Thursday, February 23, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State agricultural economist honored for lifetime achievement
A Mississippi State University agricultural economist, who has spent his career helping farmers develop management plans, recently earned a lifetime achievement award from his professional organization. Lawrence Falconer recently received the Southern Agricultural Economics Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the organization's highest award for significant and enduring contributions to the agricultural economics profession, at its annual meeting February 7. Falconer has been based at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville since August 2012. He is best known for his work in the area of farm and ranch management economics.
Sales tax figures mixed in Golden Triangle, but up in Starkville
Sales tax collections in the Golden Triangle are a mixed bag so far in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Collections sent to cities this month, for taxes collected in December, were down slightly in Columbus and West Point, but up in Starkville. Likewise, total fiscal year-to-date collections are down -- in West Point more than Columbus -- and up in Starkville. Starkville received $661,604 in sales tax collections this month, according to the Department of Revenue. The total is $24,680 more than last February's $636,924. Sales tax collections are also up for the fiscal year so far in Starkville. The city has drawn in $2.86 million in collections so far, compared to $2.24 million for the same time last year. Mayor Parker Wiseman said the higher collections are a continuation of strong sales tax growth the city has seen in recent years. Wiseman said the growth of Mississippi State has fueled sales tax growth, as has increased tourism spending.
Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District board picks 3 finalists for superintendent
Three men are in the running to lead the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District after Superintendent Lewis Holloway retires this summer. The SOCSD Board of Trustees developed a shortlist of preferred candidates Tuesday out of a pool of 43 applicants. The finalists are Tupelo School District Assistant Superintendent Eddie Peasant, Scott County School District Superintendent Tony McGee and Tullahoma, Tennessee, School District Superintendent Dan Lawson. The three candidates will each spend a full day in the district as part of the interview process, which will also include question-and-answer sessions with four focus groups representing district and community stakeholders who previously participated in SOCSD listening sessions.
Starkville aldermen appoint longtime volunteer to school board
Mayor Parker Wiseman twice cast tie-breaking votes Tuesday that ultimately decided who would become the newest member of the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District board. Aldermen split 3-3 before Wiseman's vote selected Melissa Luckett to serve a five-year term on the school board. Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker recused from both the discussions and vote since his wife works for the school district. Luckett, a project coordinator for Mississippi State University's Research and Curriculum Unit, will replace Jenny Turner, who opted not to apply for reappointment. Her term officially begins March 5. The mother of two children in the school district, Luckett has volunteered for about 10 years with local public schools, including stints as co-president for the Parent-Teacher Organization at Sudduth Elementary and PTO president at Armstrong Middle School.
Waller to be interim CEO for MEC as Wilson Prepares to Retire
Scott Waller has been named Interim President & CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council effective May 1, in preparation for the planned retirement of 19-year CEO Blake Wilson on June 16, after a 47-year career, 37 in association work. A native of Shubuta and a graduate of Mississippi State University, Waller is in his 11th year on staff at MEC, serving most recently as executive vice president & COO, focusing specifically on driving MEC's legislative agenda, targeting communications and generating grassroots outreach on behalf of the MEC membership. He is active in both the Rotary Club of Jackson and St. Matthews United Methodist Church in Madison, where he lives with his wife, Kim, a Rankin public school teacher. Their son, Shane, also a Mississippi State graduate and Eagle Scout, is in post-graduate studies at George Washington University.
MEC head Blake Wilson stepping down
When Blake Wilson came to the state to head up the Mississippi Economic Council, he often joked he was from tiny Delaware that had three counties -- and only two at high tide. But Tupelo businessman Jack Reed Jr. says Wilson is retiring from his position as president of the MEC, the state's chamber of commerce, as a Mississippian. "I consider him a Mississippian now," said Reed, who served as chair of the MEC from May 2010 until May 2011 and worked closely with Wilson. "...I think he probably does, too. But I consider him one of the best of Mississippi." Wilson, 63, took over as president and chief executive officer of the MEC in 1998. Reed said Wilson had the unique ability to be a booster for Mississippi while working on its shortcomings.
