Tuesday, February 21, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Starkville aldermen to hold hearing on SMART expansion
The Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit system is looking for MDOT's help to provide enhanced transportation service in Starkville and Oktibbeha County. The system began operations in 2012 when the city and MSU announced plans to expand the university shuttle system into the surrounding community. Officials say nearly 2.2 million riders have used the free service, including nearly 750,000 who used the system last year. As part of the application process, a public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday night at Starkville City Hall. Officials encourage students, university employees and city residents to learn more about the system's future.
Oktibbeha supervisors OK $4.5M in road funds, advisement for OCH deal
The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors met on Monday and discussed a variety of topics, from road improvements to legal advisement on selling OCH. The board unanimously approved $4.5 million to go towards improvements on Blackjack Road, but the specifications have yet to be set. District 5 Supervisor Joe Williams said it may be enough money to add another lane onto the road. The board also discussed improvements to be made on several other roads, including Turkey Creek Road, Chapel Hill Road and Artesia Road. Talk then turned to legal advisement concerning the future of OCH. Ted Woodrell, of Woodrell Advisory and Consulting Services LLC, proposed that he advise the board alongside Butler Snow on creating a request for proposal for selling OCH.
Starkville Utilities phasing out old street lights
Starkville Utilities workers are bathing city streets in a new light. The department is phasing out the city's 2,583 street and 1,737 security lights, which utilize high-pressure sodium bulbs, with light-emitting diode fixtures. All new city installations now receive the LED fixtures, SU General Manager Terry Kemp said, and workers replace existing lights with new fixtures when they break or blow. Workers have replaced 255 lights, and Kemp said approximately 737 fixtures have been purchased for the effort. The utilities department will step up the transition's efforts this year by identifying neighborhoods with the oldest lights -- those that are more likely to fail soon -- and scheduling wholesale changeovers, he said.
Mississippi Ports Eye Cuba, Sign Agreements in Havana
The Mississippi ports of Pascagoula and Gulfport signed agreements in Cuba on Monday with an eye to future business and with a Republican U.S. senator from the state looking on, despite concerns President Donald Trump might backtrack on improved relations. Senator Thad Cochran is the only Republican among five U.S. senators and a U.S. representative on a three-day visit to the Communist-run Caribbean island to discuss relations and explore business opportunities. The agreements were signed during a business forum to explore future trade attended by Cochran. Port authorities along the U.S. southern coast are strong proponents of increased trade and travel with Cuba.
State Treasurer Lynn Fitch advocates for equal pay, financial literacy
State Treasurer Lynn Fitch said requiring the teaching of financial literacy in the public schools and requiring equal pay for women can help break the long cycle of poverty in Mississippi. "It is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. It is a right thing to do issue," said Fitch, who spoke Monday at the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute of Government/capitol press corps luncheon. Both issues are dead for the 2017 session, but Fitch said she will continue to advocate for pay equality and financial literacy classes in the public schools. Requiring financial literacy teaching in the pubic schools would help Mississippians make better decisions later in life in managing their money. She said studies show that in states where financial literacy is mandated their credit scores have increased.
Treasurer Lynn Fitch details state debt issues at Stennis luncheon
Mississippi's economy is still lagging behind the national average and you, the taxpayer, may be on the hook for more of the state's bills than you realize. Each time there's news of a major project, think Continental Tire or Topship, there's a good chance the state's decided to borrow money to help make it happen. "Then the question is, so how much do we owe?" explained State Treasurer Lynn Fitch. "How much do we owe? If we owe $4.3 billion on our credit card, basically, we all owe $1,707 for state debt. We're responsible for that. That's every man, woman and child." Fitch gave a rundown of where the state stands at the Stennis-Press Luncheon Monday. She explained that Mississippi needs to get the debt under control. Another topic of discussion today was the college savings program known as MPACT. Fitch said it needs a cash infusion from the Legislature to turn around its shortfall.
