Friday, May 19, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State, SOCSD move education forward with Partnership School groundbreaking
Mississippi State University, Starkville Oktibbeha School District and statewide officials gathered to break ground Wednesday on a building that will enhance education in Oktibbeha County, the Golden Triangle area and Mississippi. Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and education stakeholders were on hand for the ceremonial turning-of-the-sod for the Starkville Oktibbeha School District Partnership School at Mississippi State University. The 128,000-square-foot facility is slated for completion in January 2019. "The Partnership School is a win-win-win for Starkville, Oktibbeha County and Mississippi State University. And it's a win for the students who will come here at a critical time in their lives," MSU President Mark E. Keenum said.
OUR OPINION: Partnership school displays region's investment in students, teachers
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Northeast Mississippi -- and specifically the Oktibbeha County area -- broke ground on an innovative educational project this week, showcasing the continued commitment our region places on advancing public education for Mississippi students and, in this case, teachers also. Leaders from across the region and state gathered Wednesday for a groundbreaking ceremony on the Starkville Oktibbeha School District Partnership School located at Mississippi State University. ...The school represents an exciting approach to education by exposing students in the area to innovative classroom instruction, while simultaneously cultivating the next generation of teachers. ...We applaud this innovative project that's truly seeking to advance Mississippi by investing equally in our students and teachers."
MDOT gives update on Highway 12 corridor project
Drivers along the Highway 12 corridor running through Starkville have seen slower drive times as the Mississippi Department of Transportation moves forward with a sweeping safety project aimed at revamping one of the busiest travel arteries in the area. Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert said Wednesday the public will begin to see the major portion of what this upgrade project is intended to do. MDOT says it expects phase one of the project to be complete in late summer 2017, while bids for phase two will be taken in November. Construction on the second phase is scheduled for early 2018. This week saw MDOT crews begin removing asphalt from the center turn lane in preparation for the new safety curb and median. Workers cut the asphalt first, which will allow for quicker and safer removal.
Johnny Moore's attorney previews possible challenge arguments as Starkville certifies election
Mayor-elect Lynn Spruill's primary runoff lead was reduced to six votes Thursday after Starkville election commissioners accepted one remaining affidavit ballot and certified the results for both the Ward 1 Republican and the citywide Democratic races. While challenger Johnny Moore has not yet officially challenged the results, his attorney, William Starks, unsuccessfully argued for a recount of the entire election and a re-examination of absentee and affidavit ballots before the city election committee, acting on guidance from the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office, certified the results and said any possible challenges and future requests would have to go before the Oktibbeha County Democratic Party. "We called the (MSOS) this morning to double-check all of this. They said with absolute certainty and without equivocation that no handling of ballots, no recounts, no checking, no verifying, no nothing occur until after the certification, if indeed a challenge is made, period," said Municipal Election Commissioner P.C. McLaurin.
Union man named Mississippi 4-H leader of year
A long-time volunteer with the Mississippi 4-H program is the American Youth Horse Council Adult Leader of the Year. Tom McBeath, of Union, received the honor at the recent American Youth Horse Council symposium in Wakefield, Mass. He has spent nearly four decades working with youth to establish strong foundations for successful experiences with horses. "Tom realizes the importance of 4-H and often judges state 4-H horse shows across the country," said Dean Jousan, a 4-H livestock specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "He regularly has a group of 4-H members who train under his direction and are very competitive from the local to the national levels."
TVA customers expected to see savings in June statements from fuel cost decrease
After a mild winter, temperatures are expected to be high this summer. Many will turn their thermostat down to combat the heat, which will require higher energy usage and cause high utility bills. However, electric consumers in the Tennessee Valley Authority's seven-state region will see monthly statements for June that are nearly 10 percent below the three-year same-month average. The total monthly fuel cost for residential and business consumers will be 2.022 cents per kilowatt-hour starting June 1, while large industrial customers served by TVA and local power companies will see a fuel cost of 1.865 cents per kilowatt-hour. The reason for this decrease in cost? A rainy month of April that provided a large supply of water in TVA's pumps and reservoirs.
