Thursday, November 15, 2018  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU helps launch unprecedented national effort to increase college access, equity, degree completion
Mississippi State University is collaborating with 130 public universities and systems to increase college access, close the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025. As part of a "Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success" effort organized by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the Magnolia State's leading university and other participating institutions will work within "clusters" of four to 12 each. Their goal is to concurrently implement innovative and effective practices to advance student success on their respective campuses. Collectively, the institutions enroll 3 million students, including 1 million who receive Pell Grants. "There's definitely something to be said for strength in numbers," said MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner. "I'm confident that working collectively we can help improve students' academic growth and success, leading them to graduation."
Our View: Mississippi State's Veterans Day ceremony rightly recognizes Sonny Montgomery
The Dispatch editorializes: On Saturday, Mississippi State will honor veterans during its final home football game, a tribute that the university observes each November. There will be an Air Force fly-over and the MSU band will perform a salute to the military at halftime. But this year, there will be a new wrinkle to pay homage to a special veteran. When the Bulldogs take the field Saturday, they will be wearing a special uniform designed to pay homage to 1943 MSU graduate G.V. "Sonny Montgomery," a distinguished World War II veteran who represented Mississippi's Third Congressional District for 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. ...But perhaps the best tribute to Montgomery's legacy is the university's commitment to providing veterans educational opportunities. The university is regularly recognized as being a "veteran friendly" institution and the veteran center that bears his name continues to be a valuable resource for veteran students.
Mississippi State holds annual ceremony honoring veterans
Mississippi State University held its annual Veterans Day Ceremony Monday afternoon, honoring a group that has perhaps shaped the university more than any other. The annual ceremony was held in the Fowlkes Auditorium, and featured remarks from MSU President Mark Keenum and MSU G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Center for America's Veterans Director Brian Locke, among others. Several veterans attended, along with MSU students, faculty and staff. Cadets and cadre from the University's Army and Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) battalions also attended, with a joint color guard presenting and retrieving the Colors. Keenum discussed the centennial of the armistice ending World War I at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, and thanked all veterans in attendance for their service.
USAID Announces Winners of the Feed the Future Fall Armyworm Tech Prize
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Land O'Lakes International Development, and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) announced the six winners of the Feed the Future Fall Armyworm Tech Prize at the AfricaCom conference in South Africa on Tuesday. The prize, launched in March 2018, sought digital innovations that could help farmers manage the recent spread of fall armyworm -- a damaging pest that attacks over 80 different plant species. Fall armyworm has the potential to cause an estimated $2-6 billion (USD) in maize losses alone over three years. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization established by bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum.
Rotary Club members give input on local economic development
Starkville business and community leaders gave their input on the statewide and local issue of economic development at the Starkville Rotary Club Monday. Mississippi Economic Council president and CEO Scott Waller led the discussion with an interactive presentation that focused on workforce development. MEC aims to be the voice of business in Mississippi by discussing statewide and local issues with business and community leaders throughout the state. "Our initiative is simply building a sense of statewide business community and we think that's vitally important," Waller said. "We have to be united, particularly when we are looking at issues that are going to have a big impact on our economy and a big impact on our workforce." MEC then brings the community voices to the state legislature with the goal of improving economic development in Mississippi. "Economic development. That's a very, very key issue for us," Waller said. "We have to be focusing on all of the things that are going to make it easier for Mississippi to compete when it comes to economic development." Waller began his presentation by asking Rotary members for their opinion on the state of Mississippi's economy compared to surrounding states.
