Monday, June 5, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State geologist co-authors first-of-its-kind travel guide
A veteran member of Mississippi State's geosciences faculty is co-author of a new "road log" designed to educate travelers about Mississippi's many geological features. Professor Darrel Schmitz, an alumnus of the university, wrote "Roadside Geology of Mississippi" with Stanley Galicki, an associate professor of geology at Millsaps College. Their 288-page paperback is a recent release of Montana-based Mountain Press Publishing Co. and is part of its Roadside Geology Series. "I was born and raised in Mississippi, so I thought this would be a great experience to uncover unknown geological locations," Schmitz said. "I wanted people to be able to look out their window and know at what they were looking."
Exhibit, retirement reception planned for Mississippi State professor of fashion
A Mississippi State professor of fashion design and merchandising will showcase her award-winning artistic textiles featuring knitwear, crochet, embroidery, dyeing, beading and felting, as well as jewelry design. The gallery exhibition, which also will serve as a retirement reception for Phyllis Bell Miller, will take place Tuesday, June 13 from 4-5:30 p.m. at MSU's Visual Arts Center at 808 University Drive. The exhibition will continue through June 15 and is being sponsored by MSU's School of Human Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Miller has spent 27 years at MSU teaching courses such as creative design techniques, computer-aided design, visual merchandising and cross-cultural design.
Good Towns: Starkville, Mississippi
It's time for class, and on this spring day senior Rachel Thrash is headed across the Junction, the grassy tailgating area next to Davis Wade Stadium, home of the Mississippi State University football team. Thrash is a senior, and for one given to senioritis, there is temptation everywhere. "It's just such a pretty campus. It really encourages you to just set up outside and do your homework or relax," said Thrash. The setting begs you to park your car and get out and explore on foot. However, the students aren't the only ones lured by Starkville's uniqueness.
Highway 12 work continues 'rain or shine'
Work crews on Highway 12 are steadily moving through the first phase of planned safety improvements along the heavily used corridor, showing little concern for recent wet weather. Phase 1 of the $8 million Mississippi Department of Transportation-funded project, which began in February, is on pace for completion in October, according to Gregory Construction project manager Jason Gill. Phase 2 will begin in early 2018. "Weather shouldn't and hasn't delayed the project," Gill said, noting as many as 30 crew members are engaged at the site during work hours. "We will work day and night, rain or shine, to finish."
Johnny Moore challenging mayoral election with Democratic Party
Starkville mayoral candidate Johnny Moore is contesting his six-vote loss to Mayor-elect Lynn Spruill and asks the Oktibbeha County Democratic Party to count "improperly excluded ballots" or hold a special election if the comingling of "legally and illegally cast ballots" prevents the determination of the true winner of May 16's primary. A copy of Moore's challenge petition alleges numerous election issues, including a failure to provide accounting for all ballots, improper markings of ballots by voters and improper rejection and acceptance of numerous affidavit and absentee ballots by election workers. A meeting to discuss various election issues is now expected to be set by the party's municipal election committee, which is chaired by Patti Drapala.
Four alderman seats on the line Tuesday
Starkville voters will take to the polls Tuesday and decide four competitive ward races. Up for grabs are Wards 1, 2, 4 and 6, while primary elections have already decided David Little, Patrick Miller and Roy A. Perkins will represent Wards 3, 5 and 6, respectively. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Approximately 111 absentee ballots were cast ahead of Tuesday's election, City Clerk Lesa Hardin said. It is unknown how those 111 ballots are split between the four wards. Ballots in all seven wards will feature candidates' names on them, including those unchallenged aldermen who have already secured their terms and Mayor-elect Lynn Spruill, since Hardin said the Mississippi Secretary of State's office states municipalities with contested races must still list all candidates.
