Friday, June 2, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State professors honored for literary achievements
Two Mississippi State University faculty members will receive awards from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters for their achievements in literature. Associate Professor of English Catherine Pierce and Associate Professor of History Jason Morgan Ward will be presented with their awards Saturday at the Institute's 38th annual awards ceremony in Cleveland, Mississippi. Pierce will receive the poetry award for her book of poems "The Tornado is the World," which chronicles in three sections an EF-4 tornado's destruction of a small town. Ward is being recognized for his nonfiction work "Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence and America's Civil Rights Century," which examines the history of racial tension in Shubuta, where many lynchings took place during the Civil Rights Era.
MSU Extension offers class on growing roses
Mississippi State University Extension Service will offer a class on "Learn How To Grow Beautiful Roses" on Wednesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona. Participants will take a guided tour through the formal rose garden, learn the names of different roses and hear brief programs from rose experts on proper management practices. Pre-registration is not required for this free class.
Neighboring property owners appeal industrial park zoning affirmation
A legal fight attempting to block a Golden Triangle Development LINK-backed industrial park in Starkville is not yet finished. A group owning property surrounding the 400 acres of proposed advanced manufacturing space filed a notice of appeal with the Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk Thursday that states they'll appeal for a judgement by the Mississippi Supreme Court. A timeline for the appeal process is not yet known, and Oktibbeha County Deputy Civil Clerk Tina Mullins said Thursday she would soon put together a cost estimate for the appellants. On May 16, Circuit Judge Jim Kitchens issued an order stating the Starkville Board of Aldermen "had a reasonable evidentiary basis" for its split 6-1 vote in January to rezone the properties constituting the industrial park for manufacturing.
Academy Sports kicks off grand opening events
Starkville Academy Sports + Outdoors began celebrations for its grand opening by hosting a Boys & Girls Club shopping spree on Thursday. The new store located off Highway 12 invited 30 children from the Boys & Girls Club and each child was given a $100 gift card. Each child was accompanied by an Academy Sports + Outdoors employee and were allowed to purchase anything from clothes to toys to sports equipment. "We had someone contact us about selecting 30 kids to come in and shop," Starkville Boys & Girls Club Director Shayla Jefferson said. "It is their donation event, and they selected the Boys & Girls Club to be part of it." The Starkville Academy Sports + Outdoors opened its doors to the public for a soft opening on Monday after announcing in May that the grand opening would take place on Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3.
Fred Carl goes small with latest venture
It is a market he helped to create. Appointed by then-Gov. Haley Barbour as housing commissioner for Gulf Coast rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Fred Carl Jr. oversaw the designing and building of cottages in a traditional style as a better alternative to trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Association. The so-called Katrina cottages contributed to the "tiny house" trend. Now in a crowded field -- with cable television shows and magazines touting the little spaces -- Carl believes he has found a niche. Carl announced his new company, C3 Design Inc., two years ago. Carl said he would build what he called "modular" homes. Instead Carl has introduced its first product line, the Retreat Series. About a dozen have been sold, said Jane Crump, director of public relations and communications for the Greenwood-based manufacturer. The company has about a half-dozen for sale in Greenwood and Starkville.
Work on Threefoot Building in downtown Meridian expected to start in mid-July
The long-awaited rehabilitation of the Threefoot Building in Meridian is expected to start in mid-July, according to the project's developer. John Tampa, president of Ascent Hospitality Management LLC, took possession of the historic building Jan. 6, 2016. Once it's renovated, the Courtyard by Marriott hotel will have at least 135 rooms. The facility will also have a restaurant, a Starbucks coffee shop and 1,100-square feet of retail space on the bottom floor. Ascent is committed to spending at least $22 million to renovate the 16-story building, according to Tampa. The rehabilitation should take about 18 months, he said. Ascent will receive federal and state preservation tax credits to offset the cost of the project. Since the building was sold, specialists from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History have been working with Ascent and the New Orleans-based architectural firm John T. Campo & Associates, Inc.
Gov. Phil Bryant issues special session 'call' agenda
Gov. Phil Bryant on Friday released details of the agenda for the special session of the Mississippi Legislature he is calling to start Monday morning. As he had outlined to The Clarion-Ledger two weeks ago, the agenda will not include a lottery, nor will it include any other stream of infrastructure funding. It does include "the Fortify Act," budget process reforms aimed at allaying concerns credit rating bureaus have stated over Mississippi's budget. Otherwise, Bryant expects lawmakers to focus on unfinished business from when the regular legislative session ended March 29 and pass budgets for the Mississippi Department of Transportation, State Aid roads program and the attorney general's office.
