Friday, July 19, 2019   
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith: Chronic wasting disease will spread as flooding confines deer
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) Thursday sought a strong commitment that solutions to chronic wasting disease in deer will be a priority for researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as stipulated in the 2018 Farm Bill. Hyde-Smith raised the issued at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing titled, Agricultural Research and 2018 Farm Bill Implementation. The 2018 Farm Bill included a Hyde-Smith amendment directing the USDA to prioritize CWD research. Hyde-Smith asked Dr. Scott Hutchins, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, for a commitment to make CWD a research priority. She also advocated USDA collaborating with land grant institutions like Mississippi State University, which has an established, widely respected whitetail deer research programs and CWD-relevant scientific and technical expertise. Hutchins, a MSU graduate, concurred with the serious threat posed by CWD, a contagious, always fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family. He said that within available resources, USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists are working on CWD issues.
Beatles tribute, John Hiatt, Celtic Women among MSU Riley Center acts
Classic rock, a cappella harmonies, children's songs, a legendary singer-songwriter, and Irish-flavored Christmas music are on tap for the 2019 Fall Performing Arts Series at the MSU Riley Center in Meridian. "Even though there are only five shows this season, it is an absolutely all-star lineup, with everything from eclectic blues to a star-studded Beatles celebration to an engaging Celtic Christmas show to one of the top a capella vocal groups in the country," Daniel Barnard, the executive director of the MSU Riley Center, said in a news release. The series starts on Sept. 26 with "It Was Fifty Years Ago Today - A Tribute to The Beatles' White Album," featuring Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross, Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, Jason Scheff and Joey Molland. The artists will perform their own hits as well as songs from the epic 1968 Beatles album.
Mississippi State adds electric motorcycles to patrol
Mississippi State's Police Department is adding a new form of patrol. The new additions to campus safety come in the form of electric motorcycles which campus police say will not only enhance campus safety but also support the university's sustainability goals. MSU Chief of Police Vance Rice announced that the nationally accredited department has purchased two electric motorcycles. "These are not little mopeds or chariots, they are full size, enduro type motorcycles with a top speed of over 90 miles per hour and a faster 0-to-60 time than most gas motorcycles," Rice said. He noted one significant advantage is the motorcycles have no exhaust emission or engine noise. "The motorcycles will be used on a regular basis throughout the year," said Rice. "I am really excited about the response advantage they will give us during gameday traffic."
Mississippi State adds new crime fighting tools
The MSU Police Department has a couple of new crime-fighting tools. The department adds two electric motorcycles to its patrol force. Chief Vance Rice said the bikes will help officers get through traffic and improve response time. He said that can really come in handy in game-day traffic during football season. Vance said the electric motorcycles have some other pluses. "The electric side appealed to us because of the environmental friendliness of the motorcycle it's also extremely quiet which can be very advantageous patrolling parking lots at night the only noise you hear from these motorcycles is the sound of the tires on the pavement," said Chief Rice.
Mississippi State Professor Receives Fulbright Scholarship for Aquaculture Research
Peter Allen, an associate professor in Mississippi State University's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, recently received a Fulbright grant to research aquaculture -- the farming of fish, crustaceans, mollusks and other aquatic organisms -- in Chile. The Fulbright program is a national cultural exchange fellowship that works to improve intercultural relations and diplomacy. Allen will travel with his wife and two daughters to Chile and spend the next six months there conducting research at the Center for Advanced Studies in Arid Zones in the city of Coquimbo. His research focuses on the effects of hypoxia, or low oxygen levels in water, on a type of fish called corvina, a release from MSU says. The corvina is a common food fish, and Allen's research will also seek ways to improve farming of the fish under low-oxygen conditions.
