Monday, May 8, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
UMMC leader inspires Mississippi State graduates to 'proceed with courage, be persistent'
Bulldog determination. That's the very characteristic University of Mississippi Medical Center head Dr. LouAnn Woodward urged new graduates to exhibit during her Friday and Saturday spring commencement address at Mississippi State University. "You will be faced with making hard decisions in the absence of complete information, and you will have to act in order to move yourself and our state forward," advised Woodward, a Carroll County native and MSU microbiology alumna who leads the state's only academic health science center. "It is not about you; it's about the world around you and how you are a part of it. From this point forward, your actions, decisions and life impact more than just you," she emphasized. "They impact your family, community and state. Mississippi needs you and the best you have to offer."
Graduation at Mississippi State: students move closer to their aspirations
Mississippi State University's newest alumni said farewell to their 2017 spring classes and plan their next steps after graduation ceremonies on Friday and Saturday. Tori Holmes, 23, from Sikeston, Missouri, and Benjamin White, 23, from Union City, Tennessee, graduated together on Saturday morning. The pair met on the first week of school at MSU, and have been friends since. Now, Holmes plans to move to Denver, and White said he is applying for jobs in Nashville and Atlanta. Taylor Henry, 22, from Atlanta, Georgia, is also planning on a change in scenery. However, MSU isn't his last stepping stone on the path of his educational career. Henry, a political science major, plans to move to Los Angeles to begin his career as a paralegal before entering law school in the fall.
Passion for teaching drives MSU-Meridian student to pursue graduate studies
Rachel Laird of Meehan, a Mississippi State University-Meridian graduating senior, loved books even before she could read them. To be recognized as the MSU-Meridian Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the Division of Education at the university's Friday commencement, Laird continued her early passion for literature through graduation from Meridian Christian Home Educators homeschool association and then while a student at East Central Community College. "Our East Central instructor Ms. Shackelford had each of us stand up in front of the class and 'teach' a chapter from the novel we were reading. And that was when the proverbial light bulb went off," Laird said about the moment she realized literature could lead to a career.
Job market looks bright for new college graduates
MSU-Meridian is one of several Mississippi universities holding graduation ceremonies this month. And for the first time since the recession, graduates will enter a stable, if not favorable job market. "It's still unbelievable. I still sit here today and woke up this morning and couldn't believe that, hey this is really happening. It's just been a long time coming, it feels really good," Dustin Phillips says. MSU-Meridian's graduation took place at the Riley Center Friday morning. There were 119 total graduates over three divisions: Arts & Sciences, Business and Education.
Mississippi State faculty honored
Four faculty members in Mississippi State's College of Architecture, Art and Design recently received national awards for their exemplary work in architectural education. School of Architecture associate professors Hans Herrmann and Alexis Gregory and assistant professor Emily McGlohn, along with Building Construction Science assistant professor Michele Herrmann, were formally recognized with two Architectural Education Awards by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture in Detroit. The ACSA Architectural Education Awards honor architectural educators who excel in building design, community collaborations, scholarship and service.
Mississippi State researcher developing mobile lung device
A team of researchers at Mississippi State University's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems are working on a new design for an artificial lung that could help children waiting on a transplant. Researcher Greg Burgreen and the team he is a part of, which includes researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, are using a grant from the National Institutes of Health to research the development of a more portable breathing device for children with damaged lungs. Though clinical use by patients is still on the horizon, Burgreen said researchers view the device as a major therapeutic improvement, if not a full treatment, for children with lung diseases. "Mississippi State University is helping to improve and prolong the lives of children suffering from lung diseases," he said.
Study investigates drone ground collision scenarios
The Federal Aviation Administration recently released results from a major study to understand the risks of flying small unmanned aircraft systems -- drones -- over people. Mississippi State University scientists were charged with assessing what could happen if a drone struck a person's head. They designed advanced, real-world simulations using supercomputing resources at the university's High Performance Computing Collaboratory. The MSU-led Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence conducted the peer-reviewed research that will help the FAA manage the risks drones pose to the public. We developed and validated human head-UAS computer models to determine the thresholds and severity levels for traumatic brain injury for different injury scenarios," said Raj Prabhu, the lead investigator for the Mississippi State team and an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.