Study: Bumpy roads cost Jackson and Mississippi drivers big bucks
On average, Jackson's deteriorating streets cost drivers $2,046 a year in additional vehicle operating costs, repairs, traffic-related delays and crashes, according to the latest report by Washington D.C.-based transportation research group TRIP. Just days before the special legislative session, TRIP released its June 2017 report, showing the cost of Mississippi's poorly maintained roads, not just to drivers, but to the economic growth of the state. It doesn't appear legislators will take up talk of infrastructure overhauls in this last stretch, but they have not finalized the budget for Mississippi Department of Transportation. TRIP releases a similar report periodically, the last time in 2016 alongside MEC, which was announcing the results of its own report conducted by the University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University and Cambridge Systematics as part of Blueprint Mississippi Taskforce.
State has one month to cover $154 million revenue shortfall
With just one month left in the fiscal year, the state is facing a $154 million revenue shortfall. If June revenue collections do not exceed projections by that amount, Gov. Phil Bryant will have to transfer more money from reserve funds. Revenue collections plummeted in the month of May, ending a two-month streak of higher-than-projected amounts that are used to fund agencies and the public services they provide. Mississippi collected $157 million less than projected, or -28.9 percent, in May. Going into the month, the state's revenue was basically even with projections for the year thanks to the improved revenue collections in March and April. The largest shortfall in May came from individual income tax collections, which typically peak in April and May.
Governor creates task force to attract unmanned vessel builders and operators
Gov. Phil Bryant on Thursday signed an executive order creating the Ocean Task Force, an umbrella group of business, academic, military and government interests to promote the Coast as a research and development testing ground for unmanned craft for the sea and air. Bryant signed the order surrounded by members of the new task force and a variety of airborne and undersea drones that lined a sweltering hangar at the Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport. "Everyone's working on a volunteer basis, so there will be no per diem, no cost into it," he said. "What we're bringing together is those entities that exist currently and putting them under an umbrella so we can have what I call co-opertition. We're in competition with each other but we have to cooperate. They already have their offices; we won't have to pay salaries or retirement. They are here because they are dedicated to this belief."
Federal lawsuit says Dick Hall and MDOT spending federal funds discriminatory
Three African-American Hinds County residents and the Board of Supervisors have filed a federal lawsuit against Central District Mississippi Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall and others alleging discrimination in how federal highway and bridge money is spent in the tri-county area. The lawsuit says 50 percent of federal highway and bridge funds are to be spent in an urbanized area with a population of 200,000 or more and only Hinds County fits that criteria, but a disproportionate amount of the funds goes to predominantly white Madison and Rankin counties. MDOT spokesman Jarrod Ravencraft said Thursday that MDOT had yet to be served with the lawsuit. He said when and if MDOT is served, the assistant attorney general who heads the legal division of MDOT will address the lawsuit.
Trump cements 'America First' doctrine with Paris withdrawal
President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord has put the world on notice that "America First" is not just a campaign slogan --- it's his administration's guiding doctrine. Trump on Thursday delivered on a key campaign promise by announcing he will pull the U.S. out of a 190-country agreement that former President Obama entered into less than nine months ago. Obama had hailed the Paris Agreement as a "turning point for our planet" and the culmination of "an intense diplomatic effort" that drew scores of countries, cultures and governments into a pact aimed at slowing the rise in global temperatures. Critics of Obama, including Trump, called the agreement another example of him putting foreign interests ahead of America's. Some Trump allies inside and outside the administration made a frenzied, last-ditch push to keep the U.S. in the Paris agreement.
Trump Takes Travel Ban Fight to Supreme Court
The Trump administration turned to the Supreme Court late Thursday in its effort to implement its revised travel ban, asking the justices to quickly reverse an appeals court ruling that is "wrong" to conclude the national security policy move was likely unconstitutional in how it treats Muslims. The Justice Department requested that the justices consider the Trump administration's application faster than is typical --- before the Supreme Court takes a three-month summer recess starting at the end of June. Five of the nine justices would have to vote to grant the request and lift the stay immediately, which would be without oral arguments and out of the view of the public.
