Thursday, January 12, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
New Innovations Are Putting A Squeeze On Cable And Satellite Services
The way we are watching television is changing. New innovations are putting a squeeze on cable and satellite services. More and more people are switching to the internet to watch TV shows, and it's something cable companies are becoming more aware of. "How content is delivered to you has changed. We no longer worry about dropping a cable in your yard and burying it. If you have an internet cable in your yard, then you're good to go," says Mississippi State University Communication Associate Professor, Dr. Kevin Williams.
 
Rate increases expected for Atmos, MaxxSouth customers
Atmos Energy customers in the area and MaxxSouth customers in Starkville could be paying more for their respective services. Both companies sent notices to customers in the past weeks informing them of pending rate increases. Atmos' request, which is expected to cost the average residential customer an additional $1.10 per month, will go before the Mississippi Public Service Commission Thursday, while MaxxSouth's notice states across-the-board increases for television, phone and internet services will go into effect Feb. 1. If approved, Atmos representatives said their company's increase would also take effect next month. Increasing costs associated with infrastructure investments and the cost of delivering services are cited in both companies' notices.
 
House Speaker Philip Gunn puts campaign finance bill on fast track
Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, has placed on the fast track legislation attempting to prevent political candidates from using campaign finance funds for personal use. Similar legislation was killed during the 2016 session in the House at some personal embarrassment to Gunn. But on Wednesday, the legislation bearing the speaker's name as the primary author passed the House by a 102-13 vote. The bill was introduced on Wednesday, referred to the Rules Committee by Gunn, instead of the expected Elections Committee, and passed on the House floor later in the day. Discussions of the bill on the House floor lasted a little more than one hour.
 
House passes Speaker Philip Gunn's campaign finance reform measure
The House, which killed a similar measure last year, passed a campaign finance reform bill on a bipartisan vote of 102-13 on Wednesday after about an hour of debate. The bill now goes to the Senate, which passed a campaign finance bill last year, and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has said he expects senators will pass the House bill. House Speaker Philip Gunn, as he vowed last year, authored a campaign finance reform bill that would "prohibit the personal use of campaign contributions by any elected public office holder or any candidate." Gunn's measure is a little more loose on what constitutes personal use than a bill the Senate passed and the House killed last year, but Gunn's bill provides teeth to enforcement that last year's measure lacked.
 
Campaign finance reform passes House
Speaker Philip Gunn's campaign-finance reform legislation on Wednesday became the first substantive bill to pass the House this session. Gunn, a Republican from Clinton, filed the bill Tuesday. By Wednesday, the House Rules Committee had sent the bill to the full House for a vote. The bill passed 102 to 13 after more than an hour of debate. Gunn's HB 479 requires that credit card expenditures are itemized and prohibits "residential household items," as well as mortgage, rent or utility payments for businesses, funeral-related expenses, clothing used for winning or keeping public office, automobiles (except campaign-related rentals), tuition and certain club dues.
 
First floor fight: House debates campaign finance
The House had its first "floor fight" of the 2017 legislative session Wednesday, with debate over Speaker Philip Gunn's campaign finance reform bill. Lawmakers for a little more than an hour had pointed questions, concerns and a few cross words over House Bill 479 before a bipartisan majority passed it. If passed by the Senate, it would affect how they raise and spend campaign money. Much of the questioning and dissent focused on minutiae in the bill and debate did not become a full-blown battle by House standards, paling in comparison to last year's argument about a similar measure. Some had concerns about prohibitions against spending campaign money on funeral expenses, although it was amended to remove a prohibition against politicians chipping in campaign money to help bury constituents. The bill now would only prohibit spending for funerals of candidates or their family members.
 