Blake Wilson retiring as head of state chamber of commerce
Blake Wilson, a Delaware native, has many times told crowds of business leaders, "I wasn't born in Mississippi, but I got here just as quick as I could." Wilson, 63, on Wednesday announced his plan to retire in June after 19 years as CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council, the state's chamber of commerce. Wilson helped usher in Mississippi's automotive manufacturing industry, with the Nissan and Toyota plants. But Wilson quickly gives others the credit for the auto industry economic development. "When I got here, some of the documents that were still kicking around into the 1990s, long-range economic development plans, made very little mention of advanced manufacturing and going into automotive," Wilson said. "But early on, I heard a couple of guys speak -- Dwight Evans at Mississippi Power and MSU President Mac Portera, who had been involved in landing the Mercedes plant in Alabama. I heard them speak and I said, 'You guys are on the right track -- how can I help?'"
Stark Aerospace announces new CEO
Stark Aerospace's Board of Directors announced the appointment of Michael J. "Mike" McGrevey as the new Chief Executive Officer, following the retirement of General (Ret.) Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong. Foglesong will continue his ongoing appointment as Chairman of the Board. In his new position, McGrevey will lead the company's overall strategic direction and drive growth and profitability. "Stark Aerospace has a strong commitment to protecting our armed forces both domestically and abroad. With a passion for promoting our military and protecting those who serve our country, I look forward to working with the company to build upon a long-standing history of success in the defense sector and building our commercial interests," says incoming CEO McGrevey.
Two bills alive to boost transportation, no complete proposal
A comprehensive plan to deal with what many say is a deteriorating transportation system in Mississippi most likely will not be passed during the 2017 legislative session. Wednesday was the deadline for such a proposal to pass at least one chamber of the Legislature. While the comprehensive plan is dead, the House has passed two streams of revenue designed to address what the Mississippi Economic Council and others have labeled as a major problem with the state's transportation system. "I am disappointed, but I am happy the internet sales tax is alive," said Rep. Steve Massengill, R-Hickory Flat, the vice chair of the House Transportation Committee. "That looks like all we are going to get, and maybe a little in bonds."
House kills Jackson airport renovation bill
A bill that would have allowed a developer to invest up to $100 million in modernizations and renovations of the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport died Wednesday when House members voting against bringing it to the floor for consideration. House Bill 1743 had passed the House Ways & Means Committee earlier Wednesday. In the committee meeting, Rep. Randy Rushing, R-Decatur, asked whether the bill was being passed with a particular developer in mind. Chairman Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, told the committee an interested developer is currently working with the state on a memorandum of understanding and has already hired Butler Snow for legal help.
Top 2 lobbyists earned more than $2 million each
Two women led the list of the top earning lobbyists in the state in 2016 with overall compensation of more than $2 million each. And the five top lobbyists grossed more than $1 million each based on the reports they filed with the Mississippi Secretary of State. The No. 1 lobbyist in terms of earnings was Clare Hester, founder and managing partner of Capitol Resources, a lobbying and government relations business now with offices in nine states and Washington, D.C. The next highest grossing was Beth Clay, founder of The Clay Firm in Jackson. Clay has been a lobbyist for about 25 years. In an interview, Hester said a key to her success is having a good team and building relationships. "People trust us," Hester said.
US senators say Raul Castro eager to maintain relations
Cuban President Raul Castro appears eager to maintain better relations with the United States and gave a group of U.S. Congress members signed copies of a recent speech expressing his willingness to negotiate with President Donald Trump, Sen. Patrick Leahy said Wednesday. Leahy and four other members of Congress spoke to reporters Wednesday at the end of a three-day trip to Cuba that included a Tuesday night meeting with Castro. The others included Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who spoke favorably of U.S. relations with Cuba, although he did not weigh in on specific aspects of President Barack Obama's detente with Castro. That policy is under review by the Trump administration.
Pentagon mulling split of NSA, Cyber Command
The Pentagon is beginning to assess whether it's time to split up the leadership of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. Right now, the two organizations share a leader -- Adm. Mike Rogers, who is director of the NSA and also the commander of the cyber unit. But lawmakers have debated ending that "dual hat" arrangement as the United States moves into a new era of expanded cyber warfare. Given the NSA's focus on intelligence collection, many on Capitol Hill and in the national security community think it no longer makes sense to have the agency joined with the leadership of military operations in cyberspace. Separating the leadership of the NSA and Cyber Command would create a new vacancy for President Trump to fill.
