Wednesday, March 1, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Registration open for Mississippi State's Spring Preview Days
Prospective Mississippi State students and their families are invited to learn more about the campus experience and Bulldog family during the university's 2017 Spring Preview Days. Space is limited for the March 20 and 27 events, so those planning to attend are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible. Spring Preview Days are geared toward high school juniors, but all prospective students are welcome, according to school officials. "Spring Preview Days are designed to be fun and informative for students and their families," said Kylie Forrester. "Visiting our beautiful campus during the spring semester is a great time to experience what being part of the Bulldog family is all about." Forrester is director of MSU's Office of Orientation and Events, which sponsors preview days during the fall and spring semesters.
 
Tupelo's Eddie Peasant chosen as next SOCSD superintendent
Eddie Peasant, an assistant superintendent with the Tupelo School District and former Mississippi Administrator of the Year, will lead the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District beginning July 1. SOCSD trustees voted unanimously to hire Peasant during a special-call board meeting Tuesday. His contract is for four years, and he will make approximately $180,000 annually. In his current role, Peasant oversees TSD's secondary education, athletics, technology, dual enrollment and disciplinary matters for grades 7-12. He previously served as the principal of Clinton High School and Gulfport Middle School. "He's been a highly effective administrative leader in large, diverse school districts, like SOCSD, where academics, arts, athletics and extracurricular offerings are equally important to a student's comprehensive experience," said school board President Jenny Turner in a release.
 
Supervisor Orlando Trainer: Wet N Wild deal unlikely until lake repairs are made
Supervisors are unlikely to pursue an offer for the Oktibbeha County Lake-based Starkville Wet N Wild waterpark until the lake's structural integrity is shored up, District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer said Monday. Trainer's comments come after Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's office sent an opinion last month stating the county may operate the waterpark -- which includes KOA Campground spaces and rental cabins -- as a public facility and spend any revenue generated from usage fees and concession sales to cover operational costs or a future transaction's debt relief. Supervisors were broached with a $2 million interest-gauging offer for the business early last year by owner and former Mississippi State University basketball coach Rick Stansbury.
 
Investigators looking into suspicious package delivered to Oby's
Law enforcement agents are investigating a suspicious substance delivered to Oby's restaurant Tuesday. Starkville police officers, firefighters and a hazardous materials response team were dispatched to the Academy Road restaurant about 3 p.m. after a package containing a vial with an unknown substance inside was delivered to the business, Starkville Fire Marshal Stein McMullen said. The substance was taken from the scene for further testing. Restaurant owner Danya O'Bannon said the vial was still sealed and unbroken inside the package when it was opened, she said, and the individual who shipped the small box even secured the contents with bubble wrap.
 
Treasurer strives to stop hemorrhage in Legacy college savings plan
Unless the Legislature steps up, the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Plan (MPACT) will become insolvent in less than 10 years, says state Treasurer Lynn Fitch. "Each time that I've worked with legislators, notably Rep. Nolan Mettetal, R-Sardis, chairman of the House Universities and Colleges Committee and Rep. Gregory Holloway, D-Hazelhurst, vice chairman of the House Universities and Colleges Committee who are two legislators who sit on the College Savings Board of Trustees, the Legislature has failed to take the bill up," says Fitch. "Eventually, if the Legislature does nothing, the Legacy program is expected to become insolvent in 2025," she says.
 
House amends, passes Senate campaign finance bill
The House amended, then passed a Senate campaign-finance reform bill after brief debate on Tuesday, with House leaders saying they're hopeful the Senate will agree to the compromise and send it on to the governor. The House inserted some of the language from its own campaign finance reform bill authored by Speaker Philip Gunn, then passed it back to the Senate on a 102-12 vote. Both bills would restrict politicians' use of campaign donations for personal expenses, a practice that is restricted or banned in most states and by the federal government. The Senate Elections Committee had stripped all the House language from the House bill and inserted its own. "I'm interested in passing some campaign finance reform this year," said House Rules Chairman Jason White, R-West, who said the Senate bill would be the vehicle to get it done. "We need to get this done ... (the House bill) is on the cutting room floor."
 