Nine years after recession began, Mississippi economy still stalled
Call them the unrecovered -- a handful of states where job markets, nine years later, are still struggling back to where they were before the recession. That's true in Mississippi, where job numbers and the overall size of the economy remain below 2008 levels. Unlike states that have long since sprinted ahead, Mississippi is struggling with slow economic growth and slipping population in a place that's rarely at peak economic health. Mississippi suffers from a cluster of ills that make it an economic laggard. Only 53 percent of Mississippi adults were working in 2016, the second lowest share of any state. Mississippi's economy depends on slow-growth sectors, including government employment. While nearly 30 percent of Americans older than 25 have a bachelor's degree or higher, only 21 percent of Mississippians do. That doesn't mean things haven't improved for many people. Economists have long advised that a better-educated, more productive workforce could eventually spur growth.
Lawsuit questions governor's ability to make cuts
Two state legislators have filed a lawsuit in Hinds County Chancery Court contending the law that allows the governor to unilaterally make mid-year budget cuts is unconstitutional. Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson, and Rep. Bryant Clark, D-Pickens, are asking a chancellor to restore to the local school districts the about $20 million in cuts ordered by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant in February and March. The lawsuit, filed by Will Bardwell of the Southern Poverty Law Center for the two legislators, says that the cuts are part of the budget-making process and the state Supreme Court has stated that the Mississippi Constitution says "this is a power that can only be wielded by the Legislature." Through spokesman Clay Chandler, Bryant disputed the conclusion of the lawsuit.
Two lawmakers challenging in court governor's authority to cut K-12 school funding
Two state lawmakers are challenging Gov. Phil Bryant's authority to cut the state budget including nearly $20 million in funding from public schools this fiscal year. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Hinds County Chancery Court on behalf of Rep. Bryant Clark, D-Pickens, and Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson. The lawsuits challenge the cuts as unconstitutional. Bryant called the lawsuit "ridiculous." "The latest attempt by the Democrats and their allies to use the court system in a desperate grasp for relevance poses a genuine danger to Mississippi credit rating," Bryant said in a statement Thursday. "Rating agencies have said time and again that executive authority to balance a state budget is a primary determiner of credit worthiness. The Southern Poverty Law Center apparently holds Mississippi taxpayers in such low regard that it is willing to jeopardize the state's financial health for a meaningless academic exercise. We will vigorously defend responsible budgeting polices from this ridiculous lawsuit."
Lawmakers sue over Gov. Phil Bryant's school funding cuts
Two Democratic lawmakers are suing the state following Gov. Phil Bryant's mid-year budget cuts of public schools. The lawsuit, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of Rep. Bryant Clark and Sen. John Horhn, says the nearly $20 million in cuts to school districts Gov. Bryant ordered violates the state constitution. "The Mississippi Constitution forbids any branch of government from exercising another branch's core powers," said Will Bardwell, SPLC senior staff attorney. "Decisions about the state budget must be made by the Legislature alone. When Gov. Bryant interfered with the Legislature's (public school funding) appropriation, he not only shortchanged Mississippi schoolchildren -- he violated the Constitution." A request for comment from Gov. Bryant was not returned Thursday.
Lawmakers sue, challenging governor's budget cut power
Two Mississippi legislators are suing Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and others, saying a state law allowing governors to make midyear budget cuts is unconstitutional. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the suit Wednesday on behalf of Reps. Bryant Clark of Pickens and John Horhn of Jackson, both Democrats. They say the state law that allows the cuts violates the separation of powers that reserves budget-writing power to legislators. "Mississippi's midyear budget cuts statute delegates to the executive branch the power to reduce appropriations, which is purely a legislative function," the suit states. The two lawmakers are asking Hinds County Chancery Judge William Singletary to temporarily freeze cuts while the lawsuit is pending. Ultimately, they want the judge to throw out the law and order the state to rescind the cuts made to all agencies.