City Leaders Seek More Sales Tax Dollars for Infrastructure
City leaders across Mississippi say they need help with crumbling infrastructure in their communities. They're lobbying for a larger portion of sales tax money. Just as the State of Mississippi is facing the need to fix its dilapidated infrastructure, leaders of cities, towns and villages say they need to do the same thing. The Municipal League says its 295 members are lobbying lawmakers to bump up the sales tax money they receive from 18 1/2 percent to 20 percent. Shari Veazey is the leagues' executive director. "Well over 70 percent of sales tax collected by the state is generated in a city, town or village. They need more of that back so they can make these improvements without raising property taxes," said Veazey
 
Oil, gas board expects production uptick
The dip in oil and gas prices over the past couple of years has dried up production in the state, but things are looking up, according to the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board. Board officials said oil and gas prices could start to improve by 2018. To meet those demands, the board seeks extra support from the state. Lisa Ivshin, executive director of the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board, presented at a House Energy Committee meeting Wednesday about Mississippi oil and gas production and the role the board plays in making sure those operations runs smoothly. While it is difficult to predict future oil prices, Ivshin said she feels that the state may experience an uptick soon.
 
Vaccination controversy returns to the State Capitol
The debate over vaccinations is back at the State Capitol this year and it comes at the same time as president-elect Trump met with pro-vaccine choice advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. this week. Mississippi lawmakers will be considering a bill that would allow for philosophical exemptions. These parents take issue with the label "anti-vaccine". In fact, most vaccinated their children, but on their own schedule.
 
Former Mississippi House member Bobby Moak weighs in on Legislature
It's a little different sitting on the outside looking in, but Bogue Chitto attorney Bobby Moak is still watching. Moak, 58, is keeping an eye on the state Legislature as they enter their second week in a 90-day session. For three decades, Moak was there in the midst of the action. Now he's lawyering in Southwest Mississippi and leading the state's Democratic party. "Heck, I was there 32 years, so I'm still keeping up with what's going on," he said. "As chair of the Democratic party, I'm trying to see what my Republican friends are up to." Moak is paying attention to the budget, jobs and education. "It's no big secret that Mississippi has a budget problem," he said.
 
Gas Taxes May Go Up Around The Country As States Seek To Plug Budget Holes
This year could see a wave of state tax hikes on gasoline and diesel. Oklahoma is one of about a dozen states seriously considering increases.Oklahoma lawmakers are staring into a budget hole that's nearly $900 million deep -- and they might not be able to cut their way out of it. Legislators are considering tax increases to help fund state government, and one idea is gaining traction: Hiking taxes on gasoline and diesel. This year could see a wave of state tax hikes on gasoline and diesel. Oklahoma is one of about a dozen states seriously considering increases, a list that includes Republican strongholds like Mississippi, Louisiana and Alaska, where Gov. Bill Walker has proposed tripling taxes on motor fuel.
 
U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly announces committee assignments
U.S. Representative Trent Kelly, R-Miss. announced Wednesday he will serve on two committees during the 115th Congress: the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Agriculture. Subcommittee assignments will be released later this month. Rep. Kelly has served for over 30 years in the Mississippi Army National Guard where he is currently a Colonel. Mobilized in 1990 for Desert Storm, and deploying to Iraq in 2005 and again in 2009-2010 with the 155th Brigade Combat Team, through his experience leading and successfully bringing home troops, Kelly brings first-hand experience of what it means to serve. Kelly will continue his role as a member of the House Committee on Agriculture. Agriculture is a top industry in Mississippi, contributing $7.4 billion to the state economy and employing approximately 260,000 Mississippians.
 
Medgar Evers home named National historic landmark
The Jackson home of slain civil rights leader Medgar Wiley Evers is now a National Historic Landmark, the National Parks Service announced Wednesday. The home was one of 24 new National Historic Landmarks announced. Evers, a World War II veteran, was assassinated on June 12, 1963, in the driveway of the home he shared with his wife Myrlie Evers and their children. Myrlie Evers believes her late husband changed the nation for the better. After his assassination, the all-white Jackson Police Department began to integrate. So did restaurants and schools. U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker had endorsed the designation last February. "The sacrifices made by Medgar and Myrlie Evers deserve this distinction, and I am pleased with this National Park Service action," Cochran said in a statement.
 
