Wednesday, May 24, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Hotel discussions fizzle at special aldermen meeting
The special call meeting of the Board of Aldermen Tuesday failed to move forward due to a lack of quorum, with only a handful of aldermen present. The meeting -- which comes just two weeks ahead of the June 6 General Election -- was called to discuss whether or not they will support Cotton Mill Hotel Group, LLC, in moving forward on a new hotel development that would house restaurant and retail space. The hotel development project will be addressed at next month's Board of Aldermen meeting. Developer Mark Nicholas told the SDN on Tuesday the location of the proposed hotel project will be off of Highway 12, to the right of the Cotton Mill Market Place by The Mill Conference Center. Wynn, who called for the meeting, told the SDN she didn't call the meeting because of the June 6 General Elections.
AG Jim Hood calls on better funding priorities in state
Attorney General Jim Hood forgot to take his blood pressure medicine Monday before taking to the podium to speak at Starkville Country Club. To that end, the fourth-term Democrat joked he might need to avoid saying too much about the Republican-led Mississippi Legislature. Nonetheless, he proceeded to deliver to Starkville Rotarians a less-than-flattering review of the Legislature's 2017 session -- specifically its budgeting priorities. Hood pointedly rebuked the Legislature's failure so far to approve a budget for the Mississippi Department of Transportation, an issue that will likely require a special session. He called raising the sales tax on gasoline an "easy" solution to bringing in MDOT revenue, which could then be spread throughout the state for highway projects. He also called on the Legislature to better prioritize funding for K-12 public education, viewing it as a short- and long-term investment for business growth.
Forestry Commission bracing for budget cuts
Budget cuts are forcing the Mississippi Forestry Commission to reorganize and cut 75 jobs in the process. The MFC is losing $2.6 million in state funding for Fiscal Year 2018, which starts in July, compared to the current fiscal year, according to a department press release -- a 16 percent decrease. Because of the funding cut, the commission will reorganize its seven districts across the state into four regions. That process will begin on July 1 and the commission expects to have to eliminate almost 22 percent of its workforce. MFC Assistant State Forester Russel Bozeman said of the job cuts, one-third will come at the administrative level. The other two thirds, or 50 jobs, will come from service foresters, forest rangers and forest technicians. He said MFC currently has about 345 employees. Bozeman said one forester serves Clay, Oktibbeha and Lowndes counties -- though there is sometimes overlap from neighboring foresters' service areas. With the reorganization, that forester's area will expand to include Choctaw County.
MHP implementing safety initiative for holiday enforcement period
A safety awareness initiative will kick off the Mississippi Highway Patrol's Memorial Day Travel Enforcement Period this weekend. The initiative, called "Drive to Survive," and the enforcement period begin Friday at 6 p.m. and conclude at midnight Monday, which is Memorial Day. Motorists are encouraged to have a "Drive to Survive" mindset and to make a high priority of safe driving and responsible decision-making. During the 2016 enforcement period, MHP investigated 132 crashes with two fatalities and made 164 DUI arrests on state and federal highways.
Gov. Phil Bryant outlines agenda for special legislative session
Gov. Phil Bryant on Tuesday laid to rest weeks of speculation about what will -- or won't -- be included in the special legislative session he has ordered for June 5. A state lottery, he said, won't be. Neither will any other stream of infrastructure money, unless House and Senate leaders announce some solid agreement in the next few days -- unlikely. Measures to calm down credit bureaus, Bryant said, might be on tap. "I'm not going to move forward with something the (House) speaker is not necessarily for, and that could face some conflict in the Senate," Bryant said of the lottery in an interview with The Clarion-Ledger on Tuesday. Besides unfinished budget work the Legislature must complete before the new fiscal year starts July 1, Bryant said he will ask lawmakers to pass measures about the budget process to allay concerns of credit rating agencies over Mississippi's government finances.
SPLC reaches back to Reconstruction Era for new lawsuit about black students
The effects of decades-old efforts to preserve segregation in Mississippi public schools are still lingering in today's education system, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday. When Congress passed Mississippi's Readmission Act in 1869, the conditions under which the state could return to the United States after secession included "that the constitution of Mississippi shall never be so amended or changed as to deprive any citizen or class of citizens of the United States of the school rights and privileges secured by the constitution of said State." However, a new Mississippi constitution in 1890 and subsequent amendments to the constitution until 1987 violated that condition, the lawsuit states. Mississippi College law professor Matt Steffey said the SPLC's approach is creative. "It's a very interesting argument," he said. "...But I don't think it would be a victory to say you get exactly as much education as you did in 1870."
