Friday, April 29, 2016  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State extends fundraising goal to $1 billion
Inspired by the overwhelming response to "Infinite Impact," Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum announced Thursday a retargeting of the campaign with a fundraising goal of $1 billion by 2020. "When the campaign opened to the public six years ago, supporters stepped up like never before to demonstrate their belief in Mississippi State's bold vision for the future," said Keenum. "Donors representing virtually all walks of life in the MSU community helped achieve the $600 million fundraising goal far ahead of schedule, and the momentum continues." Keenum said donations to Mississippi State are investments in the future as student-led research teams continue making groundbreaking strides in a number of fields with local, national and global impacts.
 
Mississippi State Boosts Fundraising Goal to $1 Billion by 2020
Mississippi State University is raising the goal of its current fundraising drive to $1 billion by 2020. The university started seeking donations for the "Infinite Impact" campaign in 2010, publicly announced it in 2013, and has now reached the original $600 million goal that was initially targeted for 2018. President Mark Keenum announced the new goal Thursday. Vice President of Development and Alumni John Rush says the campaign is helping the school recruit higher-performing students and faculty. "You've got great excitement, you've got great things going on and you want to keep that going," Rush said, saying some other universities are stretching out capital campaigns to 10 years long, as MSU's would be, to reach a $1 billion goal.
 
Mississippi State reaches campaign goal, raises it to $1 billion
Mississippi State University's Infinite Impact Campaign has already passed the goal it expected to reach by 2018. Thursday morning, school officials announced the campaign had reached $620 million. School officials say thousands of alumni and friends have contributed. MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum and others announced they have now raised the goal to $1 billion. It is the most any university in Mississippi has tried to reach through one capital campaign.
 
Mississippi State Extends Fundraising Campaign Goal To $1 Billion
Inspired by the overwhelming response to "Infinite Impact" -- the most successful fundraising campaign in university history -- Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum announced a historic retargeting of the campaign with a fundraising goal of $1 billion by 2020 during a news conference Thursday. "When the campaign opened to the public six years ago, supporters stepped up like never before to demonstrate their belief in Mississippi State's bold vision for the future," said Keenum. The success of Infinite Impact has helped expand scholarship programs for students across the spectrum from differing economic backgrounds and driven sweeping improvements in all spheres of campus life, including academics, athletics, the arts, and facilities and infrastructure.
 
Mississippi State's Raspet lab tests drone and aircraft collision
Since computer models and data simulations only go so far to predict real world events, Mississippi State University researchers are preparing to shoot drones from an air cannon into the turning blades of an active jet engine and other common aircraft parts. Dallas Brooks, the director of Mississippi State University's Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, who also serves as the associate director of research of the MSU-led Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) outlined such upcoming drone research projects at the Mississippi Airports Association annual conference Wednesday. He said the university's leadership position within the research coalition keeps it poised to guide the development of unmanned aircraft technology into the future.
 
Megan Mullen keynotes United Way luncheon
Photo: Megan Mullen, left, wife of Mississippi State University head football coach Dan Mullen, greets Chandler Mitts and Grace Mitts after Mullen spoke at the United Way's Women's Leadership Council luncheon at the MSU Riley Center Thursday afternoon in downtown Meridian.
 
Starkville getting new ice cream shop in May
A homegrown ice cream shop is opening in the Golden Triangle. Churn & Spoon is slated to open next month in Starkville. The owner is Shane Reed, who has operated Strange Brew for more than a decade. His new venture will be located beside the popular coffeehouse at 605 Hwy. 12. "First and foremost we wanted to produce a local product using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible," Reed told The Dispatch this week about Churn & Spoon. What he means is the cream will come from Neshoba County milk. The honey will be local. The pecans will come from Indianola. And so on. Churn & Spoon will open in late May, according to Reed.
 
Hosemann launches Delta Agricultural Theft Task Force
Copper thieves better beware as a new three-state task force is on the prowl. On Thursday at the Mississippi State University Extension Delta Research Center in Stoneville, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced the launch of the Mississippi Delta Agricultural Theft Task Force.
 