State may limit testing, bar dropouts at age 17
Mississippi lawmakers in coming weeks could change the rules governing schools in significant ways. Among proposals still alive in the 2017 Legislature are measures to limit the number of statewide and districtwide testing days, require 17-year-olds to stay in school, and require a district taken over by the state to achieve a "C" rating for five years in a row before it could be returned to local control. Lawmakers have already killed a number of proposals, including requiring school board members to be elected at the same time, cutting the number of school days from 180 to 170, and requiring students to pass the U.S. citizenship test. This year's top education debate is over rewriting Mississippi's school funding formula, and other legislation being considered is less weighty than earlier debates over charter schools and taking over struggling schools.
Cities, counties could get $50M for bridges
Cities and counties may see an extra $50 million in state money to fix deficient bridges. The House Ways and Means Committee voted Monday to pass House Bill 1732, presented by Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton. Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, told the committee that 28 percent of the bridges in the state are either substandard or impassable. The $50 million in this bill would add to the state's aid efforts, he said. Rep. Mark Formby, R-Picayune, said he has never seen numbers backing up Johnson's claim. "I just continue to try and figure out where all these bridges are and whose purview they used to fall in and whose purview they fall in now," he said. The bill will now go to the floor of the House of Representatives. It must be passed before Wednesday's deadline to advance.
Bill would help first-time home buyers
A House bill would allow first-time home buyers in Mississippi to create savings accounts of up to $5,000 for a couple exempt from state taxes. "This is a one-time exemption," said House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, who authored the bill. "... You're only a first-time homebuyer once." House Bill 1601 passed the Ways and Means Committee unanimously on Monday and heads to the full House. Starting in 2018, it would allow a single first-time homebuyer to have a savings account of up to $2,500 exempt from state taxes. A married couple filing taxes jointly could have up to $5,000. Ways and Means in its Monday meeting also passed House Bill 1594 to allow Mississippi State University a tax exemption for student housing built on university-owned land. A similar exemption was in the past granted to the University of Mississippi.
GOP Leaders Renew Push to Block Lawsuit Over Election Spat
Mississippi House Republican leaders will appeal a court ruling in a dispute over an election that tied, went to a drawing of straws and was later flipped. The disputed election gave House Republicans a three-fifths supermajority by changing a seat from Democrat Bo Eaton to the GOP's Mark Tullos. The lawsuit was filed by a lawsuit filed by five voters whose ballots were discarded. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled Jan. 27 that the voters could move forward with a lawsuit claiming their constitutional rights were violated when the House tossed out their ballots. Reeves said the federal court lacks jurisdiction to decide the outcome of the 2015 Eaton-Tullos race. But, Reeves said the five voters who filed suit could pursue their own constitutional claim.
State suspends pilot child care inspection program
A pilot program that would have increased the number of inspections of child care centers in nine Mississippi counties, comprising one health district, has been suspended indefinitely as the state Department of Health reviews alternate options, according to an email sent to child care providers last week. The increase in visits was meant to "ensure licensing rules and regulations were being met and that our children were safe in their childcare environments," according to the email from Jim Craig, director of the Office of Health Protection. After reviewing the plan for the pilot program, Craig wrote that he had "some questions and concerns" and indicated the state wanted to look at a "different approach" to the increased visits.
A Palazzo town hall is happening -- with or without him
The women trying to track down Rep. Steven Palazzo during his district work week in South Mississippi will have a town hall, with or without him. Ashley Kittrell said all they need is a venue. They have two possibilities, and chairs for Palazzo, Sen. Thad Cochran and Sen. Roger Wicker. She said the women and MS Gulf Coast Sisters Solidarity -- which has been advocating for women's rights and will participate in National Day Without a Woman on March 8 -- is helping them spread the word. A Facebook page for the town hall, which is planned for 5:30 p.m. Friday, says 44 people are going and another 109 are interested. "We're trying to make it nonpartisan," said Kittrell. "Everyone is welcome."
Trump set to issue streamlined immigrant travel ban
President Trump plans to issue a revised version of his temporary travel ban targeting majority-Muslim countries as early as Tuesday, with a likely focus on fewer people so it will survive legal challenges. The new order, according to a draft obtained by the Associated Press, would focus on the same seven countries -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- but would only bar entry to those without a visa and who have never entered the United States before. Unlike the original order, people from those countries who already have permanent U.S. residency (green cards) or visas would not face any restrictions. By focusing a new executive order on foreigners who have never been in the U.S., the Trump administration also makes it difficult for anyone to even initiate a lawsuit.