Coast Guard awards polar icebreaker design study contracts
The Coast Guard has awarded five fixed-price contracts for design studies and analysis of new heavy polar icebreakers. Coast Guard and Navy personnel will use the studies to refine heavy polar icebreaker specifications. The contracts were awarded to Bollinger Shipyards, LLC, of Lockport, Louisiana; Fincantieri Marine Group, LLC, of Washington, D.C.; General Dynamics/National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., of San Diego, California; Huntington Ingalls, Inc., of Pascagoula, Mississippi; and VT Halter Marine, Inc., of Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Natchez is latest stop on Facebook CEO's tour of South
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was spotted Wednesday in downtown Natchez, the latest stop on Zuckerberg's road trip through the South. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, apparently made their way to Natchez after stopping in Vicksburg Wednesday and Clarksdale Tuesday. Zuckerberg posted on Facebook Wednesday evening that he and Chan stopped in Vicksburg Wednesday to see the battlefield and included a photograph of himself and Chan at the Vicksburg National Cemetery. Zuckerberg announced on Facebook Sunday that he and Chan "are taking a road trip through the south this week as part of my challenge to visit every state in the US."
Nissan Savior Carlos Ghosn Hands Keys to New CEO to Focus on Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, one of the auto industry's most celebrated turnaround artists, is relinquishing his CEO role at Nissan Motor Co. and turning over day-to-day control to Hiroto Saikawa as he focuses on strengthening the carmaker's alliance with Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. The move caught some observers by surprise. Only last October, Nissan elevated Saikawa to the co-CEO position along side Ghosn. However, the strategic challenges facing Nissan and its French alliance partner Renault have prompted the 62-year-old executive to step back. Ghosn continues on as chairman of Nissan and the CEO and chairman of Renault. He's also chairman of Mitsubishi Motors, a strategic partner 34 percent owned by Nissan that's trying to regain consumers' trust from a months-long fuel economy scandal.
UM campus police respond to suspicious person report
University Police responded to a suspicious person call last week in front of the Delta Delta Delta and Kappa Delta sorority houses on campus. Thursday night, UPD responded to a report of an individual moving around the front yards of the two sorority houses. UPD identified the suspect as a male driving a white construction van. No arrests have been made at this time. "It was reported that an individual of Hispanic descent was outside on the porch area of the Kappa Delta house looking in the windows," UPD Lt. Kendall Brown said. Brown said UPD received reports of the same man asking to use the restroom at Crosby Hall and peering inside the residence hall through students' windows. "I guess he was looking in some of the windows at the dorm as well," Brown said. "When we got there, he was gone, so when he got discovered he probably just ran." The department has advised students to take well-lit and populated routes when walking around campus and to avoid being alone at functions.
Delta State planetarium offering two heavenly shows
The Roy L. and Clara Belle Wiley Planetarium at Delta State University will host two special programs. Both program start at 7 p.m. in Walters Hall where the planetarium is located. On Friday, the show will be "Wonders of the Universe." The audience will peer deep into space through the eyes of the Hubble Space Telescope and travel back billions of years in time to witness the birth of the universe. The show on March 3 is "March Sky" and will take the audience on a closer look at the planets, bright stars, and some deep sky objects that will be up at night during the month of March. Additional information may be found at
Auburn University's Museum of Natural History, Red Clay Brewery partner to save rare snake
Have a beer and save a rare species. That's the idea behind the partnership between Auburn University Museum of Natural History's Alabama Natural Heritage Program and Opelika's Red Clay Brewing Company. Red Clay will debut a new beer called Drymarchon Berliner Weisse today during the first "Science Pub" event. Proceeds from the beer will benefit conservation efforts of Auburn University scientists to save the eastern indigo snake. David Steen, a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences and researcher with the Alabama Natural Heritage Program, said he thought the partnership would be a good idea after visiting Red Clay Brewing Company.