Southern Miss students will get own theater in Thad Cochran Center
Movies, speakers, concerts, meetings: Those are a few of the activities Southern Miss students will enjoy in April when a new student theater opens in Thad Cochran Center. "When the Thad Cochran Center was completed (in 2006), there was not money at the time to complete the theater," said Chris Crenshaw, associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Management. "Now we are able to complete the theater. When it's completed, it should be about 332 seats." Southern Miss students are funding the $2.4 million project with a capital improvement fee, which took effect in 2016-17. The fee varies per student based on how many hours are taken, but it does not exceed $35 a year.
Southern Miss Staff Members Win 12 Awards at Annual CPRAM Conference
The Office of University Communications, along with staff members from various offices at the University of Southern Mississippi, recently captured 12 awards -- including a Grand Award in electronic media -- at the annual College Public Relations Association of Mississippi conference held May 21-23 in Ocean Springs. University Communications staff members won awards in the senior division of the annual CPRAM awards competition, which includes entries from the state's four-year public and private universities and colleges. During the 2017 Awards Luncheon, University Communications was presented with one of the competition's highest honors, the Grand Award in electronic media, for its "My Southern Miss Story Video Series," a series of 11 videos featuring University students.
New Belhaven University CFO ready for challenge
When David Tarrant was a student at the University of Toledo, he wondered if he could major in engineering, biology or even forestry. "But after I took my first finance class I was hooked," said Tarrant, the new vice president of business affairs and the chief financial officer of Belhaven University. He assumed the position June 1. "I have been in the area of finance in one way or another throughout my entire career, Tarrant said. "I enjoy understanding how organizations 'tick' financially. I find it fascinating looking into how expenses are invested in different ways that produce product or service revenue and related margins." Belhaven President Dr. Roger Parrott said in a news release that he is "overjoyed to invite" Tarrant to become a part of the university's leadership, considering him an answer to the university's prayers.
Meridian Community College receives Haas scholarship grant
At the first Mississippi regional conference for machining instructors and industry professionals sponsored by Haas Technical Education Center Meridian Community College received a check for $15,000 as a scholarship grant from the Gene Haas Foundation. The money is earmarked for scholarships that will be awarded to current and future students enrolled in the Precision Machining and Manufacturing Program at MCC to help train students in an industry that is in need of highly skilled workers. Gene Haas is the owner of Haas Automation, Inc., a billion dollar company and America's leading builder of computer numeric control (CNC) machine tools.
Engineering hall at U. of Alabama undergoes $24.6M upgrade
Work to transform H.M. Comer Hall at the University of Alabama into the "new front door" for the College of Engineering remains on schedule. Renovations began this spring, and the building is on schedule to re-open by next fall, said Tim Leopard, associate vice president for Construction Administration. During the renovation, the occupants have moved to Hardaway Hall and other buildings around the Shelby Quad, Leopard said. The budget for the project is $24.6 million. The project will add a Center for Unique Business Enterprises, a lab incubator to support, develop and showcase the latest technology in the college. Academic functions, with the exception of the large lecture hall, will be relocated to other buildings in the nearby science and engineering complex.
How does Washington work? John Breaux will teach it at LSU this fall
Former U. S. Sen. John Breaux will teach a class at LSU's Manship School of Mass Communications in the fall semester, the school announced Thursday afternoon. Breaux, a Democrat who served in the U. S. Senate and House for 33 years, will teach a class on how Washington works. The former lawmaker is senior counsel at Squire Patton Boggs, a global law firm based in Washington, D.C. Breaux will lead a seminar in the fall semester and mentor students, including those in the school's new program that allows students to complete an undergraduate degree in mass communications and a law degree in six years. "I can't think of a more knowledgeable person to teach such a course," Manship Dean Jerry Ceppos said of the class on Washington operations. Breaux will be paid $35,000 plus travel expenses from philanthropic funds, not state dollars, he said in response to a question.
UGA ranks high for low-income accessibility, New York Times says
The University of Georgia is one of the schools doing the most to make college accessible to low-income students, according to the New York Times. UGA ranked 27th overall and 10th among public universities in the newspaper's annual ranking. The University of Florida ranked sixth overall among public colleges. UGA, Florida, Texas A&M (25th overall) and private Vanderbilt University (36th overall) were the only four Southeastern Conference schools to make the newspaper's rankings of 170 universities and colleges. UGA has made "tremendous strides in expanding need-based aid for our students," UGA President Jere Morehead said in a news release. But there is still a wide affordability gap at UGA. In Georgia as in many states, the legislature and governor have drastically cut education funding, and in response, the cost of tuition has risen steeply at UGA and other public colleges.