Rodney Faver, Lee Ann Turner ramp up campaigns for judge runoff
For Lee Ann Turner, the wait to see if she would advance to a runoff in a tightly contested chancery judge race was "certainly not a fun process." It took a week for election commissioners in Oktibbeha, Webster and Chickasaw counties to determine Turner had finished second in the five-candidate race for District 14, Place 1 chancery judge on Nov. 6. She's now in a runoff with first-place finisher Rodney Faver, a Starkville Municipal Court judge, that will be decided Nov. 27. While Faver's comfortable margin after election night ensured his campaign's direction, Turner said her week wait meant holding off on campaign decisions. "From the perspective of final decisions, they couldn't really be made until we knew who was going to be in the runoff," Turner told The Dispatch. "No one wants to spend more money if they're no longer in the race. The delay, while unavoidable, is something that could have a bigger impact on the 21-day turnaround than it would if there was a longer timeframe, such as with the general election."
ERDCWERX established as innovative hub
The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center has entered a new partnership intermediary agreement with DEFENSEWERX, a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization, to establish an innovation hub called ERDCWERX in Vicksburg. Called ERDCWERX, the hub is a force multiplier that leverages technology outreach, creates new collaboration channels, and accelerates product transition to the global market that directly benefits the military and the commercial sector. "ERDC is committed to strengthening a culture of innovation," said Dr. David Pittman, ERDC director. ERDC is one of the most diverse engineering and scientific research organizations in the world, conducting $1 billion in innovative research each year in seven laboratories across four states.
President Trump weighs Mississippi visit on heels of Cindy Hyde-Smith 'hanging' remark
National Republicans are mobilizing to shore up a Mississippi Senate seat that a few days ago was barely on anyone's radar, with the party poised to spend at least $1 million on a TV advertising campaign and the White House weighing a pre-runoff trip by President Donald Trump. The burst of activity follows the release of a video last weekend showing Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith joking that if she were invited by one of her supporters to a "public hanging," she would be in "the front row." Party officials stressed that plans for a Trump rally weren't yet finalized, but several people involved in the talks said they expect the event to take place on the eve of the runoff. It would be Trump's first rally since his nationwide pre-midterm sprint. Trump won Mississippi by nearly 18 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, has drawn up plans to spend over $1 million on a TV ad campaign buttressing Hyde-Smith.
Mississippi's U.S. Senate race getting national attention after Cindy Hyde-Smith 'hanging' comment
National money and attention is bound for Mississippi's U.S. Senate runoff race after the release of a video Sunday showing Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith joking about attending a "public hanging" as she praised a supporter. President Donald Trump is considering another trip to the state to support the senator, sources close to Hyde-Smith confirmed. She continues to deal with fallout over the comment. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has plans to sink $1 million in TV ads supporting Hyde-Smith in the race, Politico reported Wednesday, part of an effort to bolster a race that could be more competitive than expected. Meanwhile, her opponent Mike Espy, a Democrat, is receiving backing from national groups such as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which sent out a fundraising email Monday with the subject line "public hanging." Kamala Harris, the California senator and possible 2020 presidential contender, is expected in Mississippi Saturday in support of Espy.
GOP senator should explain 'hanging' remark, challenger says
A white Republican U.S. senator from Mississippi needs to fully explain her comment about a "public hanging," her black Democratic challenger says. Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith made the remark in a video that surfaced Sunday. She praised a cattle rancher at a Nov. 2 campaign event in Tupelo by saying: "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row." Mississippi has a history of racially motivated lynchings. Democrat Mike Espy said Wednesday in Jackson that Hyde-Smith's comment was "hurtful and harmful." "It was hurtful to Mississippians of good will who know better," said Espy, who is seeking to become Mississippi's first black U.S. senator since Reconstruction. "But it was also harmful because it reinforced all these negative stereotypes -- the stereotypes that I've been working all my life to try to overcome."
Historic lynching photo used in new Cindy Hyde-Smith attack ad after 'public hanging' comments
A political action committee supporting U.S. Senate candidate Mike Espy has released a video online showing Espy's opponent in the Nov. 27 Mississippi runoff race, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, superimposed into an old photo of a white crowd attending the lynching of two black men. The ad by the group PowerPACPlus is a reference to a comment Hyde-Smith made at a Nov. 2 campaign rally in Tupelo. In praising a supporter at the end of the rally, she said she would "fight a circular saw for him," then stated: "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row." The comment sparked national media attention when a video clip of it was released Sunday. Now, though, the video attacking Hyde-Smith for the comment is causing its own stir online, attracting more than 100,000 views after going up Tuesday and generating hundreds of shares on Facebook.
