Thursday, May 4, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
LouAnn Woodward, Andrea Mayfield to address Mississippi State graduates
University of Mississippi Medical Center leader Dr. LouAnn Woodward will speak to Mississippi State University graduates Friday and Saturday. Woodward will speak Friday to engineering, veterinary medicine, agriculture, forest resources and education graduates. She'll talk Saturday to business, arts and sciences and architecture, art and design graduates. About 2,800 students are expected to receive degrees. Also Friday, Mississippi Community College Board Executive Director Andrea Mayfield will address graduates at MSU's Meridian campus. More than 120 students are candidates for degrees from MSU-Meridian.
 
Mississippi State golf management program director honored
Jeff Adkerson, director of MSU's PGA Golf Management program, has completed the requirements to become a Professional Golfers' Association Master Professional in Golf Operations. The MSU alumnus is one of approximately 350 people to earn the distinction since the PGA Master Professional program's inception in 1969. It is the organization's highest designation. Adkerson joined the MSU College of Business' PGA Golf Management program in 2003 and became the program's director in 2007. He graduated from the PGA Golf Management program in 1999 and received an MBA from MSU in 2005. He is president of the Gulf States PGA and was named Mississippi Golf Professional of the Year in 2009 and 2011.
 
Nearly $75,000 in grants will train furniture manufacturers, designers
The Furniture Foundation, a research and education fund administered by the American Home Furnishings Alliance, announced it has awarded grants totaling nearly $75,000 to educational programs targeting rising furniture designers, factory workers and front-line manufacturing management personnel. The 2017 grants included $9,000 to Appalachian State University furniture design program; two grants totaling $20,500 to the Catawba Valley Community College campus in Taylorsville, N.C., and $44,900 to Mississippi State University's Franklin Furniture Institute.
 
Furniture Foundation Awards 4 Education, Training Grants
The Furniture Foundation, a research and education fund administered by the American Home Furnishings Alliance, announced it has awarded grants totaling nearly $75,000 that will benefit education programs targeting rising furniture designers, factory workers and front-line manufacturing management personnel. The 2017 grants include $44,900 to Mississippi State University's Franklin Furniture Institute. The grant will allow the institute to offer four manufacturing management programs in Mississippi. Each will provide front-line supervisors in the furniture industry with basic training in the areas of modern manufacturing, leadership and management. The course will be offered to up to 15 individuals in four different locations between August 2017 and July 2018.
 
Lynn Spruill, Johnny Moore head to May 16 runoff
Former Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill edged local attorney Johnny Moore in Tuesday's Democratic primary for mayor, but the two will meet again in a May 16 runoff after Spruill fell almost 3 percent shy of securing a majority in the election. Spruill received 1,682 votes (47.38 percent) to Moore's 1,601 (45.1 percent) on Tuesday, neither reaching the needed 50 percent-plus-one-vote threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Damion Poe, the 26-year-old upstart who endorsed Spruill after being eliminated from the race, received 267 (7.5 percent). Both Spruill and Moore pledged to refocus their campaigns, stick to the issues and work to draw voters back to the polls in two weeks.
 
Damion Poe: Johnny Moore treated me 'like a peasant'
After conceding his campaign and endorsing fellow Democrat Lynn Spruill for mayor Tuesday, former candidate Damion Poe took to social media Wednesday and slammed mayoral candidate Johnny Moore, alleging the local attorney snubbed him at events and warning voters to "beware of Republicans in Democrat clothing." Poe, whose election night hopes were dashed after he only took in about 7.5 percent of the vote, accused the Moore camp of treating him "like a peasant at white events" and hosting a "BBQ in the hood to get votes." Moore responded to Poe's claims, saying the comments were "nothing less than a way to manufacture issues to help Lynn Spruill." Spruill fired back at Moore and claimed her opponent used the opportunity to drag her through the political mud for no reason.
 