State sued for failing to meet needs of black students
Mississippi is violating terms of its re-admittance to the Union after the Civil War by not providing an equitable education for black students, according to arguments made in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court for the Southern District of the state. The lawsuit, filed by Will Bardwell of Jackson, a senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, relies on an 1870 law re-admitting Mississippi into the United States. That law mandated that the state Constitution passed earlier in 1868 could not be amended "to deprive any citizens or class of citizen...the school rights and privileges secured" by the just ratified Mississippi Constitution. Bardwell contends the Constitution's commitment to public education would be "one of the nation's strongest guarantees of public education" had it remained in effect.
Civil War-era law used to sue Mississippi over school system
Four mothers are challenging Mississippi's public education system, saying the state is violating a legal promise it made a century and a half ago to keep a "uniform system of free public schools." The lawsuit, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center against the state's top officials, is using a unique legal theory to challenge inequities in the system, saying Mississippi is failing to keep its promise, made as a condition to rejoin the Union after the Civil War. But since then, Mississippi has broken that promise many times, starting with the adoption of the 1890 constitution, said Jody Owens, managing attorney in the center's Jackson office. "The state's education system is shamefully inequitable and anything but uniform." Tuesday's lawsuit is the latest in a series of challenges to public school funding.
'Lynching' comments upsetting to Lincoln County lawmakers
Lincoln County lawmakers say they are disappointed in the language shared by a colleague in a Facebook rant, while members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus are demanding his resignation. Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona, apologized on Monday for referring to lynching in a Facebook post Saturday in response to the removal of Confederate symbols in New Orleans. Rep. Becky Currie and Rep. Vince Mangold along with Sen. Sally Doty voiced their concerns Tuesday over Oliver's actions. "I am very sad that Karl used that language," Currie said. "It is inappropriate and very upsetting." She said it is not indicative of Oliver's character. "I have worked with Karl for two years now and he has not shown any hatred for anyone in front of me. I hate this for everyone." Oliver is a funeral director and first-term lawmaker who represents a district that includes the tiny town of Money, where black teenager Emmett Till was kidnapped before being lynched in 1955, allegedly for whistling at a white woman in a grocery store.
'Fly the flag'? Rift in Mississippi over Confederate symbol
As a warm breeze wafts in from the Gulf of Mexico, Carol Mize paces across the street from Biloxi's white marble City Hall. In one hand, she carries a Mississippi flag and in the other, a sign with the slogan: "Fly the flag, Mayor." Both the flag and the sign prominently display the Confederate battle emblem, which has caused a rift for generations between those who say it represents Southern heritage and those who call it racist. Discussion of the emblem has stirred Mize's passion as Biloxi finds itself the latest front line in a broad regional dispute over Confederate symbols after the mayor recently ordered the state flag to be pulled from city buildings. Hospitality is important in Biloxi, a diverse city that is home to an Air Force base and has an economy heavily dependent on tourists who gamble in casinos and sunbathe on white-sand beaches.
Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden: Country is in a fiscal crisis
Following the announcement of President Donald Trump's budget Tuesday, Greg Snowden, Speaker Pro Tem in the Mississippi Legislature, said he hadn't yet had time to review the proposed cuts but supported balancing the federal budget. "I'm really not familiar with the specifics but we are in a fiscal crisis in the country," Snowden said. "We are $20 trillion in debt and that number could go up to $26 trillion in a few years. That is unsustainable." Mississippi receives the highest federal return for money spent in the capital. For every dollar sent to the federal treasury Mississippi, and New Mexico, receive about $3 in federal spending. Much of this money comes in Medicaid and Medicare payments. With steep cuts expected in both of those programs, Mississippi's budget could take a hit. "Congress needs to get in (fiscal) control," Snowden said. "The federal government is literally running out of money... the amount of debt is staggering."