AG Jim Hood lambasts Legislature on mental health
Speaking to health professionals Thursday, Attorney General Jim Hood blasted legislators for failing to properly fund state mental health programs. "You know the fixes for this," he told a lunchtime session at the National Alliance Mental Health Mississippi's annual conference. "I encourage you to get out and speak up to encourage those in the Legislature to fund a lot of these programs." Hood mentioned repeatedly that the state's money would be better spent inside mental health agencies and programs than in tax cuts for big businesses or legal fees associated with mental health lawsuits against the state. He told the room full of mental health professionals "we've elected a bunch of cowards that want to take some oath and don't have the guts to stand up and tell us they've made a mistake."
Mississippi Forestry Commission eliminates 75 positions
The Mississippi Forestry Commission is laying off 75 workers, and while the agency said it spared firefighting crews in last year's cuts, this year's reorganization includes cutting approximately 50 employees who fight fires. Assistant State Forester Russell Bozeman said the cuts were necessary to offset a 16 percent, or $2.67 million, cut from the state Legislature. The state's appropriation to the commission is currently $16.2 million of its $23.6 million total budget. Last year, the commission laid off 25 workers, including all its arson investigators and equipment mechanics, and eliminated six vacant positions because of state budget cuts. With $1.2 million in cuts to personnel last year, the commission is up to nearly $4 million in staff cuts in two years.
Appointment of Robert Mueller could complicate other probes into alleged Russian meddling
Congressional probes related to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election are likely to be complicated or stalled by the appointment of former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel investigating the same topic, despite pledges by some lawmakers Thursday to forge ahead. Mueller has resources and a mandate lawmakers know they cannot match, and is the only one who can bring criminal charges -- except against the president himself. Not responding to his subpoenas also comes with the real threat of criminal prosecution. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his group would probably "have a hard time finding a lane now," and that when it comes to his panel's probe, Mueller's appointment "probably well shuts it down."
College-bound Mississippians bracing themselves for 'the question'
Harvard? Northwestern? Brown? Millsaps? Pomona? Those are just a few of the colleges that will soon have students from South Mississippi on their steps. The Sun Herald sat down with six of them to talk about where they come from, and where they're going. Marie Konopacki of Hancock High School and Caroline Ko of Pascagoula High will be going to Harvard University in the fall; James "Finn" Hewes of Gulfport High will head to Northwestern University in Chicago; Daniel Garcia of Gulfport High will go to Pomona College in Los Angeles; and Vincent Almerico of St. Stanislaus College is headed to Brown University in Rhode Island. Madonna Fontenot of Bay High School will remain in Mississippi and attend Millsaps College in Jackson. The six high-achieving Coast students have a wide array of options available to them. But all said they're aware the world often has negative stereotypes of Mississippi. Precisely because of that, they said, they consider themselves state ambassadors. Read more here:
Search for New Jackson State President Continues
Trustees are still looking for a new president for Jackson State University. After hours of closed debate Thursday, College Board President C.D. Smith said trustees haven't reached a consensus, and are now broadening their search beyond the three unnamed finalists they have been considering. Smith says it's wrong to say the search is being reopened because the board could always consider additional names. Higher Education Commissioner Glenn Boyce says trustees will meet again to discuss presidential candidates before their scheduled June meeting, but no date has been set.
IHL delays decision on Jackson State president
The Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning met in executive session for three hours Thursday, but did not report any progress in selecting a new president for Jackson State University. "We are not ready to move forward as yet. We are still deliberating," said Trustee C.D. Smith, head of the board search committee. "We aren't reopening. It's not closed. At this time we are just continuing. There are no conclusions or decisions. We are still looking and considering what we have," Smith said. The board search committee will meet again before the regularly scheduled June IHL board meeting, said Commissioner Glenn Boyce. "Jackson State has great potential. We need someone to maximize on that potential, fiscal affairs aside," Boyce said on Thursday.
