Wednesday, February 22, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
On this day everyone agrees: Mississippi values higher education
Hundreds gathered at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Jackson for the 30th annual Higher Education Appreciation Day - Working for Academic Excellence program that honors outstanding students and faculty members from 34 Mississippi public and private universities and colleges. "A concurrent resolution from the House and Senate recognizes today as HEADWAE Day," announced Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, chairman of the Senate Universities and Colleges Committee. "There's no other state in this country more dependent for its future than Mississippi is on higher education," said Dr. Mark E. Keenum, president of Mississippi State University and president of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities. "That's an important responsibility on everyone's shoulder in this room."
 
S.M.A.R.T. looks to expand services, upgrade technology
Public transit officials on Tuesday announced preliminary plans for growth at the Starkville Board of Aldermen meeting, which could mean more coverage for many in the city. Mississippi State University Parking and Transit Services director Jeremiah Dumas briefed the board and public on the growth seen for the Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit, or S.M.A.R.T, and discussed future expansion. Dumas said plans call for an increase of coverage along the Boardtown North, East Lee and City Hall routes. S.M.A.R.T. also plans to add another bus on the Highway 12 Express route. Dumas said the public hearing was held primarily to ask the city for money, considering the majority of the funding for the service comes from state grants. The hearing was part of their grant proposal, which is due next week.
 
MSU-Meridian program helps assistants become licensed teachers
Mississippi State University's Meridian campus now offers a new, innovative approach for students looking to get an education degree. "We provide the teacher education courses in a cohort model where we put about 10 or 15 teacher assistants together in a group, and we offer the classes in a hybrid format," explained Jeffery Leffler, Instructor of Elementary Education at MSU-Meridian. The new initiative is called Professional Advancement Network for Teacher Assistants. It's designed for those teacher assistants or para-professionals looking to become licensed teachers. At graduation participants receive a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education.
 
MSU-Meridian helps teacher assistants to become lead teachers
Through the PANTA initiative at MSU-Meridian, teacher assistants can complete educational requirements to become licensed teachers. "We noticed around this area a teacher shortage. There are some people who have many years of experience working in the classroom as an assistant teacher, who would be great lead teachers if they had certification for that. This is kind of a way for us to meet the needs of the community and meet the needs of these individuals," said Jeffrey Leffler, the advisor of the PANTA initiative. The initiative has a hybrid system that allows students to continue their education and work full time. Students can take their prerequisites at a community college, then do three semesters of coursework at MSU-meridian, followed by an internship.
 
First Graduate Of Furniture Academy Gets Job At Northeast Mississippi Company
For Carla Shackelford, this is a birthday she will never forget. It is the first day on a new job and career for the New Albany resident. "I'm going to start out sewing, today they have me trained and sewing on pillows," Shackelford said. Carla went to her nearest WIN Job Center, where she learned about a new program called the Furniture Academy. "She goes through a 10-hour OSHA training, so the necessary skills to be a good teammate and a good associate is what this training provides," said Rusty Berryhill, who is president of Kevin Charles Furniture, one of five companies, along with Mississippi State University, that joined forces to form "The Furniture Academy."
 
Plants Feeling Impact Of Unseasonably Warm Weather
The hats, jackets, and scarves aren't getting a much use as they should this time of year and with warm temperatures come blooming and budding flowers and fruit. Mississippi State University Professor of Horticulture Dr. Richard Harkess says the higher the mercury gets in February the more confused the plants become. Harkess says the warm temperatures could also extend an invitation for unwanted pests to stick around. He says the most significant effect to the plants is still to be determined.
 
