Tuesday, March 28, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU Extension Service: Participants learn latest on landscaping, cooking fresh
Landscape design, cooking with local foods, and taking care of home lawns were the highlights of a workshop Wednesday at the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Bolivar County. The speakers were the MSU Extension coordinator of DeSoto County Joy Anderson, Cleveland Country Club Executive Chef Jay Brennan and MSU Plant and Soil Science Extension Associate Michael Richard. Bolivar County Extension Coordinator Laura Jane Giaccaglia said the MSU Extension and the Cleveland Beautification Commission has been hosting the workshop every other year since 2013. "Jane Dunlap and I got together and talked about bringing it back to the community again because people started asking me about it," said Giaccaglia. Giaccaglia said in 2019, the Bolivar County Master Gardeners would be hosting a State Master Gardeners Conference.
Starkville man dead after high-speed chase, shooting ends near Columbus
A Starkville man is dead and a Lowndes County Sheriff's deputy is recovering from a gunshot wound following a high-speed car chase across multiple counties in the Golden Triangle on Monday. Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Warren Strain told the SDN the incident started about 10:07 a.m. when a Webster County Sheriff's deputy attempted to make a traffic stop on a white Hyundai SUV for suspicion of DUI. The suspect was identified as Pryor Spencer Bailey IV, 45, of Starkville. Strain said Bailey was killed in the shootout with police and was alone in the vehicle.
Craft beer in Mississippi: A change is brewing
It's been a long time coming, but on July 1, Mississippi will join 48 of its fellow states in allowing small breweries to sell beer on the premises. And Ben Green, for one, couldn't be happier. "Oh man, it's huge," said Green, head brewer at Southern Prohibition Brewing in downtown Hattiesburg. "We're finally going to be on the same competitive foot as the rest of the country, as far as breweries are concerned." The move comes courtesy of House Bill 1322, signed into law March 15 by Gov. Phil Bryant. The passing of the legislation allows Mississippi breweries that produce not more than 60,000 barrels of light beer or wine per year to sell up to two cases of their product per day per customer. It's good news for breweries around the state, which previously were only allowed to provide small samples of beer during tours and other special events.
Gulfport's Centennial Plaza preparing for Bicentennial party
Preparations are in high gear for Friday and Saturday's big Bicentennial Celebration in Gulfport. As Mississippi recognizes 200 years of statehood, Centennial Plaza is being transformed to host the event. The grounds are being spruced up, barricades are in place and a temporary entrance is being built. "I like to say it's a beehive of activity. There are so many volunteers and partners making the event special," said Gulfport Spokesman Chris Vignes. "We have two days we're getting prepared for. We are expecting tens of thousands of people Friday and Saturday. What we're doing now is getting all the logistics together: the generators, the port-a-lets, the property getting groomed and ready for guests to celebrate Mississippi's Bicentennial." Thousands are expected Friday and Saturday for the celebration.
Comparing state spending year-to-year proves difficult
As a final budget for next fiscal year is being finalized this week, lawmakers in both houses have asked the same question of spending chairmen: How much more or less money will each agency receive next year than they did this year? Budget officials distributed current fiscal year budget numbers for lawmakers to reference while considering whether to approve next fiscal year's appropriations. Senate and House leaders on Sunday and Monday answered the question using current fiscal year budget numbers that were updated as of Friday when Gov. Phil Bryant made a fourth round of cuts to offset lower-than-projected revenue. The current fiscal year's budget reflects about $170 million in mid-year cuts. This year's appropriations serve as a reference point and do not necessarily affect how next year's budget is drawn up, legislative leaders said on Monday.
Special session may be on horizon
The fight over how and whether to provide additional funds for the state's roads and bridges has led to the specter that the Mississippi Department of Transportation will not be funded during the 2017 session for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1. On Monday, as legislators worked to meet a midnight deadline to fund state government, the House and Senate leadership disagreement on additional funds for the state's transportation needs led to the demise of the bill to provide the regular, annual funding for the Department of Transportation. House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, and his leadership team spoke of the need for a special session to fund the Department of Transportation before the new fiscal year starts. But they said that a program to provide additional funds to transportation to address what many groups, including the Mississippi Economic Council, have said is a quickly deteriorating transportation system should be part of the special session.