H.R. McMaster, new NSA, known as intellectual warrior not afraid to challenge authority
Looking for a National Security adviser, President Donald Trump turned on Monday to a career U.S. Army officer with a history as both a warrior known for battlefield heroics and an intellectual who will challenge authority. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who served two years as commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, was announced by the president at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's club in Palm Beach, Fla. He earned his reputation for challenging military authority honestly. McMaster wrote the book "Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam" that questioned the Vietnam war leadership. It started as part of his Ph.D dissertation at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was published in 1997.
Mark Zuckerberg's visit to Alabama fuels political intrigue in city where Trump ruled
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's trip to coastal Alabama this past weekend kicked off a tour of all 50 states and started in the same city where President Donald Trump's raucous rallies of 2015 and 2016 played out as political theater worthy of a national audience. The tour also began in the same city that's home to new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among Zuckerberg's fiercest critics when the Mobile lawmaker was in the Senate. But to those who encountered Zuckerberg on Sunday, politics wasn't on the mind of the tech-industry giant whose Facebook has become a dominating force in communications and social engagement. Instead, they said, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who live in California, were simply interested in learning about this region and experiencing Mardi Gras.
On a Design Mission in Mississippi
When officials in Mississippi's rural Holmes County, about an hour's drive north of here, hired an architecture firm to fix the county's ailing schools, they got back plans for a new $40 million high school to serve 1,200 students. Holmes County is among the poorest counties in the nation, plagued by age-old systematic racism, with a population (18,340) that has been declining for more than a half-century. Holmes didn't have $40 million to pay for a high school. Community leaders reached out to Derrick Johnson, state president of the N.A.A.C.P., who also helps underserved Mississippi neighborhoods and districts with strategic planning. So Mr. Johnson enlisted Roy Decker and Anne Marie Duvall, husband-and-wife architects from Jackson. Since they founded Duvall Decker nearly 20 years ago, the Deckers, as they're known, have focused mostly on neglected corners in and around Jackson, Mississippi's capital. To pay the bills, the two have redefined for themselves the ambit of a small architectural practice.
Honoring Mississippi's history
On February 17, 1992, Kenneth P'Pool met a crowd of fellow history and architecture lovers on Mississippi University for Women's campus for the first membership meeting of the Mississippi Heritage Trust. Twenty-five years later, he was back in Poindexter Hall reminiscing and celebrating MHT's anniversary, and he even took time to tour a building that could one day house a local children's museum. "Columbus has always played a key role in the state's history and continues to do that," P'Pool said Friday. "And can you imagine a better place, a more beautiful and historic space ... than Poindexter Hall and this beautiful auditorium?" The Heritage Trust is a Jackson-based nonprofit that works with lawmakers, educators and property owners throughout the state to promote the preservation of Mississippi's most historic buildings. Funding comes from between 300 and 400 members and goes toward telling the stories of Mississippi's history.
Travel ban affecting some Ole Miss students and faculty in Oxford
When President Trump issued a temporary travel ban for seven Muslim majority countries (Iran, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia) on January 27, the Executive Order not only impacted international affairs, but also the home front. For an estimated 26 students and 11 faculty members on the University of Mississippi campus, the ban directly affected them, too. Vahid Naderyan, an Iranian PhD student in Physics who has been in Mississippi since 2012, says he was shocked when he first heard about the EO. "After many months of trying to schedule an interview for my parents to come visit me, I was eventually able to set an appointment for them in the US Embassy in Armenia for March," Naderyan said. The travel ban was eventually rescinded for a time. While Naderyan can now visit with his parents, what lies ahead remains unclear for him and many other students in similar positions.
UM's Phi Mu chapter breaks ground on off-campus housing
The Ole Miss chapter of Phi Mu will be the first sorority on campus to oversee construction of an apartment complex from the ground up. Taylor Road Cottages, located near the Domain and the Connection apartments, will be finished in August 2017, ready for members of the Phi Mu sophomore pledge class to move in. Laura Jones, a Phi Mu alumna and treasurer of the Phi Mu House Corporation Board said in the past, sororities would rent out entire floors in Crosby for the sophomore pledge classes. Jones said, with the amount of freshmen continuing to grow each year, that option is no longer available. "One day out of the blue, the university kicked all of the sophomores off campus, saying we don't have any room for them," Jones said. In response, many sororities began renting out already-existing apartment complexes so their sophomore pledge class can live together.