GTRA's Mike Hainsey still optimistic about acquiring westbound air service
It's been more than two years since Mike Hainsey approached local governments to put together an incentive package to help bring westbound air service to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport. While that effort has not produced the desired effect, the GTRA director views it as more of a delay than a denial. "What I can tell you is that we are still very active in negotiations and discussions with American Airlines with flights to Dallas," Hainsey said. Apart from the ongoing talks with American, Hainsey said GTRA is doing well. Changes in ownership at two local industries have not negatively affected GTRA's business, he said. "We really haven't seen much change," Hainsey said. "Steel Dynamics still sells steel all over the world while International Paper still travels to the same places that Weyerhauser traveled to. Our local industry, along with Mississippi State, which is our biggest customer, still gives us a tremendous amount of traffic."
 
Aldermen, mayor select Melissa Luckett for school board seat
After a tie was broken by Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, the Starkville Board of Aldermen appointed Melissa Luckett to the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees. Luckett was one of two applicants for the seat, the other being Mississippi State University Educational Research Professor Debra Prince. Wiseman's vote broke a 3-3 tie among the board, with Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker removing himself from the board. A Starkville native and MSU alumna, Luckett is employed as a project coordinator at the MSU Research and Curriculum Unit. Luckett and Prince gave similar answers to most questions asked by the board, but differed in their approach to the district's current C level, with Prince giving a more aggressive answer.
 
Oktibbeha supervisors approve legal, hospital consultant's contracts
Oktibbeha County supervisors approved service agreements with legal firm Butler Snow and hospital consultant Ted Woodrell Monday as the board moves closer to exploring a possible OCH Regional Medical Center transaction. The two split votes met resistance from District 1 Supervisor John Montgomery and District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard, who questioned the merits and cost of hiring both a legal firm and Woodrell to develop a future request for proposals for the publicly owned health care facility. Although supervisors now have a team in place to write an RFP, the board has yet to take official action to start the process.
 
Stark Aerospace names new CEO
Stark Aerospace has named a new CEO with the appointment of veteran Michael J. McGrevey. McGrevey will fill the role left by General (Ret.) Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong who recently announced his retirement. McGrevey is a retired officer of the United State Air force. He previously held positions within the State of Mississippi, serving as Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief of Staff at Mississippi State University and Deputy Director of the Mississippi Development Authority. He holds a doctorate from MSU. Stark Aerospace is a global aerospace contractor located in Columbus at the Golden Triangle Global Industrial Aerospace Park.
 
Governor makes another round of budget cuts
Gov. Phil Bryant has announced his fifth round of budget cuts in less than 14 months – the first reductions to impact kindergarten through 12th grade education. The second-term Republican announced the cuts -- $43 million -- via social media Tuesday around lunch. He stressed on his Facebook page that the $6.1-billion budget is still about $700 million more than it was five years ago when the state still was trying to rebound from the Great Recession and the unprecedented drop in revenue that occurred then. This time around, the governor said education, including the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, which provides state funds for the operation of local school districts, would be cut about one-half of a percent or about $10 million. Many Democrats cite the multiple tax cuts, totaling more than $300 million in recent years, for the sluggish revenue collections, resulting in the cuts.
 
Gov. Phil Bryant forced to make more emergency budget cuts
Gov. Phil Bryant announced Tuesday he's again forced to make emergency mid-year cuts to the state budget and dip into the state's rainy day fund, the fifth such cut for most state agencies in less than two years, with more cuts on the horizon from the Legislature for the coming year. Lawmakers were recently told revenue is more than $116 million below projections, including an $18.5 million shortfall for January. The state's economist and treasurer's office last week gave lawmakers a dour report on the state's economy, saying the state's growth and other economic indicators are lagging behind the nation, it has lost population and state sales tax collections -- its largest source of income -- was at -0.5 percent for fiscal 2017 through January.
 
Mississippi governor orders another round of budget cuts
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is making the third round of spending cuts since the budget year started in July, and the fifth round in the past 14 months. Bryant, a Republican, announced $43 million in cuts Tuesday, saying tax collections remain short of expectations. It is just under a 1 percent reduction for most agencies. Bryant also said he is moving $7 million out of the state's rainy day fund. Without that, cuts would be larger. He cited state economist Darrin Webb's report to lawmakers last week that Mississippi has "struggled to gain momentum" since 2000, and that Mississippi's economy continues to lag behind that of the nation and the region. "Additionally, the state economist does not foresee an uptick in revenue for the remainder of the fiscal year," Bryant wrote Tuesday in a letter to the state fiscal officer, Laura Jackson.
 
