provide for increased services. The proposed increase is projected to add nearly $5.8 million in new funding for the fiscal year 2019 budget. Among the areas where the funding is planned to be used include additional faculty, enhancing classroom technology, increasing state-required financial assistance and providing more opportunities for "transformational learning experiences" such as internships and study abroad, according to System documents.
 
U. of Missouri announces plans to improve MU Alert and emergency responses
University of Missouri administrators will be taking steps to improve the university's response to emergencies on campus, Vice Chancellor for Operations Gary Ward announced in an email Thursday evening. This comes after students expressed frustration during a search for a woman with a gun on campus Wednesday. Immediate actions include expanding MU Alert, the emergency mass notification system, to allow parents to sign up for text message and email alerts. The university will also promote the MU Alert website, specifically the "Surviving an Active Shooter" video on how to respond to active threats and the page on whom to contact in an emergency. The email also listed long-term actions the university will take, including developing a policy on how to handle class attendance during emergencies.


SPORTS
 
Kentucky finding a way to win close games
Things have been good on the football side of things for Big Blue Nation so far this season. Kentucky is off to a 5-1 start for only the fifth time in the last 40 years and can clinch its second straight bowl berth this weekend with a win at Mississippi State. But unlike the Bulldogs -- whose closest game was a 25-point win over BYU last week -- Kentucky's games have been decided by an average of 6.5 points, with its most lopsided game being a 27-16 home win against Eastern Kentucky. "The bottom line is that we have won five games, which is very good," said Wildcats coach Mark Stoops. "We are doing very good in turnover margin and I think the team has found ways to win when maybe the other side is not playing its best. Finding ways to win, and putting yourself in a position to win football games is bottom line and I think this team has done that very well."
 
Mississippi State's Jamal Couch wants to make most of his chances at WR
Total offense numbers were kind to the Mississippi State football team entering last week's game against BYU ranking the Bulldogs among the top half in the Southeastern Conference. Cutting those numbers down to explosive plays generated, particularly those done through the air, presented another story. Halfway through the season, MSU (4-2, 1-2 SEC) ranks tied for 111th in the nation in passing plays of 30 yards or more with five, meaning fewer than one per game. Still, when MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald threw a 32-yard touchdown pass against BYU, it's possible the bigger development was not the pass itself, but the person who caught the pass. Sophomore wide receiver Jamal Couch can be seen as the future of MSU's downfield passing game given his combination of youth and size, 6-foot-4, and its rarity within the MSU receiving corps.
 
Logan Cooke's punting an overlooked reason for Mississippi State's success
Logan Cooke has a picture of himself as a 3-year-old and in the photo he is kicking a ball while his grandfather is holding it. "Even in recess," Cooke said, "I was always kicking the balls and my friends would be getting mad at me. It's just something I've always loved to do." Fittingly, Cooke has excelled at punting footballs at a high level this season for Mississippi State. The senior is eighth in the country in average yards per punt (46.2) with a long of 67. He has pinned 12 of his 25 punts inside the red zone and 10 have exceeded 50 yards. Cooke has a shot at breaking Andy Russ' program record of 46.5 yards per punt, set in 1996. All three of Cooke's punts against BYU last week traveled 50 yards or further with a long of 57. Cooke is an overlooked reason for the success of Mississippi State (4-2, 1-2 SEC) this season. With Cooke, MSU's defense begins drives at the opponent's 29 on average. He again will be a factor against Kentucky (5-1, 2-1) on Saturday (3 p.m., SEC Network).
 
Kentucky's run defense about to get stiffest test of season at Mississippi State
A couple of weeks into the season, a reporter pointed out to senior Matt Elam that Kentucky's once-maligned run defense was ranked in the top 10 nationally. "I think we'll take more pride if it was around game eight or nine," the nose tackle said in a matter-of-fact way. Kentucky (5-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) is much closer to that timeline now and is rated 10th in the country and third in the league at stopping the run. That defense is about to get its biggest test of the season on Saturday at Mississippi State, which is one of the nation's elite rushing teams behind dual-threat quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and running back Aeris Williams. "This is a team where it's critical to stop the run," defensive coordinator Matt House said of UK's defense, which is allowing just 97.2 yards a game on the ground. "That goes without saying."
 
Bulldogs open season with a dozen road games
Mississippi State will spend a majority of the opening month of baseball season on the road. The Diamond Dogs will begin the year with 12 straight away games before making their home debut against New Mexico State on March 6-7 with Polk-Dement Stadium/ Dudy Noble Field still under construction. MSU opens the season at Southern Miss Feb. 16-18 before traveling to Jackson State (Feb. 21), Texas Rio Grand Valley (Feb. 26) and McNeese State (Feb. 28). The Bulldogs will also take part in the Kleberg Bank College Classic at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas Feb. 23-25 against UC Santa Barbara,, Nicholls State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the Shriner's College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston March 2-4 against Louisiana-Lafayette, Houston and Sam Houston State.
 
Mississippi State baseball returning to Biloxi's MGM Park
The Mississippi State baseball team will play four games in South Mississippi this season, including one contest at Biloxi's MGM Park. MSU announced its baseball schedule for the 2018 season on Thursday and it includes a March 14 game against Southeastern Louisiana in Biloxi. First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m. MSU will start the season on a 12-game road trip while Dudy Noble Field undergoes renovations. The Bulldogs will open the season with a three-game series at Southern Miss on Feb. 16-18. After the Bulldogs topped USM to win the Hattiesburg Regional back in June, there should be an intense atmosphere at Pete Taylor Park. With construction in progress on the new $55 million Dudy Noble Field, MSU will play its first home games on March 6-7 against New Mexico State.
 