Mississippi Congressmen React to Budget Plan
President Donald Trump is proposing a budget plan that will cut funding for safety-net programs like food stamps and Medicaid. Second District Congressman Bennie Thompson, the state's lone Democrat in Congress, says many Mississippians depend on healthcare assistance. "About 26 percent of our citizens are on Medicaid if we cut in Washington those dollars, our hospitals, our doctors and ultimately our citizens will be impacted," Thompson said. Mississippi's Fourth District Congressman Republican Steven Palazzo says assistance to poor people can come in other ways. "I also read a quote today that compassion doesn't necessarily need to be judged by the number of programs the federal government offers or the number of people that's being served, but are they doing what they were intended to do and that's to move people up and out of poverty and into the workforce and being productive citizens," he said.
Trump's budget takes aim at SNAP, crop insurance
President Donald Trump is all but declaring war on the farm bill. Trump's first budget proposal, set to be released Tuesday, asks Congress to slash food stamp spending in fiscal year 2018 by more than a quarter and severely restrict how much the federal government subsidizes crop insurance premiums for large farms -- painful propositions as tens of millions of Americans struggle to make ends meet and the farm economy tanks under the weight of low commodity prices. Clashes with the agriculture committees in both chambers of Congress are a certainty, since Trump's blueprint sends a strong signal that the White House backs conservative-championed reforms that could threaten the delicate urban-rural coalition that's kept the sweeping farm and nutrition legislation alive for decades.
Trump's budget calls for new base closing round in 2021
Defense Department leaders will seek a new military base closing round in fiscal 2021 under the budget proposal for next year released by the White House on Tuesday. The recommendation is sure to spark a contentious debate on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have been reluctant to even discuss the idea of shuttering military facilities across the country. But military leaders have pushed for another base realignment and closure (BRAC) process since 2013, arguing that their current domestic footprint is too large given reductions in force size and equipment modernization in recent years. The proposal does not immediately impact the $603 billion in defense funding requested by President Trump for fiscal 2018, which begins Oct. 1. But administration officials argue the move is needed to create long-term savings for the military and help balance the federal budget.
Trump advisers call for privatizing some public assets to build new infrastructure
The Trump administration, determined to overhaul and modernize the nation's infrastructure, is drafting plans to privatize some public assets such as airports, bridges, highway rest stops and other facilities, according to top officials and advisers. In his proposed budget released Tuesday, President Trump called for spending $200 billion over 10 years to "incentivize" private, state and local spending on infrastructure. Trump advisers said that to entice state and local governments to sell some of their assets, the administration is considering paying them a bonus. The proceeds of the sales would then go to other infrastructure projects. Officials are crafting Trump’s initiative, and he has yet to decide which ideas will make the final cut. But two driving themes are clear: Government practices are stalling the nation’s progress; and private companies should fund, build and run more of the basic infrastructure of American life.
Proposed Rules Would Allow U.S. to Track and Destroy Drones
The Trump administration is asking Congress to give the federal government sweeping powers to track, hack and destroy any type of drone over domestic soil with a new exception to laws governing surveillance, computer privacy and aircraft protection, according to a document obtained by The New York Times. The document is a 10-page draft and summary of legislation the executive branch circulated among several congressional committees on Tuesday, according to a congressional aide. The administration also scheduled a classified briefing on Wednesday for congressional staff members to discuss the topic, the aide said. The government has expressed growing concern about the proliferation of small drones -- including several that have flown over sporting events and one that crash-landed over the White House fence in 2015 -- and the potential for terrorists to use them to carry bombs or other weapons into secure areas.
Pope Francis and Donald Trump Meet at the Vatican
Pope Francis welcomed President Trump to the Vatican on Wednesday, shaking his hand before ushering him into his study for the first face-to-face meeting of the two leaders, who symbolize starkly different views of the world. Around 8:20 a.m., under a crystalline blue sky, the president's motorcade rolled into the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, where ostrich-feather-plumed Swiss Guards saluted as Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, stepped out of an armored limousine. A few minutes before Mr. Trump's visit, the pope arrived at the palace in a blue Ford Focus. He stepped out of the car and walked into a side entrance. For Mr. Trump, who landed in Rome after stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel, the audience in the Vatican caps a tour of the ancestral homes of three of the world's great monotheistic religions.
