Wednesday, April 26, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Business booms for Starkville startup Glo
Almost two years after a couple of Mississippi State students put together a company to market a "lighted ice cube" to serve in drinks, business is already booming or, more appropriately, "glo-ing." Since being invited to show off their product -- Glo -- at a pre-Oscars event in Los Angeles in late February, Columbus native Hagan Walker and his business partner, Kaylie Mitchell of Pascagoula, have seen their start-up company, Vibe, catch fire behind its solitary product. Glo is a liquid-activated "light show," about the size of an ice-cube, designed to be added to drinks. Because liquid is needed to complete the electrical circuit that produces the light, when the drink is empty, the light -- which cycles through a sequence of nine colors -- is extinguished, alerting waits staff for the need of a refill.
Contentious Campaigns at the Local Level
Municipal primaries are in a week. Now, advertising and social media are heating up. Some races are more heated than others. The race in Columbus is getting a lot of attention, along with Starkville, and other towns. Some candidates discuss the issues, while there seems to be hostility in other races. Usually, opponents in local races know each other better than a statewide candidate, making it personal. "When you hear something offensive, or even just a jab, in the local community, it means a lot more because you could be referencing generations of families, of history, etc.," says Mississippi State University's John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development Interim Executive Director, Dr. Dallas Breen. Breen also says even though there's some negative political banter in local campaigns, most voters already have their minds made up.
Breakdown: Deadline highlights campaign contributions, spending
Candidates vying for public office in the city of Starkville are on the downhill run to the May 2 primary date, with Tuesday representing the deadline for filing campaign finance reports. Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy Perkins, along with Ward 3 Alderman David Little both ran unopposed and took out advertising in the Starkville Daily News thanking supporters, which is listed on campaign finance reports for both aldermen. Not all candidates met the fundraising threshold required by law to report. All three mayoral candidates qualified as Democrats for the upcoming municipal election, with the potential runoff election slated for May 16. The May 30 General Pre-Election report deadline will still apply for receipts and expenditures from April 23 to May 27.
Jennifer Prather named interim GSDP tourism director
Jennifer Prather, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership's special events coordinator and Starkville Community Market manager, was promoted to the organization's newly established director of tourism position, the Partnership announced Monday. Prather, a four-year veteran of the GSDP who also oversees the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Starkville Main Street Association, will serve in the role on an interim basis and could keep the title after a new chief executive officer is hired. Once expected to conclude this spring, the Partnership's CEO search now could drag on into the summer after sources familiar with the process said the GSDP board is likely to hire an outside firm to seek more applicants. Three finalists were previously identified but not hired. Those close to the process identified Barret and two other external applicants as those making the original cut but said the two other applicants pulled out of the process for unknown reasons.
NASA eyes Stennis Space Center for fusion reactor engines, extraterrestrial drilling
NASA has selected 399 research and technology proposals from 277 American small businesses and 44 research institutions that will enable NASA's future missions into deep space, and advancements in aviation and science, while also benefiting the U.S. economy. The awards have a total value of approximately $49.9 million. These include 13 projects tied to Stennis Space Center. The agency received 1,621 proposals in response to its 2017 solicitation for its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. From those, NASA selected 338 SBIR and 61 STTR Phase I proposals for contract negotiations. The SBIR Phase I contracts last for six months and STTR Phase I contracts last for 12 months, both with maximum funding of $125,000.
Mississippi governor sets special session to start June 5
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant is calling Mississippi legislators back to the Capitol for a special session starting June 5. He is asking them to set the final pieces of the state budget for the year that begins July 1. Legislators ended their three-month regular session in late March without passing budgets for the attorney general's office or the Department of Transportation. Bryant could add other issues to the special session agenda, but he didn't indicate Tuesday whether he would do so.