Bill removing civil service protection killed
Legislation to take away civil service protection for more than 20,000 state employees was voted down Tuesday in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Tuesday was the deadline to pass bills originating in one chamber out of committee in the other chamber. Taking agencies out from under the auspices of the Personnel Board, which provides civil service protection in Mississippi, has been a priority during the 2017 session for the Republican legislative leadership and Republican Gov. Phil Bryant. But in the Senate Appropriations Committee, a few Republicans teamed with Democrats to reject the bill by a 13-11 margin. Civil service protection gives state employees certain rights, such as preventing them from being fired for political reasons.
 
Senate kills online registration, early in-person voting
Mississippians won't be able to initially register to vote online or vote early at courthouses after Senate committees killed bills that would have allowed those changes. House Elections Committee Chairman Bill Denny, R-Jackson, said he's upset that Senate Elections Committee Chairwoman Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, rejected the bills without seriously considering them. "We knew that they were dead even before we sent it over there," Denny said. Doty said House Bill 373 , allowing online, first-time voter registration for people with a valid Mississippi driver's license, wasn't a high priority. She said lawmakers need more time to acclimate to the idea.
 
Update: Senator requests special session after BP bill dies in House
Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, said he would ask Gov. Phil Bryant to call a special legislative session to direct BP economic damages money to be appropriated to the Coast after a bill he had authored died in the House on Tuesday. SB 2634 would have created the Gulf Coast New Restoration Reserve Fund and funneled into the fund the $750 million the state is set to receive over several years for the damage to the economy from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.The bill was also co-authored by Sens. Tommy Gollott, R-Biloxi; Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport; Mike Seymour, R-Vancleave; Philip Moran, R-Kiln; and Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula. It unanimously passed the Senate and had received support from Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. Coast representatives and senators have been advocating the bulk of the money be used on the Coast, which saw the bulk of the economic damage from the spill that shut down the tourism and fishing industries for months.
 
Capitol Complex on track, most city bills dead
A plan to divert over $20 million a year in sales tax revenue for Jackson infrastructure remained alive past a major legislative deadline Tuesday but faces tough hurdles in coming weeks. Other municipality-related bills also faced the deadline. On Friday, the Senate Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency committee passed the Capitol Complex Improvement District in the form it left the House, but lawmakers added a reverse repealer indicating more work must be done to come to a compromise before the bill can move forward. The bill, similar to the one that died last year, creates a district with boundary lines around state-owned, tax-exempt property in which a board of directors can spend an additional 12.5 percent sales tax revenue generated within the city. The district, drawn with many edges, centers downtown around the Capitol on High Street, stretches east of the interstate between Lakeland Drive and Eastover Drive, west of Ridgewood Road, and goes as far west as Jackson State University. It also extends north into Fondren, encompassing the University of Mississippi Medical Center, even as far north as Hartfield Street.
 
Bill to add domestic abuse to divorce law fails in House
Supporters of a bill that would have added domestic abuse as grounds for divorce in Mississippi were outraged after it died in a House committee, whose chairman argued that the legislature shouldn't pass measures "opening the floodgates" to more divorces. Senate Bill 2703, which passed the Mississippi Senate, wasn't taken up Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee Division B at a deadline for legislation to advance. Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, said domestic abuse is covered in current divorce law under "habitual cruel and inhuman treatment." "I was shocked," said Wendy Mahoney, the executive director of the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "All we were seeking with that bill was to assist and support survivors of domestic violence who were seeking a divorce -- to at least lighten their load a little bit."
 
Consolidation bills for Perry, Chickasaw advance
Proposals that would limit testing days for students and exempt A and B school districts from certain reporting requirements are among the education measures that died Tuesday, the deadline for legislative committees to pass general bills from the other chamber. Among the bills surviving are measures that would consolidate five school districts into two, change the qualifications to serve as a superintendent, establish a cursive reading and writing curriculum and phase out an occupational diploma for special-needs students. Lawmakers could also consider House Bill 1046, which would allow students diagnosed with dyslexia to receive taxpayer support to cross state lines for services. The legislation is the only school choice bill still alive for the session. The measure, which had been double-referred and was already approved by the Senate Education Committee, passed out of the Senate Appropriations Tuesday.
 