Lawmakers at impasse over road money, internet sales tax
An 11th-hour stalemate between the House and Senate over road and bridge funding and internet sales taxes on Monday killed the budget bill for the Mississippi Department of Transportation, which could force Gov. Phil Bryant to call lawmakers back into special session before July 1 to finish their business. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves accused House leaders of lying during floor debate about the Senate loading MDOT's budget bill with pet projects. Reeves offered an ultimatum late Monday less than an hour before deadline for an agreement to be filed: The House could take the deal the Senate had earlier agreed to on MDOT funding, or lump it and "cost taxpayers $30,000 a day in special session expenses."
MDOT funding dispute prompts special session
Legislative negotiations on state transportation funding fell apart Monday, forcing a special session needed before the next fiscal year starts on July 1. House and Senate leaders couldn't reach an agreement on a bill that would fund the Mississippi Department of Transportation before a 6 p.m. deadline for action on conference reports for appropriations bills. In the dramatic hours before the deadline, House leaders sent two transportation bills back to the Senate for more negotiation.
Tensions flare as House votes on health spending
Emotions came to a head on the House floor Monday as Democrats fought for more spending for four health agencies. Democrats failed, largely along party lines, in efforts to recommit appropriations bills for the departments of Health, Mental Health, Rehab Services and Human Services and the Division of Medicaid. The Senate also easily passed their budgets for Medicaid and the Department of Health. For Democrats, the crux of the issue centered on a newly discovered gap in revenue projections for the next fiscal year. On Friday, state economists downgraded next year's revenue growth projections from 1.8 percent to zero, giving legislators $175 million less to spend as they iron out final budgets for the next year. Given the size and timing of the cuts, many Democrats argued that Republican leadership was slashing agencies before anyone understood what the impact might be.
Public schools cut $40 million from last year
The Legislature on Monday passed the appropriations bill for K-12 education in less than 20 minutes and with little debate. The bill funds the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the formula that dictates how much money goes to school districts each year, at about $40 million less than last year. However, compared to the amount school districts are receiving after a series of mid-year budget cuts ordered by the governor, the cut is a little less than 1 percent below the current year. MAEP's final appropriation for Fiscal Year 2018 is $2,201,038,129. With other agencies cut as much as 14 percent, K-12's share of the budget cuts was relatively small.
Attorney general's budget also a GOP infighting casualty
Late on Monday, after a long day of backbiting between the top Republican leaders in the House and Senate, the bill that would fund the Attorney General's Office budget died after missing the midnight deadline. The missed deadline will likely mean the bill will need to be considered in a special session, joining the Mississippi Department of Transportation appropriations bill that also died Monday before deadline. In budget negotiations for the attorney general funding bill, lawmakers slipped in a provision to require the attorney general to deposit any money earned through legal settlements into the treasury within 15 days. "There was some issue at the attorney general's (fall 2016) budget hearing," said Sen. Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale and Senate Appropriations chairman, when asked why the provision was added.
Bill Minor remembered as model for journalists
Veteran journalist Bill Minor made his last deadline Tuesday -- a date with death he has been dodging for decades. "My God, what he saw in his lifetime is phenomenal," said Hank Klibanoff, who detailed Minor's deeds in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book with Gene Roberts, "The Race Beat." Known as "the conscience of Mississippi," the 93-year-old Minor wound up outliving nearly all of his contemporaries as well as a number of the journalists he mentored. He died at 1:46 a.m. Tuesday. The son of a newspaper linotype operator in Louisiana and a lifelong Democrat, Minor viewed himself as a champion for the little guy. Minor fought for much of his life, serving as a gunnery officer on the USS Stephen Potter in World War II. After the war, he worked for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and began covering Mississippi in 1947. His first assignment was covering the funeral of U.S. Sen. Theodore Bilbo.
At Meridian NAS, Second Lady Karen Pence acknowledges sacrifices of military spouses
Though public figures and communities often recognize those who serve in the armed forces, Second Lady Karen Pence used her time at the Naval Air Station in Meridian on Monday to recognize the sacrifices of military spouses. "The sacrifices don't just come from the people in uniform," Pence said, citing spouses who had to move, change jobs or act as a single parent frequently. "Spouses and family who serve by their side also make tremendous sacrifices." Pence greeted spouses and those serving at the base and individually expressed gratitude to each one. Pence and her husband Vice President Mike Pence' son, Michael, a Marine, is a first lieutenant in flight training at the base.