Russian hackers could go after Congress next -- and not just to read their email
Members of Congress are vulnerable to hacking, and lawmakers fear they could be next on the Russian target list. "Any senior government official who has been critical of their active measures campaign, supportive of sanctions over their invasion of Ukraine or condemning of their bombing of civilians in Aleppo may be a prime target for hacking, a travel ban or other retaliatory steps by the Kremlin," said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Congressional offices are increasingly aware of cyber threats and are upgrading security, said Meg King, who teaches Capitol Hill staffers about cybersecurity.
 
Senate Takes Major Step Toward Repealing Health Care Law
Senate Republicans took their first major step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, approving a budget blueprint that would allow them to gut the health care law without the threat of a Democratic filibuster. The vote was 51 to 48. During the roll call, Democrats staged a highly unusual protest on the Senate floor to express their dismay and anger at the prospect that millions of Americans could lose health insurance coverage. "This is our opportunity to keep our campaign promise," said Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi. "This is our opportunity to help the president-elect and the vice president-elect keep their campaign promises and show to the American people that elections have consequences."
 
Conservationists look to Donald Trump Jr. as their champion in new White House
Soon after House conservatives kicked off a new effort last week to reduce the amount of wilderness and other lands protected by the federal government, a leading conservationist quickly dashed off an email to an ally with especially close ties to the incoming Republican administration. The note went to Donald Trump Jr., eldest son of President-elect Donald Trump and a member of several hunting and fishing groups, who promised fellow hunters during the campaign that he would press his father to protect federal lands that are popular for outdoors activities. The urgent appeal to Trump Jr. reveals how hunting and conservation groups plan to rely on the 39-year-old to serve as their champion in his father's administration on an issue that puts him in direct opposition to many conservatives who are counting on a GOP president to scale back federal control over millions of acres where drilling, grazing and other private uses are restricted.
 
Former Spy Who Compiled Trump File Is Identified
A former British intelligence officer who is now a director of a private security-and-investigations firm has been identified as the author of the dossier of unverified allegations about President-elect Donald Trump's activities and connections in Russia, people familiar with the matter say. Christopher Steele, a director of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd., prepared the dossier, the people said. The document, which an official close to the matter said was prepared under contract to both Republican and Democratic adversaries of Mr. Trump, alleges that the Kremlin colluded with Mr. Trump's presidential campaign and claims that Russian officials have compromising evidence of Mr. Trump's behavior that could be used to blackmail him. Mr. Trump has dismissed the dossier's contents as false and Russia has denied the claims.
 
Amazon says it will create 100,000 jobs in U.S. by 2018
Amazon will create 100,000 full-time jobs in the United States with full benefits over the next 18 months, the tech giant announced in a statement Thursday. The company says the positions are for workers across the country and across all skill and experience levels. Most of the positions will be at fulfillment centers, including new ones under construction in California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. Amazon has quickly ramped up its workforce over the last few years, as it pushes to open up more fulfillment centers to get packages out to its customers more quickly. In 2011, Amazon had 30,000 employees. At the end of last year, it employed 180,000 people. The topic of new jobs in the U.S. has become a popular one as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office.
 
Study Drug Impacts Seen On College Campuses
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder better known as A.D.H.D. is a serious condition linked to difficulty focusing on some tasks or subjects. But the prescribed medications are showing up on college campuses, not necessarily to treat A.D.H.D. Mississippi State University student Mary Nicholson has been taking a form of Adderall since she was diagnosed with A.D.D. in the third grade. Since she's been in college, her doctor has changed the amount she can get at the pharmacy at one time. The main reason: to prevent illegal use. "It's because people abuse it so badly, especially college students. I have to go to the doctor every month to get a refill on it. You can't medically get a refill so you have to go and you wait in the doctors office... you have to see the doctor and then they have to give it to you," said Nicholson. Studies show the use of drugs like Adderall or Ritalin has sky rocketed among college students in the last two decades.
 