Gov. Phil Bryant calls special legislative session
Gov. Phil Bryant has called lawmakers back into special session for June 5. "In the interest of providing proper notice to taxpayers and to members of the Legislature, I am announcing that the special session to complete the budget for fiscal year 2018 will be June 5," Bryant said in a Facebook post. "Although the legislative process will determine the length of the session, I anticipate lawmakers will finish their work as quickly as possible to minimize costs to taxpayers." Bryant did not provide further details on the session. Spokesman Clay Chandler said Bryant has not issued the formal "call" for the session. "Gov. Bryant will issue one and decide what -- if anything -- beyond the agency budgets will be included as we get closer to June 5," Chandler said.
Gov. Phil Bryant calls special legislative session for June 5, length unknown
Lawmakers will be headed back to Jackson in early June. Gov. Phil Bryant made the special session call, announcing it on his Facebook page Tuesday evening. "In the interest of providing proper notice to taxpayers and to members of the Legislature, I am announcing that the special session to complete the budget for fiscal year 2018 will be June 5," Bryant wrote on Facebook. Lawmakers failed to pass budgets for the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the attorney general's office. A dispute between Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves over paying for an infrastructure improvement plan sank the transportation bill. Spokespeople for Gunn, Reeves and Gov. Bryant did not immediately respond to questions about whether a deal has indeed been struck.
DOR pushing to tax Airbnb, other rentals like hotels
The state Department of Revenue is planning a change in regulations that would require people renting homes, condos or rooms through services such as the Airbnb online marketplace -- or any other form of advertising or listing -- to be taxed like hotels. The change would require anyone renting a home, apartment, condo or room to a transient guest -- for less than 90 days -- to collect and remit 7 percent state sales tax on gross revenue from the rental and related charges (such as soap, coffee, food or other amenities). It also would require collection and remittance of any applicable local government "hospitality" taxes, of which there are more than 80 in Mississippi. Other states and cities levy similar taxes, but the move is drawing fire from both ends of the political spectrum in Mississippi.
Mississippi Blue Book unveiled
The bicentennial edition of the Mississippi Blue Book, the state's official and statistical register, was unveiled Tuesday by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann during a news conference in his Capitol office. The Blue Book, more than 800 pages in its latest incarnation, is released every four years to provide a litany of information about the Magnolia State, ranging from all of the state's public officials -- both elected and appointed -- to weather information to census data and much more. Hosemann said the Blue Book "reflects who we are in our religion, our business, in our culture." The third-term Republican secretary of state highlighted the first 59 pages of the book that include a brief history and "the faces of Mississippi" in terms of business, culture and other activities.
Will audit of Medicaid recipients pay off?
Legislation signed by Gov. Phil Bryant aiming to reduce welfare fraud contains what's become a familiar hallmark in Mississippi's statehouse to reduce what lawmakers say is the abuse of safety net programs -- to save public money and spend taxpayer dollars in the private sector. In the past, that policy shortlist has included coordinating with a third-party vendor to drug test welfare applicants and an ill-fated $13.1 million contract with Xerox to fingerprint children attending daycares receiving federal vouchers. The latest go-round is the Medicaid and Human Services Transparency and Fraud Prevention Act, which authorizes the state Division of Medicaid and the Department of Human Services to hire a private contractor to conduct enhanced eligibility screenings for enrollees in the state's social programs. It becomes law July 1.
McDaniel disappointed wall funding removed from spending bill
Funding for President Trump's border wall with Mexico has been removed from a spending bill that must pass by Friday. But, in a tweet, the president said building the wall is still a priority. Republican state senator Chris McDaniel, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2014, said he's disappointed the funding was taken out and blames some of the members of his own party. McDaniel was in Laurel Tuesday to speak at an awards ceremony for volunteers at South Central Regional Medical Center. He also commented on Trump's first 100 days in office.
Trump to propose large increase in deductions Americans can claim on their taxes
President Trump on Wednesday plans to call for a significant increase in the standard deduction people can claim on their tax returns, potentially putting thousands of dollars each year into the pockets of tens of millions of Americans, according to two people briefed on the plan. The change is one of several major revisions to the federal tax code that the White House will propose when it provides an outline of the tax-overhaul pitch Trump will make to Congress and the American people as he nears his 100th day in office. Trump will call for a sharp reduction in the corporate tax rate, from 35 percent to 15 percent. He will also propose lowering the tax rate for millions of small businesses that now file their tax returns under the individual tax code, two people familiar with the plan said.