Mountain climber speaks at Mississippi Economic Council luncheon
Some problems seem as insurmountable as Mount Everest. Jamie Clarke, co-owner of The Out There Adventure Centre and liveoutthere.com, defeated the mountain, a dream and destination that took years and multiple attempts to reach. Clarke served as keynote speaker during Mississippi Economic Council's annual meeting luncheon on Thursday. The meeting included the passing of the torch from last year's chairman, David Gates, to current MEC Chairman Robin Robinson. MEC also honored the three recipients of this year's Student Teacher Achievement Recognition, a scholarship provided by the Kelly Gene Cook Sr. Charitable Foundation Inc. The students include Marina Joel of Jackson Prep, the Top All Star Scholar, who received a $24,000 scholarship; Joseph Layton of West Harrison High School, first runner-up, who received a $20,000 scholarship; and third place, James Grant of Tupelo High school, 2nd runner-up, who received a $16,000 scholarship.
 
Bryant's top 10 list for state's economy
At the Mississippi Economic Council's annual meeting Thursday, Gov. Phil Bryant presented 10 headlines about the state's economy that he would like to see. Bryant credited legislative leaders House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, whom the governor said "went beyond the call to support the good business practices we need to help move Mississippi forward and have a transformational Mississippi."
 
Restocked historic tax credits give new life to restoration projects
Restorations and conversions of historic buildings across Mississippi stalled when the state ran out of historic tax credits are back in motion with the Legislature's $60 million replenishment of the credits. The $60 million allocation is for five years and limits the state credits to $12 million annually. Unlike the initial $60 million allocation in 2006, the new round of credits excludes non-revenue producing residential properties. Restoring the money comes as a relief to the Mississippi Heritage Trust. Hayes Dent, principal of Dent Strategies, helped lobby for the new credits. He said the state will get a strong economic return on its investment. But he expects the $12 million cap on yearly allocations to destabilize overall restoration efforts, considering the multi-year undertaking most restorations involve.
 
Caterpillar to close Oxford plant, eliminate 240 jobs
Caterpillar Inc. announced Thursday that it will shut down its Oxford plant and eliminate 240 jobs. The shutdown will take 12 to 18 months and will not affect the Peoria, Ill.-based heavy-equipment manufacturer's operations in Corinth and Booneville, said spokeswoman Rachel Potts. It is part of a restructuring announced in September in which 10,000 of its 114,000 jobs worldwide will be eliminated over three years. About 5,300 jobs have been eliminated. Potts said that workers in Oxford would be offered a severance package, details of which she would not disclose. "There could be opportunities at other Caterpillar facilities," Potts said, adding that is "a possibility, not a guarantee." That could include the operations in Corinth and Booneville, which are engaged in remanufacturing and employ the most in Caterpillar's Mississippi operations, she said.
 
Ingalls Shipbuilding commences fabrication of new Navy destroyer
Huntington Ingalls Industries' Shipbuilding division in Pascagoula on Wednesday noted the start of fabrication for the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) for the U.S. Navy. The start of fabrication signifies that 100 tons of steel have been cut. According to program manager George Nungesser, "This is a significant day for our shipbuilders and for the U.S. Navy as Ingalls once again begins fabrication of another destroyer." "Ingalls continues to make America stronger," U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker said. "Ingalls also continues to make our economy strong with over 12,000 employees and I am proud to represent Ingalls not only in Mississippi, but also in Washington, D.C."
 
Businesses contributing smaller share of taxes
The percentage of state general fund revenue coming from business and corporate taxes for the upcoming fiscal year is projected to be at its lowest level since the depths of the Great Recession. For the upcoming 2017 fiscal year, which starts July 1, Mississippi's financial experts have estimated the state will collect $565.3 million in corporate and business taxes -- representing 10.24 percent of the state general fund revenue collections. That percentage is the lowest since fiscal year 2011, when the state collected $448 million in corporate and business taxes, or 9.88 percent of the total recurring taxes collected that year.
 