MUW's Jim Borsig: Liberal arts education is more important than ever
In his five-plus years as president of Mississippi University for Women, Jim Borsig has frequently talked about the importance of a liberal arts education and The W's unique role in those fields. "We look like, feel like, smell like a small liberal arts college," Borsig confessed. On Tuesday, Borsig made that argument again, this time before the Columbus Rotary Club, offering no apologies for it. On the contrary, Borsig believes that message has a special sense of urgency as the nation tries to come to terms with what he refers to as America's second mechanical revolution -- the era of robotics and automation in manufacturing. Professional and technical curricula create the new world of work; liberal arts show us what to do with it, Borsig maintained.
 
Our View: The W's important role
The Dispatch editorializes: "To the casual observer, Mississippi University for Women might seem a redundancy, and a small one at that. With few exceptions, the fields of study offered at The W can be pursued at any number of larger, better funded universities in our state or neighboring states. But to make that assumption is to seriously misunderstand the unique and important role of this small, yet historic, institution. ...The W is, indeed thriving, even at a time when higher education seems under siege and under-funded."
 
Cartoonist Marshall Ramsey branches out, now teaching media class at Ole Miss
As the political cartoonist for The Clarion-Ledger for the past 20 years, Marshall Ramsey has been an active voice in both Mississippi politics and on the national level. In recent years, he has branched out from his drawing desk to host radio and television programs as well as become an author. EAGLE reporter Andy Belt sat down with the multi-talented Ramsey to talk about his past, his work during the election season and a media class he's currently teaching at Ole Miss.
 
Rod Paige calls plays to solve Jackson State cash crisis
Last October, Dr. Rod Paige returned to Jackson State University for the Boombox Classic versus Southern University. Before the football game, he strolled down the university's Gibbs-Green Plaza, a walk he had not taken since 1955 when he graduated from Jackson College, as the school was known then. He described it as beautiful, populated with active students and engaging faculty -- a "heavenly place to be." "Taking the chance to walk across the campus a week before, that inspired me. Had I not, I wouldn't have joined the conversation or taken the opportunity to become interim president of this university," says Paige. Events leading to Paige's selection to lead the university were far less pleasant.
 
Auburn University to host MLK Week events; campus closed Jan. 16
Auburn University will pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by hosting several events Sunday through Wednesday, Jan. 15-18, to commemorate the late civil rights icon's life and legacy. Events throughout the week are open to the public and will reflect the theme, "Faith and Reconciliation." In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Auburn University campus will be closed Monday, Jan. 16. Auburn's Division of Student Affairs Outreach and St. Dunstan's Episcopal Student Center at Auburn University will host events on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Breakfast will be held Monday at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. Nikki Giovanni, an American poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator will be the guest speaker.
 
Auditors: Georgia college cost up sharply as academic spending declines
Students' average cost of attendance in University System of Georgia colleges increased by nearly 80 percent from 2006 to 2015, according to an audit released last week by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts. It wasn't because of academics, though, according to the department's performance audit division. Spending on instruction and public service actually decreased in those years, the auditors found. In 2006, 35 cents of every dollar spent in the university system was for instruction. In 2015, that number was down to 31 cents, the auditors found. What drove the increased cost of attendance most were reductions in the HOPE scholarship program, legislative cutbacks in funding for higher education, and the increased costs of campus "auxiliary enterprises" such as campus housing and dining operations, according to the study.
 
Vanderbilt doctor sounds alarm over Trump's skeptic-led vaccine commission
President-elect Donald Trump's proposal to create a vaccine safety commission with skeptic Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. at the helm is distressing to an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. William Schaffner said the creation of a presidential commission on vaccine safety will muddle the information and studies at organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, that work to keep children and society safe. The country's ability to study and evaluate vaccinations is "the envy of the world," said Schaffner, a professor of preventative medicine. "Why this has to, once again, be raised, with perhaps other issues regarding vaccine safety causes me great distress," said Schaffner. "I'm concerned that the creation of a presidential commission will give these questions illegitimate legitimacy."
 