White House to States: Shield the Undocumented and Lose Police Funding
The Trump administration, signaling its intent to toughen enforcement of immigration laws across the country, threatened on Monday to withhold or revoke law enforcement funding from states, cities and localities that block the police or sheriffs from telling federal authorities about undocumented immigrants in their custody. In an announcement at the White House, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said state and local governments seeking certain law enforcement grants would have to certify that they were complying with a law that bars any official from withholding information from the Department of Homeland Security about a person's immigration status. Those that are violating the policy could see such grants clawed back, he said. Mr. Sessions's appearance was an effort to threaten painful consequences for so-called sanctuary cities, those that decline to cooperate with the federal government in efforts to track and deport undocumented immigrants.
AP Exclusive: Price tag of North Carolina's LGBT law: $3.76B
Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" isn't hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis. Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered financial hits ranging from scuttled plans for a PayPal facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state's economy to a canceled Ringo Starr concert that deprived a town's amphitheater of about $33,000 in revenue. The blows have landed in the state's biggest cities as well as towns surrounding its flagship university, and from the mountains to the coast. North Carolina could lose hundreds of millions more because the NCAA is avoiding the state, usually a favored host. The group is set to announce sites for various championships through 2022, and North Carolina won't be among them as long as the law is on the books.
'Sundown towns': Midwest confronts its complicated racial legacy
On Election Day, when Chris Cooper walked into his usual precinct to vote, a greeter asked him, "Do you live in this town?" The question was perhaps innocent. After all, there aren't many people around town who look like Mr. Cooper, who is African-American. According to the 2010 United States Census, 97 percent of Utica, Ohio, identifies as white. Yet beneath the comment was an ocean of history -- raw and long overlooked. The racial journey of the South is well known, and at a time of heightened racial tensions nationwide, that past has again become present. But less known are the stories of Utica, and Goshen, Ind., and other small towns across the Midwest, where whiteness has been a feature of life for so long that most no longer realize it was not always that way. These towns are only now beginning to come to terms with a legacy of racism that has largely evaded history books. These are the stories of "sundown towns" -- towns where, black Americans knew, they were not welcome once the sun went down.
High school grads pledge 'Collegiance' for chance to win thousands
The College Board is hosting its annual Collegiance College Decision Day social media contest for the third year to celebrate college-bound students across the country. Now until May 15, students who share a video, Boomerang or photo announcing their college decision with the hashtag #Collegiance on Instagram will be entered for a chance to win cash prizes. The 10 most creative entries nationally win $5,000 each for the best video. This year, by entering #CollegianceMS Mississippi students can win an additional $1,000. "We appreciate the College Board sharing in students' excitement as they declare where they plan to attend college and especially for providing additional support for Mississippi students," said Dr. Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education. "We want to provide a seamless transition from high school to college and the College Board is a great partner in these efforts."
Sexual assault reported at Ole Miss
Students at Ole Miss are being urged to stay aware and alert after a report of a sexual assault over the weekend. According to a REBALERT sent to Ole Miss employees, students and parents, a sexual assault was reported at the ATO House, 8 Chapel Lane, on March 24 around 11-11:15 p.m. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 6'3", large build, dark curly shoulder length hair, wearing khaki shorts and a red Ole Miss buttoned collared shirt. Anyone with information can contact the University Police Department.
Weekend program brings middle schoolers to Ole Miss campus for tutoring
Most students regard Saturday school with dread and contempt, but a group of middle schoolers from the Delta community of Marks looks forward to its weekend tutoring sessions at the University of Mississippi. For some of these students, the sessions have become life-changing. For six Saturdays between February and April, 53 students from Quitman County Middle School travel nearly an hour by school bus from Marks to the Ole Miss campus for a day of tutoring and fun activities. In the morning, 19 Ole Miss students from the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program work with the students for two hours in reading, language and math.
USM's teacher prep program ranks top 3 percent in nation
Madison Schloemer never really understood phonics -- correlating letters with the sounds they make -- when she was a kid. But now the 22-year-old Southern Miss teacher prep student is ready to move into the classroom and use phonics to teach people to read. And it's all because of the great instruction she's gotten at the university. "I feel like they gave us a lot of preparation before we head out into the field five days a week," she said. "It gives you an idea of what teaching is going to be like. The University of Southern Mississippi undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program was recently ranked in the top tier nationally by the National Council on Teacher Quality.