Finalists named in U. of Tennessee search for VP for academic affairs and student success
Four finalists have been named in the University of Tennessee's search for a new vice president for academic affairs and student success. The candidates include administrators from the University of Hawaii system, Ohio State University, Kennesaw State University in Georgia and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, according to a news release Thursday. Interviews will begin Tuesday in Knoxville though public forums will not be part of the process, the release said. Candidates are vying to replace Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success Katie High, who plans to retire in July after 35 years with the university. The position will report to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tonjanita Johnson and is expected to be filled by midsummer. Though no public forums are scheduled, UT will solicit feedback through a search website and the job descriptions and resumes for the finalists are available for the public to look at online.
U. of Tennessee assistant vice chancellor for student life to retire
The University of Tennessee on Thursday announced the retirement of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life Maxine Davis after 35 years of service to the university. Davis will be followed by Ashley Blamey, UT's current director of the Center for Health Education and Wellness, who will take over the job on July 1, according to the university. The move is the second major change in the last week within UT's Division of Student Life after the university announced last week that Melissa Shivers, associate vice chancellor for student life and dean of students, will leave next month to become the University of Iowa's next vice president of student life. Since 2014, Davis has overseen the Student Health Center, the Student Counseling Center, the Center for Health Education and Wellness, Student Disability Services, and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. She earned a salary of $128,777, according to UT's 2016 salary database.
Board holds U. of South Carolina deal hostage over out-of-state tuition discounts
The board that oversees the state's colleges Thursday unexpectedly put on hold the University of South Carolina's bid to buy 14 acres in downtown Columbia for $9.4 million. The S.C. Commission on Higher Education voted 3-2 to delay the project after grilling USC leaders about $515 million in tuition discounts the university has given to out-of-state students over the past decade. "The continued increase of those (discounts) must be addressed in some capacity," said commissioner Kenneth Kirkland, who proposed delaying approval of the land purchase until the state agency is comfortable with USC's tuition-discounting strategy. "This is lost revenue to USC." For more than an hour Thursday, USC leaders defended the tuition discounts and the out-of-state students that the discounts attract. USC officials also said the tuition discounts are unrelated to buying the SCANA owned-land, across Assembly Street from Capital City Stadium. "The $10 million is not going to put the university in a more difficult position," USC's Rick Kelly told the board.
ARMI, regionally led by Texas A&M System, receives $300 million in combined funding
The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, led regionally by The Texas A&M University System, is picking up steam in its efforts to become operational, securing nearly $300 million in combined funding from the federal government and partner organizations. The institute, first announced earlier this year, is part of the government-led Manufacturing U.S.A. initiative, which has facilitated the creation of more than a dozen institutes since it was formally established in 2014. Former President Barack Obama created the initiative with the mission of helping to increase the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. Balakrishna Haridas, director for ARMI at Texas A&M -- who also serves as director of the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing and professor of practice in biomedical engineering at the university -- said the institute was designed to provide a national infrastructure and pathway for communications among the biological manufacturing industry.
U. of Missouri System lays off communications, lobbying staff
The University of Missouri System laid off its chief spokesman, chief lobbyist and the vice president who manages them both as part of the budget cuts ordered by President Mun Choi. The job cuts were part of a major reduction in the University Relations staff that will save at least $664,000 in annual salary, based on confirmed personnel actions. The UM System payroll budget was $38 million as approved by the Board of Curators in June 2016. Vice President of University Relations Steve Knorr, Director of Government Relations Marty Oetting, Director of Internal Communications Michael Kateman, Chief Communications Officer John Fougere and Strategic Communications Manager John Wells all learned Wednesday that they were no longer employed. By Thursday afternoon, the entire organizational chart for the 19-employee department and the staff listing had been removed from the UM System website.
U. of Missouri System seeks consulting firm to advise on further budget cuts
The University of Missouri System is searching for a firm to identify areas where it could make additional budget cuts and wants the work done quickly. Facing millions in budget cuts, the University of Missouri System has requested the services of a firm that would look for "cost savings or risk mitigation through the evaluation of the people, processes, and technology that comprise administrative functions," according to the request for proposals, which was posted on May 26 and closes June 9. System representatives did not respond to requests for comment Thursday evening. The UM System is facing significant financial challenges for the upcoming school year.