Southern Miss announces plans for 1,000-seat volleyball, multipurpose facility
Southern Miss formally announced plans for a new multipurpose Wellness Center Thursday. The Wellness Center will be located adjacent to the Payne Center along West Fourth Street, Golden Eagle athletic director Jon Gilbert told the Hattiesburg American. He added it will provide space for community programming, volleyball courts, a training room, weight room, locker rooms, classrooms, administrative offices and additional meeting space. Gilbert also said the 26,000- to 28,000-square-foot facility will feature a seating capacity of roughly 1,000. The center will be funded through private giving and in partnership with the Mississippi Community Education Center. The total cost of the project is not known. The architectural firm of Wier Boerner Allin of Jackson has been selected to design the facility.
 
Ole Miss and Ed O: The wild story behind the hire, and how it brought LSU to this moment
Hotty toddy, gosh almighty! That's the start of Ole Miss' traditional fan-led chant, the one that, in December 2004, a man named Rick Neuheisel memorized. He knew that first line. He knew the second line, too. Who the hell are we? Hey! And, yes, the third. Flim fam, bim bam; Ole Miss by damn! Neuheisel was prepared to begin a scheduled meeting with Ole Miss administrators in Dallas with the full chant, arms raised, belting out the cheer while donning school colors -- a Navy blue suit and red tie. The meeting was a job interview, and the chant was part of his plan to win a gig that opened days before, when the program fired David Cutcliffe. Neuheisel appeared to be the top candidate, having led Colorado and then Washington to top-5 rankings in eight combined seasons. While he drove to the Seattle airport to catch a commercial flight to Dallas, Neuheisel's cell phone rang. It was Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone. "Just before I parked my car," Neuheisel said Thursday, "I was told the interview was canceled." Ole Miss's hunt for a head football coach 13 years ago had turned, eventually resulting in the hiring of a fiery, Cajun-bred assistant at Southern Cal.
 
How a billboard bragging idea ignited a new South Carolina-Clemson rivalry
Well, it's that time of the year again. The time when Clemson University football fans prepare for Cocky's funeral. And the time when University of South Carolina Gamecocks brace for the famed Tiger Burn. This year's Clemson-Carolina spat, however, has turned into something more. It started Monday, when Tom Wilson -- best known by his Twitter handle, @ClemsonTom -- said he spotted a tweet that said there was a sale for billboards in Columbia. He said he thought that it "would be hilarious" if Clemson University fans could raise enough money to buy a billboard that would pick on Gamecocks in some way. But before he could give the billboard serious thought, the idea had taken off among other Clemson fans. And it got under the skin of Carolina fans, Wilson said. By Tuesday morning, Chris Cox, a Gamecock fan, learned of the billboard idea. It "seemed a little childish" to many USC fans, Cox said. In response, he also sent a tweet. Cox suggested that instead of raising money for a billboard, Carolina fans should raise money to help those devastated by Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico.
 
Bruce Pearl feels good about fan support after Auburn re-sells all season tickets
The three-plus weeks since associate head coach Chuck Person was one of 10 arrested on corruption charges as a result of an FBI investigation have not been particularly easy for the Auburn men's basketball program. Bruce Pearl saw the program he coaches in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, and players have had to practice for the upcoming season with the cloud of two investigations -- one internal by the law firm Lightfoot, Franklin & White, one external by the FBI -- hang over their heads. The day after Person's arrest, Auburn handed out full refunds to an estimated 30 season-ticket holders that requested them. That number eventually grew to "less than a couple hundred," Pearl said Wednesday at SEC Media Day in Nashville. But the seats didn't go unclaimed long. An Auburn spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that the school has again sold out of men's basketball season tickets, which marks the fourth straight season that has been the case.
 
Gary Link relieved of U. of Missouri broadcasting duties
Gary Link's voice has become synonymous with Missouri basketball as the team's radio color commentator over the last 21 years, providing the backdrop for two Big 12 tournament championships, 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and two Tiger trips to the Elite Eight. That's about to change. Link will no longer be a part of the Mizzou Radio Network's basketball broadcasts, Missouri spokesperson Nick Joos confirmed Thursday. "Gary Link has been relieved of his duties with Mizzou Athletics, however, it would be inappropriate to comment further on a personnel matter," Joos said. "The athletic department will work with Mizzou Sports Properties to identify a replacement for Gary on our radio broadcasts." Link's departure comes just three days before the Tigers are scheduled to unofficially start one of their most anticipated seasons in recent memory.
 
Losing this week not an option if State, Ole Miss, USM expect successful seasons
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "If this Saturday has a theme in Mississippi college football it's this: Fork in the road. That's what Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss all face at the mid-point of the 2017 season. State, 4-2, plays host to 5-1 Kentucky. Ole Miss, 3-3, faces 5-2 LSU in Oxford. Southern Miss, 4-2, travels to Ruston, La., to face 3-3 Louisiana Tech in what amounts to an elimination game in Conference USA. State is a whopping 10-point favorite over Kentucky. Oddsmakers make LSU a 7-point pick over Ole Miss. USM is a 3-point underdog at Louisiana Tech. Let's take them the way coaches do, which is, of course, one game at a time."



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