Head of USM British Studies 'redoubling efforts' to ensure safety after Manchester attack
A suicide bombing in the British city of Manchester Monday night was the UK's deadliest terror attack in more than a decade. It killed 22 people and injured dozens more, who were attending an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. ISIS has claimed responsibility, but it's offered no evidence to prove it was involved. Meanwhile, the director of the University of Southern Mississippi's British Studies Program is preparing to take dozens of students to England for a month of study. Dr. David R. Davies said Tuesday he's "redoubling efforts" to ensure the safety of those making the trip. About 120 students, mostly from USM, will arrive in the UK on June 2.
JSU alumni challenge presidential selection process
The Jackson State University National Alumni Association is challenging the process for selecting leaders of the state's universities. The alumni association and other JSU advocates are developing a strategy to "revise the Institutions of Higher Learning Board policy, as it relates to the search process, before the next institutional executive officer search in the state of Mississippi," Yolanda R. Owens, president of the JSU National Alumni Association, said in an open letter to alumni and the IHL board members. Dr. William B. Bynum, president of Mississippi Valley State University, was designated Monday the preferred candidate for president of Jackson State University by the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees search committee. "The process itself is not something that I think at this point in time is the major hot topic of conversation. It's having the right candidate who has the experience and knows what the challenges are," IHL Commissioner Glenn Boyce responded.
Ballroom expansion underway at Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center
While work is underway to revamp the entrance of the Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center, additional work began last week to expand the capacity of the hotel's conference space. The hotel is expanding its main ballroom, which previously held about 400 seated guests. After the work is completed, the room should hold about 550, and a connection will be made between the two ballrooms. Initially the plan was to update the conference center to make sure it was up to today's industry standards, said Todd Scholl, sales and marketing director. But after examining the footprint of the building, designers decided to transform a storage area into additional space and create the connection. Seniors in Auburn University's interior design program helped design the new conference center space like in past hotel projects, such as the lobby redesign and design of the restaurant.
Apple launching new app education program at Alabama colleges
Apple on Wednesday is launching a new app development educational curriculum to aid students interested in pursuing careers in the app economy. And the curriculum has a specific connection to Alabama. Apple is working with six community college systems across the country -- including Alabama -- to roll out the app curriculum. The program will be available to students at Drake State in Huntsville, Wallace State in Selma and Bishop State in Mobile. Apple officials said they hope the program grows beyond those three campuses. "Apple has been 40 years working in the education space," said Lisa Jackson, Apple vice president for environment, policy and social initiatives. "For us, we knew we wanted to take the curriculum all the way up to the high school/community college level." It's an extension of Apple's K-12 Everyone Can Code program that provides fundamentals in learning, writing and teaching coding.
U. of Tennessee committee to discuss potential $377M budget gap
A University of Tennessee Board of Trustees subcommittee will get an update Thursday on efforts to reduce a $377 million budget gap officials have estimated will be in place by 2025. The Subcommittee on Efficiency and Cost Savings will meet with UT President Joe DiPietro's Budget Advisory Group at 9 a.m. Thursday at Andy Holt Tower. On the agenda is an update from the group and a discussion of its revised initiatives and goals for 2017 through 2019. The Budget Advisory Group was formed in 2014 as a way of looking at long-term cost savings as university officials predicted a budget gap that would grow to $377 million by 2025. The $377 million budget gap is calculated under the assumption that tuition will increase by no more than 3 percent each year, that inflation will contribute to no more than a 3 percent increase in costs and that state funding will remain stagnant, something UT officials refer to as the 3-3-0 model.
New York higher ed official to be next U. of Missouri chancellor
The University of Missouri Board of Curators on Tuesday approved a contract for Alexander Cartwright, provost and executive vice president of the State University of New York, to be chancellor of the Columbia campus, but won't officially disclose the decision until Wednesday. UM System President Mun Choi is scheduled to present the chancellor-designee at 1 p.m. at the Reynolds Alumni Center. After the curators approved the contract in closed session, system spokesman John Fougere said he was not authorized to reveal the selection. Candidates for the job were screened by a 22-member search committee led by UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton and MU College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa. The committee operated in secret.