Trump speech signals shift: 'Time for small thinking is behind us'
President Trump told a joint session to Congress on Tuesday night that "the time for trivial fights is over" as he sought to reset his presidency after a chaotic first 40 days. "The time for small thinking is behind us," Trump said, as he gestured toward Democratic lawmakers. "We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts, the bravery to express the hopes that still our souls and the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams into action. From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations not burdened by our fears." Trump's tone was a departure from the dark picture he painted during his inaugural address in January, when he said "American carnage" had overtaken the country. It was a conventional political speech from an unconventional politician, one that observers said was his most effective yet.
 
Obamas Make Book Deal With Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House will publish coming books by former President Barack Obama and the former first lady Michelle Obama, the publishing company announced Tuesday night, concluding a heated auction among multiple publishers. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but publishing industry executives with knowledge of the bidding process said it probably stretched well into eight figures. Speculation about the Obamas' books and how much they would sell for have been circulating in the industry in recent weeks, as executives at the top publishing houses met separately with the former president and first lady. Some publishing executives who followed the bidding process said that the opening offers for Mr. Obama's book alone were in the $18 million to $20 million range.
 
The Ash Wednesday debate: To #ashtag or not?
It's an official Ash Wednesday trend now. People post selfies of their ash-marked foreheads all over social media. They mark the photos with trendy hashtags -- #ashtag or #showmeyourashes. But is that appropriate? Should piety be so public? Doth not the Bible say "rend not your garments on Instagram?" The debate grows each year as Ash Wednesday selfies become more prolific in kicking off the Lenten season. Religious leaders advise people to ask themselves why they are ash-tagging. To show off? To share the meaning of the day? The Catholic News Service recently explained where the lines are drawn in the debate over ash selfies. Pro: Sharing photos of your ashes shares the meaning of the day with the world and is a modern way to evangelize. Evidence: Some priests and ministers do it. Con: The solemn reminder of the day -- that humans are made of dust and to dust they shall return -- is diminished and lost in smiley, happy tweets.
 
New Orleans Carnival season coming to an end as Lent begins
The trumpets and horns from the marching bands blared. The crowd screamed for beads. People paraded in costumes ranging from the politically-charged to the whimsical. And despite all the noise, a 2-year-old napped. Fat Tuesday, which marks the end of the Carnival season, started before dawn in New Orleans and wraps up with a ceremonial clearing of Bourbon Street at midnight before the fasting season of Lent begins Wednesday. The festivities were marred in the Alabama beach town of Gulf Shores where police said a car participating in the city's Fat Tuesday parade accidentally plowed into a band, injuring 12 people. But in New Orleans and elsewhere, the day was marked by frivolity and fun with locals and tourists watching parades and dressing up in funky costumes.
 
Oxford School District to collaborate with Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at Ole Miss
Some parents want it, others do not. So now the Oxford schools must decide whether they want the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at Ole Miss to help with teaching faculty members on race issues in the classroom or not. More than a dozen people spoke both for and against the Oxford schools working with the Winter Institute at last night's meeting of the Oxford School Board. Parent Lee Habeeb made it clear he thinks it is a bad idea. Habeeb, who has a child in the schools, took the podium first to explain his stance against the Institute entering the OSD. He said that the Institute has faculty who say, "hateful things about half the people of the state, good and decent white people who think and vote differently than the partisan staffers." Habeeb cited election-related social media posts from Jennifer Stollman, the Academic Director of the Institute.
 