Extension Service will host flood seminar
Flooding in the Mississippi River and Yazoo Backwater Area have brought change to human lives, wildlife and the natural balance of other bodies of water. In an effort to show what to do when the water recedes, the Mississippi State University Warren County Extension Service is hosting a seminar entitled "After the Flood: Now What?" The free event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Hinds Community College Vicksburg Campus, 755 Highway 27. The seminar will include presentations by experts in their respective fields, Warren County extension agent Sandy Havard said, with lunch provided for those who attend. "We have also created packets for people that consist of several different publications that would be helpful for them and we will be giving away some cleaning buckets," Havard said.
Questions linger on new stormwater rules
When the public hearing on a proposed change to the city of Starkville's stormwater ordinance ended Tuesday without a single dissenting speaker, it appeared to be clear sailing for the plans which called for new developments to provide stormwater mitigation to withstand a 100-year storm event. That lasted all of about 10 minutes. The subject re-emerged when Memphis-based developer Henry Minor appeared before the board later in the meeting seeking preliminary plat approval for his planned subdivision on South Montgomery south of the intersection of Lynn Lane. Under the current ordinance, developments must be able mitigate storm-water runoff to accommodate a 10-year weather event, which is defined as a rainfall of six inches over a 24-hour period, according to city engineer Edward Kemp. On Tuesday, Clyde Pritchard, who is doing the engineering work for Minor's planned subdivision, told aldermen the project features a retention pond capable of mitigation stormwater runoff for a 20-year storm, but would not meet the 100-year requirement being proposed in the new ordinance.
NBC Poll: In November matchup, Waller slightly outperforms Reeves; Hood trails both Republicans
Republican candidate Bill Waller Jr., is outperforming Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves against Democrat Jim Hood, according to a NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll with Mississippi Today. The poll released Friday morning shows that Waller, whose campaign slogan is "the conservative who can win in November," would perform three points better against Hood than Reeves, who has 10 times the money and key endorsements statewide. Hood, the fourth term attorney general who aims to become the state's first Democratic governor since 2003, trails Waller by 12 points and Reeves by nine points in the poll. Of the 205 respondents who labeled themselves "very conservative," 69 percent said they'd vote for Waller over Hood, while 67 percent said they'd vote for Reeves over Hood. Of the 389 respondents who labeled themselves as "conservative," Reeves fared better against Hood than Waller, with 73 percent saying they'd vote for Reeves over Hood and 70 percent said they'd vote for Waller over Hood.
Secretary of state candidates sling mud ahead of primary
A thus far under-the-radar race for Mississippi secretary of state is heating up as two Republicans launch attacks over their loyalty to President Donald Trump, taxpayer-funded hotel stays, and knowledge of state election laws. State Sen. Michael Watson faces Public Service Commissioner Sam Britton in the Aug. 6 primary. Current Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is running for lieutenant governor. Watson and Britton are relatively well-known in state politics, and both have raised enough money to fund television attack ads. And on the campaign trail, they have criticized each other on issues including the Kemper power plant, the state's voter ID law, even what to do with Mississippi's beleaguered driver license division. he ads are likely to continue until election day, with both men building large campaign accounts in recent months. At the end of June, Britton had $174,000 to spend, compared to Watson's $226,000.
Britton and Watson, armed with potent ammo, trade blows in surprisingly bitter GOP SoS primary
Sam Britton and Michael Watson, the two candidates battling it out for the Republican nomination in the Secretary of State's race, have taken off the gloves ahead of the August 6 primary that could decide who will become the state's next elections chief. Britton, the southern district public service commissioner, and Watson, a state senator from Pascagoula, have been compiling opposition research on the other for months. Both campaigns recently started rolling it out. Watson fired the first shot of the campaign in June, mocking a tweet from Britton that suggested the state should require Mississippians provide identification when they vote. The tweet was deleted quickly, as state law already mandates Mississippians produce photo ID before voting. Three weeks later, Britton released the first attack ad of any 2019 statewide candidate. Beginning on July 8, Britton's statewide TV ad uses Watson's support of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican primary for president to raise questions about his allegiance to President Donald Trump.