Meridian native tapped to lead IHL Board of Trustees
The IHL Board of Trustees last week announced that C.D. Smith of Meridian would take over as board president for outgoing president Doug Rouse. Rouse passed the gavel to Smith at the board's meeting in Jackson. Smith will officially take office on May 8. "Mississippi's public universities play a vital role in our state through education, research and service," Smith said. "The university system is an economic driver for the state and provides an excellent return on investment. I am excited to take on this new role as we continue to work to advance the state through higher education." Smith previously served as vice president of the board during Rouse's term. Trustee Shane Hooper will serve as vice president during Smith's term.
Trial date set for third man in Ole Miss student death
A trial date has been set for the third man charged with capital murder in the death of an Ole Miss student. A judge says the trial of Steven Wilbanks, 26, on charges he took part in the murder of Zachariah McClendon will take place during the February term of court in 2018. McClendon was found dead of a gunshot wound at a residence on County Road 140 in Lafayette County around 3 a.m. on December 18, 2013. Deputies had gone to the home after McClendon's mother reported she could not get in touch with him. Wilbanks, Joseph Lyons and Derick Boone were accused of plotting to rob McClendon. During Boone's trial, Wilbanks testified the three planned the robbery while high on drugs and Boone intended to shoot McClendon.
USM Alumni Association Director Honored by Mississippi Business Journal
Jerry B. DeFatta Jr., Executive Director of the Alumni Association at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been named to the prestigious Top 50 Under 40 list for 2017 by the Mississippi Business Journal. Honorees were recognized during a ceremony held Thursday, April 21 at the Old Capitol Inn in Downtown Jackson, Miss. As executive director, DeFatta leads the association's 11-person staff, manages the overall administration of the organization and serves as secretary and treasurer of the Association's Board of Directors. DeFatta, who has held his current post since 2010, said the MBJ recognition took him by surprise. Prior to joining the staff of the Alumni Association, DeFatta was employed with the Cintas Corporation, an Ohio-based uniform and facility service company, where he held various positions serving as a sales representative, service manager and plant manager.
Oseola McCarty house to be turned into museum
For decades, a small white house on Miller Street in Hattiesburg served as home to Oseola McCarty, perhaps the University of Southern Mississippi's most well-known benefactor. When the house was placed in a recent tax sale, officials from the Hattiesburg Convention Commission had an idea to continue the preserve the property and McCarty's legacy: purchase the home, relocate it and convert it into a museum. "We realized that we were going to lose something that, for a very modest amount for our community, we could preserve and recognize someone who became well-known on the international stage for their selfless act," said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism Commission. "So we seized the moment and acquired the house." McCarty, a former washerwoman, revealed in 1995 that she had established a trust fund which stipulated at her death, a portion of her life's savings would be used for scholarships for students needing financial assistance.
New college name boosts Delta State's 'best kept secret'
Delta State University's College of Business is flying under a new name: the College of Business and Aviation. The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board recently approved the renaming of the academic college. "I believe changing the name to the College of Business and Aviation helps promote two very important items," said Dr. Charles McAdams, Delta State's provost and vice president for academic affairs. "First, the name lets everyone know that we have a (commercial) aviation program. This is significant as we are the only IHL institution with an aviation degree. Second, the name accurately reflects the academic home for this program." Graduates who become pilots, airport managers and logistics specialists are essential for economic growth of the region and country, McAdams said.