MBI: Suspect shot after attempting to run over SPD officer
One person was wounded in an officer-involved shooting Saturday after he allegedly attempted to run over a Starkville law enforcement agent, Mississippi Bureau of Investigations spokesperson Warren Strain said. Starkville Police Department responded to a robbery report at the Highway 12-South Montgomery Street Sprint Mart about 4-4:30 a.m., Strain said, when the suspect fled the scene in a vehicle and led police on a chase toward south Starkville. The suspect, he said, attempted to run over officers in the South Wedgewood Road area, and at least one officer fired his service weapon in response. The officers were not injured in the incident, a SPD release states. The suspect was transported to OCH Regional Medical Center, stabilized and airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Oktibbeha County eyes Sturgis fire ratings expansion
A new fire protection area in District 4 could provide homeowners significant savings with their insurance premiums later this year. Oktibbeha County Fire Services is going through a process that will hopefully extend Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department's Class 7 fire district about 41.58 square miles -- or about five miles from the city's volunteer fire department. The proposed area is currently a Class 10 district, said Capt. Austin Check, already served by SVFD. The process to create the District 4 fire protection area is expected to continue Monday with supervisors holding a public hearing on the matter. Once the board rubber-stamps the new district, it still must be tested and graded by the Mississippi State Ratings Bureau.
Mississippi charts course for floating and submarine drones
Mississippi's governor wants to look for ways for the state to capitalize on floating and underwater drones. Gov. Phil Bryant Thursday created an ocean task force to study how the state can support U.S. Navy plans and train workers for such jobs. The Republican says he hopes Mississippi can attract jobs and companies in the sector to its Gulf Coast. The group, including representatives of the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University, is supposed to make a report within four months.
No money for colleges, universities in special session call
Gov. Phil Bryant's official call to bring lawmakers back to Jackson on Monday creates several big questions. Absent from the governor's agenda is a bond package, which fell victim to sniping between Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn, particularly for construction projects at colleges and universities. As of late Friday, state officials had no information or were not talking about funding college and university projects. Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood and chairman of the Senate Colleges and Universities Committee, said he planned to speak with members of Bryant's staff. "We set out a plan at the beginning of the term that they (universities) can make their arrangements on. When we don't have a bond bill, to take that out for underneath them, it's tough," Harkins said.
Senator questions making big budget changes in special session
State Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, questioned whether Legislature should or could change the state budgeting process in a one- or two-day special session as proposed by Gov. Phil Bryant. On Friday, the Republican governor announced that he wants the Legislature to consider the Financial and Operational Responses that Invigorate Future Years Act (FORTIFY Act) during the special session that he has called to begin at 10 a.m. today. Bryant said the FORTIFY proposal is designed to address concerns with the state's budgeting process raised by national rating agencies. "It is completely irresponsible to propose to revamp the entire budgeting process on a Friday and expect the Legislature to do it on a Monday or Tuesday," Bryan said.
State's May revenue collections dismal
Dismal state revenue collections for the month of May have reversed the positive trends of the past two months. State tax collections were $148 million or 27.7 percent below the official estimate for the month of May, according to statistics provided by the Mississippi Department of Revenue. For the fiscal year, which ends June 30, revenue collections are $154.3 million or 3.2 percent below the official estimate. The estimate is important because it represents the amount of money budgeted by the 2016 Legislature for the fiscal that ends June 30. Even though revenue collections for May were brutally disappointing after surprisingly strong collections in March and April, it is possible that Gov. Phil Bryant will not have to transfer any additional money from the state's rainy day fund during the last month of the fiscal year to balance the budget.
Panel to study dollars lost by lack of lottery
Information is being gathered, House Gaming Committee Chairman Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach said, on the amount of money Mississippi is losing by its citizens driving to neighboring states to purchase lottery tickets. Bennett said recently the Legislature's Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee is "trying to figure that out." He said PEER already has partial information, but wants to garner more facts. PEER presumably will present that information to an upcoming meeting of the special lottery committee formed by House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton. That committee, chaired by Bennett, will present recommendations to the House for the 2018 session in January as debate continues on whether Mississippi should enact a lottery.