Gov. Phil Bryant cuts state budget again
Gov. Phil Bryant on Tuesday ordered a third budget cut this fiscal year as tax revenues continue to fall below projections. The $43 million cut will trim all but five state agencies' budgets by about 1 percent. Bryant has also ordered a transfer of $7 million from the Rainy Day Fund, the state's largest reserve fund. Tuesday's cut includes the K-12 education funding formula, which is typically exempted in mid-year cuts. The cut excludes Student Financial Aid, Mississippi Schools for the Blind and Deaf, the Department of Mental Health, Child Protective Services and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. Legislative spending chairmen Rep. John Read, R-Gautier, and Sen. Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, said in January the cuts would likely be necessary after January collection reports show an $18 million shortfall. That $18 million shortfall, added to the other six months of this fiscal year means the state has missed original revenue projections by $107.5 million this fiscal year.
 
State Agencies Absorb Another Round of Budget Cuts
Mississippi lawmakers began the 2017 legislative session warning state agencies the budget is tight. Republican Governor Phil Bryant announced he's making $43 million in cuts yesterday. He's also taking $7 million from the rainy day fund. Republican Senator Gray Tollison of Oxford. "It's unfortunate that that had to occur but he has to do that by law. Our economy is just not growing at a pace we would like to see. I mean it's growing, but just not at a faster clip," said Tollison. This is the third round of cuts since July. Democratic Senator Hob Bryan of Amory, says Republican tax cuts to businesses are the problem. House Republican Randy Rushing of Decatur, says hopefully the cuts will help lawmakers keep spending in check for next year's budget. "And then if the revenues do turn around hopefully this time next year we'll be talking about what are we going to do with the surplus instead of needing some money," said Rushing.
 
Bill with cigarette and gas tax provisions is killed
A Mississippi House leader reversed course Tuesday and blocked a bill that could have led to higher gasoline and cigarette taxes. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, killed House Bill 1733 by choosing not to bring it up for a vote in the full House. The move came a day after his committee passed the bill without having details about it. The bill had vague provisions that could have been updated later to include tax increases for gasoline or cigarettes. Smith would not say what prompted him to reverse course and kill the bill. The House also passed House Bill 1734, which included $45 million in bonds for Ingalls Shipbuilding and bonds for universities and community colleges.
 
House OKs bonds for bridges, agencies
The House approved at least $50 million in bonds for colleges, universities and some state agencies Tuesday as well as $50 million for bridge repairs around the state. The House Ways and Means Committee approved the money for bridge repair on Monday. Although there was little debate on the bill, which passed 112 to 4, the question and answer period among lawmakers featured several colorful metaphors to describe the limited scope of the proposal. The bill also had placeholder language providing each of the four-year colleges $1 million; the state's community colleges would receive a combined $1 million. Higher sums to address specific needs at the universities are expected to be added. The bill originally included around $47 million for colleges and universities; $25 million for community colleges; and $6 million for the Highway Patrol station in Starkville, all of which added up to about $130 million.
 
Senate bill would cut property taxes for more industries
Mississippi senators want more industrial projects to qualify for property tax breaks. Senate Bill 2939, which passed the Mississippi Senate on Tuesday, lowers the threshold to qualify for a fee in lieu of taxes from $100 million to $60 million. Under such an arrangement, the Mississippi Development Authority negotiates a tax rate as low as one-third of normal taxes, for up to 10 years. The breaks had been reserved for very expensive developments.
 