New national rankings list Lewisburg as Mississippi's top high school
Three of the top 10 high schools in Mississippi -- including the No. 1 school are in DeSoto County, according to the just-released 2017 rankings of the nation's best schools as determined by U.S. News and World Report. Lewisburg High School, in Olive Branch, won the top spot in the state, while Southaven's DeSoto Central High School ranked No. 5 and Center Hill High, also in Olive Branch, was No. 6. The three were the only North Mississippi schools to crack the Top 10, with the others from Central and South Mississippi. The annual U.S. News rankings are closely watched as a guide to how the nation's school are performing under a variety of criteria. In Mississippi, U.S. News said top-ranked Lewisburg has a 34 percent participation rate in Advanced Placement course work and exams. The rankings show the school with a student body makeup of 51 percent male, 49 percent female; and a minority enrollment of 11 percent. The school has an enrollment of 900 in grades 9-12 and a student-to-teacher ratio of 18:1.
Gainesville, U. of Florida plan for driverless cars on city streets
Self-driving cars --- albeit with human engineers at the ready to take the wheel, just in case --- may be cruising the streets of Gainesville sooner than expected. The University of Florida, city of Gainesville and Florida Department of Transportation announced a partnership to develop a test for autonomous vehicles throughout the streets of Gainesville, coming as early as this fall. City and UF officials say the partnership is the first of its kind in the state. The tests will consist of driverless cars and smart devices being synced to traffic lights and sensors around Northwest 13th Street and West University Avenue through use of Traffic Technology Services, a data partner of Audi, and Connected Signals, a partner of BMW. UF's Director of Communications Margot Winick said no specific test dates have been set yet, "but things are coming together rapidly on this project."
Athens man convicted of serial sexual assaults of male UGA students
An Athens man was recently convicted by a Clarke County Superior Court jury of preying on male UGA students by plying them with alcohol and drugs and then sexually assaulting them after the victims passed out. Following a trial that ran from April 10 to April 17, 28-year-old Andre Montez Jones was found guilty of two counts of aggravated sodomy and three counts each of sodomy and sexual battery, and one count of battery. Sentencing is scheduled for May 5. Prior to the week-long trial, officials had disclosed that five young men were prepared to testify that they were victimized by Jones from 2013 to 2015. Athens-Clarke County police had said that Jones preyed on UGA students whom he reportedly befriended through their mutual interest in the sport of competitive Frisbee.
U. of Kentucky community aids sick man who gives free rides to partying students
A University of Kentucky alum who has spent 15 years giving free rides to needy Lexington college students has been hospitalized because of a brain condition. Four days after a shunt in his brain malfunctioned, Steve "Radar" Rader was found passed out in the van he used to provide rides, often to drunken students, Robert Cabaniss said on the GoFundMe campaign he launched Monday night. Rader suffers from hydrocephalus, which is an excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. The campaign, which has raised more than $7,300 in less than 16 hours, has a goal of $100,000 to help cover the surgery Rader is receiving at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. Rader's service and phone number has circulated around UK for years. Erin Boban, a junior social work major, remembers grabbing a ride from him when she was a freshmen.
Texas A&M graduate Tex Alles chosen by Trump to lead Secret Service
Texas A&M graduate Randolph D. "Tex" Alles was appointed Tuesday by President Trump to lead the Secret Service, plucking the retired major general from his role as acting deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The White House announced the appointment in a press release posted on its website Tuesday afternoon, but the move was expected following recent media reports out of Washington, D.C. Hiring Alles to oversee the 152-year-old agency marks a first for the Secret Service in at least a century: He will direct it without having ever been a member. The former member of the Corps of Cadets and Fish Drill Team earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from A&M in 1976 and a master of arts in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in 1999.
Federal drone regulations keeping lofty fantasies grounded
Colleges are eager to put drones to use both inside and outside the classroom, but federal agencies and university risk managers are taking a cautious approach before opening the airspace above college campuses. Drones (also known by the more technical terms unmanned aerial vehicles or systems) are becoming increasingly common sights, both in campus skies and in headlines. On the academic side, colleges are using drones to do everything from surveying crops to teaching aerospace engineering. On the administrative side, delivery is emerging as a popular idea. Arizona State University, for example, is imagining a future in which drones zip across the greater Phoenix metropolitan area to bring students library materials from a storage facility. But where some administrators, faculty members and students see opportunity, others see risk.