Mike Espy focuses on healthcare in final campaign days
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Mike Espy, is speaking to voters in Jackson. At a forum yesterday hosted by Working Together Jackson, Espy tells voters that healthcare is the number one issue in Mississippi. "We have all these rural hospitals closing. We have prescription drug costs going up. We have healthcare costs going up. We have wages barely going up so when people get sick, they're going to the hospital and they can't cover the entire bill. I believe that we ought to make sure that we can get the Medicaid money placed in these rural hospitals. That we ought to cover everyone with pre-existing conditions. We can do that in America," said Espy. This week, Republican U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith co-sponsored a bill she says will protect citizens with pre-existing illnesses. At the forum, Espy calls the bill "a sham." Campbell says Republican candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith was also invited to the forum. A spokesman from Hyde-Smith's campaign says she was absent due to her work in the Senate.
Mike Espy shares his pre-existing condition; Cindy Hyde-Smith signs on as a co-sponsor of Senate health care bill
Mike Espy, vying to win the Nov. 27 runoff election for U.S. Senate, revealed recently one of the reasons the issue of health care in general, and the issue of pre-existing conditions in particular, is important to him. During an event at the Jackson Medical Mall where health care issues were discussed, Espy said that his now well known raspy voice is the result of a pre-existing condition. While stressing that his pre-existing condition is not life threatening, he did say that it was expensive to treat and that he constantly battles with his insurance company over the issue. "It makes me empathetic to people who have health problems," he said after the event. "I have seen reports and one-third of Mississippians have pre-existing conditions... This is not a Democratic issue. It is not a Republican issue. It is a health issue." Interim U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, whom Espy is vying to defeat on Nov. 27, announced Wednesday she is co-sponsoring legislation with Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., to protect people with pre-existing conditions.
'Public hanging' comment creates a stir in Cindy Hyde-Smith's hometown
As Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith flew to Washington Tuesday morning for the first Senate votes in several weeks, her husband Michael Smith got to work. A fourth generation cattle farmer, Smith, his wife and their family operate the Lincoln County sale barn. Tuesdays are auction days, and area farmers bring hundreds of cattle each week to be sold. Inside the sale barn, three dozen or so farmers watched as cows were quickly ushered from the holding barn through the turnstiles to the small arena. An employee on the floor yelled out the type of cow that was next up and prodded them along with a long stick as they tried to adjust to their new surroundings. A couple of bulls charged at the employees on the floor, drawing jeers and whistles from the farmers in attendance. Outside, the loud moos from the holding barn drowned out the noise of traffic from the nearby highway.
New Mississippi Congressman heads to Capitol Hill
Wide-eyed freshmen, ice-breakers, and buses. "Good morning!" says one new lawmaker on her way to the shuttle to Capitol Hill. It's the first week of school for newly-elected members of Congress who start in January. "Very exciting time for myself and for my family," explains Congressman-elect Michael Guest, a Mississippi Republican. After winning Mississippi's 3rd Congressional race, Guest will go from a prosecutor, to a politician. This week kicks off the training for Congress' incoming class -- and in-between learning his way around campus, Guest is meeting new colleagues and preparing for the work ahead. Congressman Gregg Harper is an advanced student of the Capitol -- stepping down after 10 years in the House. Not only is he helping Guest set-up shop in DC, he's overseeing the crash course every new house member receives. Harper says his replacement will leave Mississippi in good hands.