Lawsuit over Mississippi governor's budget cuts rejected
A judge is rejecting a lawsuit by two Democratic Mississippi legislators who claimed a law letting governors make midyear budget cuts is unconstitutional. Hinds County Chancery Judge Patricia Wise ruled Friday, only two weeks after Rep. Bryant Clark of Pickens and Sen. John Horhn of Jackson had sued. Her quick ruling came after lawyers for both sides agreed in a Wednesday hearing to allow Wise to rule on the merits of the case immediately. The ruling could lead to an appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Mississippi River mayors: Paris pullout hurts US ag exports
Mayors along the Mississippi River say President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of a worldwide climate agreement could severely damage U.S. agricultural exports. The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative says in a news release Friday that nations remaining in the Paris agreement will impose carbon pricing through taxes or trading systems, without any say from the United States. The group says the 10-state corridor moves $164.6 billion a year in agricultural products, including 55 to 70 percent of all exported corn, soy and wheat. It says the U.S. has a trade surplus in those commodities.
Ole Miss' online program to complete high school offers expanding opportunities for earning diplomas
High school students hailing from cities across Mississippi, various states and even a few foreign countries are taking advantage of the University of Mississippi's online program to complete high school courses with the UM High School. During the 2016-17 academic year, UMHS staff oversaw continuing efforts to provide academic excellence and continued outreach for students who want to earn their high school degrees in a nontraditional way. "We aim to meet our students where they are," said Ellen Shelton, director of UM pre-college programs. "We work to provide the highest quality education for students for whom the traditional classroom doesn't work."
Governor's Concert moves to the Grove
The Governor's Concert at the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration North will be held on June 24 in the Grove on the campus of Ole Miss, announced the Office of Governor Phil Bryant. The concert will feature songwriters such as Marty Stuart, Mac McAnally, Steve Azar, Shannon McNally and the We Are Mississippi orchestra and chorus. "The Grove provides ample space for many more families and friends to gather in celebration of Mississippi's bicentennial," stated Gov. Bryant.
USM students studying abroad safe after London attacks
University of Southern Mississippi reports all students and faculty abroad in the British Studies program are accounted for and safe following the attacks in London Saturday evening. The two incidents happened around 10 p.m. local time in London. First, a van collided with pedestrians as it sped down the London Bridge. Then nearby, two people were stabbed at a restaurant in the Borough Market. The Facebook page for Study Abroad Southern Miss also shared information on the students, posting, "All participants of the British Studies Program based in London are safe and accounted for." In a statement from the London Ambulance Service, there have been at least 20 patients transported to six hospitals across London following the incident on the London Bridge. The statement said there have been a number of people at the scene treated for less serious injuries.
JSU Madison campus closes; dean asks new president to reconsider journalism school
As part of Jackson State's Budget Reduction and Recovery Plan announced Wednesday, no classes are scheduled at the school's Madison campus for fall semester 2017. However, termination of JSU's lease at the Galleria Parkway location remains unresolved. The university plans to focus on its dual enrollment agreement with Holmes Community College in Ridgeland, signed in 2013. Classes that had been held at JSU's Madison campus will move to JSU's main campus in Jackson, to the Holmes campus in Ridgeland or be offered online. Immediately after Dr. William B. Bynum Jr. was selected as new president of Jackson State University by the Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning on Wednesday, university officials distributed details of the restructuring plan that was developed by interim president Dr. Rod Paige and staff to solve the university's financial crisis.
Hinds Community College gets $5.1M Upward Bound grant
A Mississippi community college is getting more than $5 million to return the Upward Bound program to one of its campuses. Officials at the Utica Campus of Hinds Community College say four Upward Bound programs will help at least 240 students from eight high schools prepare for college. They will target students from low-income families, potential first-generation college students and students with a high risk of academic failure. The U.S. Department of Education will pay the $5.1 million grant over five years.
Auburn University president uses experience, technology to create digital textbook
Auburn University President Jay Gogue has drawn on his long career in higher education administration to develop a digital textbook on the subject. "A President's Perspective" was available for review at the recent American Council on Education annual meeting, where it received high praise from university presidents, scholars and students for its innovative use of media and technology to deliver content. The new digital textbook is being described as unlike any other in the field. Currently, no other product illustrates how to manage complex institutions or how to prepare the next generation of leaders in higher education. In his first book, Gogue offers practical insights into the challenges of the university presidency. Before coming to Auburn in 2007, Gogue was president of New Mexico State University and the University of Houston.