University Research: Indirect Costs Back in the Crosshairs
Advocates for university-based research are working hard to make sure Congress doesn't buy into what they say is a specious argument made by the Trump administration: that the federal government can cut reimbursement payments to research institutions without undermining the quality of the studies themselves. Jennifer Poulakidas, vice president for congressional and governmental affairs at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, said misperceptions remain in Congress about how university research is paid for -- enough for the group to spend serious energy making a case against drastically altering the current reimbursement system. "It's very much a top-tier concern for us," she said.
Health survey for faculty, staff first of its kind
Most professors and other university staffers say they're in good health, but some can identify instances of workplace bullying, according to the results of a broad new pilot study unveiled Thursday. The study, developed by an American College Health Association coalition, in part mirrors another widely administered survey, also by the ACHA, that focuses on student wellness -- the National College Health Assessment. That survey allows all the colleges and universities that participate to glean information about their own student population, but also to compare it to the larger pool of institutions that participate. The National Faculty Staff Health Assessment, meanwhile, is being touted as the first of its kind to offer such a deep look at the health of university employees, a comprehensive examination of both their physical and mental well-being, while also recording demographic information.
Family Hopes The 'Horror' Of Son's Hazing Death Sparks Change
The death of 19-year-old Pennsylvania State University sophomore Tim Piazza is bringing new attention to the problem of hazing. Administrators there say they are planning strict new controls on fraternities and sororities that will be among the toughest in the country. Piazza's parents, Evelyn and James, have not seen the video that captured the events before their son's death but say they want the "horror" he experienced to lead to change at Penn State and stricter laws more generally around hazing deaths. In February, Piazza wanted to join the Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi at Penn State. It was supposed to be a "dry" fraternity but it clearly was not. Alcohol played a central role in Piazza's death.
Colleges Celebrate Diversity With Separate 'Commencements'
Looking out over a sea of people in Harvard Yard last week, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive and one of Harvard's most famous dropouts, told this year's graduating class that it was living in an unstable time, when the defining struggle was "against the forces of authoritarianism, isolationism and nationalism." Two days earlier, another end-of-year ceremony had taken place, just a short walk away on a field outside the law school library. It was Harvard's first commencement for black graduate students, and many of the speakers talked about a different, more personal kind of struggle, the struggle to be black at Harvard. From events once cobbled together on shoestring budgets and hidden in back rooms, alternative commencements like the one held at Harvard have become more mainstream, more openly embraced by universities and more common than ever before.
Climate Change Is Tough to Teach, So Aquariums and Zoos Are Stepping In
Climate change is one of those topics that can be difficult to teach. It's complex. The science around it is evolving, and then there's the contentious political debate over it. All of that combines to make it a subject some educators feel uncomfortable tackling. Some states have recently tweaked their science standards to take out references to humans' role in climate change, which most scientists say is not telling students the full story. The New England Aquarium in Boston has founded a national network to try to make this tough subject easier to teach and to ensure that more members of the public, including students on class visits, get a complete picture of the climate-change problem and what can be done to solve it. Ten years ago, the aquarium staff was working on strategic planning for the facility and started looking at the most pressing issues affecting the ocean. Climate change rose to the top. At the time, the aquarium wasn't really addressing it.
Trump was right in pulling the U.S. out of Paris agreement
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., writes in USA Today: "Last month, I signed a letter with 21 of my Senate colleagues urging President Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. The 2015 deal made by the Obama administration runs counter to the actions President Trump has taken to deliver regulatory relief to American families and workers since he took office. ...Americans who are concerned about carbon dioxide should be pleased with recent developments. Market-driven solutions helped reduce CO2 emissions by 12% in the past decade. Besides, the United States already engages with other countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a treaty adopted by the Senate in 1992. Under the Constitution, legally binding treaties require a two-thirds majority of the Senate. The Paris deal would have threatened our country's prosperity. Because job creation is one of President Trump's principal goals, I am glad he has initiated what our letter suggested: 'Make a clean break from the Paris agreement.'"