U. of Missouri System Board of Curators vote to increase tuition 2.1 percent, raise supplemental fees
Students returning to University of Missouri campuses in the fall will have to pay more money. The UM System Board of Curators voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a 2.1 percent hike in tuition and required fees. Supplemental fees will also increase. For Missouri undergraduate students taking 15 credit hours each semester, that's about an extra $200 a year, increasing the total cost to $9,645. Out-of-state undergraduates will have to pay an additional $500 per year. In fiscal year 2018, the increases are expected to generate about $7.3 million for MU, according to documents presented at a budget forum last week, and $14.4 million across the system, according to an April email from UM spokesman John Fougere. That doesn't include supplemental fee increases, which are not bound by the same regulation that prevents public college and universities for increasing tuition and required fees by more than the Consumer Price Index, which was 2.1 percent this year.
What Trump's Proposed 2018 Budget Would Mean for Higher Ed
The Trump administration on Tuesday released its budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year. All told, the budget would cut federal education programs by more than $10 billion. The administration's budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins on October 1, is not the final version, and congressional leaders have already started railing against many of the president's more drastic cuts, noting that Congress has the final say on appropriations bills. "Congress will write the budget and set the spending priorities. Where we find good ideas in the president's budget, we will use them," said Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, chair of the Senate education committee, in a written statement. "We should not pretend to balance the budget by cutting national laboratories, national parks, and the National Institutes of Health," he continued. As with its preliminary outline in March, the administration's full budget proposal represents a broad assault on federally sponsored scientific exploration, and it drew renewed criticism from college and university leaders and a bipartisan array of lawmakers.
White House budget includes tens of billions in cuts to student aid and research
The Trump administration released a 2018 budget proposal Tuesday that delivered on expectations for drastic cuts to student aid programs and university-based research while substantially reshaping federal student loan programs. Higher education groups as well as many policy analysts said those cuts would make college less affordable and impede the production of new scientists and innovations in health and technology. Cutting deeply into most federal nondefense discretionary spending, the documents call for a 13.6 percent reduction in the Department of Education's current funding levels and 22 percent for the National Institutes of Health, the largest federal supporter of biomedical research. White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said in a briefing with reporters that the budget numbers represented President Trump's policies put to paper.
With high-profile hazing cases comes more willingness to punish -- by both prosecutors, universities
The death of Pennsylvania State University student Timothy Piazza contained all the elements to fuel national outrage. He was a young, affable Beta Theta Pi pledge, a former high school football player who taught the game to students with special needs. At a fraternity party in February, after rounds of heavy drinking, Piazza tumbled 15 feet down a flight of stairs. An aggressive and wide response came in the months following, with the university president forever banning the fraternity from campus, postponing rush and introducing hard restrictions on Greek events. The Centre County district attorney jumped on the case, levying charges against 18 people. Experts say that public patience for hazing has run thin, and as perception changes, so too will state laws that enable prosecutors to more aggressively pursue charges -- an easy win for them.
Why Colleges Already Face Race-Related Challenges In Serving Future Students
Today, more Americans graduate high school and go on to college than ever before. But as the country becomes more diverse -- the Census Bureau expects that by 2020 more than half of the nation's children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group -- are colleges and universities ready to serve them? "If you look at the past 50, almost 60 years, you see we have made a lot of progress as a country in terms of high school seniors deciding to go to college in the 1.5 years after graduating," says Andrew Nichols, director of higher education research and data analytics at the Education Trust, a nonprofit. "And that isn't just white students. It's also for black and Latinos. You're seeing that increase for everybody." But where are they attending? And do they graduate?
Musgrove lawsuit could determine Legislature's power moving forward
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "In his heart of hearts, former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove knows he has little, if any chance, in prevailing before the state Supreme Court in his lawsuit claiming the Constitution and existing law require the Legislature to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. If Musgrove was injected with sodium pentothal, or truth serum for non-James Bond fans, he probably would admit as much. First off, in recent years the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, has been reluctant to rule against the Legislature or more precisely against the legislative leadership."

Mississippi State baseball team's SEC tournament opener pushed back to today
The Mississippi State baseball team's Southeastern Conference schedule has kept starting pitcher Konnor Pilkington from having a normal routine. This time, a schedule tweak might help him. Pilkington, MSU's ace, was scheduled to start No. 5 seed MSU's SEC tournament opener against No. 12 seed Georgia on Tuesday night. But rain delays and the length of the first three games Tuesday forced MSU's game to be usher back to 9:30 a.m. today. The winner of today's game will play No. 4 seed Arkansas at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. "Us getting rained out tonight benefits our team a lot in terms of having Konnor on an extra day's rest," MSU coach Andy Cannizaro said. "He was already pitching on short rest, but now it's kind of back to midseason one short day type of outing. I think with his size and strength, he usually carries his velocity pretty well."