Kevin McCarthy hits hard at Dems after winning minority leader post
House Republicans immediately resumed a wartime posture Wednesday after electing their new leadership -- vowing to aggressively resist Democrats' agenda and work to recapture the House majority after being routed in last week's elections. In his first news conference after Republicans chose him to be House minority leader next year, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) largely attributed the GOP wipeout to historical trends while also repeatedly blaming spending by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the cause of several Republican defeats in close contests. And rather than offer any conciliatory words to Democratic leaders, McCarthy and his newly appointed leadership team said they intend to retake the House in 2020 and push back against a Democratic agenda they described as primarily aimed at unseating President Donald Trump. McCarthy's comments came shortly after his colleagues and incoming GOP freshmen elected him to be the top House Republican in next year's Congress, easily casting aside a challenge for the post from conservative firebrand Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
Republicans and Democrats Cannot Agree on Absolutely Anything. Except This.
From immigration to tax cuts to who won Florida, there is very little that Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on these days. But there may be one thing: the need to repair the nation's criminal justice system. It is a cause that has made for strange alliances, including the liberal Center for American Progress, the conservative Koch brothers, law enforcement groups, Kim Kardashian and now, President Trump, who on Wednesday endorsed a bill that would improve prison conditions and lower some sentences. The view that punishment is too harsh, and rehabilitative measures too scarce, is broadly supported in public opinion polls, especially as crime has hovered at a 20-year low. That popular support has translated into political backing. "Out in the real world where people live, it's not even controversial anymore," said Mark Holden, who leads Koch Industries' work on criminal justice issues.
At UM's Overby Center, political analysts discuss upcoming runoff
Two Mississippi political veterans discussed the results of the country's 2018 midterm elections Wednesday night at the Overby Center. Brandon Jones, a former Democratic state representative and attorney at Baria-Jones Law Firm, and Austin Barbour, a Republican strategist and partner at Clearwater Group and nephew of former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, analyzed national politics and the Mississippi Senate runoff. Barbour addressed U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith's recent reference to attending a "public hanging," which has drawn national attention to the Republican senator. He said the comments will "definitely be a determining factor for the Democrats in driving voter turnout," but said the senator had no foul intentions. "I don't think she meant anything racist by that. The lady I know is definitely not a racist," Barbour said. Jones said despite the increase in Democratic voter turnout in the Mississippi midterm, Democrats are still largely outnumbered by Republicans in the state.
UM students frustrated with class registration process
Some students registering for the upcoming semester felt that the process did not allow them to enroll in the classes they needed. Senior psychology major Lauren Riddick said her late registration window, compared to other senior students, has greatly affected her schedule for next semester. Riddick's class registration window opened Thursday, Nov. 1 at 8 a.m. "I needed to get into Bisc 333 (general microbiology) to graduate with enough 300-level classes, but by the time my registration window opened, all of the classes were closed," Riddick said. "I emailed my advisor, the teacher and the biology department and nobody could help." The university's registration and records coordinator, Ebony McEwen, said a complex computer program sets the registration window for each student. "The formula considers student program level as well as classification. Certain student populations receive earlier time slots," McEwen said. "Students who complete 100 percent of their teacher evaluations from the previous semester by the published deadline will be allowed to register a day earlier than the original registration window assignment."
U. of Alabama ends night parking permit plan
The University of Alabama has suspended plans for a new evening parking permit and has tasked a group including employees and students with developing a campus parking master plan. The university announced Nov. 1 that it was suspending the plans to implement the permit in January pending completion of a comprehensive five-year master plan for campus parking. "The decision was made after receiving input from the faculty senate and SGA. A broader, deeper understanding of needs and costs is required in developing a comprehensive plan that has the support of the campus," Associate Vice President for Communications Monica Watts said Tuesday. "The plan must be long-range because of the permanency of parking structures and the long-term funding streams necessary to support them." The university announced the new evening permit in June as part of its parking fee adjustments for the academic year, but later decided to delay implementation until 2019 after resistance from members of the campus community.