Jasmine Guy speaker for Armstrong-Branch Lecture at U. of Southern Mississippi
The 2017 edition of the Armstrong-Branch Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of Southern Mississippi will feature famed actress and activist Jasmine Guy. The lecture is at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Bennett Auditorium on the university's Hattiesburg campus. Admission is free. Guy earned six consecutive NAACP Image Awards for her role as Whitley Gilbert on the popular television sitcom "A Different World," which aired on NBC from 1987-1993. Today, she directs as well as acts on stage, in film and on television. She is author of a 2004 biography of Afeni Shakur, Black Panther activist and mother of rapper Tupac Shakur. "We're honored to have Jasmine Guy presenting at this signature event as we celebrate Black History Month and the integration of the University of Southern Mississippi," said Eddie Holloway, Southern Miss' dean of students.
Delta State looks for unique funding
As college expenses rise and budgets are cut, many state universities are looking for alternative ways to create revenue and Delta State University is among them. Institutions of Higher Learning Director of Communications Caron Blanton said, "These types of developments are becoming more common." "Authorization from the legislature simply provides Delta State with the option of developing the property and this is needed before the Board of Trustees can approve a long-term lease," Blanton said. Currently there are two nearly identical bills in the Mississippi Legislature, which would allow Delta State University to lease a portion of its property. This property is located on the 55 acres that is currently a nine-hole golf course known as Derrall Foreman Golf Course.
Shattered William Carey campus recovers; relieved students return
Monday is the first day of classes for William Carey University after last month's tornado damaged five buildings on campus beyond repair and totaled 116 student cars. Over the weekend, close to 700 of the school's approximately 4,500 students moved into available dorm space on campus. According to the university, 90 percent of the 140 acre campus was damaged. "My car was totaled, but in the end it kind of taught you a lesson. Material things come and go, but as long as we're here together as a family, that's the only thing that mattered at the time," said Ava Calvert, junior business finance major from Richton. "Our students are excited to get back," said Dr. Tommy King, president of William Carey. After the storm, the University of Southern Mississippi opened its doors to William Carey students to reside and continue their studies.
Bestselling author Heidi Durrow to speak at Auburn University's Women's Leadership Conference
Heidi Durrow, New York Times bestselling author of "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky," will be the luncheon keynote speaker March 24 when the Auburn University Women's Center, a division of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, will host its 11th annual Women's Leadership Conference at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. The conference, with the theme "Be Bold, Be Powerful, Be You," will feature Durrow, whose book received the Barbara Kingsolver's PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Durrow is a graduate of Stanford, Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Law School. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she has worked as a corporate attorney and as a life skills trainer for professional athletes.
AU author kicks off 2017 Discover Auburn lecture series
John Carvalho will open the spring 2017 Discover Auburn lecture series with a book talk and signing of his book "Frick: Baseball's Third Commissioner." The event will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Caroline Marshall Draughon Auditorium on the ground floor of the Ralph Brown Draughon Library. Frick's tenure as professional baseball's commissioner carried the game through pivotal changes, including television, continued integration, West Coast expansion and labor unrest. During those 14 years, and 17 more as National League president, he witnessed baseball history from the perspective of a man who began as a sportswriter. Carvalho is associate professor of journalism and associate director for journalism at Auburn University.
Six weeks later, proposal to cut Louisiana's TOPS quietly shelved
A revised draft of possible TOPS changes Monday no longer includes a controversial recommendation that college freshmen and sophomores get less TOPS aid than juniors and seniors. The initial proposal was unveiled on Jan. 9 by the staff of the Louisiana Board of Regents, which oversees colleges and universities. Under that suggestion, freshmen and sophomores would be eligible for less than the traditional assistance from the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students. Freshmen would get 80 percent of their tuition covered, sophomores 90 percent and juniors and seniors 100 percent, according to the recommendations. But the latest draft that will go to the board on Friday deletes the section that called for tiered TOPS allocations.