Texas A&M speaker: Cybersecurity issues serious but solvable
A leader in cybersecurity told those gathered for the opening of a three-day summit Wednesday that while there are a number of security problems that remain unaddressed, he ultimately is positive about the future of U.S. cybersecurity efforts. Currently serving as the director of the Information Innovation Office at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, John Launchbury acted as the opening keynote speaker for Texas A&M University's Cybersecurity of Critical Infrastructure Summit, sharing his insights into the challenges facing the field, as well as the ways in which his office is working to combat and overcome them. Launchbury explained that his team is seeking to find ways to achieve three goals they believe will aid in the fortification of cybersecurity: to build in security that will help fight off cyber attacks, find ways to manage the inevitable insecurity of some systems, and to develop a plan of action that will hopefully allow them to be dominant in the cyber realm.
 
Tom Warhover resigns as Columbia Missourian editor, returning to classroom, research
Columbia Missourian Executive Editor Tom Warhover stepped down Monday and will return to teaching and conducting research in the spring semester, the University of Missouri School of Journalism said in an email. Warhover, an associate professor, will return to teaching and research for the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute based at the school, according to the email announcement. He joined MU's faculty in 2001 after working at The Virginian Pilot, a daily newspaper that serves southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina. The announcement gave no reason for the change. The Missourian reported Warhover offered his resignation to Dean David Kurpius in mid-December. Kurpius named Mike Jenner, a journalism professor, interim executive editor until the school finds a permanent replacement. Jenner also will serve as the interim chairman of the Print and Digital News faculty.
 
U. of Missouri professor's invention could heat up the coffee mug industry
University of Missouri professor Hongbin "Bill" Ma has a doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering, but he's a lot like you. He goes to Starbucks in the morning because he loves coffee. When he gets his cup of coffee, it's too hot. Then, he gets to his office, gets caught up in work and forgets about that cup. The rest of us, we just quit there. This is a fact of our lives. But Ma, a professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department and the director of the College of Engineering's Center for Thermal Management, got to thinking. He hypothesized about how he might use his expertise in thermal energy to tackle the annoyance. A year and a half later, his company, ThermAvant International, along with MU, filed a patent for the Lexo mug and began production.
 
Georgia Tech launches second low-cost online master's degree program
The Georgia Institute of Technology will this fall offer an online master's degree program in analytics for less than $10,000, a new investment in the institute's model for low-cost, online graduate education. The interdisciplinary program, called OMS Analytics, follows the blueprint the institute created with its online master's degree program in computer science, known as OMSCS, which launched in 2014 and has grown to about 4,000 students. Last year, Georgia Tech announced plans to expand the model into new fields. Since offering the program online greatly increases the number of students Georgia Tech can enroll, the institute will charge students a fraction of the cost of the residential program to study the same curriculum online.
 
Accrediting body says U. of Louisville probation due to governor's actions
The accrediting body for the University of Louisville says it placed the school on probation last month because Republican Gov. Matt Bevin interfered with the board of trustees' decisions and did not use a "fair process for the dismissal of board members." The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges sent a letter to the school Wednesday detailing its decision to place the school on probation for one year. Bevin told a Louisville radio station last week that the school's problems were tied to the dysfunction of its governing board, including "infighting." But the letter from Belle Wheelan, president of the accrediting agency, did not mention board dysfunction. Instead, it pointed to Bevin's executive order issued last summer that abolished and replaced the school's board of trustees and replaced it with a new board of his choosing.
 
Teaching jobs for historians are down, but data suggest opportunities outside professoriate on rise
Available jobs for history Ph.D.s are down, but so is the number of new Ph.D. recipients, suggesting a slight market correction, according to information released Wednesday by the American Historical Association. The growth in job opportunities outside academe suggests that the association's continuing efforts to prepare historians for a diverse range of careers is seeing some success. "The professorial job market remains flat, but there are new possibilities," said Jim Grossman, executive director of the AHA. "We're seeing that things aren't going to get better in terms of tenure-track faculty jobs, but we're also seeing that maybe we will be successful at increasing the presence of history Ph.D.s in more diverse sectors of the economy, and within academia itself, as well -- entry-level, administrative-type jobs and other professional jobs in higher ed, but not teaching."
 