William McKinley to head state's Deer Program
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has tapped William McKinley as the new Deer Program coordinator. "There are a lot of challenges for Mississippi's deer herd," McKinley said. "Lots of new challenges. McKinley has been with the department since 2001 and entered the Deer Program in 2003. He served as the Deer Program leader and most recently was the Deer Enclosure Program coordinator. He earned a bachelor's degree in forestry and master's degree in wildlife science from Mississippi State University.
Women's teams making splash in 2017
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "We are nearing the halfway point of 2017. Interesting to note, in Mississippi sports these first five months, women have provided the most meaningful and poignant success stories, the most lasting memories. First, we had the Mississippi State basketball women, shooting, rebounding and guarding their way to the national championship game at Dallas. En route, the Lady Bulldogs beat the nation's best player, the nation's most talented team and the most dominant program in the history of women's basketball. They captured the hearts of Mississippians, no matter school loyalty. And now the Ole Miss softball women have come out of virtually nowhere to win the SEC Tournament championship and an NCAA regional, winning seven straight games against some of the best competition in the land."
Ole Miss shortstop Grae Kessinger breaks foot playing ping pong
Ole Miss will be without shortstop Grae Kessinger for the remainder of the season, for unusual reasons. Kessinger suffered a broken foot on Monday while playing ping pong in the players lounge at the SEC tournament in Hoover, according to Davis Potter of the Oxford Eagle. Kessinger, the grandson of former Ole Miss coach and MLB shortstop Don Kessinger and the son of ex-Rebels shortstop Keith Kessinger, has started 53 of 57 games for the Rebels this season. The freshman is batting just .175 with 16 RBIs, but is considered an excellent defender.
Auburn defeats Ole Miss, advances in SEC Baseball Tournament
Blake Logan made clear Auburn's intentions after team's regular-season finale on Saturday. Nobody was satisfied with simply making the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2015. The Tigers wanted to "compete and win every day." In Tuesday's opener, Logan took matters into his own hands. With the game deadlocked at three in the bottom of the sixth inning, the senior catcher lined a Will Stokes offering over the wall in left field at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium for a solo home run. It was the go-ahead tally in No. 8-seed Auburn's 5-4 victory over No. 9-seed Ole Miss in the fourth straight meeting between the teams. The win guarantees Auburn (35-22) at least two more games in their first SEC Tournament appearance since 2015. The first will come against top-seed Florida -- who the Tigers swept in March -- in the nightcap on Wednesday.
NCAA Tournament hopes uncertain after Ole Miss falls to Auburn
After finishing 14-16 in the SEC, it behooved Ole Miss to make a deep run in the conference tournament to boost its resume for the NCAA Tournament. At the very least, a win on Tuesday night would have improved the Rebels' bubble situation. Instead, Ole Miss lost to Auburn, 5-4, in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Now, the Rebels' chances of playing beyond this latest loss are in doubt. Ole Miss hasn't missed the tournament since 2011, but the loss dropped the Rebels' RPI from 32 to 37, according to, making for a dicey outlook. "It certainly wasn't the year we expected or wanted, but certainly I think it's worthy of playing in the postseason," Mike Bianco said.
U. of Alabama baseball coach tries to revoke scholarships
University of Alabama baseball coach Greg Goff informed up to 10 players their scholarships would not be renewed, a violation of NCAA rules, The Tuscaloosa News has learned. According to NCAA bylaw, institutions cannot revoke or reduce a scholarship because of an athlete's ability, performance, physical or mental condition. According to NCAA bylaw, an institution may not set forth an athletically related condition that would permit the institution to reduce or cancel a scholarship if the conditions are not satisfied. UA Director of Athletics Greg Byrne issued a brief statement when contacted about the situation: "As with any situation, the University of Alabama will follow NCAA guidelines. We are not revoking scholarships," the statement said. UA athletic department officials became aware of the situation after upset players and parents complained.
Who's a candidate to be Tennessee's next baseball coach?