As costs for U. of Florida president's house climbed, policies overlooked
Costs continued to rise for a new home for the president of the University of Florida long before Ken Fuchs was considered as a potential resident. The initial estimate in May 2013 was $2 million for the two-story brick and limestone estate that would serve both as the official residence of UF's first family and a retreat to host more intimate social gatherings. Then-president Bernie Machen had long abandoned the aging home on University Avenue and his intention to retire was clear. A new president, who would carry on the vision for a pre-eminent university, would need a pre-eminent new home. Eight weeks after the first estimate, and eight months before construction began, the projection topped $2 million and continued to grow to a maximum of about $3.9 million by November 2013 before it was scaled back to $3.4 million. Investigators determined that the home --- built with donated money --- was classified as a "minor" project with a cost of less than $2 million when it should have been classified as "major" based on anticipated costs.
U. of Tennessee professor: Great Smoky Mountains National Park is 520,000 acres of tinderbox
For nearly a decade, Dr. Henri Grissino-Mayer has warned of megafires consuming communities along the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "This is the greatest concentration of people in the wildland-urban interface in the nation," the University of Tennessee professor said. "We are ground zero." His outcry was prompted by the severe drought of 2008, which persisted for two years. As director of the UT Laboratory on Tree Ring Science, Grissino-Mayer knew early settlers and native Americans regularly burned the area now deemed the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For a healthy forest, attractive to game and bountiful berry patches, humans for centuries burned the mountains.
U. of Kentucky students safe after terrorist attack in London
All University of Kentucky students in London are accounted for and safe after a Saturday night terrorist attack killed seven people and injured 48 others. Kristi Lopez, spokeswoman for UK, sent an email about the students Sunday morning several hours after the attack. The attack included a white van ramming into several pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbing attacks at several restaurants in the Borough Market area, according to the Associated Press. There are more than 40 students, faculty, and staff in the United Kingdom this summer, with most being students.
U. of Arkansas-Affiliated Startup Grox Industries Wins Tri-State Competition
Grox Industries, a startup company led by graduate students from the University of Arkansas, won first place at a business plan competition in Las Vegas Wednesday. The 10th Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State Collegiate Business Plan Competition featured teams of students from Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma. The Grox Industries team walked away with $30,000 for their winning business plan. Grox Industries uses platform technology to develop products with cross-linked (bonded) graphene oxide. The company is currently focusing on creating a coating for windows to make them more energy efficient. The product uses technology that company leaders say has the potential to scale to other uses.
Final version of budget boosts Texas A&M System
The agencies and institutions of the Texas A&M University System have reached the end of the 85th Texas legislative session on an overall positive standing after several months filled with concern that drastic funding changes could leave several of them with millions of dollars less than in the 2016-2017 biennium. After warning in January that "the sky really is going to fall" under an earlier version of the two-year state budget drafted by members of the Texas Senate, A&M System Chancellor John Sharp this week praised the conference committee that worked to pass the final version of the $217 billion bill as "a game changer to the benefit of higher education." The system's flagship Texas A&M University saw the largest monetary increase of the system, gaining an additional $13.65 million to its net general revenue for the 2018-2019 biennium when compared to 2016-2017.
U. of Missouri System's budget plan eliminates 474 jobs
The University of Missouri System will cut 474 jobs across its four campuses and in its central office as it seeks to generate $101 million in savings to meet budget deficits and provide funds for new initiatives, President Mun Choi said Friday. In a budget presentation that was streamed live to all four campuses, Choi reported his decisions on proposals submitted May 19 and revealed plans for cutting the system offices. Most of the job cuts will occur at MU, where the approved budget plan shows the cut is equal to 358.2 full time jobs, with 195.8 currently occupied. Cuts at the system level total $8.5 million, including eliminating two vice presidents, the executive vice chancellor for MU Health Care, the chief operating officer of MU Health Care, closing the federal lobbying office in Washington, D.C., restructuring lobbying in Jefferson City and reorganizing the University Relations office.