State's failure to refill prepaid college fund, tapping of abandoned property fund worry Fitch
Two approaches Mississippi legislators took to help make fiscal ends meet in the 2016 session are especially troublesome to Treasurer Lynn Fitch. One is a refusal to replenish the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Fund to cover a $127 million shortfall the fund incurred before Fitch suspended new sign-ups for 18 months. Fitch reopened the fund on Oct. 1, 2014 but created a separate account for it and raised required contribution levels to ensure against future shortfalls. The other trouble spot is the taking of $14 million from the state's Abandoned Property Fund.
 
Treasurer Fitch warns bond bill spells trouble for credit rating
You can expect the confidence national debt rating agencies have in Mississippi's debt repayment abilities will be diminished by the Legislature's approval of about $560 million in new debt in a year revenues are $100 million below projections and dropping still further, state Treasurer Lynn Fitch warns. A ratings drop from the likes of Moody's, Fitch and Standard & Poors would force Mississippi to pay more for the debt issued in 2016's $308 million bond bill as well as the $254 million approved in a special legislative session to cover incentives for Continental Tire and TopShip. The treasurer praised the Legislature's decision to pay down $250 million of the state's bond debt this year but questioned why it turned around "and tipped the scale at over $600 million."
 
GOP, Dems clash over LGBT rights in defense bill amendment
Democrats and civil rights organizations are sparring with Republicans over an amendment added to an annual defense policy bill early Thursday morning relating to federal contractors and grant recipients. Opponents slammed the amendment as rolling back lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, while Republicans argued it clarified ambiguities in existing law and protects religious contractors from acting against their beliefs. The amendment to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act was passed 33-29 by the House Armed Services Committee. In opposing the amendment, leading LGBT rights organization Human Rights Campaign invoked debates going in states such as North Carolina and Mississippi over LGBT rights.
 
Senators try to revive criminal justice overhaul
A bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation on Thursday to give judges more discretion in sentencing offenders, a renewed push to overhaul the nation's criminal justice system after objections from some conservatives and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. The bill's sponsors, including Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, denied that charge. But they have revised the bill anyway, hoping to convince Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that it has enough support to pass the Senate in a contentious election year. In a news conference, Republicans and Democrats backing the bill said that they had picked up support from four additional GOP senators: Mark Kirk of Illinois, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Steve Daines of Montana and Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
 
Trump begins California campaign with raw performance; protesters take to the streets
Donald Trump put his roughest edges on display Thursday night in Costa Mesa as he opened his California primary campaign with a raw performance highlighting his hard-line views on illegal immigration and torture while trashing an array of rivals. The front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination surrounded himself onstage with people carrying banners with photos of family members killed by immigrants in the country illegally. More than 8,000 supporters erupted in a thunder of cheers as Trump vowed to make Mexico pay for a wall along its border with the United States to keep such criminals from harming Americans. Outside the packed Pacific Amphitheater, hundreds of protesters grew unruly after the rally, taking over nearby intersections, throwing debris at bystanders, smashing the windshield of a police vehicle, and shouting profanities against Trump.
 
GOP elites are now resigned to Donald Trump as their nominee
Throughout the Republican Party, from New Hampshire to Florida to California, many leaders, operatives, donors and activists arrived this week at the conclusion they had been hoping to thwart or at least delay: Donald Trump will be their presidential nominee. An aura of inevitability is now forming around the controversial mogul. Trump smothered his opponents in six straight primaries in the Northeast and vacuumed up more delegates than even the most generous predictions foresaw. He is gaining high-profile ­endorsements by the day -- a legendary Indiana basketball coach Wednesday, two House committee chairmen Thursday. And his ­rivals, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, are making the kind of rushed tactical moves that signal desperation. The party is at a turning point.
 