Hospital lobby weakens UMMC collaboration bill
After a round of last minute revisions that advocates said significantly watered down the beleaguered Health Care Collaboration Act, the legislation passed out of the Senate Finance and Public Health Committees late Tuesday. The bill currently headed to the Senate floor makes it easier for the University of Mississippi Medical Center to partner with private hospitals and healthcare providers around the state. And it loosens restrictions on how those collaborations purchase equipment. "It's not the whole sandwich; it's about 40 percent of the sandwich," said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor of UMMC, in a conversation with Mississippi Today. "But it gives us something that we can get started on and that we can continue to work with in the next session... And I would expect that (opponents of the original legislation) are now supportive. At this point what they wanted has been addressed."
 
Inaugural Clyde Kennard Lecture Series begins March 23 at U. of Southern Mississippi
An upcoming lecture series named after Clyde Kennard is a collaborative initiative sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters at The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi Humanities Council, Historic Eureka School and Freedom50 Research Group, an interdisciplinary cohort of Southern Miss professors. The three-part series will present critical perspectives of the Clyde Kennard case in relation to racial progress at Southern Miss. "Can We Achieve This Togetherness In Our Time," will be held at the historic Eureka School in Hattiesburg March 23, March 30 and April 6. Each lecture will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Dr. Sherita Johnson, associate professor of English and director of the university's Center for Black Studies, will present the first lecture in the series March 23, examining Kennard's letters to the University making the argument for racial progress, specifically desegregation.
 
Talbot Brooks: Visionary Deltan Takes on Global Challenges at DSU Geospatial Center
An old saying in real estate is that it is all about "location, location, location." The same thing might be said about Geospatial Information Technologies, which use Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems, remote sensing and other techniques to evaluate and solve problems from a geographic perspective. Talbot Brooks, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary GIT at Delta State University, says everything is located somewhere. "Understanding where and why things are located where they are is critical to unlocking so much about how our world works," Brooks says. "Everything we do, every day, interacts with geography." Few people might suspect the scope of influence for the GIT Center at DSU. "Our Center is working to insure the safety and integrity of our nation's infrastructure, safety and defense," Brooks says.
 
C-SPAN bus rolls into Meridian, stops at Meridian Community College, Meridian High School
Local college and high school students got the opportunity to step aboard the C-SPAN Bus Tuesday. The 45-foot customized bus visited Meridian Community College and Meridian High School, where students and teachers were invited aboard to learn about the public affairs network's programs and resources -- including its in-depth coverage of the U.S. Congress, White House, federal courts and the American political process. MCC biochemistry student Chance Anderson C-SPAN was a valuable resource for the public. "There is such a wealth of information, and it's unfiltered," Anderson said. "You are able to make your own opinion on all the information there instead of someone making it for you. It's also good to be able to know what your congressman or representatives are doing. You are voting for these people and they are your voice. If you don't know exactly what they are saying then you are not fully informed on what is going on."
 
Auburn University honors excellence in recipients of annual Faculty Awards
Auburn University honored its 2016-2017 Faculty Awards recipients Tuesday night at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, recognizing some of the institution's most innovative teachers, researchers and scholars for their unique and distinguished contributions to the university's mission. Presented annually, the Faculty Awards honor individuals and groups of faculty for excellence in teaching, research and outreach. Following a competitive review process, recipients are chosen by selection committees comprised of faculty, staff, students and alumni. The honorees Tuesday night were named in 2016. "Once again, this year's recipients were selected from an outstanding group of talented faculty," said Timothy Boosinger, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
 
Auburn University's Tiger Giving Day fully funds 22 projects
Auburn University's online crowdfunding initiative, Tiger Giving Day, fully funded 22 projects for various schools, projects, and units across campus. The online fundraising event, which ended at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 21, inspired gifts from nearly 3,000 Auburn alumni, friends and fans, who raised more than $500,000. Each project was showcased at tigergiving.org and ranged from providing five job internships for student-athletes in Auburn Athletics to an upgraded nursery and portable ultrasound machine for Canine Performance Sciences detection dogs. One of the projects featured included the Auburn wheelchair basketball team, which sought to raise funds for specialized equipment and exceeded their goal by 148 percent, raising $17,760.
 