Jason Camp edges Ben Carver in Ward 1 primary
Starkville Planning and Zoning Commissioner Jason Camp held on for a one-vote victory over Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver in Tuesday's Republican primary. The Republican Municipal Election Committee rejected three affidavits this morning in the race, which allowed Camp to claim a 104-103 win over the two-term incumbent. Camp will face Democrat Christine Williams, a graduate teaching and research assistant at the MSU Department of Political Science and Public Administration, in the June 6 general election. Carver was looking to secure his third term in office, a feat he said is "near impossible in a small-town election."
 
Industry leader to Coast casinos: Follow this advice and you'll be fine
James Allen opened the Southern Gaming Summit on Wednesday telling about his days in Atlantic City as part of the Trump organization and praising Steve Wynn for building the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. The Beau is the leader in the Mississippi casino industry for one reason, he said: "Because Steve Wynn built a hell of a product." Allen, who is now chief executive officer of Seminole Gaming and chairman of Hard Rock International, said entertainment is the future of the casino industry, but it all starts with a great building and amenities. If casinos build the right product, finance it properly and make sure it is not over-leveraged, "we will be fine in this industry," he told the audience of casino operators and others at the Coast Convention Center.
 
State Capitol earns national historic landmark designation
The U.S. Department of Interior today named the Mississippi State Capitol as a National Historic Landmark, a rare designation marking the building's architectural significance. The Mississippi Legislature and the Department of Archives and History applied for the designation from the National Park Service. There are about 2,500 National Historic Landmarks in the United States. "Walking into the Capitol every day, I am always impressed by the beauty of the architecture and the significance of the history within the walls of this structure," Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. "This designation ensures this beautiful building, and all of the history contained within, will be preserved for future Mississippians to enjoy." Designed in 1900 by St. Louis architect Theodore Link, the Mississippi Capitol was one of the earliest state capitols built in the style of Beaux Arts Classicism, which came to dominate American public architecture in the early 20th Century.
 
Revenue collections top expectations for second straight month
Mississippi collected more tax revenue than expected during the month of April -- the second straight month of positive tax collections. Padded by a boon in individual income tax collections, April is just the fourth month of the past 21 months in which revenue projections were met. In all, the state collected about 11 percent, or $75 million, more than projected in April. The month was boosted by 57 percent, or $99 million, more in individual income tax collections than projected. With just two months remaining in the current fiscal year, Mississippi's total tax collections are $6.3 million less than projected.
 
Speaker forms lottery study panel
Two Northeast Mississippi House members -- Nick Bain, D-Corinth, and Mac Huddleston, R-Pontotoc -- will be on the commission formed by Speaker Philip Gunn to study the merits of the Legislature enacting a lottery. Gunn, R-Clinton, announced the commission members Wednesday afternoon. "I have been clear that I do not support a lottery," Gunn said in a news release. "I have not changed my mind. I do not believe a lottery is based on sound economic policy, and it violates a number of conservative, Republican principles." The group also will consist of House Gaming Chair Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach; Reps. Chris Johnson, R-Hattiesburg, and Cedric Burnett, D-Tunica; Gaming Commission Director Allen Godfrey; Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs; PEER Director James Barber, who conducts research for the Legislature; and Lou Frascogna, an assistant attorney general assigned to the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
 
Group begins study for Mississippi lottery
Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said weeks ago that he would form a group to study the pros and cons of starting a state lottery. As the group met for the first time Wednesday, Gunn repeated his opposition to the game of chance. "I do not believe a lottery is based on sound economic policy, and it violates a number of conservative, Republican principles," Gunn, a Republican who is also a leader in his local Baptist church, said in a news release. "The purpose of the study group is to gather information to show that the lottery is not the windfall that all its supporters claim it will be," he said. The lottery study group met Wednesday at the Capitol, though no public notice was given in advance.
 
Speaker Philip Gunn forms commission to discredit state lottery
After months of debate over whether a state lottery could boost lagging revenue collections, House Speaker Philip Gunn formed a lottery study commission this week to discredit the legitimacy of the game and its supporters. Gunn, a Baptist deacon who has continually spoken against adopting a lottery, tasked the eight-member commission "to gather information to show that the lottery is not the windfall that all its supporters claim it will be." In a statement announcing the study group, which met for the first time Wednesday, Gunn said a state lottery "violates a number of conservative, Republican principles." In an interview the day after the session ended, Gunn hinted that he would create the commission to "gather info for my own benefit."
 