No penalty for furling Confederate-themed Mississippi flag
The Mississippi House has rejected an effort to punish universities for not flying the state flag that prominently features the Confederate battle emblem. All eight of the state's public universities have furled the flag in recent years amid criticism that it's racially insensitive in a state with a 38 percent black population. Republican Rep. William Shirley of Quitman, who is white, offered an amendment Tuesday saying any university that refuses to fly the Mississippi flag could not receive bond money. "He offered this last year, and we voted it down," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, told the House. The House rejected the amendment with no debate; 52 members voted for it and 65 voted against it, including Republican Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton.
 
'One Lake' bill moves forward; fed money, approval pending
A bill to help move the "One Lake" project forward passed the House overwhelmingly on Tuesday, but the flood control reservoir idea discussed and planned for decades still needs more federal approval and money. House Bill 1585, with unanimous support from the Hinds and Rankin delegations, passed 110-4. It would give the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District, which already has taxing authority, flexibility to adjust any future taxes for the lake between those with property directly benefiting from being waterfront and those with less or no direct benefit -- instead of levying a flat rate for all properties in the district. The One Lake plan, which can trace its winding roots back to the historic 1979 flood, is to widen the Pearl River south of the Ross Barnett Reservoir to below Jackson. Congress has earmarked $150 million to the project.
 
Southaven mayoral candidate sues over campaign signs, city temporarily suspends requirements
A Southaven mayoral candidate is suing the city over its sign regulations, saying the rules put him at a disadvantage in his campaign for the city's top job. Tommy A. Henley, who is challenging Mayor Darren Musselwhite and at least one other candidate in the May 2 Republican primary election, charges in the suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court that sign regulations, as they pertain to campaign signs, are unconstitutional. He said what he considers onerous requirements make it hard to compete against an incumbent with greater name recognition. The suit, filed in Oxford, seeks a temporary restraining order barring enforcement of the regulations as well as permanent changes. Musselwhite responded late Tuesday that aldermen decided to suspend the political sign component of the ordinance temporarily, pending further review, to avoid potential lawsuit costs.
 
Coast women have USM auditorium, but not Palazzo, for town hall
Rep. Steven Palazzo has his choice of two town halls during his district work week. Sisters Solidarity on Tuesday nailed down a site for a town hall organized by South Mississippi women disappointed that they couldn't get in touch with the fourth-term Republican from Biloxi. It will be at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Fleming Education Center auditorium on the USM Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. Another group is having a similar town hall at 11 a.m. Saturday at 641 N. Main St., Hattiesburg. Both groups have invited Palazzo. The Sisters have invited Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker as well.
 
Rep. Steven Palazzo says he'll meet with any constituent in 4th District
Rep. Steven Palazzo said he won't be doing town halls but said he is willing to talk to anyone from his district who makes an appointment with his Biloxi office. Several constituents said Palazzo had not responded to their requests for a meeting so they put out a mock "missing" poster and asked for his safe return. They have since invited him to town halls in Long Beach and Hattiesburg on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Palazzo in an emailed statement said the town halls "are no longer used for elected officials to share information and take questions." "They have become a forum for the angry left to vent their frustrations over our president and get on camera doing so," he wrote. "These people don't want answers or action. They want attention. So, putting my face on a poster and contacting the liberal media isn't going to get you a meeting. Calling my office will."
 
One Thing Congress Agrees On: Vaccines Work
A bipartisan group of lawmakers are stressing the need to highlight benefits of vaccines amid reports of local outbreaks of infectious diseases. "The science is clear: FDA-licensed vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, and save the lives both of those who receive them and vulnerable individuals around them," the lawmakers wrote in a Tuesday letter sent to their colleagues. "As Members of Congress, we have a critical role to play in supporting the availability and use of vaccines to protect Americans from deadly diseases." The leaders of each chamber's health committees authored the letter. The debate over vaccines seeped into last year's presidential campaign with President Donald Trump linking vaccine to autism in children, a theory that has been widely debunked.
 