NRA Drops Support of Arkansas Campus Guns Bill After Changes
The National Rifle Association said Wednesday it no longer supports a bill allowing concealed handguns on Arkansas college campuses after it was limited to people 25 and over who have gone through active shooter training. The NRA urged legislators to remove the changes to the bill that were made through a deal between Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson and lawmakers. The group supported an initial version of the measure approved by the House that would have required colleges and universities to allow faculty and staff with a concealed handgun license to carry on campus. A 2013 law leaves the decision on whether to allow faculty and staff to carry concealed guns up to the schools, but none have opted to do so.
Georgia House OKs ban on state funds to 'sanctuary' campuses
Private colleges that don't cooperate with federal immigration authorities would lose state funding for scholarships and research under a bill approved by the Georgia House on Wednesday. The majority-GOP chamber approved the bill by a vote of 115 to 55, sending the bill to the Senate which is also controlled by Republicans. A number of colleges and universities across the country have embraced the "sanctuary campus" label since President Donald Trump's election. Each school using the phrase defines it somewhat differently, but it's essentially a promise that the school won't provide information about students to federal authorities investigating immigration cases. State lawmakers in Alabama, Indiana and Pennsylvania have introduced similar bills withholding state funding to schools that don't cooperate with immigration authorities. Arkansas lawmakers rejected a funding ban proposed in that state.
U. of Tennessee Muslim, Jewish students come together 'to inspire unity'
Members of Jewish and Muslim student associations at the University of Tennessee will host a community dinner Friday to inspire unity in the midst of "difficult and controversial political times," according to a UT faculty adviser helping the students put on the dinner. The "All Vol dinner" will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at the UT International House and is hosted by UT Hillel and the Muslim Student Association. Gregory Kaplan, a professor of Spanish and faculty adviser to UT Hillel, said the two groups have a long history of collaboration. The dinner comes after mounting complaints by Jewish organizations about a rise in anti-Semitism across the country lead to President Donald Trump condemning anti-Semitic acts on Tuesday. It also follows an executive order by Trump to put a travel ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.
Tennessee lawmaker takes issue with Confucius Institutes at three universities
In a letter Tuesday to the presidents of three Tennessee universities, Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, wrote that the Confucius Institutes' close ties to the Chinese government warrant "serious evaluation of the Institute's presence on campus." "They are controlled by the Chinese government absolutely," Daniel said. The Confucius Institute program launched in 2004 to promote knowledge of Chinese culture on college campuses across the world, including at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Memphis. The program is sponsored and authorized by the Office of Chinese Language Council International, known as Hanban, which is associated with the Ministry of Education. Hanban calls itself a nonprofit, nongovernment organization, but critics argue that the Chinese government has more influence behind the scenes.
Texas A&M University, app developer launch bike-share program
Faced with one of the largest campuses and students bodies in the nation, Texas A&M Transportation Services hopes to alleviate some of the transportation needs on campus with a new bike share program. In the past two weeks, 10 bike stands with 75 bright white bikes have popped up across the campus as A&M joins the growing list of universities to bring in app-based bike shares. The university is partnering with Zagster to provide the bikes. Users unlock the bikes with a code on the Zagster app and lock the bike back up at a different station at the end of their trip. Ron Steedly, alternative transportation manager, said the goal of the program is to make traveling across campus more accessible and affordable and to help solve the same challenge faced by students when he was at school in the 1980s: how to move students from one side of campus to another in a 20-minute passing period.
House leader scolds U. of Missouri for lobbyist's testimony
The leader of Missouri House Democrats wants the University of Missouri to withdraw its support of a bill making it more difficult to win discrimination claims in state courts. The university's support undermines its credibility when it tries to show it cares about diversity and inclusion, House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, wrote in the letter addressed to interim UM System President Mike Middleton. On Feb. 13, UM System lobbyist Marty Oetting testified to the House Special Committee on Litigation Reform that the university supports legislation that would change the standard for determining whether someone was the victim of discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodation. The bill also would provide state and local governments, including public higher education institutions, protection against punitive damage awards.