Mississippi GOP gubernatorial candidate promotes 'My truck. My rules' bumper stickers
The campaign for a Mississippi Republican gubernatorial candidate who barred a female reporter's solo access to accompany him on a ride-along because she's a woman said Thursday it is selling bumper stickers with the phrase he used in his defense: "My truck. My rules." State Rep. Robert Foster, one of three GOP gubernatorial candidates in the state, denied Mississippi Today reporter Larrison Campbell's request to shadow him on a 15-hour trip. His campaign manager telling her that a "male colleague would need to accompany her" because the "optics of the candidate with a woman, even a working reporter, could be used in a smear campaign to insinuate an extramarital affair." Foster later doubled down on his remarks, saying "in my truck, we go by my rules. And that's my rule."
Black Woman Accuses Dem Leader of Ignoring Her Governor Run
At the Pike County Fairgrounds in McComb, Miss., in early June, Velesha P. Williams greeted Bobby Moak, the head of the state Democratic Party whom she had been trying to get in touch with for weeks. "Why haven't you returned any of my calls or responded to any of my emails?" asked Williams, an African American woman from Jackson who is running for the party's nomination for governor. "I've been traveling," Moak told her. "I've been traveling, too," Williams said. Williams relayed that conversation, which Moak did not deny, to the Jackson Free Press on Wednesday. She told the JFP that she feels ignored as a black woman running for the highest office in the state and that she no longer thinks Moak is fit to serve in his position. The Jackson Free Press asked Moak what he thinks of Williams' assertion that he is ignoring her candidacy as an African American woman, along with the party's black constituency. "That's fine. That's her opinion, thank you very much," he said. "Anybody who has followed my career in the Legislature would know that to be factually not true. But that's her opinion, and she's free to hold that."
Medicaid expansion big issue for gubernatorial candidates but not Mississippi voters
As Mississippi's gubernatorial candidates stump in the weeks leading up to the August primaries, one issue that both Republicans and Democrats have pushed before voters across the state is Medicaid expansion. According to a new poll released Friday morning, however, voters appear to be less unified behind this position. Just over one-third of Mississippi voters -- or 35 percent -- said they'd be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported expanding Medicaid. Another 33 percent said they would be less likely to support a candidate who favored Medicaid expansion and 31 percent said a candidate's position on the issue wouldn't affect their vote, according to a NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll done in collaboration with Mississippi Today. Mississippi remains one of just 14 states that has not accepted federal dollars to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that Mississippi qualifies for the highest match rate in the country, with the federal government spending nine dollars on the program for every one dollar the state spends.
Ghosts of Confederate Mississippi endure in the Capitol
While answering phones in the Mississippi congressional office where he worked, Ty James was called the n-word by someone on the other end of the line. It was 2017 and marked the second time he had been called that. Those kinds of experiences have helped convince James, a native Mississippian and African American who is press secretary for Rep. Bennie Thompson, that the two statues representing the state in the Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection shouldn't be devoted to men who were Confederates and white supremacists. That doesn't mean the statues don't carry cultural baggage. Mississippi is the only state represented by two Confederates in the National Statuary Hall Collection. Chris Gallegos, communications director for Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, said it's up to the state to decide whether to remove the statues, a sentiment shared by most of the delegation, including his boss.
USDA official: Climate science plan wasn't supposed to be public
The Agriculture Department had not planned on making its sweeping climate science plan public, Scott Hutchins, deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics, said today. "It was not ever intended to be released to the public," Hutchins told the Senate Agriculture Committee this morning during a hearing on agricultural research. Hutchins was responding to questions from Senate Agriculture ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) about a POLITICO report that the department quashed the release of its climate science plan, which it finalized in September 2017. Several USDA agencies contributed to the 33-page, multiyear plan, which outlines how the department should help agriculture understand, adapt to and minimize the effects of climate change. Top officials, however, decided not to release the plan and told staff members to keep it for internal use only, an employee with knowledge of the decision told POLITICO.