Judge Vernon Cotten retiring after long career as Circuit Court judge
Circuit Judge Vernon R. Cotten announced his retirement on Monday before court, telling those in attendance that it was just time, noting that he celebrated his 80th birthday on Easter Sunday. He has served as Circuit Judge of the Eighth District which includes Neshoba County since his appointment by Gov. Kirk Fordice in November 1997 when Place 2 was formed by the Legislature. He was subsequently elected to four terms, representing Neshoba, Leake, Scott and Newton counties. His retirement is effective May 31, 2017. Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint someone to fill the unexpired term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2018. The announcement was made before court began in Leake County. An avid cyclist, Cotten said Monday evening after a ride that the timing was right for his retirement, but that he plans to remain active.
 
Bill Luckett and Chuck Espy go after each other again in Clarksdale
Neither Mayor Bill Luckett nor challenger Chuck Espy is surprised to wind up in a runoff election May 16. In unofficial results announced Tuesday evening at City Hall, Luckett led the Democratic primary election for mayor with 1,418 votes. Espy followed with 1,327. Luckett told Mississippi Today he is optimistic. "It's time to roll my sleeves up and get back going," said Luckett. To ensure that he keeps his position as mayor, Luckett said, he just has to get more votes than his opponent. Espy said politicians come up with silly plans such as fining people for parking on their own grass -- and that's what is wrong with Luckett as a politician. Espy lost to Luckett in the 2013 Democratic primary in a race to succeed his father, Henry Espy, who was the city's first black mayor and served 28 years.
 
Senate Republicans brace for leadership scramble
Senate Republican leadership is set for a major shake-up after the next election. Though Mitch McConnell plans to stay put for years to come, his leadership team is about to undergo its biggest overhaul in years: All four other GOP leaders are term-limited in their current posts. The Senate Republican Conference is brimming with ambitious members, and the leadership reordering will be a critical opportunity for longtime and more junior lawmakers to raise their profiles and build their resumes. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, a counsel to McConnell, may also be in the mix for a leadership job. But a likelier option for Wicker is to try to return as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2020 cycle -- a job he held in the 2016 elections, when Republicans narrowly kept their majority.
 
House Schedules Vote on Health Care Bill
The House will vote Thursday afternoon on the Republican plan to overhaul the health care system. "We will pass this bill. I feel great about the count," said Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California after a Wednesday evening leadership meeting at the Capitol, confirming that he has 216 votes to pass the legislation. "As you know we've already debated a large portion of this, we'll finish up the debate. . . . We're going forward on the bill tomorrow." He estimated the vote on the bill (HR 1628) will take place around 12:30 or 1 p.m. Thursday. The announcement puts the spotlight on Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and his conference, which has thus far struggled to build support for the package.
 
Obama's $400,000 speech could prompt Congress to go after his pension
Last year, then-president Barack Obama vetoed a bill that would have curbed the pensions of former presidents if they took outside income of $400,000 or more. So now that former president Barack Obama has decided to accept $400,000 for an upcoming Wall Street speech, the sponsors of that bill say they'll reintroduce that bill in hopes that President Trump will sign it. "The Obama hypocrisy on this issue is revealing," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and sponsor of the 2016 bill. "His veto was very self-serving." Chaffetz and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the sponsor of the companion Senate bill, say they will re-introduce the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act this month. The bill would cap presidential pensions at $200,000, with another $200,000 for expenses. But those payments would be reduced dollar-for-dollar once their outside income exceeds $400,000.
 