U. of Tennessee departments drop support for 'Killing Black Children' lecture
Several University of Tennessee departments have pulled their sponsorship of a lecture to be given Tuesday night because the title is too provocative. The Department of Child and Family Studies, The College of Communication and Information, and the School of Journalism and Electronic Media pulled their support of the lecture, titled "How Killing Black Children is an American Tradition," earlier this month, according to Amy Blakely, assistant director of media and internal relations for UT. The lecture is still sponsored by the university's Africana Studies program, the Office of Multicultural Students Life, the Departments of Anthropology, History and Sociology, and the College of Arts and Sciences, according to Blakely. Catherine Luther, professor and director School of Journalism and Electronic Media, said her school withdrew support because of the title.
 
Mike Middleton saw interim president job as calming U. of Missouri's troubled waters
What do you do when your university is in trouble? That's the question Mike Middleton asked himself in November 2015. A few months earlier, he had retired from the University of Missouri, his alma mater, after more than 30 years, first as a law professor and then as deputy chancellor. That's when a series of racially charged incidents thrust MU into the national spotlight. Things came to a head when MU graduate student Jonathan Butler started a hunger strike, and the Missouri football team threatened a boycott until then-University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe was gone. On Nov. 9, that day came. Wolfe resigned, and the UM System Board of Curators went to Middleton and asked if he would come out of retirement and step in as interim president. Fifteen months later, the interim is over. Mun Choi, former provost from the University of Connecticut, takes the reins of the UM System on Wednesday.
 
Two Mizzou students arrested for anti-Semitic messages
Two University of Missouri-Columbia students were arrested Monday night for allegedly harassing another student with anti-Semitic comments and notes. Maj. Brian Weimer of the Mizzou Police Department said officers were dispatched to McDavid Hall, a dormitory, Monday night to take a statement from the student who alleged the harassment. Weimer said a freshman and a sophomore were arrested at the scene. He said the anti-Semitic comments were oral statements, along with written notes. In a campus-wide email, interim Chancellor Hank Foley called the students' behavior "abhorrent and antithetical to our core value of respect." The case has been turned over to the Boone County prosecutor as well as Mizzou's Title IX office.
 
National completion gap by race one-third larger than average gap at institutions
Only 41 percent of black students who start college as first-time freshmen earn a bachelor's degree within six years -- a rate more than 20 percentage point below that of white students. While that's the national average, a new report from the Education Trust, a nonprofit organization that advocates for minority and low-income students, suggests that the average gap at individual institutions is just two-thirds that wide. And that means if higher education collectively is going to close the completion gap, it will take more than just boosting graduation rates on individual campuses. Highly selective colleges with high graduation rates must also enroll more black students, the report concludes. "If you close all institutional gaps, you're still going to have a pretty substantive national gap," said Andrew Nichols, Education Trust's director of higher education and the report's lead author.
 
Trump Calls Education 'Civil Rights Issue of Our Time,' Pushes Choice
President Donald Trump used his first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday to frame education as "the civil rights issue of our time" -- a line used by other leaders in both parties, including former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. And he called on Congress to go big on his favorite K-12 policy, school choice, without laying out specifics. He asked lawmakers to "pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious, or home school that is right for them." The push for school choice is no surprise -- it's the education issue Trump talked about most often on the campaign trail. And Trump picked an education secretary, Betsy DeVos, who spent decades advocating for expanding vouchers and charter schools.
 
At Betsy DeVos's Alma Mater, a History of Fierce Debate
It would be easy enough to drive past Calvin College without giving Betsy DeVos's alma mater a second thought. Six miles southeast of downtown, the school is a sprawling cluster of nondescript buildings and winding pathways in a quiet suburb. But to bypass Calvin would be to ignore an institution whose approach to education offers clues about how the recently appointed U.S. education secretary might pursue her new job, and about the tug religious institutions feel between maintaining tradition and remaining relevant in a rapidly diversifying world. DeVos is now Calvin's most famous alum, and in recent weeks, the school has been painted in some circles both online and in conversation as a conservative, insular institution that helped spawn a controversial presidential-cabinet member intent on using public dollars to further religious education. But that is a grossly simplified narrative, and one that obscures the nuances and very real tensions at the school.
 