JSU alumni president to IHL: Honor our choice
Mississippi's higher education commissioner says the search for the next president for Jackson State University is ongoing. The College Board "met today and is continuing its deliberations for the Jackson State University President search," said Commissioner Glenn Boyce in a news release. The board met behind closed doors on Thursday for several hours, but College Board President C.D. Smith said no votes were taken on the personnel matter in executive session. He further indicated the board was not limited to the three finalists already in consideration and could, in fact, expand their search. On Wednesday Yolanda Owens, president of the university's national alumni association, shared an open letter addressed to Boyce, asking that trustees "respect the recommendations made by the individuals chosen to represent the administration, faculty, staff, students, foundation community and alumni of Jackson State University."
'We just have to do better': Governor notes neglect as he, lawmakers tour LSU library
Gov. John Bel Edwards joined a group of state legislators on Thursday to tour LSU's Middleton Library, long seen as a symbol of just how bad conditions have gotten on college campuses after years of neglect in the state's construction spending. "It's not just about optics, but the optics are pretty bad," Edwards said after the tour. "This is what you get from years of neglect." What they get: A basement that floods so regularly a vacuum is kept on hand for when it rains, floors that are patched and pocked, ripped up and stained aging furniture in common areas, and bubbled and cracked wallpaper-covered rooms that are awash in yellow from the buzzing fluorescent lights. "We just have to do better," Edwards said. "This is our flagship ... It's unfortunate that we've gotten to this point of peril." LSU has a maintenance backlog of about $700 million.
College beer ban booted by Louisiana House committee
Fans of Bayou Bengal Lager and Ragin' Cajuns Genuine Louisiana Ale can pop open another cold one. Louisiana lawmakers won't be meddling with the university-affiliated beers. Shreveport Rep. Cedric Glover has shelved his bid to prohibit Louisiana's colleges and universities from authorizing an official alcoholic beverage affiliated with the school's brand. Glover presented the bill to the House Education Committee on Thursday, but then pulled it before a vote. The proposal faced significant opposition, and he said he was glad simply to have started the conversation. University leaders said they've embarked on the branding deals to help fill budget gaps as lawmakers have stripped hundreds of millions of dollars in state financing from their campuses. LSU's officially licensed beer is Tin Roof Brewing Company's Bayou Bengal Lager.
UGA conference spotlights college barriers faced by homeless or foster-care students
High school counselors, college admissions officers, social workers and other professionals gathered in the University of Georgia's Georgia Center for Continuing Education on Thursday, there to get a taste of what it's like to be a young homeless person or foster child hoping to get into college. Nearly 180 people from across Georgia, and a few from beyond, started off the Embark Georgia Leadership Conference with a "college-access simulation" designed to show them the barriers such students often must face alone, without the family support systems usually taken for granted. A special group of student volunteers who know those barriers well played the roles of admissions officers, social workers, financial aid counselors and others who aren't always helpful. The students were homeless students or students from foster care now enrolled at UGA and other schools.
U. of Kentucky suspends Kappa Alpha Psi for hazing, including paddling pledges
The University of Kentucky has suspended a fraternity for six years for paddling pledges and other forms of hazing, according to disciplinary records. Kappa Alpha Psi, a historically black fraternity at UK, was suspended on March 28, 2017, according to a March 28 letter from Dominick Williams, the acting director of the Office of Student Conduct, to Kappa Alpha Psi president Dwayne Sutton, who accepted responsibility for the behavior that occurred in the spring 2017 semester. Sutton, who is from Louisville, has graduated from UK and said he would not comment specifically on the suspension. Sutton said Kappa Alpha Psi had only eight members and no longer had a house on campus. "I'm sure the fraternity will come back on campus after the suspension is over," Sutton said in a phone interview.
Shop U. of South Carolina's huge yard sale this weekend in Columbia
Ever wonder what college students have in their dorm rooms? You'll get a chance to see it -- and shop it -- at the sixth annual University of South Carolina Give It Up For Good Yard Sale, set for Saturday. The sale, which benefits Habitat for Humanity, is the size of a soccer field, with goodies from clothes, housewares, cleaning supplies, furniture, appliances, and more. Shop the early bird sale from 7 a.m.-8 a.m. with a $5 admission; or enter free after 8 a.m. The University of South Carolina yard sale will be held at Catawba and Sumter streets.