USDA official says agencies can find new staff after they move to Kansas City
A top Agriculture Department research official told a Senate committee that two agencies slated for a contested move out of Washington can recover from an exodus of employees and denied media reports the department has hidden agency documents on climate change. Scott Hutchins, deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics, said Thursday that many employees eligible to move to the Kansas City metropolitan area with either the Economic Research Service or National Institute of Food and Agriculture have notified USDA that they will stay in Washington. Employees who have agreed to move have until Sept. 30 to make the trek west, where the agencies will operate out of a temporary space until USDA finds a long-term landlord. His answers probably did little to tamp down opposition by congressional Democrats, former USDA research officials and research groups who argue the USDA has never fully explained the need for the move.
Trump Disavows 'Send Her Back' Chant as G.O.P. Frets Over Ugly Phrase
Nervous Republicans, from senior members of Congress to his own daughter Ivanka, urged President Trump on Thursday to repudiate the "send her back" chant directed at a Somali-born congresswoman during his speech the night before at a rally in North Carolina, amid widespread fears that the rally had veered into territory that could hurt their party in 2020. In response, Mr. Trump disavowed the behavior of his own supporters in comments to reporters at the White House and claimed that he had tried to contain it, an assertion clearly contradicted by video of the event. Mr. Trump said he was "not happy" with the chant directed at Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a freshman Democrat who is Muslim. Mr. Trump's inner circle immediately appreciated the gravity of the rally scene and quickly urged him to repudiate the chant.
At HBCUs founded for food research, students search for healthy meals
Historically black land-grant colleges and universities were created to be centers of food and agriculture research, but in reality many of their students live in food deserts with little access to grocery stores or restaurants. A majority of the so-called 1890 institutions, named for the year they were incorporated into the U.S. Department of Agriculture's land-grant program, are located in low-income, rural areas. Most are at least four miles from the nearest grocer on the map, an analysis by POLITICO shows. Land-grant institutions were founded to provide an agricultural education to students and they receive federal funding to do so. Yet the lack of viable food options around their campuses could make it tough to attract and maintain students, those familiar with the schools say. 1890 schools are particularly isolated along the Black Belt, a region in the South named for the color of its super-rich soil. Alabama A&M University is almost five miles from the nearest grocery store and so is Alcorn State in western Mississippi.
Educators caught in licensing 'misunderstanding' can now teach next school year with extension
Effective immediately, 734 teachers who taught during academic year 2018-19 could be eligible to get their jobs back now that the State Board of Education has approved an extension for them to meet licensing requirements. These requirements became the center of controversy throughout June when it came to light that a licensing misunderstanding would cost some teachers their jobs. The issue heightened when it was reported that Jackson Public School District would lose 236 teachers because of the misunderstanding, with statewide and national news outlets reporting on Mississippi Today's findings. While some in the education field say this measure will greatly impact the odds of getting a certified teacher in the classroom next year, others say action was taken too late to have as significant of an impact.
UAH made Alabama more 'attractive' nationally, Wernher von Braun said
There is no secret, no mystery about why the University of Alabama in Huntsville exists today as a top research institution. The day was June 20, 1961, when Wernher von Braun addressed a joint session of the Alabama legislature. To build a rocket to take Americans to the moon, von Braun needed a collegiate research institute to help. He didn't have that in Huntsville, the home not only of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center but where the German rocket scientist had assembled his team of scientists to build those moon rockets. Von Braun needed money. The legislature gave him $3 million and what's now known as the Von Braun Research Hall at UAH was born. That speech to the legislature more than 58 years ago is the stuff of legend generations later in Huntsville. John Patterson, who was Alabama's governor in 1961, said it was a game-changer.