Stanley Dearman was a Mississippi journalism hero
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "On Tuesday, the body of a brave, old school Mississippi newspaper publisher and editor was returned to the red clay soil of Neshoba County. Stanley Dearman, 84, died Feb. 25 in Gulf Breeze, Florida. He retired after publishing The Neshoba Democrat weekly newspaper in Philadelphia for 34 years from 1966 to 2000. One story dominated his exemplary career in Mississippi journalism. It was a story that Dearman's perseverance and courage guided to what would become a historic and important resolution in a Neshoba County courtroom some five years after his retirement."


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State baseball team resting up prior to trip
The Mississippi State baseball team received a rare break this week from the every-day grind of a season. With no midweek games before a trip to Oregon this weekend, MSU went four days without a game, the longest break it will have until May, when it has no midweek games between series against Texas A&M and Georgia. Granted a rare opportunity to get his players a few days of rest, MSU coach Andy Cannizaro took it. "I think it'll give us a chance to get healthy," he said. "We have several guys that have nagging injuries." With rest a top priority, the Bulldogs also are finding times to take on projects such as strikeouts. Cannizaro said the team is striking out "way, way, way too much" Sunday after a loss to Marist. Despite the youth and mounting strikeouts, MSU is in the top 50 nationally in batting average (.313) and top 40 nationally in scoring (8.4 runs per game). MSU has scored at least eight runs in each of its last eight games for the first time since 1999.
 
Andy Cannizaro wants Bulldogs to be better at plate
Through eight games, the Mississippi State baseball team has hit 11 home runs, compared to four at this point last season. The SEC Network called it the Cannizaro Effect. That number was part of an impressive weekend of hitting for MSU -- not that anyone could tell by how the team talked about its performance Sunday following a 9-8 loss to Marist. MSU first-year coach Andy Cannizaro and some of his players were in a noticeably sour mood after a 3-1 weekend in which it set a respectable standard for offensive production. "We are striking out way, way, way too much. It's really frustrating," Cannizaro said. "It needs to be a commitment to putting the ball in play when you get to two strikes. I don't think we're doing that. We're having way too many non-competitive at-bats, way too many strikeouts. We're striking out eight or 10 times a game. That is way too many."
 
Injuries add to Mississippi State's bullpen concerns
Mississippi State's bullpen, which was thought of as a strength entering the season, has mostly struggled so far this season and now it will be without at least one significant piece while another has remained unavailable. Senior right-hander Blake Smith is out "for the foreseeable future" with an elbow issue, Andy Cannizaro said on Tuesday. Cannizaro added that Smith may have to miss the season but was unable to speak on the specifics because he still needed to review Smith's latest MRI. The bullpen injuries don't stop there for MSU (6-3). MSU's crew for the late innings will now feature new faces, but Cannizaro is confident in them.
 
Mississippi State's Brent Rooker receives more national recognition
Mississippi State's Brent Rooker received more national recognition on Tuesday being named the National Hitter of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. The junior right fielder had already been awarded SEC Player of the Week and one of Collegiate Baseball's National Players of the Week. Rooker went 9-for-23 last week with four doubles, three home runs, 14 RBIs, five runs scored and five stolen bases. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder from Germantown, Tennessee is batting .394 with five doubles, three home runs, 17 RBIs and eight stolen bases on the year.
 
Mississippi State women's team places four on All-SEC team
The Mississippi State women's basketball team reaped the rewards Tuesday from another record-breaking season. Junior Victoria Vivians was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference for the second-straight year, while junior Morgan William earned her first selection with a spot on the second team. Sophomore center Teaira McCowan claimed 6th Woman of the Year accolades, and senior Dominique Dillingham was named to the All-Defensive Team for the second time in as many seasons. MSU's honorees played integral roles in leading the team to a 27-3 regular season and a 13-3 mark in the SEC. The finish helped the Bulldogs earn a No. 2 seed for the SEC tournament, which started Wednesday morning in Greenville, South Carolina. MSU earned a double bye based on its top-four seeding. It will play the winner of the Thursday's game between seventh-seeded LSU and 10th-seeded Ole Miss at 5 p.m. Friday (SEC Network).
 