Trump Administration Rescinds Obama-Era Guidance on Transgender Students
The Trump administration withdrew Obama-era guidance late Wednesday on the rights of transgender students, to allow the Education and Justice Departments to "further and more completely consider" the controversial issue. In a "Dear Colleague" letter, the departments said they were dropping the earlier guidance, which cited Title IX as the basis for requiring public-school districts to allow transgender students to use restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate. That guidance was expressed in letters sent by Obama administration officials in January 2015 and May 2016. The new letter, however, says the earlier documents do not "contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX." The letter also says the Obama administration's guidance was issued without undergoing a formal public review.
Michigan university presidents engage in impromptu lobbying against tax cut
Higher ed leaders and lobbyists don't usually act with the quick strike tactics of a team of Navy SEALs. But a group of Michigan university presidents came about as close as you'll see this week in response to what one president called an "existential threat:" a state legislator's proposal to end the state's income tax. House Bill 4001, introduced in Michigan's Legislature last month and approved by a committee last week, would slowly phase out Michigan's personal income tax over the next 40 years, steadily slashing the amount of money the state government would have to allocate to programs and services. When that happens, public colleges and universities often bear the brunt of the cuts that inevitably ensue, because legislators view the institutions as having another major source of revenue (tuition dollars) that many other public agencies and services do not. (Of course, when colleges respond to budget cuts by raising tuitions, state legislators, on behalf of their constituents, often cry foul.) With lawmakers moving fast, Michigan's public higher ed leaders felt they needed to, too. So over about a 24-hour span, they hatched a plan.
Tulane gets $10 million to recruit 'brilliant' faculty
Tulane University is endowing two new faculty positions with an impressive $5 million each, the university announced Tuesday. The presidential chairs will be held by professors whose work "crosses and combines different fields of knowledge to solve complex societal problems," a news release says. "We are working hard to find the most innovative, brilliant scholars around the world to fill these chairs as quickly as we can," spokesman Mike Strecker said. The two anonymous donors were inspired by President Michael Fitts' emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration. Fitts said the gifts would be transformative.
Should Scientists March? U.S. Researchers Still Debating Pros And Cons
Scientists around the United States are getting ready to do an unprecedented experiment: They plan to march en masse in Washington, D.C., and other cities on April 22, to take a stand for the importance of public policies based on science. Some researchers predict that this March for Science will release much needed energy and enthusiasm at a time when science is under threat; others worry it will damage science's reputation as an unbiased seeker of truth. The organizers say all are welcome, not just scientists, and they're billing it as a nonpartisan celebration of science. But not everyone buys that. Jerry Coyne, a biologist at the University of Chicago, says the only thing that binds scientists together is that they all use the same tools: things like hypothesis-driven experiments, replication of results, and peer review. "How do you march for something like that?" asks Coyne.
It's hard for a print journalist
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "It's hard out there for a journalist. That internet thing makes it difficult. Suffice to say, print journalists miscalculated the impact of that internet thing years ago. We thought it was just a passing fancy. Since then, we have been struggling to catch up, but catch up we have at the Daily Journal. Your humble scribe appears on webcasts, podcasts... If there is a cast involved, I am on board."
State has serious budget issues to address
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Mississippi isn't alone. About two-thirds of U.S. states are engaged in the same problems confronting Mississippi. Economic growth is stagnant. Revenue projections have been either overly optimistic or just flat wrong. Economic influences that state legislators can't really anticipate or change have strained state budgets. And those realities don't begin to speak to the politics of taxing and spending. ...while Mississippi's revenue stream issues are significant and impactful in virtually every facet of state government, the Magnolia State is far from the worst state in terms of fiscal issues and remains in far better shape than many despite our unrelenting status as the poorest state in the union. But the latest round of state budget cuts enacted to absorb continuing revenue shortfalls has forced lawmakers in both parties to question -- some loudly and publicly and other quietly and privately -- whether Mississippi has cut taxes too deeply and whether any additional cuts should be shelved until the current revenue stream can be stabilized."