U. of South Carolina mega-donor Darla Moore urges board to reject 'political influence'
University of South Carolna mega-donor Darla Moore is urging the school's board of trustees to resist "rank political influence" in selecting the school's next president. Moore emailed USC's board of trustee members after 8 p.m. Thursday night, according to an email obtained by The State. "The university is an institution of higher learning and the surest way to extinguish its integrity is to politicize it," Moore wrote. Trustee Charles Williams, who said he spoke to Moore earlier today, confirmed the authenticity of the email. Moore has donated more than $75 million to USC, her namesake project being the Darla Moore School of Business. She was a member of the board of trustees until then. Gov. Nikki Haley replaced her with a campaign donor in 2011.
UGA fundraising down, but tops $200 million
The University of Georgia's string of record fundraising years ended in 2019, but the $224 million UGA fundraisers reported is still the third-highest in the university's history. UGA's all-time record was last year's $242 million, more than double what it was five years earlier and the fifth straight year -- every year Jere Morehead had been UGA president -- fundraisers set a new record. In 2017, UGA topped $200 million for the first time ever with $228 million. UGA announced the fundraising totals Thursday. Fundraisers have now exceeded the modest $1.2 million goal the university set in its latest eight-year fundraising campaign, "Commit to Georgia," according to a UGA news release. UGA Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Kelly Kerner thanked donors in a news release. In the 2018 fiscal year, the Georgia Bulldog Club reported a record $80.4 million in total donations, about one-third of the $242 million overall UGA reported. In 2017, the athletic total was reported as $56 million, about one-fourth of that year's record $228 million overall. This year, athletic donations were much less, about $35.3 million, said UGA spokesman Greg Trevor.
Looking to future missions, Aggie researchers study bone loss in astronauts
When most people think about the equipment needed for a successful space mission, the human skeleton is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But for two Texas A&M professors, bones have been the focus of more than 25 years of collaborative research supporting exploration beyond Earth. Susan Bloomfield -- professor and associate dean for research in the College of Education and Human Development -- directs A&M's Bone Biology Laboratory and works closely with Harry Hogan, a professor of mechanical engineering, associate dean for graduate programs in the College of Engineering and director of the Bone Mechanics Laboratory. Together with their students and staff, they have conducted extensive research into the bone loss astronauts experience during their time in space. Fifty years after humans first walked on the moon, NASA has its sights set on Mars. And according to Bloomfield and Hogan, the phenomenon of bone loss will be an important factor to consider for future crewed missions.
Trial ends in animal rights group's Sunshine Law suit against U. of Missouri
Animal rights group Beagle Freedom Project made its case this week that the University of Missouri violated the state's Sunshine Law in a two-day bench trial of the group's lawsuit against the university. Beagle Freedom Project's 2016 lawsuit alleges that the university knowingly and purposefully violated the Sunshine Law when it billed the group $82,222.33 for public health records of dogs and cats used in medical research. Boone County Circuit Judge Jeff Harris said he will rule in the case after final findings and conclusions are submitted by both parties in late August. In their arguments, the group's attorneys, Daniel Kolde and Eric Crinnian, sought to demonstrate that the university used higher-paid employees and lead researchers to gather records, resulting in higher costs than necessary. The Missouri Sunshine Law states that when responding to requests, those who gather documents must be the employees who can do so at the least expense.
Ellucian Banner security flaw highlighted by Education Department
The U.S. Department of Education has warned of "active and ongoing exploitation" of a security flaw in Ellucian's Banner system that may have given hackers access to student data such as grades, financial information and Social Security numbers. A security alert, published Wednesday by the department's Office of Federal Student Aid, said 62 colleges and universities using Banner had already been targeted. The alert indicates that criminals have been "scanning the internet looking for institutions to victimize" and drawing up lists of colleges to target. Institutions that have transitioned to Banner 9, the latest version of Ellucian's enterprise resource planning system, are not thought to be affected. But users using older versions of two Banner modules called Web Tailor and Enterprise Identity Services could be vulnerable.