Feeling Kinship With The South, Northerners Let Their Confederate Flags Fly
When 60-year-old Owen Golay talks about the two Confederate flags he flies in his front yard, he sounds like many Southern defenders of such symbols. "It stands for heritage; it's a part of our history," Golay said. But it's not really his history. Golay lives in rural Pleasantville, Iowa, about 40 miles from where he was born. He still carries a small Confederate flag that his father gave him as a child. But aside from some people way back in his family tree who fought on both sides in the Civil War, he has no real ties to the South. Golay says his interest in Civil War history and symbols deepened during the Obama administration, when he felt President Obama was overstepping his executive authority. He says he feels a resonance today with 19th century Southerners' resistance to what they saw as federal overreach. Sales of Confederate memorabilia underline the northward trend.
 
Massive Google Docs Phish Might Have Stolen A Load Of Gmail Accounts
A lot of people are getting some suspicious looking emails in their Gmail. The malicious messages are coming from trusted contacts, asking them to open a Google Doc. As soon as the recipient clicks through, they are asked to give away permissions to an app imitating Google Docs, namely the ability to read, send, delete and manage email, as well as manage contacts. For the user, once they've clicked through, nothing happens. But the attacker is effectively given access to people's Gmail. It appears whoever created the worm used that access to contacts to spread the It's remarkably sophisticated and spreading like wildfire.
 
UM ASB recommends suspension of chancellor's context committee
A resolution to indefinitely suspend the Chancellor's Committee on Context and History and a bill to have an invocation before every Senate meeting were passed yesterday evening on the Associated Student Body Senate floor. The resolution recommending to indefinitely suspend the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on History and Contextualization was passed in a 34-11 vote. Sens. Coco McDonnell, Hunter Story and Brady Kies wrote the resolution because they felt students were not being adequately represented on the committee. Only one student (former ASB president Austin Powell) was included on the committee that was organized by Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter to work to contextualize the names of campus sites and buildings. The committee has held a number of meetings and listening sessions since its inception. One of the committees latest efforts includes the renaming of Vardaman Hall. Senate members spoke up about the lack of student representation, stressing that the indefinite suspension would not be part of a political agenda if passed.
 
Southern Miss Ranked as Nation's No. 1 Military-Friendly Online College
The University of Southern Mississippi has been ranked as the nation's top "Military-Friendly Online College" as determined by AffordableCollegesOnline.org in its 2017 ratings. Researchers and higher education experts collected and analyzed data from every accredited post secondary institution in the United States to find the online colleges with the most notable balance of academic rigor, military student services, program variety, and affordability. "We are grateful to be recognized as the top Military-Friendly Online College which recognizes the many opportunities we provide for veterans, service members and their families in search of higher education learning," said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Jeff Hammond, who directs the USM center.
 
U. of Kentucky student drops from ceiling to steal statistics exam, but guess who showed up?
The odds were long, but a couple of University of Kentucky students decided it was worth the risk to climb through the ceiling ducts to a teacher's office to steal a statistics exam. Unfortunately for them, the teacher is a night owl. According to UK Police, UK statistics instructor John Cain had been working late in his third floor office in the Multidisciplinary Science Building on Rose Street on Tuesday night. About midnight, he left to get something to eat. When he returned about 1:30 a.m., he tried to unlock the door, but it was blocked by something. Shortly after police arrived, one of the students returned and confessed.
 
Storm system not expected to delay UGA graduation
Possible heavy weather could delay the University of Georgia's Friday night undergraduate commencement, but officials don't anticipate having to reschedule ceremonies in the university's football stadium this year. According to the National Weather Service's Peachtree City weather station, a storm system is likely to bring thunderstorms with high winds with a possibility of tornadoes to the Athens area on Thursday. More rain could come Friday, but with less storm potential, according to the NWS forecast --- a 40 percent chance of showers during the day, 30 percent in the evening. Undergraduate commencement is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Sanford Stadium; graduate commencement is set for 10 a.m. Friday at Stegeman Coliseum.
 
U. of Tennessee board moves forward with plan to revamp bonus pay
A key group of University of Tennessee board members on Wednesday approved a plan to require the college system's top leaders to meet more ambitious goals before they receive bonus pay. During a long discussion of the plan at a meeting in Nashville, multiple members of the board's Executive and Compensation Committee said they wanted university leaders to get bonus pay based on their progress toward a set of "stretch goals." Board Vice Chair Raja Jubran, who helped develop the plan, suggested existing rules surrounding bonus pay had not been ambitious enough and instead doled out extra money to UT leaders for meeting modest goals. Trustees voted in March to pay out more than $360,000 in bonuses to its seven top administrators based on previous work.
 