County commission questions placing polling location on Auburn University campus
The Auburn University chapter of The Southern Poverty Law Center will present its case to the Auburn City Council to gain the Lee County Commission's approval for establishing a poll location within the university campus. "Democratic participation is extremely important, and not just democratic participation in general, but inclusive participation of everyone that is eligible," Beth McDaniel, AU-SPLC president, said. "Young people comprise an increasing amount of the voter population, which gives young people the opportunity to shape the political and social landscape of our communities both locally, at the state level and nationally." McDaniel and AU-SPLC secretary Hannah Krawczyk will approach the Auburn City Council and Auburn University to possibly ensure students, faculty, employees and residents will have an easily accessible polling place. "I think we are going to keep pushing forward with this," Krawczyk said. "We will address President Leath at Auburn University as well as the important people who are going to have a big part in ensuring we get a polling place, as the commissioner brought up. When it comes to people coming onto campus and thing like that, we will be talking to the Auburn City Council."
Alabama, Auburn students compete to raise blood donations
The Alabama-Auburn rivalry is being used to encourage blood donations before the holiday season. Students in Tuscaloosa and Auburn gathered at their respective student centers this week to give blood in a friendly competition to see which school can collect the most pints. The blood drive, which began Tuesday and ends Thursday, is sponsored by the American Red Cross. According to the Red Cross, blood donations often decline during the holidays when busy schedules, inclement weather and seasonal illnesses can make it more difficult for donors to make and keep donation appointments, but the need for blood doesn't take a holiday break. Blood drive organizers hoped to use school pride at the University of Alabama and Auburn University to boost donations and save lives. The two schools are also competing to see who can collect the most food for local food banks.
U. of Arkansas to partner with center on 'Fulbrighters'
A collaboration between the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville to record the stories of participants in the foreign-exchange program will help the state by establishing closer ties to an educational program recognized as producing world leaders, officials said at a ceremony Wednesday. U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, who would represent Arkansas for 30 years, introduced legislation in 1945 that created the international educational exchange program named after him. The UA J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences will work with the Fulbright board, the Fulbright Association and other schools to compile a list of living Fulbright program participants and also gather oral and visual histories from those who traveled to study as "Fulbrighters," according to a UA announcement. Jeff Bleich, chairman of the 12-person Fulbright board, spoke Wednesday about how a letter of intent reaffirms the ties between UA, where Fulbright once was university president, and the foreign-exchange program.
Animal rights group says LSU halts experiments after complaints but shouldn't stop there
An Ohio-based anti-animal abuse group said Wednesday LSU officials have ended one animal experiment for biomedical research and should suspend a second one after the organization complained federal rules were violated. Officials of Stop Animal Abuse NOW! sent a 10-page letter to LSU President F. King Alexander on Tuesday outlining concerns. The target of the complaint is work at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. The Shreveport facility is home to the School of Medicine, School of Graduate Studies and School of Allied Health Professions and enrolls more than 800 students. LSU officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment other than to say the issue involves the Health Sciences Center.
Hate Crimes on Campuses Are Rising, New FBI Data Show
The killing of Richard Collins III stands out among the hate crimes documented in statistics released this week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Collins, a black Army lieutenant, was fatally stabbed by another college student just three days before he was set to graduate from Maryland's Bowie State University in May 2017. His death was one of 15 hate-motivated killings that occurred in the United States last year and were reported to the FBI by the nation's law-enforcement agencies. Especially poignant for higher education was the location of Collins's killing, on the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park. His was most likely the first hate-motivated killing on a college campus to be reported to the federal government by a higher-education institution since at least 2006. The slaying of Collins also represents the continuation of a trend for campus hate crimes, first observed in 2016, when such crimes across all colleges increased by 25 percent compared with the year before, according to data collected from thousands of institutions by the U.S. Department of Education.