Face of American political corruption might be about to change
Tom DeLay. John Edwards. Rick Perry. Robert Menendez. Like these politicians, Robert McDonnell is not your average defendant in the American criminal justice system. Nor is the former governor of Virginia the easiest man to root for, after receiving more than $177,000 in luxury items, vacations, loans, and other largess from a Virginia businessman that led to a conviction on federal corruption charges last year. But he does make for an intriguing portrait of the state of political corruption in the United States. This week, Mr. McDonnell's legal team told the US Supreme Court that he, like those other men, is a victim. He says he has run afoul of a "criminalization of politics" -- a growing trend wherein overzealous (and perhaps ambitious) prosecutors use vague or overbroad corruption laws to levy charges for what could be construed as everyday political activity.
 
Delta Regional Authority chief touts strategic investments
Delta Regional Authority has granted $17.7 million for economic development in Tennessee since 2002, including $3 million for the Electrolux appliance plant in Memphis. Delta Regional co-chairman Chris Masingill outlined the federal agency's activities in an interview Thursday. Masingill highlighted Electrolux as an example of the kind of regional cooperation that was the focus of RegionSmart, a summit that brought together more than 200 leaders from across the Mid-South on Thursday in Memphis to focus on common challenges in economic development, education and planning. Jason Smedley of Little Rock is the Memphis area's new DRA point person, covering an area including East Arkansas, North Mississippi and West Tennessee.
 
U. of Mississippi students cause problems for residential neighborhoods
Every day, students' cars line the streets of various neighborhoods near the University of Mississippi. Residents have voiced complaints, saying this scenario has become a major problem. Many students have been parking in residential neighborhoods in an effort to avoid purchasing a commuter parking pass, which would allow them to park on campus. Oxford resident Farrah McAlexander said the situation is especially inconvenient for her and her neighbors on Van Buren Avenue. According to McAlexander, students typically park in front of her home and on her street Monday through Friday. According to Mike Harris, UM director of Parking and Transportation, an adequate amount of parking has been made available to students on campus. If students who choose to park in residential areas wanted to park on campus, they could, Harris said.
 
U. of Southern Mississippi's Payne Center adds climbing wall, fitness stations
University of Southern Mississippi students have two new ways to stay fit, now that the Payne Center has added a climbing wall and seven fitness stations to its offerings. The center officially opened the wall and fitness stations Wednesday. Caroline Bradley, Student Government Association president, was the first student to climb the wall. Payne Center staff spent last week getting trained on how to assist students to use the wall, said Shelli Henry, graduate assistant for outdoor adventures and aquatics. The stations are used with nine exercises that can be completed unassisted on the equipment. The stations are made possible through the Health is Golden grant funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.
 
Southern Miss launches new coaching academy
Pine Belt coaches can get some coaching of their own at a new series of coach education workshops put on by the School of Kinesiology at the University of Southern Mississippi. The Southern Coaching Academy is designed to develop the skills necessary for effective coaching. "We do relatively little to prepare coaches to interact with athletes," said Melissa Thompson, associate professor of sport coaching education. "We also do little to develop coaches as they progress through their careers." The academy is comprised of on-site training sessions held July 15-16 and Oct. 10-11 in Hattiesburg, supplemented by online training modules. Coaching skills covered include providing explanations, using demonstrations, conducting observations, skill analysis and decision-making.
 
Duff brothers win USM's Entrepreneur of Year Award
Duff Capital Investors has been named the recipient of the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year award presented by The University of Southern Mississippi's College of Business. With headquarters in Columbia, Miss., Duff Capital Investors is co-owned by businessmen and brothers, James and Thomas Duff. The brothers were honored during a special ceremony Wednesday at the Trent Lott Center. In 2012, the Duffs honored USM by making a significant contribution to the athletic department which created a lasting impact on the lives of student athletes, coaches and support staff. In 2013, the Duffs provided a black and chrome 18-wheeler Freightliner and 52 foot trailer used to deliver the Southern Miss football team's equipment to games. Each year the Duffs provide a driver for the truck and donate all expenses associated with operating the truck for the season.
 