No. 2 Bulldogs play for share of SEC title tonight
Sometimes you never know what you're going to get in recruiting. But all of his years as a coach led Vic Schaefer to believe he had found two important pieces. They weren't just any pieces, either. Schaefer had a feeling Ketara Chapel and Breanna Richardson were corner pieces he could use to frame the picture he envisioned building at Mississippi State. More than four years later, flanked by two of the recruits turned seniors who have helped transform MSU women's basketball into a national power, Schaefer couldn't help but smile when asked about his forwards. "I am not sure I have had a ham and egg like these two do," Schaefer said. "They ham and egg it pretty good. They are both hams. If one is off, the other one is on." At 6 tonight, Richardson, Chapel, and their teammates will try to set another first when No. 3 MSU (27-1, 13-1 Southeastern Conference) takes on No. 22 Kentucky (19-8, 10-4) at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington.
No. 3 Bulldogs out for record-tying 28th win
No. 3 Mississippi State can clinch at least a share of the Southeastern Conference championship tonight with a win at No. 22 Kentucky at 6 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs are currently a game ahead of seventh-ranked South Carolina in the SEC standings entering the final week of the regular season. MSU (27-1, 13-1 SEC) has won seven straight games and with another victory could also match last year's school-record win total. The Wildcats (19-8, 10-4 SEC) have won the last 10 games against State including an 83-60 victory in Starkville last season and a 92-90 double overtime win during the last meeting in Lexington in 2015. The Bulldogs' last win against UK came in 2009.
Mississippi State's Teaira McCowan making case for sixth player of the year
Vic Schaefer watched an analyst on television recently discuss the nation's top post players and their field goal percentages without mentioning Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan. The segment prompted the Bulldogs' coach to think to himself, "You got to be kidding me." Schaefer has a point. "If there's a better sixth player of the year in the country, not to mention the Southeastern Conference, I'd like to know who it is," Schaefer said. "If she's not sixth player of the year in our league, then they need to get rid of the award." Schaefer has another point. McCowan has played especially well in her last three games heading into MSU's game against Kentucky at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Brant Blaylock makes strong impression in Mississippi State baseball debut
Brant Blaylock had no doubt: he had just hit his first collegiate home run. Mississippi State's redshirt freshman left fielder couldn't help but give a subtle flip of the bat as he watched it soar out of Dudy Noble Field. "Maybe a little bit," he said after Sunday's win over Texas Tech, in which he hit the solo home run. "I enjoyed it a little bit, maybe more than I should have." He was not alone in enjoying opening weekend of Mississippi State baseball: Blaylock was one of six freshmen to make their MSU debut in the team's first four games, in addition to five newcomers from junior college doing the same. "We had a lot of guys this weekend have firsts for something: first hits, first outings, first time for stepping on the field," freshman pitcher Riley Self said. "It was a big weekend for us freshman, redshirts and newcomers. I think it was big, and (Cannizaro) prepared us. He told us, 'This is what to expect and you're going to get playing time'."
Huge opportunity for Mississippi State's Harrison Moon this spring
Harrison Moon has spent his first two years at Mississippi State alternating between center and right tackle. With the Bulldogs graduating a starter at each of those positions, Moon enters this spring with a huge opportunity to showcase his talents and earn the job at one of those spots. "That just means I have to work my tail off even harder during this offseason and mentally start understanding more of the game," Moon said. "Physically, I need to start being a force to be reckoned with. I'm extremely excited that I might have an opportunity to get on the field next year in a starting spot but I just have to compete because I know other guys want it too." Moon worked at center during his redshirt season in 2015 and spent last year as Justin Senior's back-up at right tackle while maintaining a few reps at center as well. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound rising sophomore feels comfortable at both positions.
Fourth-ranked Nuno Borges helps resurgence of Mississippi State tennis
It the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Virginia, Nuno Borges was showing his frustration. Borges was playing the No. 1 player in the nation, Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest; he lost the first set 4-6 and found himself just two points away from losing both the second set and the match. As he's returning to the court from a stoppage of play, he grabbed a towel and spikes it to the ground. This time last year, MSU men's tennis coach Matt Roberts could see this from across the arena and know Borges was coming unglued; now when he sees it, he knows something great is coming. "It gives you goosebumps if you're watching," Roberts said.