USM, Hattiesburg High students team up on oral history project
The techniques of oral history are being used by Hattiesburg High School students in a project designed to gain more information about the history of racial segregation and desegregation of the city's public education system. With assistance from the University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Educational Research and Administration and the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, the students are interviewing former students, teachers and administrators who were on the front lines of the process of integrating the city's schools, beginning in the late 1960s. Through the project, students will gain skills in interviewing, recording, editing and preserving these histories.
'Delta State's 2017 Winning the Race:' Veteran Civil Rights activists honored for service
Delta State's 2017 Winning the Race: Advancing Education in the Mississippi Delta kicked off Sunday afternoon with an open house and press conference at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretative Center. At Sunday's press conference three veterans of the Civil Rights Movement were honored. "We are here today to celebrate the many unsung heroes, foot soldiers, who stood on the front line to make social change in our community," said County Administrator Will Hooker. Honored with plaques were the late Reverend J.D. Story, the late Margaret Block and Charles McLaurin. More Winning the Race events will take place on DSU's campus on Monday and Tuesday.
Meridian Community College helps students with College Connect
Meridian Community College is holding its fifth annual College Connect to help students navigate college admissions and financial aid from 3-6 p.m. Tuesday in the Graham Gymnasium located in Ivy Hall. Participants can learn about the admission process; complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with a financial aid specialist; discuss financial aid options; complete an MCC Tuition Guarantee contract and apply for scholarships. "The admission process and the financial aspects of going to college is intimidating to many people," Nedra Bradley, director of financial aid at MCC, said in a statement. "It can be so scary that many people won't even bother with advancing their education. But in reality, the process is very simple."
Review sought of SGA election at U. of Alabama
A board is seeking an investigation into the election of a new University of Alabama student government president who won with the open backing of a secretive campus society. The student government's election board asked Thursday for the Office of Student Conduct to review Jared Hunter's election earlier this month. Hunter won after publicly acknowledging he was backed by a campus group called The Machine which is controlled by historically white fraternities and sororities. Hunter was the first black candidate to gain the group's support. The election board is asking a review of Hunter's support by the Machine. It's also raising questions about violations of election rules.
U. of Tennessee chancellor drops controversial tweet, tries again
University of Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport is trying again to appeal to fans after a Twitter mishap over the weekend drew the ire of sports fans. On Monday Davenport deleted a Tweet originally posted Saturday encouraging people to come to Neyland Stadium Wednesday morning to "be a part of another Tennessee championship" at "Rokerthon 3," where TODAY Show weatherman Al Roker will live broadcast as UT attempts to break the world record for largest human letter. Diehard Vols fans appeared altogether unimpressed over the weekend with Davenport's conflation of the frivolous world record attempt with winning a championship -- a serious matter in Big Orange Country. Many also took issue with the use of the word "another" when the school's football team hasn't won an SEC or national championship since 1998. On Monday the original tweet had been deleted and Davenport had written a new one in which she also corrected the date from her original post.
Beverly Davenport looks to make communications hire at U. of Tennessee
The search is underway for a new vice chancellor of communications at the University of Tennessee. UT Human Resources has started recruiting for the position with the intent of bringing candidates to campus in the coming weeks, according to an email sent to faculty and staff Friday by Chancellor Beverly Davenport. The job is among at least three cabinet positions that stand to be filled by Davenport, who took office at UT on Feb. 15. In addition John Currie, current athletic director at Kansas State University, was named the next UT athletic director as Davenport's first major hire late last month. He is scheduled to start April 1. No timeline has been established yet for the hiring of a vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs or the provost and senior vice chancellor position, said Karen Simsen, director of media and internal relations for the University of Tennessee Office of Communications and Marketing.
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas CEO talks economics at Texas A&M
Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas, said the Texas economy in a good position to help the state grow. Kaplan shared his thoughts during a lecture on the Texas A&M University campus Monday evening. The event was hosted by the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service and featured a question-and-answer session moderated by Mosbacher Institute Director Lori L. Taylor. Asking a mix of submitted audience questions and her own, Taylor led Kaplan into several subjects, including how the economy is different from 2007 just before the recession, the challenges facing economic growth and his forecast of where the Texas economy is headed.