U. of Alabama names new journalism chair
A University of North Texas professor has been named the new chair of the department of journalism and creative media at the University of Alabama. Cory Armstrong, professor and director of the Mayborn School of Journalism, is scheduled to begin her appointment July 15, according to Mark Nelson, dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences. Armstrong will lead the new department that was created earlier this year with the merger of the departments of journalism and telecommunication and film in the College of Communication and Information Sciences.
 
Auburn University, Alabama Community College System enter partnership on aviation programs
Auburn University and the Alabama Community College System are teaming up to strengthen and expand opportunities for aviation training for Alabama's two- and four-year college students in an effort to bolster economic opportunities for the state. On Thursday at the Auburn University Regional Airport, Auburn University President Dr. Jay Gogue signed a memorandum of understanding with Mark Heinrich, chancellor for the Alabama Community College System, solidifying the partnership that officials say will be beneficial for students at both the community colleges and Auburn University. "Auburn doesn't enter into a lot of partnerships with a lot of different groups," Gogue said "This is very unique and very special for us. We enter into partnerships with people that we have a lot of trust in. This is a relationship between two parties in which there is trust."
 
UGA president: Wreck that killed 4 students is something university hasn't faced before
University of Georgia President Jere Morehead asked for thoughts and prayers for the families of four UGA students killed in a traffic accident Wednesday night in a somber Thursday morning press conference. "Let us draw together as a UGA family and care for each other," said Morehead, who added he'd "not really" slept since learning of the accident on Georgia Highway 15 in Oconee County shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday. Morehead said the students, all young women, were "actively involved in our campus community" in Greek and religious organizations, but did not identify them nor their specific activities. He said it would be best to leave it to their families to tell about their activities.
 
Hundreds at vigil mourn death of UGA students
Hundreds of University of Georgia students and employees gathered at multiple vigils Thursday evening to mourn the loss of the UGA students involved in a Wednesday night car crash that left four of them dead and one in critical condition. Like an impromptu vigil in the early afternoon, an evening service at UGA was full of emotion, made even more impactful by comments from fellow students, sorority sisters and family members who knew the women involved in the crash. "To end this year this way is so painful," said Houston Gaines, UGA's student government president. "We lost four incredibly strong, inspirational women last night and are fighting for the other in the hospital."
 
U. of Arkansas System Narrows Candidates for UA-Little Rock Chancellor to 3
University of Arkansas System President Donald R. Bobbitt said Thursday that he and a committee have narrowed their search for a new chancellor in Little Rock to three. In a news release, Bobbitt said the three finalists for the post at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock are: Cheryl D. Lovell, special advisor to the chancellor and to the chief academic officer of the Colorado State University System; Andrew Rogerson, provost and vice president of academic affairs, Sonoma State (California State University System); Mark Rudin, vice president for research and economic development, Boise State University. UA worked with executive search firm Greenwood/Asher & Associates Inc. of Miramar Beach, Florida, to find candidates for the post that will be left open by the retirement for Joel Anderson.
 
Rich Mountain Community College Trustees Vote To Join U. of Arkansas System
Rich Mountain Community College in Mena (Polk County) will join the University of Arkansas System if the UA's board of trustees gives final approval at its meeting May 25-26 at Cossatot Community College in De Queen (Sevier County). UA President Donald Bobbitt said he was thrilled to hear that news and would voice strong support for the merger in a presentation to the trustees at their meeting next month. "We're always look for very well-managed institutions that have a good team in place, and certainly Rich Mountain fits that bill to a T," he told Arkansas Business. He also said a goal of UA is to make a "clear pathway" for all students to transfer from two-year campuses to those that offer four-year degrees.
 