Conservatives disdain more government, except for Charter School Board
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "The legislature creates a new agency and before there is time for the furniture to be broken in and the freshly painted walls to dry there are a cries the agency needs additional taxpayer funding. Conservatives would argue the aforementioned scenario happens all too often. That is why they continually fight, they say, to control the scope and growth of government -- except here in Mississippi with the Charter School Authorizer Board. In 2013, the Republican-controlled Mississippi Legislature and Republican Gov. Phil Bryant created the Charter School Authorizer Board from scratch. And during the holidays, the Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee, a legislative watchdog group, issued a report saying the Charter School Authorize Board needs additional money from the Legislature to properly do its job. Isn't that the way governmental entities always work? They continually grow. That is what conservatives often say."
 
Collect that online sales tax
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Here is a little trigger warning for readers tired of the issue. I'm writing about online sales taxes again. So what's new? Well, at of the beginning of this year, the 45 states and the District of Columbia -- those that collect sales taxes -- are still struggling to capture lost revenues from online sales. Why are they struggling? Well, Congress and the Supreme Court still have not provided an easy path around the court's 1992 ruling in the Quill v. North Dakota case. The Quill case dictated that sellers must collect sales tax from out-of-state customers only if they have a physical brick-and-mortar presence in the customer's state of residence. Yet a growing number of states are extending sales taxes to online retailers with in-state sales affiliates."


SPORTS
 
No. 4 Bulldogs can match program standard tonight against Florida
No. 4 Mississippi State is seeking to tie its best start in program history as the 17-0 Bulldogs host Florida at 8 p.m. today on SEC Network. A win tonight would match the benchmark set by Vic Schaefer's 2014-15 team and own a 37-3 record at Humphrey Coliseum since that time. MSU has won seven straight at home dating back to last season. Junior Victoria Vivians continues to pace the Bulldogs and is fifth in the SEC scoring 16.7 points. Florida is 9-7 on the year but off to a 0-3 start in league play. The Gators lost at home 81-62 to No. 5 South Carolina on Sunday.
 
Chemistry is a strength for Mississippi State women
Vic Schaefer knew the challenge he faced prior to the 2016-17 season. With experience and depth at every position for really the first time in his five seasons at Mississippi State, Schaefer said several times finding playing time for all of his players might be one of his biggest issues coming off a program-best 28-win campaign and a trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Through 17 games, Schaefer has turned into quite the chemist. Schaefer's Bulldogs have found a way to make their chemistry experiment work. The result is a 17-0 start to the season that has MSU as one of three remaining undefeated teams (Connecticut and Virginia Tech are the others) in NCAA Division I.
 
Mississippi State takes big step with first win in Knoxville
Mississippi syndicated sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "Mississippi State's remarkable women's basketball team has made statement after statement in rolling to a 17-0 record and a No. 4 national ranking. Sunday, playing at perennial powerhouse Tennessee, State's 17th statement required an exclamation point at the end of it. Finally! Vic Schaefer's MSU team won for the first time ever at Tennessee, proving once and for all that if for the first 16 times you don't succeed, try and try again. Seriously, before nearly 9,000 fans, State won 74-64 over a Tennessee team that had won six straight games before Sunday. If you really want to know how huge it is for a visiting team to win at Tennessee's Thompson-Boling Arena, consider this: Before Sunday, Tennessee's record in the building was 422 victories, just 34 defeats."
 