Four Bulldogs garner All-SEC awards
Four Mississippi State players were honored by the league's head coaches when the SEC Awards were announced on Tuesday. Teaira McCowan was selected as the 6th Woman of the Year, Victoria Vivians was named first team All-SEC for the second straight year, Morgan William was added to the second team and Dominique Dillingham was picked to the All-Defensive team for the second consecutive season. For the second year in a row, South Carolina's A'ja Wilson is the SEC Player of the Year while Florida's Delicia Washington and Missouri's Amber Smith split Co-Freshman of the Year honors.
 
Green family has reunion at Mississippi State softball tournament
Kevin Green made a life-changing decision roughly 13 years ago. Green left a stable, well-paying job with FedEx to open a business. A personal business venture is always a tricky proposition. However, he had two driving forces behind the move. Daughters Logan and Regan were starting promising softball careers. As the number of travel ball tournaments started to grow, Green wanted to set his schedule so he could attend as many of the events as possible. The business venture -- a successful dump truck business -- paid off and helps with constructions projects. The softball careers also have panned out, as Logan Green is a senior at North Florida and Regan Green is a sophomore at Mississippi State. The Green sisters played one another this weekend when North Florida participated in MSU's February Freezer tournament. Kevin and his wife, Jodi, were in attendance for the three-day event.
 
East Mississippi Community College assistant football coach to fill administrative post
East Mississippi Community College assistant football coach Marcus Wood has been tapped to fill an administrative position at the college. In his new role as assistant vice president for Athletic Development, Wood will spearhead fundraising efforts for EMCC's athletic programs. Long-range plans call for the construction of an athletic operations center at the Scooba campus to consolidate coaching staff and the addition of a women's soccer field for the Golden Triangle campus. A former all-state safety for the EMCC Lions, Wood graduated in 1996 from Mississippi State University with an undergraduate degree in elementary education. He earned a master's degree from MSU in 1998 in sports administration.
 
SEC announces dates, site and schedule for 2017 Football Media Days
The Southeastern Conference on Tuesday announced its annual football media days will take place July 10-13, held again at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala. A more detailed daily schedule with full television information, rotational breakdown and student-athletes attending will be available later this summer. The SEC Network and ESPN will once again be on site to bring SEC Media Days to a national audience. Six times since 1992 has the SEC Media Days predicted champion proceeded to win the SEC Championship, including two of the last three seasons.
 
New Hope senior, Ole Miss signee arrested for stealing guns
A New Hope High School senior and Ole Miss football signee is in Lowndes County Adult Detention Center after he allegedly stole firearms from someone's home. Lowndes County sheriff's deputies arrested Tae-Kion Reed, 19, of 4645 Nashville Ferry Road, on Tuesday. He is accused of breaking into an acquaintance's home in the New Hope area on Saturday and stealing about a dozen guns of various types, Capt. Ryan Rickert told The Dispatch. Authorities have recovered about half of those firearms, he added. Reed, a standout offensive and defensive lineman for New Hope and a three-star college recruit, signed with Ole Miss on National Signing Day earlier on Feb. 1. During a ceremony at the school to announce his decision, he tossed a Mississippi State cap into the crowd before putting an Ole Miss cap on his head, a way of indicating he had chosen the Rebels over their in-state rival Bulldogs.
 
U. of Tennessee hires Kansas State's John Currie as athletic director
Two weeks after officially taking over as chancellor at the University of Tennessee, Beverly Davenport made her first major hire. Davenport on Tuesday named John Currie as the school's new director of athletics and vice chancellor. Currie, 45, has spent the last eight years as the athletic director at Kansas State. He begins his duties at UT on April 1. Currie is replacing Dave Hart, who announced his retirement on Aug. 18 after six years at UT. Before Kansas State, Currie worked within the UT athletic administration in various capacities, including chief deputy and advisor to then-UT AD Mike Hamilton. He received his master's degree from UT in sports management in 2003.



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