USM's College of Nursing hitting 100 percent on national exams
Officials at Southern Miss' College of Nursing report a 100 percent pass rate by their nurse practitioner students on two national exams. Assistant Dean Lachel Story said for 2016, the college had a perfect pass rate on the American Academy of Family Nurse Practitioners Certification Exam, and for 2015, a 100 percent pass rate on the American Nurses Credentialing Certification for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. "These certification pass rates are so important," Story said. "The nurse practitioners have to pass before they can go on to practice." At the College of Nursing, the actual number of students passing the national exams may seem small. Twenty-nine passed the Family Nurse Practitioner exam, while eight passed the mental health exam. But College of Nursing officials say the 100 percent pass rate is something to tout.
 
Meridian native joins East Mississippi Community College as new recruiter
Meridian native David Williams has been hired as a recruiter for East Mississippi Community College. Williams will meet with prospective students, visit area high schools and conduct tours of EMCC campuses. Williams graduated from Mississippi State University with degrees in Finance and Risk Management. He worked for New York Life Insurance Company's Administrative Management Department in Louisville, Ky., and later transferred to the company's office in New Orleans. Williams later moved to Birmingham, Ala., where he worked as area manager for Urban Cookhouse, a restaurant with several locations throughout the Southeast. Most recently, Williams worked for Regions Bank in Meridian. Williams said he has always been interested in working in the education.
 
U. of Tennessee president talks strengths, encourages diversity
University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro said Tuesday that his college system's groundbreaking successes "sometimes fail to take center stage in our communities or among our policymakers." DiPietro's second state of the university address took place at Nashville's downtown library, blocks away from Legislative Plaza. The 15-minute speech -- which was loaded with statistics touting the statewide impact of UT's students and research -- seemed tailored to state lawmakers, who sometimes serve as the university system's chief critics. It was the first step in an aggressive campaign to set a positive narrative in the heart of the legislative session, DiPietro said afterward. In the speech, which was streamed live online, he urged friends of the university to help in that effort.
 
Overhaul of university funding in Kentucky advances toward law
Kentucky legislators took the first step Tuesday in creating a new way of funding higher education that would funnel $1 billion to public universities and colleges based on their graduation rates and other performance measures. The Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee voted 12-1 to pass Senate Bill 153, which has been under construction for months by university presidents, the Council on Postsecondary Education and Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg. The only no vote was from Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, who said she shares the concerns of Morehead State University President Wayne Andrews, who testified Tuesday that the bill's emphasis on degrees produced could hurt smaller, rural schools. The formula would allocate 35 percent of funding based on student success.
 
Lisa Nolan named dean of UGA College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Lisa K. Nolan, a veteran educator, administrator and scholar of diseases that affect animal and human health, has been named dean of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Nolan is professor and Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and her appointment at UGA is effective July 1. Prior to becoming dean of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Nolan was founding director of the Great Plains Institute of Food Safety at North Dakota State University and chair of the department of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine at Iowa State. Her research focuses on bacterial diseases that impact animal health, human health and food safety.
 
UGA named a top producer of Fulbright students, scholars
The University of Georgia's 15 Fulbright students and six Fulbright scholars for the 2016-2017 academic year have landed it among the top producing Fulbright institutions in the country -- the first time the university has been named to the collective top students and scholars list. UGA is one of only 16 institutions included among the top Fulbright student and scholar producers, which were announced today by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education. "I am proud of the students and scholars who have been selected to represent our nation in this prestigious program," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.
 
Official outlines plans for Texas A&M University System's RELLIS Campus
The Blinn College Board of Trustees received an update on the Texas A&M University System's RELLIS Campus on Tuesday evening during a meeting on the college's Bryan campus. A&M System Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Special Academic Initiatives James K. Nelson gave the RELLIS presentation, updating the trustees on the current status on the development of academic programming expected to be offered on the campus. "[The RELLIS Campus] is going to become a high-tech research education center looking at what can be the high-impact things for the region," Nelson said. "What we're looking at from an education standpoint is world-class workforce development all the way up through post-baccalaureate training." With an emphasis on multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional collaboration, Nelson said the "guiding principals" used in the system's efforts to develop the academic programs for the campus include providing the students with the opportunity to "develop all the life skills that are necessary to succeed in a career today."
 