Betsy DeVos set to bolster rights of accused in rewrite of sexual assault rules
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is set to release a sweeping overhaul of how colleges and universities must handle allegations of sexual assault and harassment, giving new rights to the accused, including the ability to cross-examine their accusers, people familiar with the matter said. The proposal is set for release before Thanksgiving, possibly this week, and replaces less formal guidance issued by the Obama administration in 2011. The new rules would reduce liability for universities, tighten the definition of sexual harassment, and allow schools to use a higher standard in evaluating claims of sexual harassment and assault. The rules stem from a 1972 law known as Title IX that bars sex discrimination at schools that receive federal funding. Most of the attention is on higher education, but the rules also apply to elementary and secondary schools. Once published in the Federal Register, the proposal will be open for public comment before being finalized.
Betsy DeVos Sued For Failing To Implement Automatic Student Loan Forgiveness
A ruling by a federal judge last month seemed like it would end a long legal battle between Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and tens of thousands of student loan borrowers waiting to have their debts canceled. But as of Tuesday, there is a new round of litigation. A group called the Housing and Economic Rights Advocates is suing DeVos, claiming the Department of Education has failed to comply with Borrower Defense regulations, as it was ordered to do, and that it continues to collect on loans that should be discharged. The Obama-era rule was designed to cancel loans of borrowers who were defrauded by for-profit colleges abruptly shut down before students could earn their degrees. DeVos delayed the rule from going into effect in July 2017, embarking on a rewrite that would make it tougher for students to get debt relief.
Higher Ed's Spreading Problem: How Colleges Are Struggling With Campus Mold
A giant dehumidifier that sounds like a vacuum cleaner was placed in the hallway outside Megan Wilson's dorm room several weeks ago at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to ward off a menace: mold. Wilson, a sophomore pre-med student majoring in biological sciences, said she didn't grasp the severity of the mold outbreak until she was driving home for fall break, stopped for gas, and noticed a flurry of texts from friends. The university had just notified students that Wilson's dorm, Laurel Hall, would be evacuated and closed for the remainder of the year. Wilson and her roommate were soon assigned to another residence hall with two other women she had never met before. Her family drove into town to help her move ahead of a week jam-packed with exams. Tennessee's flagship campus is one of many universities battling mold this fall after a summer with lots of rain and high humidity, which some experts are blaming on climate change. Students across the country have been forced to evacuate mold-infested residence halls. Campuses are scrambling to patch together emergency plans while easing student and parent concerns.
UNC Chapel Hill students targeted by white nationalist figure online
The social network Gab isn't the same as more mainstream platforms like Twitter or Facebook. At Gab, without the rule book that governs other social media, users can freely spew white supremacist-laced vitriol. It's there that the alleged shooter of 11 Jewish men and women -- whom he murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last month -- often felt comfortable posting blatantly anti-Semitic hate speech. He wrote on Gab just minutes before the attack. Another one of the website's more prolific users, known as Jack Corbin, is ideologically allied with the suspected killer, Robert Bowers, 46, who would often repost Corbin. And Corbin -- whose real name is unknown, but has generated a following of more than 2,000 people on Gab -- has been harassing college students online, notably activists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, near where Corbin says he lives. The university has not directly addressed Corbin's actions, publicly only saying that students who feel unsafe should report threats to police.

Bulldogs looking for creative ways to use Kylin Hill
In the winter months between Joe Moorhead's introduction as Mississippi State's head football coach and the installation of his system in the ensuing spring, players were left to do their own research. The numbers showed running backs were used as pass catchers more than most, but the exact usage remained to be determined. For Kylin Hill, that usage has become clear: swing screens. That concept -- in which Hill flares horizontally out of the backfield with wide receivers in front as lead blockers -- has accounted for most of Hill's 17 catches for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Hill the pass catcher has been prominently used and will continue to be so when No. 25 MSU hosts Arkansas (2-8, 0-6 Southeastern Conference) 11 a.m. Saturday (ESPN). "There's opportunities within the RPO (run-pass option) system, there's reads that go with it," running backs coach Charles Huff told The Dispatch.