Florida governor signs tough new hazing law
Florida's governor has signed one of the country's most intricate antihazing laws, an attempt to stem the sometimes deadly rituals by expanding those who could be criminally liable and offering protections for those who help an ailing victim. Historians and experts say the law is among the "most cutting-edge" in the nation. That's largely because of the unique provisions that ensure Good Samaritans can't be prosecuted if they see a hazing victim needs medical attention and they're the first to contact 911 or campus security. In order to escape criminal charges, the person making the phone call would need to remain on the scene until help arrived, according to the law. Such a measure may reduce hazing-related deaths if students don't fear being punished for contacting authorities. Under the law, a person could also be immune from charges if he or she administered medical aid.
As the Cost of a 4-Year Degree Soars, Community Colleges Reap More Big Gifts
Big gifts to community colleges have grown sharply over the past decade, rising from a single donation of only $2.5 million in 2009 to contributions totaling $53.1 million last year, according to a Chronicle analysis of gifts of $1 million or more. And things are looking good so far for 2019, with $27 million already given or pledged as of May. While donors to community colleges have in past years primarily made gifts from $1 million to $5 million, eight-figure donations to community colleges are increasingly common. Last year, for example, Tyler Junior College in Texas received a $19 million bequest from the late Jim and Virginia Gatewood, and Andy and Mary Matsui gave $20 million to Hartnell College in 2017. Over all, U.S. philanthropists have given more than $271 million to community colleges since 2009.
Harvard University bomb threat at black commencement results in prison
An Arizona man was sentenced Wednesday to more than one year in prison for threatening to bomb Harvard University and shoot attendees at the school's first-ever black commencement. Nicholas Zuckerman, 25, was sentenced to 15 months in prison by Boston federal judge Indira Talwani. In a deal with prosecutors, he had pleaded guilty in February to two counts of transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another. Zuckerman, who resides in the Phoenix area, was indicted last year for threats made through posts on Harvard University's Instagram page in May 2017 ahead of commencement ceremonies. It came as Harvard was preparing to hold its inaugural Black Commencement, billed as an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of black graduates. U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling, in a statement, said, "The divisiveness of our public discourse does not excuse making any group of people feel unsafe."
Faculty group at Alaska's Anchorage campus says Fairbanks should bear brunt of state cuts
The gloves have already come off in the wake of massive cuts planned for the University of Alaska system, with the Faculty Senate at the university's largest campus in Anchorage issuing a report detailing why the smaller research campus in Fairbanks should bear the brunt of the financial reduction. Fairbanks officials were none too pleased. In late June, Governor Mike Dunleavy vetoed portions of the Alaska Legislature's state budget -- causing an unprecedented 41 percent cut to the University of Alaska system. Last week, legislators failed to override the governor's veto. Now, as major financial issues loom closer, infighting has already begun between institutions within the system -- as is often the case in higher education when money gets tighter.
'I'm Drowning': Those Hit Hardest By Student Loan Debt Never Finished College
Most days, 25-year-old Chavonne can push her student loan debt to the back of her mind. Between short-term office jobs in the Washington, D.C., area, she drives for Uber. But once in awhile, a debt collector will get hold of her cellphone number -- the one she keeps changing to avoid them -- and it all comes back fresh. "I'll be like, 'Oh no!' " she says. "It's a sad reminder that I owe somebody money!" In April, she got another reminder when the government seized her tax refund. All this for a degree she never finished. Back in high school, she recalls, her teachers and friends pushed her to go to college. And so, without too much thought, Chavonne enrolled at the University of Mississippi and borrowed about $20,000 to pay for it. Far away from home and in a challenging environment, she struggled -- and after three semesters, she'd had enough. Her college days are five years behind her, but the debt she took on is not. The default rate among borrowers who didn't complete their degree is three times as high as the rate for borrowers who did earn a diploma.