Texas A&M faculty members named to National Academy of Sciences
Two Texas A&M faculty members from the College of Science and a visiting fellow of the university's Hagler Institute for Advanced Study have been announced among the latest class of inductees to the National Academy of Sciences. Marcetta Y. Darensbourg, distinguished professor of chemistry, and Ronald A. DeVore, distinguished professor of mathematics, were announced among the 84 new members to the academy announced Tuesday. They were selected alongside 2016-2017 Hagler Institute faculty fellow Christopher C. Cummins, Henry Dreyfus professor of chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp told The Eagle the announcement is proof of the university's commitment to creating an attractive environment for the nation's brightest minds.
 
In wake of floods, U. of Missouri Extension hopes to aid in recovery process
As floods wreak havoc throughout Missouri, University of Missouri Extension offices are trying to do what they can to assist people and keep them informed. The purpose of MU Extension is to help people make informed decisions on topics like agriculture, nutrition, gardens, business and emergencies. There is at least one Extension office in every county. Debi Kelly, a horticulture and local food specialist at MU Extension Jefferson County, in eastern Missouri south of St. Louis, said the office doesn't often receive calls during natural disasters but afterward as people try to repair homes and property. "Put yourself in their shoes," Kelly said. "What you're more interested in is protecting as much as you can. That's where your focus is. Once everything has gone down, you start thinking where do I go? But right now, you're just in saving mode."
 
As Fafsa Tool Outage Continues, Lawmakers Investigate Why It Happened
The Internal Revenue Service's data-retrieval tool will be back online for borrowers in income-driven repayment plans by the end of the month, James W. Runcie, chief operating officer of the Education Department's Federal Student Aid office, told a U.S. House committee on Wednesday. But he offered no respite to those who would like to use the tool to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the Fafsa, as it will continue to be offline, for them, until October. The tool mysteriously and abruptly went offline on March 3. It was later revealed that the tool's absence stemmed from a breach that may have affected the data of up to 100,000 people. The IRS estimates that 8,000 potentially fraudulent claims led it to issue tax refunds amounting to more than $30 million. Wednesday's hearing, of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sought to uncover how the breach of the tool had occurred, but ultimately, it raised more questions than it answered.
 
Purdue's deal for Kaplan packs low up-front costs, long terms and boundary-pushing details
Purdue University managed to make a big splash without fronting cash in its deal to acquire Kaplan University and its major online education presence. That's a key point in an era when public higher education institutions are increasingly saddled with tight state funding and rising cost pressures. But it comes with trade-offs. Purdue agreed to a lengthy contract requiring it to buy support services from parts of the Kaplan operation that will remain tied to a for-profit business. The contract limits Purdue's early financial downside, but getting out of it in the future would come at significant expense. Purdue made waves last week when it announced the acquisition, a bold attempt to jump into the online space with both feet in order to better serve working adult students. The major land-grant university in Indiana will acquire the academic operations of Kaplan University, a for-profit chain that's part of the publicly traded company Graham Holdings.
 
We were warned: Now the budget cuts have faces, names
Cathy Grace, co-director of the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning at the University of Mississippi, writes in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal: "News reports concerning the cuts to the state's budget for the upcoming year beginning July 1 continue to highlight the folly in the notion to cut corporate taxes in 2018. ...When the results of budget cuts are compiled it is easy to see the trouble facing Mississippi's citizens. The legislature is not reducing the tax burden, legislators are passing it down to individuals, cities and counties. ...If the plan is to grow our own workers to fill highly skilled jobs, a change in course is needed to ensure the children of 2017 and beyond have a high quality education beginning at birth, sufficient medical care and communities which have services to support each child's overall healthy development."
 