Amid falling enrollment, U. of Missouri expands existing recruitment, marketing efforts
Double down on phone calls. Double up on school visits. Talk to pastors, counselors, farmers, researchers and teachers. That's Jesse Hall's recipe for increasing the University of Missouri's enrollment after a year of sharp decline. It's what MU administrators have done for years. This year, rather than rolling out new initiatives or pouring money toward increasing enrollment, they are multiplying past efforts. MU is staring down its second year of an enrollment decline, steep budget cuts and layoffs. Enrollment declines last year were particularly concentrated in minority, low-income and rural students, data show, but officials still point to demographic trends and reverberations of the Concerned Student 1950 protests in 2015 to explain this year's decline.
Colleges' Message on Upholding Paris Climate Accord: 'We Are Still In'
At most of the nearly 120 colleges and universities whose presidents had signed a pledge Friday to meet the goals laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement, the signatures won't lead to a sea change. These are institutions, by and large, that have already committed to reduce their carbon footprint. But in joining a coalition of business leaders, mayors, and governors set on helping the United States meet international targets for greenhouse-gas emissions, the institutions are attempting to send a clear message: Now that President Trump has pulled the United States out of the climate accord, we'll fill a leadership void on a global issue. Or, as the pledge's headline puts it: "We Are Still In." As producers of research and early adopters of sustainable-energy sources, colleges and universities have long been on the frontlines of efforts to combat climate change.
Analysis: significant drop in humanities majors, gains in liberal arts degrees at community colleges
The number of bachelor's degrees in the humanities conferred in 2015 -- 212,512 -- was down 5 percent from the year before and nearly 10 percent from 2012, the high point for such degrees. Those figures are from an analysis being published today by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences as part of the organization's Humanities Indicators project. The trend is likely to alarm humanities professors and many others in academe. Many humanities departments have found themselves struggling to maintain tenure-track faculty lines and, in some cases, to continue departments. Humanities professors are quick to note that their departments play crucial roles in general education for students from a range of majors. But many colleges and universities have been allocating positions and deciding on departmental fates in large part based on numbers of majors.
Harvard Reportedly Rescinds Admissions Offers to 10 Over Facebook Posts
Harvard University has rescinded admissions offers to at least 10 prospective members of this fall's entering freshman class after the students traded sexually explicit and other offensive graphics and messages in a private Facebook group chat, The Harvard Crimson reported. University officials declined to comment to the newspaper about the status of the admissions offers. The Crimson based its report on interviews with students who were members of a messaging group that members of the Class of 2021 set up in December to share memes about popular culture. Some of those students were also members of a smaller split-off group on which the more explicit messages were shared. The admissions office emailed students in the second group in April, asking them to explain their contributions to the group.
Kindergarten: The great frontier
Angela Farmer, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Mississippi State, writes: "Children today face navigating institutionalized education with its prescribed set of rules, regulations and requirements somewhere around their fifth year to sixth year of life. While children develop rapidly in these first years, the adaptations they are expected to make from home to school are more similar to man's learning to live in space than a simple move to a new location. Moving from home to school involves a change in a variety of givens."
Are you what you read?
Ray Mosby, editor and publisher of The Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork, writes: "I am of the opinion that you can judge an owner by his books. Not too long ago, a fellow who is, to a moral certainty, on the waiting lists of no medical schools, said to me: 'Editor, you claim not to be either one, but I really can't tell if you are a Democrat or a Republican. Which one are you?' What I started to say to him was 'that's because I really am neither, you twit,' but what I said instead was: 'Well, that's probably because I am a bibliophile.' The subsequent blank look on his face probably provided me with a little more amusement than I should have taken. In a more civilized time than is today's, it was thought that one way in which to take the measure of a man was to take careful notice of what lined his bookshelves. In today's intellectual shorthand, that would be sort of a 'you are what you read,' kind of thing."