Mississippi State nets grant for manufacturing training program
The Furniture Foundation recently awarded a $44,900 grant to help Mississippi State University personnel train front-line furniture supervisors. Four management training programs will be offered by the Franklin Furniture Institute at different manufacturing locations around Mississippi between August and July 2018. MSU has participated in similar training programs since 2011, providing services to more than 500 participants. Institute director Bill Martin said the training is one of the most requested services available through the MSU Franklin Furniture Institute.
Two Golden Triangle writers among Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award winners
Jason Morgan Ward and Catherine Pierce, both faculty members at Mississippi State University, are among 12 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award recipients for works published, performed or shown in 2016. The winners, which were selected by out-of-state judges, will be honored June 3 at the MIAL annual awards banquet to be held at Delta State University in Cleveland. Ward is winner of the Nonfiction Award for his book "Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence and America's Civil Rights Century" (Oxford University Press). An infamous bridge over the Chickasawhay River in Clarke County is at the center of this second book by the associate professor of history. The MIAL Poetry Award is being given to Catherine Pierce for her work "The Tornado Is the World" (Saturnalia Books). Pierce, the author of three books, also won the Poetry Award in 2013.
Mississippi soybean planting ahead of schedule this year
Mississippi producers have planted a large percentage of the state's soybean crop well ahead of schedule, giving producers the opportunity for maximum yields. The May 1 crop progress and condition report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 69 percent of the soybean crop had been planted. In the last five years, just 38 percent of the crop was typically planted by this date. Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, called the progress to date phenomenal. "Mid- to late April is the optimum planting window to maximize yields, and we had the opportunity this year to plant a lot of our acres by the end of April," Irby said. Early-planted soybeans have a better chance of benefitting from summer rains and avoiding late-season stresses.
Making it in Mississippi: Manufacturing growing in the Magnolia State
Jay Moon, the president of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, said "Made in Mississippi" is making a comeback of sorts. "I think no question that manufacturing is up substantially over the past few years, and I do think it will increase even more over the next few years." According to a study commissioned by MMA and compiled by the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) at Mississippi State University, manufacturing in the state is projected to "remain steady" over the next few years. Moon's and manufacturers' optimism for the future come after years of what they call a burdensome, over-regulated environment during the past few years.
Greater Starkville Development Partnership hires Oxford firm for CEO search
An outside group is now leading the Greater Starkville Development Partnership's search for a new chief executive officer. The Oxford-based Logan Development Group is expected to present a new group of finalists to the GSDP Board of Directors in July, a GSDP press release states. Before then, the firm will meet with the GSDP search committee and community stakeholders during a site visit, develop a criteria for the position and develop a recruitment profile to aid in a nationwide search. "(The firm) has a history of successful placements in community development, and we look forward to utilizing their experience to help us with this vital role in the community," said GSDP board Chairwoman Michelle Amos in the release.
Analysis: Improved revenue a counterpoint to credit worries
Getting better or getting worse? That's the question Mississippi leaders are debating after the third major credit rating agency warned last week that it was concerned about weakness in state finances and the overall economy. For credit rater Standard & Poor's Financial Services, the answer is "getting worse." The agency didn't downgrade Mississippi's credit rating last week, but did change its outlook on the credit rating to negative. But in addition to worsening underfunding in the Public Employees Retirement System, S&P also worried about slow economic growth and the expectation that state revenues will continue to decline as more tax cuts kick in. The rating agency said its analysis found more budget cuts would probably lead to fewer jobs in the state.