Kentucky will delay free community college scholarship
Kentucky lawmakers reached an agreement on a revised plan for free community college, but the state's governor has delayed for one year the scholarship program. Republican Governor Matt Bevin postponed the Dual Credit and Work-Ready Scholarship program, which had been pushed by House Democrats, on Wednesday. The scholarships would pay for up to two years of college for the state's high school graduates. The program, which was modeled after the Tennessee Promise, would operate on a last-dollar method, meaning aid would be given to students to cover any tuition and fees that federal and state grants or assistance programs do not.
 
Monsanto exec gives lecture at Texas A&M on future of sustainable agriculture, global food needs
An executive with the sustainable agriculture company Monsanto spoke Thursday at Texas A&M and told the crowd the need for an increased food supply is crucial as the world's population grows. "It's a huge challenge when you think about it," said Robb Fraley, executive vice president of Monsanto Co., one of the nation's leading producers of genetically engineered seeds. "I think we can do that." The global population is expected to hit somewhere between 9 and 10 billion -- it's about 7.4 billion now -- in the next 34 years. Fraley, a winner of the World Food Prize, gave a lecture to more than 230 people about the future of sustainable agriculture and what steps need to be taken to meet the global food need by 2050. Fraley said humans have the tools to drive an increase in food productivity and the next green revolution. One of those tools -- the often misunderstood genetically modified organism.
 
U. of Missouri's Take Back the Night march raises awareness of sexual assault on campus
In September, the University of Missouri released the results of a campus survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Three in 10 female undergraduates reported being victims of nonconsensual sexual contact by their senior year, a big reason why more than 150 students, staff members and Columbia residents gathered at Traditions Plaza on Thursday evening for MU's Take Back the Night event. The group chanted "Hey hey, ho ho, rape culture has got to go!" and "Blame the system, not the victim!" as they marched through The Columns and the MU Student Center. "This is such an important issue that people don't talk about but need to, especially here," said Emma Gambaro, an MU junior and member of Stronger Together Against Relationship and Sexual Violence, also known as STARS. "We want to play a role in stopping that violence."


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State's bats explode, Blake Smith closes vs. Alabama
Each inning Gavin Collins picked up the baseball en route to third base and tossed it to Blake Smith. Each time, he saw the same determined look on the Mississippi State' reliever's face. "I'm backing away from him slowly because it's kind of that scary, intimidating look in his eye," Collins said. "It's like all right, he's going to shut it down." Smith, who hadn't pitched in eight days and only three times in April, refused to hand the ball to anyone else in No. 4 Mississippi State's 12-5 victory at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Mississippi State has 32 home run in 43 games this season. The Bulldogs hit 22 in 54 games last year. The Bulldogs will try to continue the hit parade on Friday at 7 p.m in game two of the series.
 
Rooker, Collins homer in Bulldogs' win at Alabama
The road continues to be kind for fourth-ranked Mississippi State. The Diamond Dogs improved to 7-3 on the road in the Southeastern Conference with a 12-5 victory over Alabama on Thursday night at the newly renovated Sewell-Thomas Stadium. MSU (29-13-1, 11-8 SEC) plated five runs in both the third and ninth innings behind a three-run homer from Brent Rooker, a two-run blast by Gavin Collins and an RBI triple by Jake Mangum in those frames. Game 2 of the series is slated for 7 p.m. tonight pitting State junior right-hander Austin Sexton (4-2, 3.62 ERA) on the mound against Alabama sophomore righty Jake Walters (4-3, 1.89).
 
Mississippi State wins opener at Alabama
Junior right-hander Blake Smith turned in his best performance of the season and two different five-run innings proved huge as No. 4 Mississippi State knocked off Alabama 12-5 in a nationally-televised Southeastern Conference baseball game Thursday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. "We were pleased with the effort," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "It was sloppy at times. We lost a ball in the outfield which was an important play. We also had two ground balls we didn't execute. Our relief pitching was pretty darn good. Blake gave us everything he had. We scored a bunch of runs."
 