American politics declining into profiteers vs. moochers
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Americans now live in a political environment dominated by extremes. One burgeoning faction, looking through red tinted lenses, seeks 'freedom from.' Another, looking through blue tinted lenses, seeks 'access to.' A fading faction, looking through clear lenses, fears all will become tinted. ...No representative democracy can survive for long with either extreme in power. Indeed, our founding fathers, whom Providence blessed with the uncanny collective ability to see through clear lenses during the stressful birthing of our nation, designed the U.S. Constitution to force balance among extremes. They put in place checks and balances, deliberately gave different roles and representation to the House and Senate, limited the power of the federal government, and mitigated the power of the majority through the first 10 Amendments. Regrettably, those willing and able to peer through clear lenses to protect us from extremism are fading away."
Trump budget proposal would have dire impact on state
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam Hall writes: "Two weeks ago, the Trump administration released its FY 2018 budget proposal with the aim of increasing military spending, restructuring the tax code and shifting more responsibility for key programs to the states. And while two weeks can be an eternity in today's political news cycle, with the Mississippi Legislature about to enter a special session to take care of unfinished appropriations business, it seems like a good time to highlight the impact Trump's budget would have on us. ...Given the reality of our state fiscal situation -- not yet dire, but certainly not rosy -- President Trump's proposed federal budget seems like a doomsday scenario."
Bryant wants lawmakers in, out quickly ... we'll see
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "Gov. Phil Bryant has ordered lawmakers back to Jackson for a special session Monday, and says he expects it to last no longer than one or two days, "to minimize costs to taxpayers" that can top $100,000 a day. But while Bryant has sole authority to call the Legislature back into session and set the agenda, controlling how, how fast or even if 174 alpha-personality lawmakers conduct any business can be like herding cats, nailing Jell-O or spitting into the wind. We'll see."

Mississippi State faces 'do or die' in Hattiesburg
The Mississippi State baseball team fought off the rain and two opponents Sunday to keep its season alive. Buoyed by a 5-4 victory against No. 4 seed Illinois-Chicago and a 7-3 victory against No. 3 seed South Alabama, No. 2 seed and 20th-ranked MSU will take on top-seeded and No. 14 Southern Mississippi at 1 p.m. today to decide the champion of the NCAA tournament's Hattiesburg Regional at Pete Taylor Park. The game can be heard on WKBB-FM 100.9 and be streamed live on ESPN3. MSU (38-25) will have to beat Southern Miss (50-14) this afternoon to force another game at 6 tonight. The winner of the Hattiesburg Regional will face LSU this weekend in the best-of-three Baton Rouge Super Regional.
Mississippi State needs to beat Southern Miss twice today
Mississippi State needed two wins on Sunday and got them. Same thing today. With their backs against the wall, the 17th-ranked Bulldogs won a pair of elimination games on Sunday to reach today's championship round of the Hattiesburg Regional. MSU, which hadn't homered in its first two games, went deep three times against South Alabama to earn a 7-3 win in the nightcap at Pete Taylor Park. "This is certainly a hitter's ballpark," said MSU skipper Andy Cannizaro. "I'm certainly not a meteorologist and definitely didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but the ball jumps here. I don't know if it was the weather but it was certainly jumping and we took advantage of it."
Mississippi State advances to play USM after beating South Alabama
Cody Brown started to pump his right fist as he watched the ball travel off his bat into right field. By the time he took his second step to first base, Hunter Stovall and Cole Gordon were already celebrating outside of the dugout. Inside Mississippi State's dugout, several players stood on the top step with their arms raised. For Mississippi State, Brown's three-run home run -- and the bounce-back effort by the entire offense on Sunday that the blast was part of, for that matter -- was a welcomed sight. The Bulldogs kept their season alive on Sunday night behind their offense and solid pitching from Denver McQuary and Peyton Plumlee at Pete Taylor Park with a 7-3 win against South Alabama in an elimination game.
And then there were 2: Mississippi State eliminates South Alabama to face Southern Miss
It took a few extra days but fans will finally get the matchup they've been clamoring for. Mississippi State used three homers and smothering relief pitching Sunday to eliminate South Alabama 7-3 at Pete Taylor Park. The victory will pit the two Mississippi teams against one another in host USM and the second-seeded Bulldogs (38-25). First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. Should MSU win, the two teams will play again in a decisive game at 6 p.m. "We're really excited and looking forward to the challenge of playing a terrific Southern Mississippi team," MSU coach Andy Cannizaro said. "I think they won their 50th ballgame today. They're an outstanding team. They're extremely aggressive at the plate, defend it at a high level and throw strikes on the mound. Fifty wins are certainly not an accident."