Mississippi State travels to 'Starkville South' for regional
Southern Miss announced on Tuesday that 5,000-seat Pete Taylor Park was sold out for this weekend's regional. A majority of those tickets went out to Golden Eagles fans but Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro is hoping to have plenty of vocal support when his team hits the field tonight against No. 3 seed South Alabama at 6 p.m. "We kind of want to turn Hattiesburg into Starkville South for the weekend," Cannizaro said. "We want to have as many fans as we can to be there wearing their maroon, shaking their cowbells and doing whatever they can to support our players." Southern Miss will take on fourth-seeded Illinois-Chicago in the opening game at 1 p.m., weather permitting. The forecast calls for an 80 percent or higher chance of rain in the Pine Belt all weekend.
Mississippi State hoping for big innings in Hattiesburg
Rarely does a broadcast hit the air or a blog post be written that doesn't address the pitching concerns for the Mississippi State baseball team. With as many as nine regular contributors to the staff out with season-ending injuries, the Bulldogs have relied on a strange collection of arms to help the squad through the season. When Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Brent Rooker took the mound at the Southeastern Conference tournament, he became the 20th Bulldog to take the mound this season. To offset any deficiencies on the mound, the Bulldogs have turned up the intensity on offense. MSU has unveiled an aggressive style of play under first-year coach Andy Cannizaro. The Bulldogs swing early in counts, steal bases at will, and always look for an opportunity to take the extra base. "We go all out," Rooker said.
Konnor Pilkington awaits chance for Mississippi State in Hattiesburg Regional
Junior lefty Konnor Pilkington has been the Mississippi State ace all season long, but he won't be the first man on the round for the Bulldogs in the Hattiesburg Regional. Head coach Andy Cannizaro is taking a bit of a risk and going with junior right-hander Cole Gordon at 6 p.m. Friday night against South Alabama in the Bulldogs' opener at Pete Taylor Park. Pilkington is confident Gordon will set the Bulldogs (36-24) up for success this weekend. "I'm fine with it," the former East Central star said. "Cole is gonna throw tomorrow, give it all he's got. He's one of the better pitchers in the SEC. I'm really comfortable with him facing South Alabama and me going against whoever we play next. He'll go out there, give it all he's got and come out with a W."
Gary Henderson a reason why Mississippi State in a regional
Mississippi State's pitching staff has posted some of the worst statistics in the country this season, and yet athletic director John Cohen recently referred to the job Bulldogs pitching coach Gary Henderson has done as "masterful." If that sounds strange, it's because it is. But the odd part isn't that Cohen, the former MSU baseball coach who led the Bulldogs to the College World Series in 2013, would make such a remark. What makes it funny is that few would argue with him. Mississippi State has lost eight pitchers to season-ending injuries this season, limiting its depth and eliminating quality available arms. The Bulldogs were able to announce a starting rotation for a weekend series only once this season, ahead of their series against Auburn on April 28. They've used four position players on the mound.
Regional expected to bring $2.3M to Hattiesburg
t's been a big year for Southern Miss baseball, with the team's 48 wins setting up the Golden Eagles to host the Hattiesburg regional tournament at Pete Taylor Park for the first time since 2003. With that tournament and its four teams and fans converging on the Hub City, officials from the Hattiesburg Tourism and Convention Commissions are looking forward to a big economic impact as well, with the series expected to result in a $2.3 million contribution to the local economy. "It points to the fact that this is a very valuable event to be held in Hattiesburg," said Rick Taylor, executive director of the commissions. "For the amount of money, it's a fairly short duration, so it's a lot of spending over a short period of time."
'Cat' Cannizaro, USM Hall of Famer and MSU skipper's dad, has dual loyalties this weekend
Gary Cannizaro started hearing the buzz about three weeks ago. That's when the dread set in. "I think during the LSU series that rumor was kind of going around the park in Starkville," he said. "Then, I ran over to the SEC tournament (last week) and there was a pretty good buzz going around there about it. To be perfectly honest with you, this was not something I was hoping for." Of course, Cannizaro is referring to Mississippi State's inclusion in the Hattiesburg regional. After all, the Mandeville resident was a star infielder at Southern Miss (from 1973-76) -- oh, and one of his three sons, Andy, happens to be in his first season as baseball coach for the Bulldogs. Referred to as "Cat" during his playing career with the Golden Eagles, Cannizaro held down second base for a group many still view as one of the best infields ever assembled at Southern Miss.