Mississippi State soccer set for spring matches
The countdown continues. As excited as he is for his team's first match of the spring in two days, Mississippi State first-year women's soccer head coach Tom Anagnost hopes his players hear the ticking of the clock getting louder and learn to embrace the urgency he wants all of the Bulldogs to have. At 3 p.m. Saturday, Anagnost will get his first opportunity to see how well MSU puts that attitude into action when it plays host to Troy at the MSU Soccer Field. The match will be the first of five MSU will play in the spring under their new coach, who was hired in January to replace Aaron Gordon and transform the program. MSU will play Auburn at 2 p.m. March 4 in Auburn, Alabama. It will play host to Southern Mississippi at 6 p.m. March 25. It will play an alumni game at 5 p.m. April 1. It will close the spring season with a match against South Alabama at 6 p.m. April 22.
Mississippi State's Jessica Peng named SEC Golfer Of The Week
Mississippi State senior Jessica Peng started the spring with her first tournament victory and was rewarded by being named SEC Golfer of the Week. "It's an honor to be selected," Peng said. "It especially means a lot to me because I only have a couple of months left until I graduate. I will keep working hard to finish strong." Peng earned the award following a stellar performance at the UCF Challenge that led to a first-place finish. She set individual low career records two consecutive days, shooting a 65. Peng also set the MSU 36-hole record with a 131 while leading the team to matching the single-round record of 275. "Jessica has been a mainstay of our lineup for three and a half years now," MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "This award is indicative of her commitment to this program and representing Mississippi State to the best of her ability."
U. of Mississippi Self-Imposes 1-Year Football Postseason Ban
Mississippi's football team will not play in the postseason next year. The Rebels might be facing more penalties, too, now that the NCAA says the program has committed more than 20 rules violations over the past several years. Ole Miss officials said Wednesday that the university has received an amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA that includes eight new football violations, including six that are Level I, which the governing body deems the most serious. The eight new violations are on top of 13 previous violations from the NCAA's prior NOA in 2016. One of the previous 13 charges was upgraded from failure to monitor, a Level II violation, to the much more serious Level I charge of lack of institutional control. The final tally: 21 NCAA violations, including 15 classified as Level I. More penalties could be coming.
Interpreting Ole Miss' nightmare
Sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes for Mississippi Today: "The Ole Miss football nightmare, one that seemingly never ends, continues. Wednesday, it got worse. When the university announced it was self-imposing a one-year bowl ban in response to a new, more lengthy and more harsh notice of allegations from the NCAA, many Rebel fans took to social media. And several tweeted something like this: 'Well, at least it's finally over.' But it's not over. ...This seems clear as well: Ole Miss penalties will not end with the one-year bowl ban, not if the NCAA's added charge of 'lack of institutional control' sticks."
The NCAA is coming hard for Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze
Columnist Dan Wolken writes for USA TODAY: "No matter how bad this gets, when Hugh Freeze looks back on the end of his coaching career -- which might be upon us sooner rather than later -- the truth is that every bit of the indignity he suffered Wednesday was worth it. The NCAA is coming hard for Freeze, charging his Ole Miss football program with serious cheating allegations, the school with lack of institutional control and the head coach personally for unsatisfactory oversight of his assistants, who are charged with carrying out blatantly illicit violations, not 'mistakes' as Freeze once attempted to characterize them. Watching Freeze in a 20 minute, 52 second video posted by the school -- eyes puffy, voice wavering, defiance gone -- he looked very much like a man who knows what happens next."
U. of Florida picks firm to design stand-alone football facility
Florida coach Jim McElwain's vision of a new stand-alone football facility has moved closer to becoming a reality. UF on Wednesday announced the selection of global architecture and engineering firm HOK to design its new stand-alone operations building, along with a dining room facility for all of the school's 500-plus student-athletes. "This football operations project will have a significant impact on the daily experience of our student-athletes and staff," UF athletic director Scott Stricklin said. The new $60 million facility, which will consolidate the program's football operations, will be located just west of the UF practice field and will be three stories high and 130,000 square feet. Construction is expected to begin in December, with an expected opening in 2019.

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