Harvard, Stanford, Ohio State presidents fret about federal funding and immigration
The presidents of three of the country's top research universities gathered for a public discussion Tuesday, dedicating some of their most in-depth comments to concerns about federal policy. The presidents of Harvard, Stanford and Ohio State Universities took part in a wide-ranging discussion on the future of higher education hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. While they covered a lot of ground, they delivered their most timely remarks while addressing worries about cuts to federal research funding and possible changes in immigration policy that could affect the students at their institutions. Trump administration officials have said the government can save money but not harm research by cutting back on support for administrative costs. Higher education groups have maintained such cuts would be damaging, however. Science groups have warned the cuts would hurt research and the education of a new generation of scientists.
College completion rates vary by race and ethnicity, report finds
College completion rates vary widely along racial and ethnic lines, with black and Hispanic students earning credentials at a much lower rate than white and Asian students do, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The center evaluated data from students nationwide who entered a college or university in fall 2010. The data represents students at two- and four-year colleges, students who studied part- and full-time, as well as those who graduated after transferring institutions. Altogether, 54.8 percent of those students completed a degree or certificate within six years of entering a postsecondary institution, but broken down by race and ethnicity, those rates fluctuate by up to 25 percent. These numbers likely won't surprise most people who track higher education closely, as they fall in line with what other studies have found over the years, but "it will certainly reinforce the point that there's more work to be done," said Doug Shapiro, one of the lead authors of the report.
Rural doctors' training may be in jeopardy
In nearly two years as a medical resident in Meridian, Miss., Dr. John Thames has treated car-wreck victims, people with chest pains and malnourished infants. Patients have arrived with lacerations, with burns, or in a disoriented fog after discontinuing their psychiatric medications. Thames, a small-town Mississippi native, said the East Central Mississippi HealthNet Rural Family Medicine Residency Program has been "exactly what I was looking for." Unlike the vast majority of doctors, Thames sought a residency in a rural clinic instead of in a teaching hospital because his ambition is to practice in the sort of place where he grew up, where doctors are scarce. He wants to be able to handle anything that comes through the door, from infections to gunshot wounds to a woman who might deliver a baby any second. But budget decisions in faraway Washington, D.C., may make it more difficult for Thames and other doctors who want to practice in small towns or underserved cities.
Sen. Roger Wicker's 2018 challengers will face a very different opponent
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Much has been made of late of potential 2018 challengers to Mississippi's junior Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Tupelo. ...In short, it's a fair assessment to note now that a 2018 challenger to Roger Wicker -- who came out of the last election with the confidence and gratitude of the majority of his Republican U.S. Senate colleagues -- faces a far different path than did McDaniel against Cochran in 2014. Wicker is at the top of his game in every aspect. It will be a very different campaign. But at this early juncture, Wicker can simply await the potential challengers and keep his powder dry while doing the job of representing Mississippi in the Senate."

No. 7 Mississippi State retains Governor's Cup and sweeps season series with Ole Miss
A record crowd of 8,536 witnessed something that hasn't happened since 1997. #7 Mississippi State beat Ole Miss 4-2 on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs retained the Governor's Cup and swept the season series with the Rebels for the first time in 20 years. Brent Rooker did more Brent Rooker things. He gave MSU the lead in the 5th with a 3-run homer to right center. Rooker doubled in the 8th, scoring later on a Ryan Gridley single. The SEC triple crown contender is now hitting .403 with 17 HR and 61 RBI. Ole Miss got on the board in the 6th. Cooper Johnson and Tate Blackman hit back to back RBI doubles. The Rebels had several opportunities in the late innings but couldn't rally. MSU improves to 29-14, Ole Miss falls to 25-16.