Patience pays off for Mississippi State's Jesse Jackson
The start of Jesse Jackson's collegiate career went anything but smoothly. Jackson, a former four-star wide receiver prospect, redshirted his first year on Mississippi State's campus while still rehabbing a knee injury suffered in early in his senior season of high school. The next two years, he would only catch one pass. That's it. Three years of work for one 7-yard reception against Kentucky during his sophomore season. While many others would've either quit or transferred, it simply wasn't in Jackson's upbringing to do either one. His parents -- Otis and Angela -- taught him the meaning of commitment growing up which kept him driven during those early struggles.
Arkansas hopes struggle running ball a blip
The University of Arkansas' chances of pulling off an upset at No. 21 Mississippi State on Saturday might hinge on the resurgence of its running attack. The Razorbacks' offense has progressed in fits and starts this season in the first year of the Chad Morris era, but the running attack had stayed largely on track -- despite a revolving cast due to injuries at running back and on the offensive line -- since an inexplicable dud of a run game in the opener. Until last week. The LSU defense clamped down on Arkansas like no other team this season, allowing just 16 rushing yards. Tailback Rakeem Boyd -- who had averaged 106 rushing yards in the previous four games, including 102 against Alabama -- managed just 30 yards on 10 carries before being forced out of the game with an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter.
Walt Harris, Art Davis will be inducted into Mississippi State's Ring of Honor
Mississippi State football legends Walt Harris and Art Davis will become the newest inductees into the Bulldogs' "Ring of Honor" in a ceremony when the MSU football team plays host to Arkansas at 11 a.m. Saturday in Davis Wade Stadium. Harris and Davis will join Johnie Cooks, Jack Cristil, Joe Fortunato, Kent Hull, D.D. Lewis, Tom "Shorty" McWilliams, and Jackie Parker in the Ring of Honor. Fortunato was inducted last October. Harris and Davis will sign autographs prior to the game in the C Spire Fan Zone. Harris, one of the most prolific cornerbacks in SEC history, started 24-straight games for MSU from 1992-95. Davis, a Clarksdale native, etched his name into MSU and Southeastern Conference lore as a two-way player from 1952-55.
SEC could dominate draft's first round
Alabama set an SEC record with 12 players taken in the 2018 NFL draft, including four in the first round. The top-ranked Crimson Tide are sure to have several high draft picks in next year's draft, too, but there are players at many other SEC schools that are also likely to hear their names called in the first round of the 2019 draft. According to several mock draft boards the SEC could have first-rounders from as many as nine schools. Mississippi State has two defensive linemen who are among the best in the nation and could both be first-round draft picks. Jeffery Simmons, a 6-4, 300-pound tackle, is a three-year starter whose 12½ tackles for losses rank fourth in the SEC. Simmons has 27 1/2 tackles for losses and five sacks and has piled up 148 tackles in his career. Montez Sweat is a defensive end who led the SEC with 16 tackles for losses and 11 sacks last season. This year he also ranks high on the SEC charts and is fourth with 13 tackles for losses and second with 10 sacks.
Conference champions clash in Starkville tonight
Tonight the defending Southeastern Conference champions will square off against the defending Southland Conference champions in women's basketball. No. 6 Mississippi State hosts Lamar at 7 with intentions of extending its non-conference winning streak to 39-games. Bulldogs haven't lost a non-SEC game during the regular season since 2015 and haven't dropped a non-conference game at home since 2014. MSU is 2-0 on the year paced by senior center Teaira McCowan averaging 18 points, 14.5 rebounds and leading the country with 5.5 blocks per game. Lamar is also unbeaten at 3-0 and coming off a 94-43 home win over Louisiana College. The Cardinals come into tonight's game averaging 91 points and 17 steals per game led by senior guard Moe Kinard scoring 21.3 points.