Tennessee, led by athletic director John Currie, is on the hunt for a new baseball coach to replace Dave Serrano. Currie indicated that for the sake of the current players, he wants to get the search done as soon as reasonably possible. He said head-coaching experience is not mandatory, but added some "scar tissue" is probably a good thing. Currie also spoke strongly about finding a proper "fit," who understands Tennessee's niche in the SEC. Fans were quick to mention names of former Tennessee players. Both Rick Honeycutt and Alan Cockrell are affiliated with major league teams and would have to take a pay cut to come to a college job. No one has suggested Todd Helton is interested in diving into head coaching so soon after retirement from his playing career.
UGA teams show slippage this year
The celebration was typical in the world of sports. Giddy players doused their coach by dumping water on her head after an important milestone. This one occurred on the second week of May near a clock on the University of Georgia golf course. Kelley Hester had not been back in Athens, she said, since her contract was not renewed as the women's golf coach at her alma mater in 2012. In her return, she guided her Clemson team to a fifth place finish at the NCAA regionals and a spot in the NCAA championships. "It's pretty emotional," Hester said, standing on the golf course where she was head coach from 2008-12. "I have worked my rear end off since I left and had some success at Furman, very proud of what we did there. ...Athletics can be cruel at times, but I really only have fond memories and wish them the best." There haven't been as many similar scenes for Georgia teams this season. The school is on track to be headed to its lowest finish in the NACDA Directors' Cup all-sports measurement since Georgia was No. 18 in 2012. "You have to look at maybe the reasons that is happening," athletic director Greg McGarity said.
McGarity: things 'fine' with PGA Tour pro who was critical of UGA athletic administration
Greg McGarity knows he has his share of critics in his role as Georgia's athletic director. Whether it's for firing football coach Mark Richt in 2015, sticking with men's basketball coach Mark Fox or not dipping into Georgia's athletic reserves to spend as much as fans would like. One Bulldog supporter took to Twitter on May 2 to vent: "When is the last time we have heard something positive from the UGA athletic administration?" The question got some attention, getting 340 likes and 126 retweets. It came from Kevin Kisner, who just happens to be No. 18 on the PGA Tour's money list this season with $2.195 million in earnings, one of four former Georgia golfers in the top 25. Yes, McGarity heard about it, too.
Tannehill teams up with PETA in attempt to sack Texas A&M's treatment of dogs in experiments
Miami Dolphins' quarterback Ryan Tannehill, a dog lover, sent a letter on behalf of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to his alma mater, Texas A&M, pleading for the end to cruel muscular dystrophy (MD) experiments on golden retrievers and other dogs in its laboratory, according to a news release by PETA. Megan Palsa, executive director for communications for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M, said the school does research on dogs, including dogs that come in with muscular dystrophy -- a hereditary condition marked by progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles. But, she said, "We do not harm dogs in the process, or any animal. We're searching for cures with animals and humans alike," reported the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Palsa also told the paper that PETA's accusations about breeding dogs to have MD are not true.
Memphis and Arkansas in discussions to resume men's basketball rivalry
The Memphis men's basketball program is in the process of adding a regional rivalry game back to its schedule in the coming years. Coach Tubby Smith told reporters during Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson's charity golf tournament Monday that Memphis and Arkansas are currently in discussions to play one another in a home-and-home series in the near future. "We've talked about it and ...I'm sure we can work out dates and stuff," Smith said in a video posted by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. "We'll get that done. I'm looking forward to it." Memphis and Arkansas have not played in men's basketball since Jan. 2, 2003, when former Tigers Coach John Calipari elected to end the series. Under former Coach Nolan Richardson, the Razorbacks thrived with Memphis area recruits such as Todd Day and Corey Beck and recruiting concerns were part of the reason Calipari and former Memphis Coach Josh Pastner declined to schedule Arkansas.
U. of Florida women's tennis team wins NCAA title
Florida, the nation's top-ranked women's tennis team for much of the season, proved it Tuesday by winning the NCAA Championship. It is Florida's seventh national championship in program history, and the Gators did it by defeating last year's national champions, seventh seed Stanford, 4-1, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. "The whole team did a great job," Florida coach Roland Thornqvist said. "This has been a no-panic team all year. A lot of times, we've come from behind to win. Obviously today we're up the whole time, but still no panic. We're a tough team and that's how you win championships." Virginia captured its third straight NCAA men's tennis championship, defeating Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina 4-2 in a final that was forced inside because of rainy weather Tuesday in Athens, Ga.

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