Supreme Court to hear arguments in school funding lawsuit
Even as legislative leaders contemplate rewriting the Mississippi Adequate Education school funding formula, the state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether legislators are violating the law by not fully funding the formula. Oral arguments are set before the state's highest court for May 17 in a lawsuit filed by former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and others on behalf of 21 school districts, including Clay County, Prentiss County and Okolona from Northeast Mississippi. Legislative leaders, specifically House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate, have announced their intentions to rewrite the landmark MAEP funding formula. But they were unable to accomplish that goal during the 2017 legislative session and said they would do so in special session. But last week, Nathan Wells, the speaker's chief of staff, said the Adequate Education Program rewrite would not be part of the special session Gov. Phil Bryant has called for June 5.
EPA dismisses half of its scientific advisers on key board
Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department are overhauling a slew of outside advisory boards that inform how their agency assess the science underpinning their policies, the first step in a broader effort by Republicans to change the way the federal government evaluates the scientific basis for its regulations. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has chosen to replace half of the members on one of its key scientific review boards, while Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is "reviewing the charter and charge" of more than 200 advisory boards, committees, and other entities both within and outside of his department. EPA and Interior officials began informing outside advisers of the move on Friday, and notifications continued over the weekend.
Why Macron Won: Luck, Skill and France's Dark History
The French presidential runoff transcended national politics. It was globalization against nationalism. It was the future versus the past. Open versus closed. But in his resounding victory on Sunday night, Emmanuel Macron, the centrist who has never held elected office, won because he was the beneficiary of a uniquely French historic and cultural legacy, where many voters wanted change but were appalled at the type of populist anger that had upturned politics in Britain and the United States. He trounced the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, keeping her well under 40 percent, even as her aides said before the vote that anything below that figure would be considered a failure. For the past year, a pressing political question has been whether widespread public frustration against Western political establishments had morphed into a global populist movement.
MUW students join Homeland Security challenge to counter extremism, promote diversity
A group of college students at Mississippi University for Women are working with the Department of Homeland Security to fight terrorism. But not by going undercover or disabling bombs. Instead, seven students in Assistant Professor Chanley Rainey's international relations and research classes have formed the organization "Got Peace" as part of a Homeland Security challenge to college students around the country to use social media campaigns to counter terrorist groups and other extremist ideologies online. It's part of Homeland Security's "Peer 2 Peer: Challenging Extremism" program. With terrorist organizations like the Islamic State now pushing their messages to American college students through social media, Homeland Security launched the program inviting college students to counter those messages with their own social media campaigns and report back to the department with what messages and recruiting tactics work.
Ole Miss partnership with TVA, NEMEPA saves $217,000 annually
The University of Mississippi, Tennessee Valley Authority and North East Mississippi Electric Power Association marked the completion Thursday of a project that saves the university more than $217,000 in utility costs each year and reduces its carbon footprint. The TVA awarded the university a $150,00 grant to improve energy efficiency on campus by installing LED lightning, which lasts about 11 years and is more energy efficient than other bulbs, as well as make other retrofits. The university also created an Energy Committee, which developed a plan for responsible management of power resources with a holistic approach that integrates the school's core mission moving forward.
7,000 bodies could be buried on UMMC campus
Experts estimate up to 7,000 bodies are buried on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus. They are former patients of the state's first mental institution, called the Insane Asylum, built in 1855, and underground radar shows their coffins stretch across 20 acres of the UMMC campus, where officials have wanted to build. But those officials have faced a steep cost -- $3,000 to exhume and rebury each body, as much as $21 million total. Now UMMC is studying the cheaper alternative of handling those exhumations in-house, at a cost of $400,000 a year for at least eight years. It also would create a memorial that would preserve the remains with a visitors' center and a lab that could be used to study the remains as well as the remnants of clothing and coffins. "It would be a unique resource for Mississippi," said Molly Zuckerman, associate professor in Mississippi State University's Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures. "It would make Mississippi a national center on historical records relating to health in the pre-modern period, particularly those being institutionalized."