Governor's Cup comes with rare sweep
For the first time in 20 years, Mississippi State completed a four-game sweep over Ole Miss. After taking three games in Oxford earlier this season, the 10th-ranked Diamond Dogs finished off the feat with a 4-2 victory in the annual Governor's Cup game at Trustmark Park on Tuesday night. MSU generated most of its offense on one swing of the bat by Brent Rooker in the fifth inning. Rooker went deep with a three-run shot onto the berm in left-center for his 17th round-tripper of the year. Rooker went 2 for 4 with a double, home run and three RBIs and was selected as the game's most valuable player. The Diamond Dogs host seventh-ranked Auburn on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
How Mississippi State beat Ole Miss in the Governor's Cup
Mississippi State finished off a season sweep of Ole Miss on Tuesday, beating the Rebels 4-2 at Trustmark Park. It was Brent Rooker's three-run home run, his 17th of the season, in the fifth inning that proved to be the key hit. Rooker doubled and scored in the eighth inning to provide an insurance run. Denver McQuary (1-1) got the win for the Bulldogs, giving up two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Ole Miss starter Greer Holston (2-3) gave up three runs in six innings. Ole Miss (25-16) did not lack for opportunities, but was 3-of-14 with runners in scoring position. Thomas Dillard and Cooper Johnson each scored in the two-run sixth inning.
No. 7 Auburn baseball falls in midweek contest against Troy
One day after moving up to No. 7 and No. 5 in the two major polls, Auburn lost its first midweek contest in three weeks. Troy starter Max Newton, a Smiths Station High School alum, pitched five innings of two-run ball, and Jackson Cofer hit a three-run home run to pace visiting Troy in a 5-2 win at Plainsman Park. The win was the second of Newton's career, and the longball down the right-field line was the first of Cofer's season. "There were not a lot of highlights and not a lot of energy as I thought we presented over the weekend," Auburn coach Butch Thompson said, referring to the Tigers taking two out of three from Arkansas. "I just thought Troy out-executed us in every phase of the ballgame." Auburn returns to action on Friday when it starts a three-game set with SEC West-leading Mississippi State in Starkville. Thompson said ace Casey Mize, who missed the series against Arkansas with arm fatigue, will throw a bullpen session and could face the Bulldogs on Sunday.
Mississippi State men's golf head coach retires
After 14 seasons as the head coach of his alma mater, Clay Homan announced Tuesday his retirement as Mississippi State men's golf head coach. "Clay has been dedicated to Mississippi State men's golf for nearly two decades as both a coach and a student-athlete," MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said. "We appreciate everything Clay has done for our program, and he will always be a part of the Bulldog family. We wish him and his family the best in their future endeavors." "It's been a privilege to coach my alma mater for 14 seasons and work with four different athletic directors," Homan said. A 1995 Mississippi State graduate, Homan was a four-year letterman for the Bulldogs from 1992-95, earning second-team All-SEC honors as a senior. MSU will begin a national search immediately to find Homan's successor.
'Wilander on Wheels' stops by East Central Community College
A seven-time Grand Slam tennis champion came to East Mississippi to impart some of the things that made him a champion in the 1980s. Mats Wilander traveled to East Central Community College as part of his "Wilander on Wheels" tour. Wilander, who was once ranked number one in the world, is sharing his expertise. East Central's tennis team was able to step onto the court and get hands on training. "It's nothing I would have ever actually thought I could do," says Andi McCrimon, sophomore tennis player, "coming from a small town in Louisville, Mississippi." Wilander travels across the nation with his tour to give lessons and share tips. This isn't his first time in Mississippi, but it is his first time in Decatur. "I love Mississippi," says Wilander.
SEC Commish Greg Sankey addresses speculation on future conference expansion
Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey declined to deny whether the conference has privately explored expanding in an attempt to be the first league with 16 teams. "I'll let others discuss expansion publicly," Sankey said, adding that he thought he answered the question "directly." Speaking in front of a room of media members from throughout the southeast on Monday during the APSE region meeting on UAB's campus, Sankey was asked if he could definitively say that the SEC has not had recent internal discussions of expansion in hopes of beating another Power 5 conference to the punch. The question came during an hour-long interview Sankey gave to the assembled media in Birmingham, and it was in response to the Big 12's recent public discussions last fall about expanding from its current format.