International applications lag at U. of Missouri System campuses
One of University of Missouri President Mun Choi's first initiatives to increase revenue for the four-campus system --- increasing international enrollment --- will be difficult to achieve because of uncertainty over U.S. immigration and visa policies. The campuses report international applications are down 10 to 50 percent from this time last year, although officials on the Columbia campus refused to release actual numbers. Politics and safety as well as a strong U.S. currency and less interest from Chinese students -- the largest single overseas group at MU -- all contribute to the decline, MU spokesman Christian Basi wrote in an email. Increasing the number of non-resident students should be part of a goal of increasing overall enrollment, Choi said.
Two U. of Missouri paleontology profs each receive $500K National Science Foundation grants
Among the products of two $500,000 National Science Foundation grants received by University of Missouri faculty members will be a Cambrian Period coloring book for schoolchildren and a study of the fossil record of the MU Columns. But in-depth research is the main goal of the grants. John Huntley and Jim Schiffbauer, assistant professors of geological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science, each received the National Science Foundations Faculty Career Development Award, for which each will receive more than $500,000 for their projects over the next five years. Huntley said his research will focus on interactions between parasites and hosts. Schiffbauer is researching the Cambrian Period, also called the Cambrian Explosion for the abundance of life that appeared.
Questions about efficacy of college prep programs as White House vows evidence-based cuts
The White House budget proposal released this month would make significant cuts to college-prep programs for low-income and first-generation students but promises to do so guided by evidence of which ones are effective. The problem, higher ed policy analysts and researchers say, is that there has been little in the way of comprehensive evaluations of the programs under the umbrella of TRIO and Gear Up in more than a decade. And supporters of such services say if the Trump administration is interested in re-evaluating those programs, officials should do so before cutting funding across the board. The so-called skinny budget listed a 10 percent cut of TRIO programs, to $808 million, and a cut of nearly a third of Gear Up programs, to $219 million. The total savings is just a fraction of the $3.9 billion taken out of the Pell Grant surplus but would still have a serious impact on students' path to college, advocates say.
Study: Professors worry about retirement; staff save to pay off debt
A majority of professors fear they could outlive their retirement savings, while administrative employees are more concerned about shorter-term issues: paying off debt and meeting their monthly household expenses. Those are among the results of a new survey of 1,000 employees at American colleges and universities conducted for Fidelity Investments by Versta Research. About two-thirds of the respondents work at public two-year and four-year colleges, and about a third of them were faculty members. Fidelity's 2017 Higher Education Faculty Study asked campus workers a range of questions about their financial literacy and behavior.
Study suggests scientific work force is aging -- as younger scientists struggle to find good jobs
Blame the boomers -- sort of. While the scientific work force is indeed getting older as baby boomers continue to work past traditional retirement age, the work force will continue to age even after boomers are gone, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, by David Blau and Bruce Weinberg, both professors of economics at Ohio State University, found that the average age of employed scientists increased from 45 in 1993 to nearly 49 in 2010. Scientists aged faster than the U.S. work force in general, and across fields -- even newer ones, such as computer and information science. The study includes those natural and social science, health and engineering degrees. The trend will only continue, with the average scientist's age increasing by an additional 2.3 years within the near future, without intervention, according to a model included in the study.
Adjusting the cut
Angela Farmer, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Mississippi State University, writes in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal: "While constantly focusing on the internal mechanics of education in the United States, there is often a lack of focus on the global market within education. Comparing apples to apples may help educators understand that while there is always room for improvement, schools in the U.S. offer the unique opportunity for all children to learn and be measured for success. Conversely, P-12 schools in other even similarly, developed nations often select or rather, deselect, which students attend the best schools and are counted in the testing protocols."

Vic's picks click: Lineup changes pay off in Bulldogs' tourney run
Vic Schaefer switched up his starting lineup yet again for Mississippi State's Elite Eight matchup Sunday night against Baylor. Unlike his change to begin the NCAA Tournament, this lineup looked a little more familiar. Schaefer went with Morgan William, Victoria Vivians, Dominique Dillingham, Teaira McCowan and Breanna Richardson as his starting five. That group combined for 83 points in MSU's 94-85 overtime victory that is sending the Bulldogs to the Final Four for the first time in program history. "Those kids were chomping at the bit to get back in the starting lineup," Schaefer said. "I knew I was going to get them back in. What a great day to get back in and play like they did."