Mississippi State tabs Todd Grantham as new defensive coordinator
For the fourth-straight year, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen will have a new defensive coordinator. Mullen announced the hiring of Louisville coach Todd Grantham as the new MSU defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Wednesday. He also announced that Peter Sirmon, who became the defensive coordinator last spring and will reportedly take Grantham's spot at Louisville, will not return. "Todd has proven to be one of the best defensive coordinators in the country this decade," Mullen said in a school release. "He understands what it takes to build a physical and aggressive defense at the highest of levels. We are excited to welcome he and his family to Starkville." Grantham spent the last three seasons at Louisville, where he served as Bobby Petrino's defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach. Before that, he served as the defensive coordinator at Georgia from 2010-13.
 
Mississippi State, Louisville swap out defensive leaders
More changes are coming to Mississippi State's defensive staff. A year after replacing all four coaches on that side of the ball, Dan Mullen has made another move in hiring Todd Grantham away from Louisville to replace Peter Sirmon as his defensive coordinator. "When the opportunity to be part of Dan Mullen's staff presented itself it was something my family and I became very ex-cited about," Grantham said. "Coach Mullen has built a winning program in the most challenging conference in the country. Along with our staff, I look forward to re-establishing the Bulldog defense as one of the top defenses in the country and making the fans of Mississippi State proud."
 
Mississippi State hires Todd Grantham as defensive coordinator
Mississippi State has hired Todd Grantham to be its fourth defensive coordinator in four seasons. The 50-year-old Grantham replaces Peter Sirmon, who lasted just one season with the Bulldogs. Grantham, who will also be the linebackers coach, comes to Mississippi State after three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Louisville. He'll try to turn around a Mississippi State defense that gave up 31.8 points per game last season, which ranked 13th in the 14 team Southeastern Conference.
 
Todd Grantham to be Mississippi State's new defensive coordinator
Todd Grantham will be Mississippi State's fourth defensive coordinator in as many seasons, a source confirmed to The Clarion-Ledger on Wednesday. Strangely enough, the man he is replacing, Peter Sirmon, is going to Louisville to take over for Grantham. Sports Illustrated first reported the hire. The school has since announced it officially. Grantham will arrive from Louisville, where he served as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach since 2014. Prior to joining Bobby Petrino's staff, Grantham served as the defensive coordinator for Mark Richt at Georgia. "He understands what it takes to build a physical and aggressive defense at the highest of levels," coach Dan Mullen said in a statement.
 
Reports: Mississippi State hires Todd Grantham as DC
Coach Dan Mullen has made yet another change at defensive coordinator. Mississippi State has hired Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to the same position, it was announced on Wednesday. He will also coach linebackers. "Todd has proven to be one of the best defensive coordinators in the country this decade," Mullen said in a press release. "He understands what it takes to build a physical and aggressive defense at the highest of levels. We are excited to welcome he and his family to Starkville." Peter Sirmon is out after just one year running the MSU defense, but he will replace Grantham at Louisville. Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino announced Sirmon's hiring Wednesday night.
 
Former Long Beach, Mississippi State star Richie Brown gets shot to impress NFL scouts
Former Mississippi State star linebacker Richie Brown will participate in this year's East-West Shrine Game. Brown, a Long Beach product, will have a chance to show NFL scouts what he can do at 2 p.m. on Jan. 21 when the game is played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game will be broadcast on NFL Network. The middle linebacker led MSU in tackles as a senior with 102. He had four tackles for lost yardage and 1 ½ sacks. He participated in all 52 games during his career at MSU, also leading the team in tackles with 109 as a junior. Brown was named Sun Herald All-South Mississippi in both his junior and senior seasons at Long Beach High School.
 
Vann Stuedeman will try to reverse Bulldogs' fortunes
Saturday really can't come quick enough for Mississippi State softball coach Vann Stuedeman and her Bulldogs. Saturday marks the opening day of practice for the 2017 season. To borrow a phrase from president-elect Donald Trump, it's a "huge" season for the Bulldogs. A year ago, MSU paid a steep price for playing arguably the nation's toughest schedule. The Bulldogs finished 26-31 and saw a string of four-straight NCAA regional appearances snapped. It was the first time a Stuedeman-coached squad missed the postseason. Even the Southeastern Conference tournament, which was held at MSU for the first time, generated buzz but not victories, as the Bulldogs lost their first tournament game.
 