DBJ Profile Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC
Dr. LouAnn Woodward, 53, grew up on a farm in Carroll County south of Grenada. She and her brother Holland were raised in the same home where their father, Bruce Heath---the youngest of six children–grew up. Her paternal grandmother, known as Miss Onyx, lived with them. Her mother, Bobbie, also had a lot of family nearby. "We were one, big extended family and we got together often," Woodward says. "Cousins were always in and out. It was a lot of fun." Woodward has not moved far from Carroll County, distance-wise; it is only about a two-hour drive south to Jackson. But she has achieved far beyond the expectations for a girl growing up in the Delta. In 2015, after a nationwide search, Woodward was named vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the first woman to be named the top administrative officer at UMMC. She oversees 10,000 employees, 3,000 students and the medical care for thousands of people.
Thousands of Mississippians eligible for federal student loan cancellation
Thousands of Mississippi students are eligible for federal student loan cancellation, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced Friday. Hood made the announcement along with the attorneys general of at least 43 other states and the District of Columbia. Eligible students must have attended and used those loans at schools operated by the for-profit Corinthian Colleges, Inc. -- including Everest Institute, Everest College, Everest University, Heald College, and Wyotech. When a student's federal loan is cancelled, the student will no longer make payments on the loan, and any payments already made will be refunded. "This is a victory for students who were scammed in their efforts to further their education," Hood said. "I hope these refunds are a relief for these thousands of former students who were taken advantage of by a for-profit college."
23-year-old shot, killed near U. of Alabama campus after helping assault victim
A 23-year-old was fatally shot outside a Tuscaloosa bar Sunday morning and a suspect is in custody. Capt. Gary Hood with the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit said Tuscaloosa police and University of Alabama police responded to a parking lot in the 600 block of Paul W. Bryant Drive on a shooting around 2:15 a.m. Sunday. Upon arrival, they found the victim, Branden Moss, lying in the parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds. Moss was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was 23. After talking to witnesses and reviewing surveillance footage, police identified the suspect as 26-year-old Markis Russell. He was taken into custody Sunday morning at his girlfriend's apartment.
U. of South Carolina offers $40 million in tuition discounts to out-of-state students
The idea of applying to the University of South Carolina first struck John Warrington when he flicked open Snapchat and watched Gamecock football fans tailgate ahead of a 2014 home game. But the New Jersey native, who scored in the 98th percentile on the ACT college entrance exam, was not sold on going South for college until USC kicked in a sweet deal with his acceptance letter: in-state tuition. "It made it cheaper than going to college in New Jersey," said Warrington, 20, now a biomedical engineering and pre-med student at USC's highly regarded Honors College. Warrington is far from alone. Last year, Warrington was one of more than 5,450 out-of-state students lured to South Carolina's flagship university with nearly $40.4 million in tuition discounts, according to the latest data from the S.C. Commission on Higher Education.
LSU renames African American Cultural Center after university's first black board chairman
LSU is naming the African American Cultural Center after the university's first black board chairman. The Board of Supervisors voted Friday, without objection, to name the center after the late Clarence L. Barney Jr., of New Orleans and who had served as chairman in 1992. It is the second building on the LSU campus to be named after a person of color. (The other is an academic building named after A. P. Tureaud, the civil rights lawyer who initiated the lawsuits that forced the Orleans Parish School System to desegregate.) Barney, who died in 2005 at the age of 70, had been president of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans for more than 30 years, retiring in 1996.
Texas A&M, UT-Austin leaders speak out against proposed further split of Permanent University Fund
Representatives from The Texas A&M University System and The University of Texas System made their case this week against the idea of making room in the Permanent University Fund for other systems, such as Texas Tech and the University of Houston. State Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, who was the author of House Joint Resolution 110, said during a meeting of the House Higher Education Committee on Wednesday she has no intention of bringing it to a vote this session, but rather just wanted to start a conversation that can continue in the years to come. Established in 1876 by the Constitution of the State of Texas, the PUF is an endowment of roughly 2.1 million acres of land across the state that provides invested funds managed by the recently renamed University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company. A percentage of the earnings on those investments are then distributed among the participating universities.