Marty Stuart, cultural icon
Jackson-based consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "It's a good weekend when you drive 700 miles into the mountains and get to hear a Mississippi native wow a crowd on its fourth day of a thirteen-stage music festival. When I'm able to make it to Merlefest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina -- a 'traditional plus' music event fundraiser in memory of Merle Watson -- I'm always doubly pleased to see Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives. ...But the most exciting news from Stuart for Mississippi is his announcement last month that he will create the "Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music" in downtown Philadelphia which will include a music venue and a museum for his collection of country music artifacts and photographs. ...When Stuart's project opens in four to five years, it should develop a symbiotic relationship with Neshoba's Choctaw casinos both with performers and tourists, and will compliment the $40 million Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience ('The MAX') opening next year in Meridian, just 45 minutes away. Meridian, already home to the Jimmie Rodgers (The Father of Country Music) Museum and Festival and the MSU Riley Center, provides an anchor to Mississippi's Country Music Trail."
 
Trump impact coming in judicial choices
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Despite substantial missteps and self-inflicted political wounds on any number of fronts, President Donald Trump's administration has been impressive in moving quickly to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of the late Presiding Justice Antonin Scalia. Although it took the exercise of the so-called 'nuclear option' on the part of the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, Trump was remarkably successful in getting his nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed and sworn in as Scalia's successor. Clearly, the Gorsuch nomination was the hallmark of Trump's first 100 days in office. While Trump could well fill another four seats given the ages of Justices Ruth Bader Gindsberg (84), Anthony Kennedy (80), and Stephen Breyer (78), it is in the lower federal courts where the new president is expected to make a more immediate impact."


SPORTS
 
One bad day doesn't define Bulldogs
Everyone is entitled to a bad day every once in a while. For No. 11 Mississippi State, that doomed day came last Saturday when it dropped a doubleheader at home to Auburn after defeating the Tigers in Game 1. Those losses snapped a string of five straight SEC series victories for the Diamond Dogs. "I really think it was just one of those days," said MSU coach Andy Cannizaro. MSU (30-16, 14-7 SEC) enters the weekend locked in a three-way tie atop the league standings with Auburn and Kentucky. The Bulldogs will battle a 15th-ranked Texas A&M club (33-13, 13-8 SEC) that was the only team to defeat State in a series during last year's SEC Championship run. The series gets under way tonight with the first two games slated for 6:30 starts. Saturday's finale is scheduled for 1 p.m. with games 1 and 3 televised on ESPNU.
 
Harrison Bragg could add more power to Mississippi State batting order
Harrison Bragg's potential is on display every time the 6-foot-4, 229-pound third baseman participates in a round of batting practice for Mississippi State. There are only three weekends left in the regular season, but his teammates still aren't used to watching how far the ball travels off his bat. "It's crazy," outfielder Cody Brown said. "I've never seen someone with so much pop to the pull side. When he gets a hold of it, it really goes." But nobody gets credit for batting practice homers, regardless of how impressive they look. Intrigue was sparked about the former Tacoma JC (Washington) slugger when he signed with Mississippi State, but Bragg hasn't had much of an opportunity to showcase his pop in actual games -- until now. Bragg will make his third straight start --- likely at third base --- Andy Cannizaro said, when No. 13 Mississippi State (30-16, 14-7 SEC) visits No. 17 Texas A&M (33-13, 13-8) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday for the opener of an important three-game series.
 
Texas A&M's Stephen Kolek drawing inspiration from father fighting cancer
In a span of less than 10 days this season, Texas A&M sophomore pitcher Stephen Kolek learned that his father's cancer was in recurrence and his spot in the weekend rotation was in jeopardy. Kolek digested both conversations and used the first piece of news as an impetus to rectify the second. "For anyone to have the strength he has to go through cancer is amazing to me, so to see him do that, I figure any problem I have on the field is nothing, absolutely nothing," Kolek said. "Me and coach are getting on the same page with pitch selection and just knowing how I like to attack batters and him following it," said Kolek, who will start Game 3 of A&M's upcoming series with Mississippi State at 1 p.m. Saturday at Blue Bell Park. Game 1 is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday with Game 2 at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
 
Mississippi State's Andy Cannizaro previews Texas A&M series
Video: No. 11 Mississippi State enters the weekend locked into a three-way tie for first place in the Southeastern Conference. The Bulldogs will attempt to maintain their top tier status at 15th-ranked Texas A&M starting Thursday. MSU coach Andy Cannizaro comments on the series, changes the pitching rotation and shares an injury update on second baseman Hunter Stovall.
 