Mississippi State's Erroll Thompson stepping in to lead defense
The record did not reflect it, but Mississippi State had one of the best defenses in all of college football last season. The Bulldogs' front seven held opponents to only 95 rushing yards a game, which qualified for second-best in the country. Their defensive unit led the nation in total defense and finished second in scoring defense. Back in April, three of the standouts from that top-ranked defense, Jeffery Simmons, Montez Sweat, and Johnathan Abram, were taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Mississippi State tied Alabama and Clemson for the most first-round picks from the same school. State brings back four starters on defense for 2019, including junior linebacker Erroll Thompson. He had 87 tackles and nine tackles for loss, along with two interceptions in 2018. "He did a phenomenal job last season," MSU coach Joe Moorhead said at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. "He was one of the highest-graded linebackers on Pro Football Focus and one of the top linebackers in the country."
SEC experiencing rare moment of coaching stability
The Southeastern Conference pays big money to its coaches and that's one reason patience is often in short supply when things go wrong. But in a rare quirk, there were no new head coaches at the podium during SEC media days for the first time since 2006. Fans should embrace the stability while they can, because if history is any indication it won't last long. Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt's Derek Mason are among several coaches under varying amounts of pressure to show improvement. Malzahn, Mason and Kentucky's Mark Stoops all took the podium during the final session of SEC media days on Thursday. If Malzahn is feeling any heat, he isn't showing it. "I've got a job that expects to win championships, and I knew that when I took this job," Malzahn said Thursday. "I love the fact that that's part of the job description here. And the years you don't win championships, you hear stuff like this. I've been a head coach six years, and four of those years you hear, hot seat this, hot seat that. That's just part of this job."
Texas A&M readies for alcohol at Kyle Field
There are 41 days until Texas A&M kicks off the 2019 football season at home against Texas State. More important to some, there are 41 days until the general population at Kyle Field can purchase an adult beverage for the first time while enjoying Aggie football. Texas A&M was the first school in the conference to jump at the opportunity to serve beer and wine at football games. Alcoholic drinks will be sold from stationary stands, with a limit on how many beverages can be purchased per transaction. When the conference loosened its alcohol restrictions to allow for sales in specially designated areas of stadium three years prior, A&M was an early adapter. Most notably, Aggie baseball offered a beer garden area down the third-base concourse. While former A&M athletic director Scott Woodward and his staff laid most of this groundwork, new athletic director Ross Bjork said in an interview that he likes the foundations that were established. "Based on what I've heard, we had very few situations that were adverse and, having those areas before, that people were responsible," Bjork said. "And so that needs to continue."
Archie Manning dishes on Matt Corral, Eli's naming rights and 1969 Alabama game
Eli Manning was nearly named Herschel. Promoting a new documentary series -- Saturdays in the South -- Archie Manning joined former SEC legends Steve Spurrier and Herschel Walker for a panel at SEC media days on Tuesday evening. Walker began telling a story before pausing. He wasn't sure if it were even true, so he had Manning elaborate. Olivia Manning was pregnant with the couple's third child. Cooper was seven and Peyton was five. The couple nearly gave them a little too much power over the naming rights of the sibling who would become Eli Manning. "We asked the other two boys what we should name this new baby that was coming along," Archie Manning said. "I think it was Cooper who said, 'We should name him Herschel Walker Manning.'" Clearly, Cooper didn't get his way. The Saturdays in the South panel did a little more than tell silly stories about naming rights to the third-born son. The three panelists dished a lot of stories about former games and current rivalries.
ESPN's College GameDay will be at Auburn-Oregon season opener
College GameDay is headed to the Lone Star State to open the season. ESPN's college football Saturday staple will be in Arlington, Texas, for Week 1 when Auburn and Oregon face off in the opening week's marquee matchup, according to Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. The Tigers' seventh-year head coach announced at SEC Media Days on Thursday that he found out within the last week that College GameDay will be on site for Auburn's neutral-site opener. Auburn and Oregon will face off Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m. CT on ABC from AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
LSU fans, prepare your ears for 'Vandy Whistler': 'Dores want 'chirping' at football games
At Mississippi State, they always want more cowbell. At Vanderbilt, they want more of The Whistler. LSU fans traveling to Nashville when the Tigers play the Commodores on Sept. 21 might have to resign themselves to more of the ear-splitting "chirping" that made Preacher Franklin and Jeff Pack -- there are actually two whistlers -- the scourge of Vandy's baseball championship run. The whistlers became a topic of conversation and a target of threats in the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament after Vanderbilt eliminated LSU, and through the playoffs to the College World Series. Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason is on board for any assistance they can provide. "The Vandy Whistler is everywhere," Mason said Thursday at SEC media days. "Sometimes I think I hear him outside my window. That's one thing about the Vandy Whistler, you can count on him being consistent. So, expect to see him at bowl games, expect to hear him. I know he's annoying to y'all, but to us, in Vanderbilt there on West End, he's the man."