USM, Mississippi State, South Alabama loaded with Coast baseball talent
Three of the four teams in this weekend's Hattiesburg Regional know each other and South Mississippi very well. Mississippi State, Southern Miss and South Alabama have all met on the baseball field this season and for many years before that. That competition extends beyond the diamond with the three programs' recruiting trails intersecting in the state's southernmost six counties. As is the usual, all three squads feature talent off the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Starting on Friday, the three teams will be joined by Illinois-Chicago at Pete Taylor Park to begin their pursuit of a Super Regional bid. A total of six players from the state's southernmost six counties have a good chance to make contributions in Hattiesburg this weekend.
Attorney: Barney Farrar should be paid until NCAA investigation is complete
An attorney for former Ole Miss football staff member Barney Farrar believes his client should be paid by the university until the NCAA investigation is complete. Farrar, who worked closely with Ole Miss recruiting from an off-field position, was terminated in December. The school agreed to pay him through March. That's not enough, said Houston, Texas-based attorney Bruse Loyd, who represents Farrar. Loyd said he asked that Ole Miss pay Farrar until the NCAA case was resolved, but school officials refused and cut off support for legal fees as well. "Barney is out here defending himself in this matter essentially with no help other than the help I'm giving him," said Loyd, adding that he eventually expects compensation. Ole Miss vice chancellor for athletics Ross Bjork, in Destin, Florida, this week for the SEC spring business meetings, said he could not comment on a personnel matter.
SEC coaches unanimously object to NCAA recruiting reforms
Southeastern Conference coaches unanimously agree on one topic at the league's spring meetings this week: They disapprove of NCAA recruiting reforms passed in May. The Collegiate Commissioners Association early last month approved a new signing period for high school seniors, allowing football players to sign national letters of intent six weeks earlier than previous years. The NCAA passed the legislation in April and needed the CCA, which administers national letters of intent, to sign off on the reforms. SEC coaches were stunned when they heard about the changes, which were significantly different from the ones they expected to be passed. SEC coaches and Commissioner Greg Sankey point out several flaws with the new system.
Banner year for SEC: League lauds recent basketball success
When South Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin walked into a Southeastern Conference meeting room earlier this week, his colleagues gave him a standing ovation. Well-deserved recognition for leading the Gamecocks to the Final Four. His counterpart in Columbia, women's coach Dawn Staley, was presented a cake for winning the program's first national championship. The league probably should have had balloons, streamers and confetti, too. The SEC celebrated its recent hoops accomplishments at the league's annual spring meetings. And rightfully so. After all, it was a banner year -- literally -- for the mostly football-first league.
SEC looking for ways to shorten football games
College football fans aren't the only ones checking their watches as games grind toward four hours. The SEC and other conferences are paying attention, too. The average SEC football game was 3:26 in 2016, SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw told the media on Thursday during the league's spring meetings. "Everybody is talking about length of game," Shaw said. There were four SEC games that lasted more than four hours last year, Shaw said. Two of those games went over four hours despite not going to overtime. The longest non-overtime game was Alabama's 48-43 win at Ole Miss on Sept. 17.
Inside the numbers: LSU dwarfs most SEC brethren, others nationwide in baseball dough
This is a good time to be a college baseball fan. The NCAA postseason is here. Sixty-four teams battle one another at 16 regional sites in the first step to reaching the hallowed grounds of Omaha, Nebraska. Fans will fill cozy stadiums, cramming into outfield bleachers while guzzling sodas and downing hot dogs. They'll spend gobs of money, filtering in and out of gift shops and forming lengthy lines at concession stands. And if their teams advance, they'll buy pricey tickets for the next day or the next week. All of that, though, doesn't necessarily turn into profit. College baseball is a losing sport, even in the part of the country where it thrives. In fact, just four Southeastern Conference baseball teams turned a profit last season, according to documents obtained by The Advocate from league schools. In Baton Rouge, things are different.
Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason: 'Nobody is cheating in this conference'
Derek Mason's intent appeared innocent but the comment still stuck out. "Nobody is cheating in this conference," Mason said. "Everybody is doing the right thing." The Vanderbilt head coach delivered that curious quote after being asked about the fairness of large support staffs. Mason was riffing on whether it was fair for one school to have a massive staff and another to have only a few support staffers. Mason attributed it largely to a perception issue -- the SEC gets a bad rap, he said -- and that once you get into the SEC, you realize the conference is doing things right. Mason believes the SEC does a very good job of policing itself. Naturally, there was intrigue about his comments. When a reporter asked him about the context of the quote, Mason quickly pulled back.

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Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: June 2, 2017Facebook Twitter