Vic Schaefer's mixing, matching paid off for Bulldogs on road to Dallas
The way Vic Schaefer saw things two weeks ago, before Mississippi State's first round game in the NCAA Tournament, only the hottest teams -- and not necessarily the most talented -- would advance to the Final Four. "And it's my job to get us hot," Schaefer said. So why not light fires underneath his players? To that end, Schaefer mixed and matched. He benched starters and started bench players. He rewarded hustle and disciplined sluggishness. And on Sunday night, he welcomed players back to familiar roles and guided the Bulldogs to their first Final Four appearance. Schaefer's decision-making set the path.
UConn, South Carolina, Miss State and Stanford in Final Four
Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies have been on an unprecedented Final Four run, making it there 10 straight years. This trip might have been the least expected of them. With a trio of All-Americans lost to graduation, Auriemma had questions about his inexperienced group of Huskies. They answered every single one of them. "They've owned the whole month of March, they weren't just along for the ride," Auriemma said. "It's theirs and that's a huge step. That's a big step, to go from riding in the backseat on a trip you're going to, to all of a sudden, you're in charge of driving the bus, you're responsible for getting us there." Next up for the Huskies, who have won 111 consecutive games, is Mississippi State on Friday night in Dallas.
Vic Schaefer knew he had to have Victoria Vivians
Sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes for Mississippi Today: "This was several days ago at The Hump, an hour or so after Mississippi State had defeated a really good DePaul team to advance to the Sweet 16 at Oklahoma City. Interviews had been conducted, stories had been written and that's when I bumped into Vic Schaefer. Earlier we had discussed the outstanding play of his daughter, Blair Schaefer, who led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Now I wanted to ask him about Victoria Vivians, usually the team's leading scorer, who was mired in a prolonged shooting slump. That day, she hit three of 13 shots and missed really badly on several. So I asked Vic Schaefer whether it was something in Vivians' physical fundamentals or something between her ears."
Mississippi State baseball gets in Zone tonight in Memphis
Mississippi State will play its second straight midweek game at a Minor League ballpark tonight as it travels to AutoZone Park to take on Memphis at 6:30. The Diamond Dogs (15-10) dropped a 7-5 game to Southern Miss at Trustmark Park last Tuesday before sweeping Tennessee over the weekend. Memphis (16-7) has won six straight. The Tigers swept Southern over the weekend after beating Ole Miss 2-1 in 11 innings at AutoZone Park last Tuesday. The Bulldogs are 53-26 against Memphis all-time including an 11-1 victory in Starkville last season. The Tigers won 7-1 he last time the teams met at the home of the Memphis Redbirds, in 2015.
NFL hires Mississippi State alumnus Dr. Allen Sills as full-time chief medical officer
The NFL has hired Dr. Allen Sills, a Mississippi State alumnus, as its chief medical officer. Sills, a neurosurgeon who has specialized in the treatment of athletes, will fill a new full-time position based in New York. He comes to the league from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he serves as professor of neurological surgery, orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation. He is the founder and co-director of the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center. Sills, 52, will work with NFL team medical staffs, the NFL Players Association and its advisers, as well as experts on the league's medical committees. He will guide the NFL's health and research efforts and is expected to begin his new job in May, but will continue to be active at Vanderbilt.
U. of South Carolina's Tanner, Pastides complete coast-to-coast trip collecting Final Fours
Ray Tanner helped build the University of South Carolina into a baseball school. By virtue of location, tradition and fan passion, it's hard not to call it a football school. And Monday night, as the athletic director collected his second piece of net from as many coasts, he led a department on top of the basketball world. "I love it," Tanner said after the Gamecocks women clinched a trip to the Final Four by knocking off Florida State. "The thing that I take a lot of pride in is the balance across the board." He got to climb the ladder, as did school president Harris Pastides to chants from the Gamecocks to cancel class Tuesday. He jokingly canceled it for them, as they won't get back to Columbia, but instead head on to Dallas and the Final Four.

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