Consensus forms on loan policies among conservative thinkers
For much of the new year, Jason Delisle has taken every available opportunity to argue against a return to the bank-based federal student loan system that existed before 2010. On panels, in policy papers and in guest columns and op-eds, the American Enterprise Institute resident fellow has made the case that returning to a bank-based system from the current set-up where the government originates all federal student loans -- a plank of the GOP platform -- is misguided policy. "I'm [generally] inclined to believe that if the market is involved, the product will be better," Delisle says. "This was a case where that wasn't true." With Republicans controlling the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade, questions about how they will approach federal student aid, and how far they will veer from the path on loan policy staked out by Obama, are abundant.
 
Iowa Bill Would Force Universities to Consider Political Affiliation in Faculty Hiring
Iowa's public universities would have to base faculty-hiring decisions on applicants' political-party affiliations under a bill pending before the State Senate's Education Committee. The measure, SF 288, would require the state's three public universities to gather voter-registration data on prospective instructors and not make any hire that would cause either Democrats or Republicans on an institution's faculty to outnumber each other by more than 10 percent. The bill was denounced as "wackadoodle" by State Sen. Herman C. Quirmbach, a Democrat who is a top member of the Senate Education Committee and an associate professor of economics at Iowa State University. Similar legislation, calling for the ideological balance of the faculties of North Carolina's public universities to closely reflect party-registration figures in that state, was proposed and shelved on Monday night as part of a debate over a bill, H 39, to shrink the University of North Carolina's Board of Governors.
 
White House: Transgender-Student Rights Not a Federal Issue; New Guidance Coming
President Donald Trump believes that decisions around which restrooms and locker rooms transgender students use in schools are best left to the states, and his administration will soon issue new guidance on the issue, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday. That guidance will roll back a rule issued by the Obama administration that required schools to grant transgender students access to bathrooms and locker rooms that matched their gender identity, even if it did not align with their biological sex at birth. Under that rule, schools that did not comply may have been found in violation of the sex-discrimination protections of Title IX, which Obama's Departments of Justice and Education argued applied to gender identity as well as biological sex. The Trump administration had signaled a rollback of that rule, which had triggered multi-state lawsuits from conservative state leaders who labeled it federal overreach.
 
Media errs by allowing itself to become the story
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "Big mistake. To use an overused term, 'Yuuge.' The Trump administration has suckered the media into allowing itself to become the story. Big mistake. Every president, every congressman, every Mississippi official, every mayor, every town councilman and more than a few litter commissioners have lamented not getting a fair shake in the press, some more often than others. The well-tested response by journalists has been to admit errors, when made, then refocus on the issue at hand, which is never the press. Never."


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State women up to No. 2 in USA Today Coaches Poll
Mississippi State women's basketball is now the No. 2-ranked team in the nation. The Bulldogs earned another program-record ranking Tuesday as State climbed into the second spot in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll. MSU remained No. 3 in Monday's Associated Press ranking. Vic Schaefer's squad rallied for tough wins against Georgia and Texas A&M last week to improve to 27-1 overall and 13-1 in SEC play. State took sole possession of first place in the league standings heading into the final week of the regular season. Mississippi State can clinch a share of its first SEC regular-season championship Thursday when it heads to Lexington to face a Kentucky squad that moved into the Associated Press poll at No. 22 on Monday. The Bulldogs return home Sunday to close the regular season against Tennessee. That contest tips at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.
 