Director of LSU Student Media Steve Buttry dies at 62
Director of LSU Student Media and Manship School of Mass Communication instructor Steve Buttry died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. He was 62. Buttry served as a University staff member after a 45-year career in journalism. Buttry's resume includes earlier jobs at The Shenandoah Sentinel, The Des Moines Register, The Des Moines Tribune, The Minot Daily News and the Omaha World Register. Buttry was a reporter and editor before moving to teaching and newsroom training later in his career. He became known as a digital journalism advocate while leading newsrooms transitioning to a digital-first media model. Buttry was first diagnosed with cancer in 1999, and then again in 2014. He was diagnosed for the third time in 2016, this time with pancreatic cancer that was unrelated to the previous two cases.
New U. of Tennessee ag chancellor eyes 'renaissance in agriculture'
For Tim Cross, there's no better time to be working in agriculture. "There's great interest in food, where it comes from and how it's grown," said Cross, who recently took over as chancellor of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. "There's interest in urban areas with regards to new food production systems. There's also an interest in how food has a major impact on our health. So I see a real renaissance in agriculture and that positions us really well to serve society." Since 2008, enrollment in the institute's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has nearly doubled to 1,448 students. And as a new chancellor, Cross has goals to expand the institute's visibility among the public and its programming in new fields such as international sustainable agriculture. Cross, who was appointed by the UT Board of Trustees in December and took over last month, will earn a base salary of $333,000 in the role.
Texas A&M's Institute for Advanced Study receives $20 million endowment
Nearly 55 years after making a check for $2.50 his first donation to Texas A&M, class of '58 graduate Jon L. Hagler is continuing his commitment to the university in a way which likely will have profound impacts for years to come. The Texas A&M Foundation announced Monday the longtime donor will endow the newly renamed Hagler Institute for Advanced Study with a $20 million gift to provide long-term funding to continue attracting scholars from around the world to the university. Since welcoming its first class of fellows in 2012, the institute has brought 35 prominent faculty fellows to the university to participate on research projects and in the Texas A&M academic community, with 10 more set for induction later this month.
U. of Missouri backs bill to limit discrimination lawsuits
The University of Missouri supports a bill to limit discrimination lawsuits that became a flash point for controversy this week when a House committee chairman abruptly ended testimony by the president of the Missouri NAACP. Just minutes before Rep. Bill Lant, R-Pineville, turned off Rod Chapel's microphone, Marty Oetting, lobbyist for the university, told the House Special Committee on Litigation Reform that UM supports the bill, especially the part barring anyone winning a lawsuit from receiving punitive damages from public entities. Oetting said he was working with the sponsor, Rep. Kevin Austin, R-Springfield, to make sure public higher education institutions were included in the exemption for state and local governments. "Because of the nature of how we are established and governed, it is not always entirely clear, and there have been court decisions in the past that did award punitive damages in a couple of cases for the university," Oetting said.
International educators grapple with changed political and social landscape
Attendees gathered here for the annual meeting of the Association of International Education Administrators annual conference grappled Monday with what Susan Buck Sutton, a senior advisor for international initiatives at Bryn Mawr College, described as a "chaotic mix of beliefs that challenge the work of international educators." Those beliefs, she said in introducing a roundtable discussion on the U.S. presidential election results, "have entered into widespread discussion and politicized in new ways the work that we do." The election of Donald Trump, and the anti-globalist, "America First" sentiment he rode to victory, has presented a broad challenge to American higher education and some of its key values like internationalism and multiculturalism. That challenge became more acute after Trump signed an executive order Jan. 27 barring entry into the U.S. by refugees and nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries.

UConn, Mississippi State, Baylor, Notre Dame Top Seeds in NCAA Reveal
After a week full of upsets, the NCAA women's basketball committee revealed its projected top 16 seeds for the final time before selection Monday. UConn, Mississippi State, Baylor and Notre Dame would be the top seeds if the season was over. It's the first time that the Irish are a No. 1 seed. "This whole thing is definitely subject to change between now and selection day," women's basketball committee chair Terry Gawlik said in a phone interview Monday. "There are not only a lot of games left, but also a lot of tournaments." South Carolina, which was a one-seed in the first two reveals, fell to fifth. Selection Monday is on March 13 and the NCAA Tournament begins that Friday.