U. of Missouri names new ag school dean
Christopher Daubert, selected Thursday as the new dean of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, co-authored a research paper a few years ago with an almost indecipherable title. It was called "Relationships between nonlinear viscoelastic behavior and rheological, sensory, and oral processing behavior of commercial cheeses," published in 2013 in the Journal of Texture Studies. Translated, it means he studied whether cheese tastes and feels the way it should in your mouth. "We are the scientists who make sure we are delivering consumer satisfaction every time you take a bite out of your snack," Daubert said in an interview from Raleigh, N.C., where he is head of the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University. Daubert will take over MU's 147-year-old agriculture college on Aug. 1.
U. of Missouri professor's link to Cherokee community powers her research | Local |
Her father has long hair, doesn't wear nice clothes and never told her what she couldn't do. Whenever he saw a situation he considered unjust -- in a grocery store, the post office or a restaurant -- he intervened. Melissa Lewis, associate professor at the University of Missouri's School of Medicine, said as a child she felt embarrassed having a parent who was "an activist in every setting." But then she grew up and realized he was right. "You're supposed to step up and take care of people," she said. Ronald G. Lewis, Melissa's father, was the first Native American to earn a doctorate in social work. He was recognized as a social work pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers in 1974 and a longtime advocate on Native American issues. As a medical researcher and scholar, Lewis is following a similar path as she advocates for a more holistic way of providing health care.
White House Would Slash Student Aid and NSF
The White House's 2018 budget for education -- expected to be released next week as part of the administration's full spending proposals -- appears to double down on the eye-popping cuts to programs included in the Trump administration's "skinny budget" released in March. According to details leaked to The Washington Post this week, the forthcoming budget calls for eliminating the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, letting the Perkins Loan program expire and ending the subsidy that pays the interest on some undergraduate loans while borrowers are in college. Third Way, a centrist think tank, on Thursday released a leaked version of the entire budget plan coming out next week. That document (which could be revised prior to release and/or face objections in Congress) says that President Trump will propose an 11 percent cut to the NSF. The largest part of the NSF (research) would see its budget cut by 11.1 percent while education programs supported by the NSF in both higher education and K-12 schools would be cut by 13.6 percent.
Colleges Grapple With How to Help Students Still Left in Limbo by Trump's Travel Ban
President Trump announced his executive order barring travelers, including students, from a half-dozen predominantly Muslim countries shortly after he took office in late January. But even in the dead of winter, officials at Ohio University were already thinking about summer. While students from the affected countries would be permitted, under the order, to complete their studies, if they went home to visit family and friends, they might not be able to return to the United States. So Ohio administrators began drawing up a plan to offer summer housing to students stranded by the travel ban. The university is not alone. The academic year may be winding down, but colleges still find themselves grappling with fallout from the ban.
International Graduates Winning Right to Work in U.S.
Many international students who enroll at colleges in the United States long to get jobs in the U.S. after they graduate. And while there is no right to do so on the basis of student visas, a program that allows such employment -- and whose future is unclear during the Trump administration -- is growing. The Pew Research Center on Thursday released data showing that the annual number of "optional practical training" approvals rose from 28,497 in 2008 to 136,617 in 2014. The OPT rights are a major incentive for students from some countries to enroll at American colleges. And some American experts on enrollment trends believe that uncertainty about OPT's future could be discouraging some international students from enrolling. STEM graduates are nearly half (49 percent) of those approved for OPT in the last three years.
Parental Involvement Forces Colleges to Adapt
While some parents might focus on career goals for their children and others care more about their daughters' social lives, there is no question that parents' involvement in the lives of their college-aged kids as a whole has intensified -- at least among middle-class and wealthy families whose children attend selective colleges. Responding to the growing parental oversight, many colleges are establishing more formal methods of working with parents. Connecticut's Fairfield University and Texas A&M University, for example, now have tabs on the front pages of their websites targeted at parents. In an email response to questions about Texas A&M's parent-focused efforts, Libby Daggers, an associate coordinator in new student and family programs, wrote: "Our philosophy is that the university, students, and their families are all a part of a collaborative relationship which leads to student success..."