U. of Missouri confirms smallest freshman class in 20 years
The University of Missouri confirmed Friday that the incoming freshman class on the Columbia campus will shrink by almost 17 percent, making it the smallest in almost 20 years as the school continues to suffer steep enrollment losses. Other four-year universities in Missouri that responded to inquiries from the Tribune are expecting slight enrollment gains or modest losses. At MU, figures point to a drop in fall enrollment of 5 percent or more to follow a decline in the current year of 6.2 percent. In a news release, MU touted the academic qualities of the class of about 4,000 that it expects to enroll in August but made no comparisons to previous years. The 4,009 students who paid a $300 enrollment fee have an average ACT of 25.5, the release said. Along with declining enrollment, the university will see cuts in state funding.
In Congress, Even Lawmakers' Degrees Are a Partisan Issue
nation as a whole, here's an underrated one: The educational attainment of our representatives far surpasses that of the electorate. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 31 percent of adults over the age of 25 have earned at least a four-year degree. How does that compare with the House? A Chronicle analysis shows that 95 percent of its members hold a bachelor's degree or higher. Meanwhile, 66 percent have some type of graduate degree. Both of those figures are an increase from recent years. Like so much in politics, educational attainment is not immune to polarization. Our analysis shows deepening partisan differences between Democratic and Republican representatives when it comes to the types of education they pursue, the institutions they attend, and the degrees they seek. That divide, and the broader trend toward a more elite political class, could have profound implications for Congress's agenda and its effectiveness.
Trump suggests aid to black colleges may be unconstitutional but aides say he won't change policy
President Trump confused and angered advocates for historically black colleges Friday when he suggested that a key aid program for the institutions could be unconstitutional. But, amid criticism, Trump aides reached out to black-college supporters and said his Friday comment didn't mean he was going to change anything. And then on Sunday he issued a statement calling his support for the institutions "unwavering." The controversy is frustrating many black-college supporters, some of whom continue to doubt the Trump administration's professed commitment to their institutions, despite a highly publicized meeting when Trump invited HBCU leaders to the White House.
After Outcry Over Rejected Grants, Betsy DeVos Forbids Formatting Rules
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her department faced public criticism following news reports that the department had flat-out rejected dozens of colleges' Upward Bound grant applications based on minor line-spacing and font-size errors. Now, Ms. DeVos has issued an order forbidding department officials from mandating any page or formatting rules in grant applications. The new policy is outlined in a memo, obtained by The Chronicle, that Ms. DeVos sent to top department officials on April 27. Responses to the department's actions on the Upward Bound grants have not been unanimously negative; some observers have noted that the formatting rules help provide for a more level playing field in considering grant applications.
Eighteen Fraternity Members Charged With Manslaughter in Hazing Death at Penn State
Eighteen members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Pennsylvania State University have been criminally charged for failing to help a pledge who died in February after consuming toxic levels of alcohol during an initiation ceremony and suffering a series of falls. ABC News reported that eight of the fraternity members and the chapter itself were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Others were charged with aggravated and simple assault, evidence tampering, alcohol-related violations, and hazing. Timothy Piazza, 19, had a blood-alcohol content of nearly 0.40 on the night of the pledge ceremony. He fell several times, injuring his head. Mr. Piazza was found in the basement the next morning. The university's president, Eric J. Barron, permanently banned Beta Theta Pi in March.
How to avoid the summer slide
Angela Farmer, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Mississippi State University, writes: "Within days, just ask any student or teacher in K-12, the spring semester will draw to a close. All the long days of instruction and evenings of study will take a hiatus for the summer. While it's a rare student or teacher who longs to stay just a few days longer, there are some dangers of taking total academic holiday for the duration of the summer break. What is key, is not what has been learned and evidenced, but rather what has been learned and retained in one's long-term memory and processing center. In order to ensure that students can hold onto critical skills and knowledge during this respite time, it is critical that they exercise their minds during the summer."