Bulldogs' offense breaks loose against Alabama baseball team
Five runs would have been enough for the University of Alabama's pitching staff on most nights. But Mississippi State's lineup used the UA pitchers as a chew toy to win Thursday night's series opener 12-5. The No. 3 Bulldogs (29-13-1, 11-8) scored five runs in the third inning to take a 6-2 lead, then held off a handful of rallies before extending its margin late. Alabama (24-19, 9-10) cut it as close as 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning before Mississippi State's offense went to work again. "We haven't had too many openers like that," head coach Mitch Gaspard said. Alabama made three errors as well, though two were on the pitching staff. The teams battled back and forth early before Mississippi State left Alabama behind in the top of the ninth.
 
NCAA may shut out Mississippi
The NCAA is considering keeping all of its events out of Mississippi because of the "religious freedom" law signed by Gov. Phil Bryant earlier this year. Mississippi was not specifically listed by the NCAA in a press release announcing the action, though it says the rules change "follows the recent actions of legislatures in several states." It would be premature for Mississippi State to comment on this issue until the university has time to complete an evaluation of the NCAA's actions, says Sid Salter, MSU chief communications officer. "But our university has already reiterated our commitment to MSU's core values of diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination."
 
HB 1523 could prevent postseason baseball in Mississippi
A decision by the NCAA Board of Governors on Wednesday night could prevent the state of Mississippi from hosting postseason events because of HB 1523. The board adopted a requirement for sites hosting or bidding on NCAA events to demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is "safe, healthy, and free of discrimination." This extends further than the NCAA regulation that prevents Mississippi from hosting predetermined postseason events because of the presence of the Confederate flag on the state flag. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the legislation wouldn't immediately affect the conference's postseason championships but it is something the league continues to evaluate.
 
NCAA sets hurdle for postseason baseball in Mississippi over HB 1523
Mississippi's "Religious freedom" bill appears likely to be a hurdle for the state's top college baseball programs as they pursue the right to host NCAA tournament games this year. The NCAA adopted a new process Wednesday that will put the pressure on Mississippi colleges to show that they will provide an environment that "is safe, healthy and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event." The new state law, which is titled HB 1523, allows religious organizations, businesses and government employees to refuse service under specified circumstances to gay and transgender people. It will go into effect on July 1, after the baseball postseason. Ole Miss, USM and Mississippi State have all hosted NCAA baseball regionals in the past, despite the controversy surrounding the presence of the Confederate emblem on the state's flag.
 
Mississippi's Laremy Tunsil Falls in N.F.L. Draft After Apparent Drug Video Surfaces
It was the bong hit that sent N.F.L. teams running. Minutes before the N.F.L. draft was scheduled to begin Thursday night, a video was posted on the Twitter account of a highly touted offensive lineman from the University of Mississippi who was projected to be one of the top picks. The video appeared to show the player, Laremy Tunsil, inhaling what might have been marijuana through a bong that was attached to a gas mask. It was unclear when the video was recorded. No matter, the damage was swift and highly visible for Tunsil: He was in a draft free fall, passed over by each of the first 12 teams. Around the time Tunsil was selected by the Dolphins, two sets of text messages were posted to his Instagram account. They showed what appeared to be exchanges between Tunsil and an athletics official at Mississippi, in which Tunsil asked for help paying bills.
 
Laremy Tunsil admits to taking money from Ole Miss coaches
An anonymous hacker used the night of the NFL draft to try to take down Laremy Tunsil and the Ole Miss football program. Moments before the draft began a video of Tunsil smoking out of a bong fashioned out of a gas mask was posted onto his Twitter account. When it had done its damage, moving Tunsil out of the top 10 entirely and to the Miami Dolphins on No. 13, the hacker started on Tunsil's Instagram account. There they posted screenshots of alleged text messages between Tunsil and John Miller, assistant athletic director for football operations, in which Tunsil asks for money to pay rent and also for his mother's $305 electric and water bill. In reference to the former, Miller makes a reference to "Barney." Barner Farrar is Ole Miss' assistant athletic director for high school and junior colleges. Pressed if that meant he had taken money from a coach, Tunsil said, "I'd have to say yeah." This is potentially devastating news to Ole Miss.
 