Zion Campbell makes impact with Bulldogs
Zion Campbell wants to be much more than a solitary figure. Although she is in her fourth year with the Mississippi State women's basketball program, Campbell is the lone junior -- albeit a redshirt -- on the 2018-19 roster. With depth in the senior class and plenty of contributors in classes below her, Campbell is primed to play a bigger role behind senior center Teaira McCowan. "She has really improved," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "She is going to be a great player for us as far as being able to play a five (center) if T(eaira) happens to need a blow or gets in foul trouble." Campbell could get an opportunity to see more minutes at 7 p.m. Thursday when No. 6 MSU (2-0) plays host to Lamar (3-0) at Humphrey Coliseum.
Delta State names Mike Kinnison new AD
When 2019 begins, Delta State University will have a new athletic director and he's a familiar and well respected face on the campus. On Monday at a press conference at the Chadwick-Dickson Athletic Building with DSU coaches and supporters on hand, Delta State University President Bill LaForge announced DSU head baseball coach Mike Kinnison as the sixth athletic director in school history. He will succeed Ronnie Mayers, who will retire on Dec. 31. "I'm here at what I consider when I look around the room very much among friends and supporters of this athletic program," Kinnison said as he got choked up and emotional after being named athletic director. "Thank you for coming out today, but more importantly, thank you enough for caring about this athletic program to come and support it by being here. I'm very grateful for that."
Who spent more money traveling: Clemson's Dabo Swinney or South Carolina's Will Muschamp?
Top athletic coaches at Clemson University reported spending more than three times as much last fiscal year their Midlands rivals, according to a newly released report from the S.C. comptroller general's office. But most of the difference is likely caused by the way both universities report travel expenses to the comptroller general. Clemson reported spending $16.4 million for employee travel, more than any other state agency. Over $1.3 million of that went to 14 top athletic coaches, the report shows. By comparison, the University of South Carolina reported spending $12.4 million on all employee travel, with $345,997 going to top coaches, the report shows. Clemson's top traveler was defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who spent $174,133 on travel last fiscal year. Officials at both Clemson and USC stress that athletics travel is paid for by funds raised from athletics, and not taxpayer dollars.
Texas A&M police: Man assaulted in dispute over tailgating spot
A Houston man was arrested Friday afternoon after authorities said he hit a fellow tailgater with a hammer during a dispute. According to Texas A&M University Police, authorities were called to the Student Rec Center around noon Friday. A 21-year-old man with a visible wound to his left arm said he had been setting up his game day tailgate when a man, later identified as 57-year-old Houston resident Robert Maluch Patterson, began to pull the victim's stakes out of the ground and replacing them with his own. The victim and Patterson got into a verbal argument over the tailgating spot, and the victim said Patterson threatened him several times with a claw hammer. Eventually, police said, Patterson hit the victim in the arm with the hammer. Authorities spoke with Patterson, who appeared to be intoxicated, a police report notes. He initially denied hitting the victim, then admitted he did, though he said it was an accident, police said.
Former U. of Tennessee AD John Currie hired at Texas as consultant
Former Tennessee athletic director John Currie is back at work for a Big 12 institution. Texas hired Currie as a consultant on the school's major capital campaign, according to a report Tuesday by the Austin American-Statesman. Since he was ousted as Tennessee's athletic director last December, Currie served short-term faculty roles at Robert Morris University and Columbia University. The Austin American-Statesman reported he also had consultant jobs at Georgia Southern and South Carolina. Currie was replaced by Phillip Fulmer amid a football coaching search that went off the rails. Beverly Davenport, the chancellor who made that move, was later fired. Currie and Tennessee agreed to a $2.5 million settlement in March. Currie has experience within the Big 12. He was Kansas State's athletic director for eight years before UT hired him to replace Dave Hart in 2017. He spent eight months as Tennessee's AD.

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