It's down the stretch in college baseball
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "Scattershooting, while contemplating another huge upcoming weekend of college baseball in the Magnolia State... And this is a really meaningful weekend as conference races wind down and teams jockey for post-season positioning. If the season ended today, Mississippi State, Southern Miss and Ole Miss all would be in the 64-team NCAA field, while Jackson State would be favored to win the SWAC Tournament and thus gain an automatic berth in the tournament. A quick progress report on each..."
 
State Games of Mississippi expecting even bigger draw this year
When the State Games of Mississippi began 26 years ago, the sports-themed event attracted 1,200 athletes from around the state to the Queen City. Last year, more than 5,100 athletes, family members and friends descended upon Meridian for the now state-wide competition. And with the addition of four sports in 2017, State Games of Mississippi representatives expect that number to be even larger. "It brings a lot to our hotels and our restaurants and stuff," said Missye Dozier, State Games of Mississippi's sports director. "It's one of Meridian's biggest events -- probably, the biggest event for Meridian." The State Games of Mississippi has provided more than just an athletic impact on Meridian. Dozier said the event has contributed favorably economically. "We do an economic impact every five years, and the past year we did one that estimated $9.2 million, and that's what it brings," Dozier said.
 
Email to athletes: LSU 'supports,' cautions them in publicly expressing views on Alton Sterling news
The LSU athletic department, in an email sent to its 350-plus athletes, communicated its "respect and support" for them to publicly express their opinions regarding the Alton Sterling case, but cautioned the athletes to be mindful of media attention and respectful to others. The mass email, sent Wednesday afternoon, was obtained by The Advocate from multiple sources. An LSU spokesman declined comment when reached. In the email, LSU senior associate athletics director Miriam Segar offers counseling for those athletes who need it, encourages them to avoid "potentially violent situations" and insists they not wear LSU gear when expressing their opinion on the matter. The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced that it has decided not to charge two white Baton Rouge police officers in the death of Sterling, a black man whose fatal shooting in July was captured on cellphone video. The incident shook the city and incited mostly peaceful protests throughout Baton Rouge.
 
Auburn AD Jay Jacobs: Jordan-Hare Stadium renovations will 'improve game day experience'
The planned renovations to Jordan-Hare Stadium are set to begin soon, and athletics Jay Jacobs said all of them are expected to be completed before the 2018 football season. Jacobs joined the Auburn Sports Network's Tiger Talk podcast on Wednesday to talk about the projects. The $28 million South End Zone Project is the construction of a standalone building outside the southwest corner of the stadium, on the corner of South Donahue Drive and Heisman Drive. It will be connected to the stadium concourse, but will be outside the stadium, so Jacobs said construction will go on throughout the 2017 season. "People should know that the corner down there will be a little crowded," he said. "But it's going to be great." Jacobs has said that plans to renovate the north end zone are on hold until Auburn completes the project on the south end zone, but that doesn't mean that nothing will be done there.
 
Police: Bar staff ID'd men involved in Five Points assault as U. of South Carolina players
he men accused in a weekend assault at a Five Points bar were identified as USC football players by staff members at the business, according to police officials. A 24-year-old man reported that he was assaulted by three men inside the Five Points Saloon early Saturday after confronting them about them knocking his phone out of his hand. A complaint filed with the Columbia Police Department lists the three men as Deebo Samuel, Skai Moore and Jalen Dread. Samuel and Moore are football players for USC, and Dread is a former player with the team. No charges have been filed in the case, and USC coach Will Muschamp said Samuel was not present at the bar. The police report provided by the department says the men "were identified by the fact that they were each USC football players."



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