Mississippi training programs for skills in high demand
Patrick Sullivan, president of the Mississippi Energy Institute, writes: "The bulk of today's workforce demands are in skilled trades and highly technical careers. Those who learn these skills and pair them with a good work ethic are assured a well-paying job and an opportunity to climb the ladder. Employers need ever more skilled professionals, but Mississippi is in short supply. Why? We believe a big reason is lack of awareness and negative perceptions. The antidote is good information. ...To gauge the effectiveness of Get on the Grid, we recently tested several classrooms on the Coast, asking the students questions before and after looking at the website. The test confirmed as students are better informed about good opportunities close to home, many will consider these pathways. The results of this experiment are staggering but not surprising, and this effort is yet another example of a successful public-private partnership between a coalition of employers and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Mississippi State University's National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center and Mississippi Department of Education."
Who cares about health care in Mississippi?
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "'Mississippi finishes last -- again -- among all states in annual health ranking,' read the December headline in the Biloxi Sun-Herald. 'Mississippi dropped to dead last this year among all 50 states in the annual America's Health Rankings released by the United Health Foundation,' continued the story. 'As one of the nation's poorest states, Mississippi has a legacy of poor health because poverty is often a driver, and consequence, of bad health.' How did our state leaders respond to this finding? Here are the latest stories..."
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves won't budge on internet sales tax
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Dennis Seid writes: "On Thursday at the annual meeting of the Community Development Foundation, attendees were told about the successes through the year, which included nearly 800 new jobs and more than $24 million in capital investment. That didn't happen by accident. Recruiting business and industry is something CDF has been doing well for nearly 70 years. To do that, having good infrastructure -- roads, bridges, water, sewer, rail, etc. -- was, and is, critical. As you well know, there is much debate on how to fund road and bridge maintenance and repair in the state. There is little debate on the need; rather, the issue gets complicated when talk turns to funding."
Low voter turnout not good for the future
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann reported low voter turnout in the recent round of state municipal elections. That's distressing on any number of levels. The late Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas 'Tip' O'Neill of Massachusetts once famously said that 'all politics is local.' Indeed, municipal elections don't determine the nation's foreign policy, don't set the perimeters of national economic policy and certainly don't determine the makeup of the federal appellate courts. But municipal elections have a lot to do with garbage collection, street maintenance and the status of local schools. Most municipal officials agree that another key component of their official duties centers on the ever-volatile status of laws regulating the behavior of dogs and their owners. ...So with those burning local issues on the agenda in Mississippi municipal government, why would voters shy away from participating in municipal elections? It seems counterintuitive at best and just plain lazy and short-sighted at worst."

State rallies to take series at Texas A&M
Mississippi State rallied with three runs in the seventh inning to win another SEC series. The 11th-ranked Bulldogs worked some Saturday afternoon magic to knock off No. 15 Texas A&M 4-3 in the final game of a three-game weekend series at Blue Bell Park. MSU won its sixth conference series in eight tries this season. The Bulldogs did it for a second time by winning the final two games in a series. MSU also took back over first place in the conference standings. "I am proud of how well we competed in the final two games," head coach Andy Cannizaro said. "We didn't play well Thursday but we came back and showed a lot of fight. We played very well the final 18 innings in the series. We just kept getting better at-bats. Our guys really rose to the occasion and found a way to win the final game of a series on the road in a hostile environment."