Laremy Tunsil slides after bong video surfaces, OL says he took money from Ole Miss coach
Three weeks ago, Laremy Tunsil was the likely No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. On Thursday, he suffered one of the most bizarre falls down the draft board in recent history after a video of him wearing a gas mask and smoking a bong was posted on his verified Twitter account just before the start of the draft. And that might not even have been the biggest news of the night. Within minutes of being selected, two pictures were posted to Tunsil's Instagram account of text messages that appeared to show him asking for money from a coach at Ole Miss. About an hour later at his formal press conference, Tunsil was asked twice if he took money from a coach while at Ole Miss. At first, he denied it, but then said, "I have to say yeah." He was then ushered off the interview podium and behind a closed door.
 
Former Rebel Tunsil falls to Miami, says he was paid by coaches
Laremy Tunsil says he took money from an Ole Miss football coach -- the biggest story on what was supposed to be a huge night for the Rebels' program. Once projected as the No. 1 pick in the draft, Tunsil slid to No. 13 where he was taken by the Miami Dolphins. Tunsil said others were responsible for a social media nightmare that contributed to his slide to near the middle of the first round on Thursday night. However, he confirmed the accuracy of a text conversation in which he asked for money to help with his rent. The Tunsil story cast a cloud over what should have been a big night for Ole Miss.
 
Bo Davis to leave Alabama football due to possible recruiting violations
Bo Davis is expected to leave his position as assistant football coach at the University of Alabama over an inquiry into possible recruiting violations, The Tuscaloosa News has learned. Davis is expected to resign or be fired from his job. UA has been conducting an internal investigation and the NCAA has also made inquiries into the matter. Davis' contract at Alabama runs through 2017 at a salary of $475,000 per year after receiving a one-year extension and a $25,000-per-year raise last June.
 
NCAA Board of Directors rescinds satellite camp ban; SEC ban ends in May
Let the games -- well, camps -- begin. The Southeastern Conference didn't get its way with the NCAA, and now the league will adapt. The NCAA Division I Board of Directors on Thursday announced its decision to rescind a rule adopted earlier this month by the Division I Council prohibiting Football Bowl Subdivision coaches from holding or working at camps and clinics away from their schools. Long story short: The ban on satellite camps is over before it could really begin. "The Board of Directors is interested in a holistic review of the football recruiting environment, and camps are a piece of that puzzle," said Board of Directors chair Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina, in a release. "We share the Council's interest in improving the camp environment, and we support the Council's efforts to create a model that emphasizes the scholastic environment as an appropriate place for recruiting future student-athletes."
 
Kentucky's John Calipari working to get body as fit as his swagger
John Calipari says it's time to get in shape. Not his team. Not his fans. The coach himself. Kentucky Wildcats TV posted a video of Calipari in mid-workout Thursday, sweating up a storm on an elliptical machine, with a promise of weight training to come. He said he started the regimen a week ago. "Mid-50s, I let it go a little bit. Had a heck of a year, but, going forward, gotta get in better shape, gotta get the body right." The UK coach, 57, had his left hip replaced in 2004 and his right hip replaced in 2014. "I'm thinking, if I can get my body right, can I coach till my mid-70s? Maybe, and what would that mean if I'm at Kentucky for another 20?," he said.
 
In a first, U. of Idaho's football program to depart Football Bowl Subdivision
After two decades of playing at college football's most competitive and high-profile level, the University of Idaho will make the unprecedented move to leave the Football Bowl Subdivision and return to the Football Championship Subdivision. The university announced the change today, accepting an invitation to join the Big Sky Conference after its membership with the Sun Belt Conference was not renewed last month. The decision comes at a time when faculty and student groups at other colleges with struggling FBS teams have urged their institutions to consider moving away from big-time college sports amid an accelerating athletic arms race. Until Idaho, however, no institution that managed to climb to the exalted ranks of the FBS had ever decided to drop back down.



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