Ole Miss' Ross Bjork, Hugh Freeze try to ease concerns of fans
Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze and athletic director Ross Bjork could easily have shied away from another lengthy Rebel Road Trip answering all the questions surrounding the football program. Instead, they scheduled a tour with as many stops as ever. After a morning stop in Dallas, the two men were in Pascagoula late Tuesday afternoon to meet with the Rebel faithful, who are upbeat but have reason to be concerned. The NCAA charged Ole Miss with lack of institutional control and Freeze with poor oversight of his assistants, who are accused of blatantly cheating. Ole Miss, which self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2017 football season, has until the end of May to submit its response to the NCAA. The message from Bjork on this year's Rebel Road Trip: "This too shall pass." Bjork believes the NCAA issue will be resolved by the end of August or at some point in September. He wouldn't speculate on what the outcome may be.
Chad Holbrook apologizes to South Carolina fans for comments as he seeks support for team
South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook, in an interview Tuesday on 107.5 The Game, apologized to Gamecocks fans for a comment he made after a game last week. Following last Tuesday's win over Davidson, Holbrook was previewing the upcoming Florida series and said to the media, "Sometimes we've got less people on the road yelling at our players than we do at home." The comment was a reaction to a USC fan making an inappropriate remark toward third baseman Jonah Bride during the matchup with the Wildcats. Holbrook said Tuesday that he should have ignored the comment and thanked South Carolina fans for everything they do for the program. "I want to apologize to our fans," Holbrook said. "South Carolina baseball is successful because of the home-field advantage that we have, because of the fans and the atmosphere that is created at Founders Park."
U. of Missouri considers changing sidelines, seating structure at Memorial Stadium
The Missouri athletic department is considering moving the MU football team from the east sideline to the west at home games, which would lead to a change in student seating. The move would uproot the student seating directly behind the east benches between the 30-yard lines, an area currently filled by the Tiger's Lair student fan group. The student group is against the proposed change. "We're looking at it," MU athletic spokesman Nick Joos said. "Nothing has been finalized." On Thursday, the athletic department held a meeting to discuss the proposal and invited nine student groups, including the Tiger's Lair, which is an official club under the direction of MU Student Life. An MU student provided to the Tribune a written account of the meeting. Having the student seating broken up by visiting fans is one of the concerns Tiger's Lair Director Brooke Reynolds has with the proposal.
Tommy Tuberville not running for Alabama governor in 2018
Tommy Tuberville's dalliance with the governor's office has apparently ended. The former Auburn football coach will not run for Alabama governor in 2018. "It's been a long process and I was doing it for the right purpose. At the end of the day, I decided not to run," Tuberville told College Sports Nation on Sirius XM Radio. "I want things to get better," Tuberville said in a radio interview with Mobile's WNSP earlier this month. "It seems like we have no plan and no vision for the future. We kinda live year by year, and I'm tired of us losing. We're not winning. We win in football in this state. People won a lot of championships, but we can't get out of the cellar in state government." The immediate future, he said on April 14, looks promising. "Kay Ivey is a great lady," he explained.
ESPN layoffs reportedly to begin this week, could be larger than expected
ESPN is set to begin its latest round of layoffs, with Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch reporting via Facebook that employees could be informed starting Wednesday. Some of them could be "significant on-air names," he says. The job cuts, which will come from the network's sizable stable of on-air and online talent, have long been expected as ESPN looks to pare expenses in the wake of mounting subscriber losses and rising rights fees. Over the past five years, the network has lost somewhere around 12 million subscribers while shelling out billions for the right to televise leagues such as the NFL and NBA. It will be ESPN's second round of layoffs in less than two years: In October 2015, ESPN laid off around 300 people who worked behind the scenes.

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