Mississippi State wins series against Texas A&M
Mississippi State won its series against Texas A&M, two games to one, by beating the Aggies on Saturday afternoon. The No. 13 Bulldogs defeated No. 16 Texas A&M, 4-3, in College Station. With only two more SEC series left (against Georgia and LSU), the latest series win strengthens the Bulldogs' chances at hosting a regional next month. The bottom of the order and the bullpen both came through for Mississippi State (32-17, 16-8 SEC) in the series finale. Josh Lovelady was 3-for-4 with one RBI out of the eighth spot in the order and No. 9 hitter Tanner Poole went 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Mississippi State takes series at Texas A&M
Mississippi State rallied with three runs in the seventh inning to win another Southeastern Conference series. The seventh-ranked Bulldogs worked some Saturday afternoon magic to knock off No. 15 Texas A&M 4-3 in the final game of a three-game weekend series at Blue Bell Park. MSU won its sixth conference series in eight tries this season. The Bulldogs did it for a second time by winning the final two games in a series. MSU also took back over first place in the conference standings. MSU is 32-17 overall and 16-8 in league play, while Texas A&M fell to 34-15 and 14-10.
Errors haunt Aggies as Mississippi State claims series with 4-3 victory
With their series ending on Saturday and no midweek game, the Aggies will have to stew for a while on a seventh inning that got away from them, allowed Mississippi State to steal a victory and moved the Bulldogs into first place in the Southeastern Conference. Freshman second baseman Braden Shewmake had made two errors all season, but he doubled that mark in one inning and the Bulldogs took advantage, scoring three runs to rally past A&M 4-3 and claim the deciding game of the series in front of a sold out Blue Bell Park. No. 13 MSU (32-17) leaves College Station in first place in the SEC West at 16-8. The No. 17 Aggies, who pulled even with the Bulldogs by winning the opening game of the series, dropped to 34-15 and 14-10.
Mississippi State's Ryan Gridley receives academic accolade
Mississippi State shortstop Ryan Gridley was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team for his exceptional work in the classroom. Gridley maintains a 3.78 grade point average as a business administration major and was added to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2015 and 2016. On the field, the junior from Milton, Georgia has started all 46 games hitting .341 with 10 doubles, a triple, five home runs, 33 RBIs and seven stolen bases.
Softball: Bulldogs, Rebels set up rematch
Ole Miss and Mississippi State both lost in their softball regular-season finales on Sunday, setting up a rematch in the first round of the SEC tourney. The eighth-seeded Rebels (36-18, 10-14 SEC) and ninth-seeded Bulldogs (36-19, 10-14) play Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Knoxville. The winner gets top-seeded Florida (50-5, 20-3) on Thursday. The state rivals played just one game this season, with Ole Miss winning 2-0 in Oxford. The championship game is on Saturday night.
Justin Senior looking forward to professional football opportunity
It's far from uncommon to see college athletes that left school early for the professional ranks return to school to finish their degrees. In this day and age with year-round enrollment and numerous redshirts, it's even normal for some football players to receive graduate degrees before finishing their eligibilities. Justin Senior would have been one of the latter -- if he had his choice. When Senior completed his first bachelor's degree, in political science, a regulation applying to international students kept him from pursuing a graduate degree while maintaining football responsibilities, so he decided to chase a second degree. He did just that and is one credit short of a sociology degree as he prepares to Seattle, his new home after the Seahawks drafted him in the sixth round of April's NFL Draft. "I'll get it eventually, but I'm really focusing on football right now," Senior said. "I'll look into it next year in the spring, maybe."
Clay Homan proud of strides made by Mississippi State golf program
To see how collegiate golf has changed in Clay Homan's 14 years at Mississippi State, all he needs to do is look out the back window of his office. Homan's office at the MSU golf facility in West Point, neighboring Old Waverly Golf Club, sits in the facility that remains state of the art, as it was the subject of over $2 million in 2014. The back of Homan's office over looks the putting area with multiple greens. One of them is built to resemble the greens at Pinehurst in North Carolina, where the famous No. 2 course has hosted three U.S. Opens since 1999. Another, the facility's largest, is built in the outline of the state of Mississippi. Therein lies how college golf is different from what it was in 2004: financial commitment. That being the case, Homan feels continued success for the MSU men's golf program is there for the taking as he retires after 14 years as its head coach.