Yale dean on leave for Yelp comments calling people 'white trash,' 'low-class'
A Yale University dean was placed on leave this week after making insensitive and sometimes racially charged comments in her Yelp reviews of local businesses. Jane Chu, dean of Pierson College at Yale University, apologized last Saturday for her Yelp comments which included calling people "white trash," "sketchy" and "low-class folks," the Yale Daily News reported. Chu was placed on leave this week and will not take part in Commencement activities, according to an email sent to students by Head of College Stephen Davis, Yale Daily News reported. The Yale Daily News reported that Chu's Yelp comments have been well-known among students for months. The student newspaper posted screenshots of many of the comments from Chu's now deleted account. In many of the posts, Chu states that she is "Asian."
Children Must Be Taught to Collaborate, Studies Say
At its best, collaboration in the classroom can help students think more deeply and creatively about a subject and develop more empathy for others' perspectives. At its worst, group tasks can deteriorate into awkward silences, arguments -- or frustration for the one child who ends up doing everyone else's work. Now, as the teaching technique gains new prominence in state standards, researchers and educators are working to understand how to help students gain the skills needed to learn and work in groups. The ability to collaborate with others has become one of the most sought -- after skills in both education and the workplace. A survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that more than 80 percent of midsize or larger employers look for collaboration skills in new hires -- but fewer than 40 percent of them considered new graduates prepared to work in teams.

Mississippi State baseball grads get diplomas before first pitch
It's not often that a school gets to have a graduation exercise at home plate of a baseball stadium. That's what took place at Mississippi State's Dudy Noble Field on Thursday. With the Bulldogs winning a series at Texas A&M two weeks ago, several players did not get to participate in commencement that weekend at Humphrey Coliseum. Mississippi State took advantage of the opportunity prior to the start of the LSU series to recognize the four Bulldogs who earned their degrees. Following remarks by MSU president Mark Keenum, he handed diplomas to Jacob Billingsley, Cody Brown, Josh Lovelady and Brent Rooker.
First-inning home run not enough as Mississippi State falls to LSU
Opportunities to score on LSU starting pitcher Alex Lange have been rare for the entire Southeastern Conference this season. Mississippi State had plenty on Thursday night, but none of them came to fruition. MSU went 0-13 with runners on base and 0-7 with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 runners on base as LSU (37-17, 19-9 SEC) took the first game of the series 3-1. The loss drops MSU to 34-20, 17-11 in conference play but still in reach of an SEC West title. "We did a great job of getting into scoring position against Alex. We had a couple of opportunities late in the game and we just weren't able to pick up the big hit tonight," MSU coach Andy Cannizaro said, adding he felt the team played well in every other regard.
LSU vs. Mississippi State: Tigers draw first blood
Ryan Gridley began Thursday's game with a bang, slapping a leadoff home run into the Left Field Lounge. But that would be the only run No. 8 Mississippi State would muster in a 3-1 loss to tenth-ranked LSU. The win pushed the Tigers ahead of the Bulldogs by two games in the SEC West race. "I thought there were two outstanding baseball teams that stood out on the field and played really hard," said MSU coach Andy Cannizaro. "I thought LSU played tremendous tonight and played their A-game. They had their ace on the mound in Alex Lange and he was outstanding." After the solo shot in the first, Lange bounced back with six shutout innings and 11 strikeouts. The projected first-round draft pick scattered six hits and walked five and improved to 7-5 on the mound.