Bulldogs get another shot at Rebels tonight
Mississippi State has dropped eight of its last 10 games but has been able to keep things respectable, losing six of those games by eight points or less. But the one game that stands out over that stretch is an 88-61 loss at Ole Miss on Jan. 31 that saw the Bulldogs totally out of character. "I feel like we came out for that game nonchalant and too cool and at the end it showed," said MSU guard Mario Kegler. State will get another shot at the Rebels (16-11, 7-7 SEC) at home tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. "We just had a lot of unfortunate plays and they were just knocking them down," said MSU coach Ben Howland. "Our transition defense was horrible. That's the worst transition defense we've played all season and they exploited it."
Mississippi State looks to bounce back against Ole Miss
Mississippi State has dropped six of its last seven games, but the Bulldogs' loss against Ole Miss during that stretch is the one that stands out the most to Ben Howland. It likely should, too, considering that 88-61 loss to the Rebels on Jan. 31 was the only loss during this rough stretch for MSU that the Bulldogs fell by more than nine points. The 27-point loss was the largest this year for MSU. MSU has a shot to redeem itself against its in-state rival and a chance to snap a season-long four-game skid when the Bulldogs (14-12, 5-9 SEC) host Ole Miss (16-11, 7-7) Tuesday at Humphrey Coliseum (8 p.m., ESPN2). MSU has lost to some of the best teams in the SEC, but the Bulldogs made a run in the second half in all the previous losses except against Ole Miss. "That was the one game we were really, really out of," Howland said. "They caused a big part of it."
Mississippi State's Ben Howland not interested in NC State job
Ben Howland's name may have been linked to the open NC State job, but he said Monday he's staying at Mississippi State -- for what sounds like the rest of his career. "I don't know why that gets thrust like that," Howland said. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm excited about our future here. Not going through the pain of building to start building all over again, I'm not doing that. You can only do this so many times. "This is it." Howland, 59, was listed in a story by Sports Illustrated as someone who could emerge as an intriguing name in the next few weeks regarding the NC State job. NC State fired Mark Gottfried last week.
Mississippi State baseball readies to face Morehead State
Mississippi State will play its fifth game in as many days to open up the 2017 season hosting Morehead State at 4 p.m. today. The Diamond Dogs went 3-1 during their opening weekend round robin with No. 11 Texas Tech and Western Illinois although they had to rally back against both teams to sweep a Sunday doubleheader. Morehead State (2-2) split its opening weekend series against Jackson State and Jacksonville in Jackson over the weekend. Junior right-hander Jacob Billingsley will make his first appearance on the mound for MSU while the Eagles counter with redshirt freshman righty Dalton Stambaugh, who pitched a shutout inning of relief with two walks in a 6-0 loss to Jacksonville on Saturday.
U. of Kentucky football season ticket prices will increase slightly for 2017
Kentucky football ticket prices will increase slightly for the 2017 season, the athletics department announced Monday. The ticket price bump, the first significant one since 2010, comes out to a little more than $4 per game, a UK official said. Season tickets for the seven-game home stand at Commonwealth Stadium will be available for $310, a $30 increase from the 2016 price. The corresponding K-Fund donations will not change for this season. Many of the upper-level seats are available without the K-Fund donation piece. Guy Ramsey, UK's director for strategic communication, said the school looked at other ticket prices league-wide before deciding on the increase, and he noted that Kentucky remains in the bottom fourth in the league as far as pricing. Football ticket prices are the foundation for all things related to the program, he said.
Flying coach: Many universities are using private planes
Once seen as a luxury of the corporate world, private planes are becoming increasingly common at U.S. colleges and universities as schools try to attract athletes, raise money and reward coaches with jet-set vacations. Some schools spend millions of dollars a year flying their coaches and executives on scores of trips around the country, and some pass the cost on to students and taxpayers. The Associated Press requested documents from dozens of public universities and found that at least 20 own or share ownership of planes for school business, often employing a few full-time pilots to fly them. Many others charter private flights through outside companies. To some critics, big spending on airplanes is fine as long as taxpayers don't foot the bill. And some schools, including Ohio State, say private donations and athletic revenue pay for flights. But at many, such as Kansas and Tennessee, they are covered by budgets that include tuition and tax dollars.

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