NCAA hears Missouri's appeal of sanctions
The NCAA Appeals Committee on Thursday heard Missouri's case to overturn the punishments assessed to the school's football, baseball and softball teams by the organization in January, the university announced. All three programs received one-year postseason bans and limitations to scholarships. "As I have stated since January, the penalties handed down to the university were unprecedented based upon past decisions, and we have been respectful and aggressive in our response since then," MU athletic director Jim Sterk said in a news release. "We appreciated the opportunity and time the Appeals Committee has spent on our case and hope that they strongly take into account that the university was cited for exemplary cooperation from the NCAA enforcement staff. I firmly believe that if these penalties are not overturned, it will have a chilling effect on future NCAA investigations by discouraging universities to fully cooperate." The release also states the Tigers were represented at the appeals meeting by their legal team, headed by outside counsel Mike Glazier and Chris Griffin, along with Stephen Owens, from the university's Office of General Counsel.
Auburn expects an NCAA notice of allegations after Chuck Person's sentencing
Auburn expects to receive another notice of allegations from the NCAA from the coming months as a result of Chuck Person's conduct, and the university could face further sanctions, according to a victim impact statement filed by Auburn in federal court before Person was sentenced Wednesday in Manhattan. The statement details a university account of how Person betrayed players and the school by accepting $91,500 bribes to steer pro prospects to a financial adviser who was cooperating with the government's investigation. In the letter, Auburn states it was a victim to Person's conduct, stating that the involved players, Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy, did not receive money to come to Auburn from Person, nor did Person offer or promise them any money during the recruitment process -- but that, instead, once they were on campus, Person tried to exploit the players starting in December 2016 in a way that aligns with the timeframe of the conspiracy to steer them to using a certain financial adviser as pro players, as outlined in the federal indictment.
Big Ten's Jim Delany says old mistakes to blame for college woes
Outgoing Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany kicked off his final Big Ten football media days Thursday by saying he thinks some serious mistakes made in the 1970s created problems today in college athletics. Delany, who is in his 31st and final year as commissioner, said the loss of the four-year scholarship, the ending of the $15 weekly "laundry" stipend for athletes and allowing freshmen to play have all contributed to various headaches. "I think that's really expedited everything and hasn't allowed for the full socialization, cultural and academic, for students," he said. "I raised that issue about five years ago, and to be honest with you, there was not much of a reaction. It was more of a thud. So I would say some of those areas are issues that have concerned me."
Louisiana lawsuit over Rams-Saints 'no-call' can proceed against NFL
A Louisiana judge ruled Thursday that a damage lawsuit can continue against the NFL over the playoff "no-call" that helped the Los Angeles Rams beat the New Orleans Saints and advance to the Super Bowl. State Civil District Court Judge Nicole Sheppard also ruled that attorney Antonio "Tony" LeMon can request documents and ask questions of NFL officials. LeMon said that means he will be able to question Commissioner Roger Goodell and three game officials in depositions about the lack of a penalty --- pass interference or roughness --- against Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman for his helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Tommylee Lewis well before a pass arrived. The play came during a crucial point in January's NFC title game. "The purpose of the lawsuit is not to get some minuscule amount of money. They won't even notice that," LeMon said. "It's to get at the truth."

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