Mississippi State's SEC title chances dashed after loss to LSU
Josh Lovelady stood at the plate and momentarily paused with his bat in his hands before walking to Mississippi State's dugout. At that point, there wasn't much else he could do. This was in the seventh inning, after he struck out looking with the bases loaded to end the frame. On Thursday night, scenes of Mississippi State squandering offensive opportunities, particularly via the strikeout, were familiar. Mississippi State's hopes to repeat as SEC champions were dashed after the Bulldogs struggled offensively and lost to LSU 3-1 at Dudy Noble Field in the opener of the final series of the regular season. The No. 13 Bulldogs (34-20, 17-11 SEC) can still claim a share of the SEC West title, but they will have to win the next two games against No. 6 LSU (37-17, 19-9) to do so.
Alex Lange leads LSU past Mississippi State
Junior right-hander Alex Lange limited ninth-ranked Mississippi State to one run in seven innings Thursday night to lead No. 5 LSU to a 3-1 victory at Dudy Noble Field. LSU improved to 37-17 overall and 19-9 in the SEC, while Mississippi State dropped to 34-20 overall and 17-11 in conference play. The Tigers moved into a first place tie with Kentucky and Florida in the overall SEC standings after the Wildcats posted a 12-4 win over the Gators Thursday night in Gainesville. Game 2 of the LSU-Mississippi State series will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday. MSU starter and former East Central ace Konnor Pilkington (6-5) was charged with the loss, as he surrendered two runs on six hits in six innings with four walks and one strikeout.
Notebook: Bulldogs still fighting for Western Division title
All is not lost. That is the message from all corners of the Mississippi State baseball program after Thursday night's 3-1 loss to LSU (37-17, 19-9 Southeastern Conference). "The goal for the weekend, all you needed to do was come out here and win two ball games on the weekend," MSU coach Andy Cannizaro said. "We take it day by day, so losing the first battle doesn't cost us anything for the SEC West title." The win did cost MSU (34-20, 17-11 SEC) any chance at the top seed in the SEC Tournament, as it needed a sweep and help from Kentucky to get into a three-way tie for first. After the loss, MSU needs to win both the Friday and Saturday games to force a tie with LSU at a conference record of 19-11. The two would then finish as co-SEC West champions provided Arkansas does not sweep Texas A&M; the Razorbacks won the first game 6-4.
Though foes this weekend, SEC's two most powerful sluggers friends away from field
There are no secrets between the Southeastern Conference's two most powerful sluggers. Mississippi State outfielder Brent Rooker, who has hit an SEC-best 20 home runs entering this weekend's series, and LSU outfielder Greg Deichmann, who is right behind him with 17, frequently reach each other on the phone to talk shop. "We talk almost every week," Deichmann said. The two met last summer at the collegiate home run derby -- Rooker slightly edged Deichmann then, 16 to 14 according to Deichmann's recollection -- and have been developing a friendship since then. More often than not, the talk centers around the art of hitting. And judging by the production between the two, it's probably not a bad idea.
BYU blanks Mississippi State softball
McKenna Bull gave up just one hit as No. 21 BYU shut out Mississippi State 8-0 in six innings on Thursday in the opening game of the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional on Thursday. The Cougars (45-11) out-hit the Bulldogs 13-1. Mississippi State (36-21) committed three errors. BYU sophomore Lexi Tarrow went 3 for 4 with a single, double and triple. Every player in the Cougars' lineup notched at least one hit in the win. MSU plays the Utah-Fordham loser today in a knockout game at 5 p.m. CT.
'This Doesn't Sound Legal': Inside Nike's Oregon Project
Dathan Ritzenhein, an Olympic distance runner for the United States, was starting to feel sick from his thyroid medication -- a drug that was not medically necessary but one that his coach, a powerful and combative figure in the sport, had strongly recommended to improve his performance. The coach was Alberto Salazar, a running legend himself who after his competitive career had teamed up with Nike, the world's largest athletic apparel manufacturer, to train elite runners. The tension between Ritzenhein and Salazar over medical issues and methods of performance enhancement was not uncommon in the Oregon Project, the vaunted team financed by Nike and led by Salazar that includes some of the world's most celebrated runners. Ritzenhein's experience, along with incidents involving several other athletes, were laid out in vivid detail in a confidential report written by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that was obtained by The New York Times.

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