Mississippi State women keep climbing higher, higher
The Dispatch's Adam Minichino writes: "The air continues to get thinner, but the Mississippi State women's basketball team keeps climbing. On Monday, MSU remained at No. 3 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. Hours later, though, MSU learned it had moved from No. 4 to No. 2 in the third and final NCAA Reveal by the NCAA tournament selection committee. The NCAA Reveal is a projection of the top 16 seeds for the NCAA tournament if the event was scheduled to start today. The move solidifies MSU's place among the nation's best teams as they enter the home stretch of the regular season. At 27-1 and 13-1 in the Southeastern Conference, MSU is one win away from matching its program record for wins in a season. It also is a another win and a South Carolina loss from clinching its first SEC title in women's basketball."
 
Rebels pull away from Bulldogs in overtime
I.J. Ready missed the previous outing against Ole Miss with a calf injury, a game that resulted in an 88-61 loss in Oxford on Jan. 31. The Mississippi State senior provided a big impact in the return meeting with a huge steal with 6.7 seconds remaining and following a timeout, drove the lane and made a game-tying lay-up with a second to go to send the game into overtime tied at 67. But as good as Ready was in the waning moments of regulation, Rebels point guard Breein Tyree was even better in overtime. Tyree scored the first eight points of the overtime and helped Ole Miss secure its second series sweep over its in-state rival in three years with an 87-82 victory.
 
Bulldogs drop midweek contest to Morehead State
Having displayed a balanced offensive attack throughout the night, Mississippi State was unable to hold off a late rally from Morehead State as the Bulldogs fell to the Eagles 13-8 on Tuesday night at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs were back in action after hosting a four-game series to start the season over the weekend. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Bulldogs. Morehead State moved to 3-2 with the victory. Cannizaro's club returns to action this weekend for games at Dudy Noble Field against Indiana State and Marist.
 
Tommy Tuberville reportedly considering a run for Alabama governor in 2018
Tommy Tuberville is reportedly seriously considering a run for governor of Alabama in 2018. Tuberville, who coached at Auburn from 1999-2008, recently resigned after a 4-year tenure at Cincinnati. The 62-year-old Arkansas native has no political experience, but that's not necessarily a dealbreaker to hold high office these days. "Two words -- Donald Trump," Terry Lathan, the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, told CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd for a story published Tuesday. "See, Nov. 8." Former football players or coaches entering the realm of politics isn't unprecedented. Two-time Alabama governor Fob James was a star halfback at Auburn in the mid-1950s. Robert Bentley's second term as Alabama governor expires in January 2019. State law allows no more than two consecutive terms as governor.
 
Former Tennessee, Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall says he will file suit against NCAA
Former Tennessee basketball coach Donnie Tyndall, who received one of the harshest penalties in NCAA history, said Tuesday he plans to file a federal lawsuit against the NCAA. "Obviously, there will be different parts (to the suit)," Tyndall said on the Sports Page radio show on 1180 WVLZ. "Slander and defamation will be part of it." Tyndall said he is in the process of forming a legal team with the intent of suing the organization that gave him a 10-year show-cause penalty in April 2016. "I think we would probably file the case this spring or early summer," said Tyndall, who is now coaching the Raptors 905 in the NBA Development League. "We're going to fight this thing to the very end." The penalties against Tyndall stemmed from multiple Level 1 NCAA violations, including widespread academic fraud, that occurred while he was the coach at Southern Mississippi from 2012-2014.
 
Will Tennessee's next athletic director stick around for a while?
For a span of 77 years, from the Roaring Twenties into the dawn of the 21st Century, the University of Tennessee spent little time or money searching for athletic directors. Through a remarkably stable run from Robert Neyland through Bob Woodruff and Doug Dickey, the UT athletic department had a steady and familiar hand on the wheel. Over on the women's side, pre-merger, Joan Cronan ran the show for 29 years. Decades passed with little fuss about whose vision would best suit the purpose of pursuing championships. Now, those seem like, and were, the good old days. Tennessee is looking for its third AD since Dickey retired in 2003. Neither of the past two will have a statue built on campus anytime soon. As another search firm logs billable hours at UT's expense, a review of the program's AD history might be worth a look.



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