Mississippi State track and field athlete Kaelin Kersh dies in car wreck
Mississippi State track and field athlete Kaelin Kersh died in a car accident early Sunday morning, the school confirmed. She graduated on Friday and turned 22 last month. The Pearl native and alum is the daughter of George Kersh, a world-class runner who is known as one of the best in Mississippi history. "I will always remember Kaelin by her incredible smile," MSU track and field coach Steve Dudley said. The fatal crash occurred at the intersection of Mayhew Road and MS 182 in Starkville Sunday morning around 1:24 a.m., Mississippi Highway Patrol said. "The entire Mississippi State family mourns the tragic loss of Kaelin," MSU athletic director John Cohen said.
Mississippi State strengthens gameday safety, restricts golf cart, ATV use
Beginning July 1, 2017, Mississippi State will significantly restrict the use of non-university golf carts, ATVs or other such off-road vehicles on campus. "These policies are necessary to maintain a safe environment on our campus for students, faculty and staff, as well as thousands who visit our campus each year, including families and children," said MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter. "These guidelines bring MSU into line with our colleagues in the Southeastern Conference and the vast majority of NCAA Division 1 universities." Over the last decade, crowds have grown at Starkville campus sporting events. With that growth has come increased public safety concerns for fans and visitors and a renewed commitment to ensuring a positive gameday experience.
Ole Miss opts not to extend Andy Kennedy's contract
Andy Kennedy did not receive a contract extension from Ole Miss after this most recent basketball season. Kennedy has three years remaining on his contract. Mississippi state law prevents universities from giving coaches contracts longer than four years. "Chancellor Vitter, Coach Kennedy and I all have high expectations for our basketball program. We have invested more than ever before with the construction of The Pavilion, enhancements to the Tuohy Center, addition of new staff members and increased recruiting resources," Ross Bjork, Ole Miss' athletic director, told The Clarion-Ledger Friday. "Coach Kennedy has a multi-year contract with three years remaining on his current agreement. We will continue to support our student-athletes, Coach Kennedy and his staff, to build the program into a consistent NCAA tournament team."
SEC Network is the king of conference TV networks despite losing subscribers
As it nears the third anniversary of its launch, the SEC Network continues to be the king of college conference television networks. While cord-cutting, among other things, has hurt subscriber numbers, the SEC Network is worth four times as much as any of the other conference TV networks, according to research SNL Kagan provided to The SEC Network is valued at $4.692 billion -- a slight dip from its 2015 valuation of $4.77 billion -- while the Big Ten Network is at $1.142 billion and Pac-12 Networks lags behind at $305 million. In 2015, SNL Kagan valued the Big Ten Network at $1.59 billion. The ACC Network is slated to get its own linear network in 2019 while the Big 12 does not have its own network though Texas has the Longhorn Network. What helps SEC Network is high demand for the product, and one of the more expensive subscriber fees out of sports television networks.
SEC adopts NCAA recommendation to eliminate two-a-day football practices
The SEC has adopted several football practice recommendations set forth earlier this year by the NCAA, including the elimination of two-a-day football practices beginning this fall. According to the new health and safety policy enacted by the NCAA Division I council last month, twice-daily contact practices are no longer allowed during the preseason. A second "walk-through" practice or meeting -- featuring no contact or conditioning and no helmets or pads -- is permissible. "We believe these measures will enhance the health and safety procedures SEC universities have already established to support their football programs," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.
Alabama AD Greg Byrne named in lawsuit
University of Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne was mentioned Sunday in a lengthy ESPN investigative report on the relationship between a student-athlete and her assistant track coach at the University of Arizona during Byrne's tenure as the athletic director in Tucson. The investigative report was aired by ESPN's "Outside The Lines." The relationship has resulted in both criminal charges against the assistant coach and a civil suit alleging that Arizona failed to protect the student-athlete from rape, harassment and other threats. Byrne is included as a defendant in a civil suit filed by the athlete, Baillie Gibson, in October of 2015. The University of Arizona released an official statement to ESPN arguing that officials had acted in accordance with that school's guidelines.

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