Cowboys' Dak Prescott Can Handle Any Kind of Pressure
What would it take to distract the Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott? On Wednesday, running back Ezekiel Elliott tried to find out. As Prescott spoke to reporters in the locker room -- four days before his first playoff start, and at the center of a group so large that Prescott likened it to a Black Friday shopping crowd -- Elliott lobbed balled-up pieces of tape at Prescott, again and again. But Prescott never lost focus, never acknowledged Elliott, the Cowboys' other prized rookie. He just grinned and kept talking. Green Bay will surely throw more complicated --- and more dangerous --- things at Prescott on Sunday when the Packers visit the Cowboys for an N.F.C. divisional playoff game, but in one way, Elliott's antics provided a perfect snapshot of Prescott's remarkable season. Nothing seems to faze him.
 
Aggie men's basketball team earns first SEC victory of season
The Texas A&M men's basketball team pushed aside a three-game slide with a dominating 92-62 victory over LSU in Southeastern Conference action Wednesday at Reed Arena. The Aggies (9-6, 1-3) opened the game with a 19-3 run and ran away with their first SEC victory of the season. Louisiana native Robert Williams dunked an inbound pass from Chris Collins to open the scoring, and the Aggies, who appeared tentative in losses to Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina to open SEC play, showed a renewed confidence in all facets of the game. "It's good to see them having fun," A&M coach Billy Kennedy said.
 
U. of Alabama scholar-athletes being honored
More than 400 Crimson Tide student-athletes carried a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better into the spring semester. All UA student-athletes carrying a 3.0 GPA for their careers will be honored Thursday night in Coleman Coliseum during the Alabama women's basketball game against Kentucky. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and the scholar-athlete recognition will be held at halftime. Overall, Alabama student-athletes posted a combined grade point average of 3.270 for the fall semester, nearly a tenth of a point better than any of the previous three years.
 
Gamecock fans' cremated remains could rest near U. of South Carolina's football stadium
A Columbia developer is moving ahead with plans to build a 2,400-niche columbarium on Bluff Road across from Williams-Brice Stadium. The concept is to allow die-hard Gamecock fans to have their ashes placed for eternity in the shadow of USC's football stadium. Developer Whit Suber, who purchased the small parcel last week for $850,000, has approval from city planners to build a traditional, cemetery-type columbarium. He said he is trying to negotiate with the University of South Carolina to use some property the school owns to build a structure that spells out "U-S-C." But USC spokesman Wes Hickman said he was not aware of any negotiations. "We do not believe that is an appropriate use of this tiny parcel of land," Hickman said. "Several individuals from the university have met with Mr. Suber and conveyed that message."
 
Rhett Lashlee leaving Auburn to become offensive coordinator at UConn
Rhett Lashlee's tenure on the Plains has come to an end. The University of Connecticut announced Wednesday night that Auburn's offensive coordinator has accepted the same position with the Huskies, joining coach Randy Edsall's staff after four years on Gus Malzahn's. "It's probably one of the hardest decisions I've made, definitely in my professional career," Lashlee told Auburn's official athletics website. "The opportunity to work for Randy Edsall, who has had success at a high level and success at UConn, and just have the opportunity to run the offense, that's something he's given me to do. I'm grateful for that." Lashlee signed a three-year deal with UConn worth $350,000 annually, per ESPN's Brett McMurphy. He made $600,000 per year at Auburn.
 
College football coaches favor 2nd signing day
Coaches unanimously support creating an early signing period for college football in December, but the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association says none of them want a third signing day in June. Todd Berry said Wednesday that coaches are worried the model proposed by the NCAA's football oversight committee that would create two early signing periods in June and December for high school prospects to sign binding national letters of intent changes too much too fast. The committee's recruiting changes could be approved in April by the NCAA council and could take effect as early as later this year.



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