Mississippi State will rely on shallow pool of pitchers against Southern Miss
Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro broke into laughter Sunday night when asked if he thought he had enough pitching depth to get past Southern Miss on Monday. MSU (38-25) will have to beat undefeated USM (50-14) twice on Monday in the title round to win the Hattiesburg Regional after battling back through the losers' bracket following an opening 6-3 loss to South Alabama. Monday's game is set for 1 p.m. If MSU wins the first contest, the two teams will meet again at 6 p.m. To win two games, MSU will have to rely on a small group of pitchers. "Guys, I don't know if we have the necessary arms to get through 60-plus games," Cannizaro said. "The guys have been incredible. Every single game, those guys answer the ball. They're available every day, they want the ball. They're total team guys."
Hog eradication goes high-tech
The growth of wild hog populations has reached an almost epidemic level in some areas. In Mississippi, they are suspected to be in every county. Hunters find their food plots destroyed, farmers lose crops and levees are threatened by the invasive swine. According to the Mississippi State University Extension Service, wild hogs cause roughly $1.5 billion in damage in the United States annually. Trapping has long been considered the most efficient way to control them, but technology has significantly increased the effectiveness. Motion-activated game cameras, smartphones and remote trigger activation offer control that was not available a few years ago. MSU Deer Lab associate extension professor Bronson Strickland said catching the entire sounder in one trapping event is critical to success. "What we want to focus on is pig education," Strickland said. "We don't want to educate pigs to the dangers of a trap.
Ole Miss expected to address NCAA allegations this week
As Ole Miss fans wait for the next big move in the NCAA investigation, the only people talking are the lawyers. But not the school's lawyers. In the last two weeks, however, attorneys representing former coach Houston Nutt and former staff member Barney Farrar have gone public with concerns about how Ole Miss officials have treated their clients. The school will join the public conversation soon. It is expected that Ole Miss will release its response to a second round of NCAA allegations this week, perhaps as early as today. The school outlined those allegations in late February when vice chancellor for athletics Ross Bjork took the lead in describing the charges in a YouTube video that also included chancellor Jeff Vitter and coach Hugh Freeze.
Discussion on alcohol sales in SEC stadiums continues
The SEC does not allow alcohol sales in the general seating areas of stadiums and arenas. Changing that wasn't an agenda item this week at the league's annual spring meetings, but it remains a topic of conversation with LSU's Joe Alleva continuing to be outspoken about wanting a change. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the discussion of the alcohol ban this week focused on "why we've got this policy in place. I don't think there's a majority that thinks we just pull away, but there's also an attentiveness to cultural changes and maybe different interests that provoked a conversation." Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said his school is "probably a long ways away of that happening at Alabama. We'd have a lot to work through if we ever got to that point."
Auburn baseball assistant Brad Bohannon takes head coach job at Alabama
Butch Thompson could think of no better compliment for the Auburn baseball program and his coaching staff than to have one of his assistants hired as a head coach somewhere else. It happened on Thursday. Just more than a week after dismissing first-year head coach Greg Goff, the Crimson Tide announced it had hired Brad Bohannon as the next man to lead its baseball program. "What a great appointment for him. He'll do great," Thompson said Thursday inside Dick Howser Stadium. "He's been instrumental in helping us get to this point today." Bohannon was making $190,000 annually at Auburn. His contract was set to expire at the end of the month. First-year Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne, in another statement released by the university, said he landed on Bohannon because he was looking for a coach who "was very strong in recruiting in the state Alabama, the Southeast."
Bohannon to fly back to Tallahassee after Alabama news conference
Brad Bohannon has set himself up for a very busy Monday. In a text-message response at 1 a.m., Bohannon confirmed to the Montgomery Advertiser that he will be at a 10 a.m. media conference in Tuscaloosa to introduce him as Alabama's next head coach. With Auburn still scheduled to play in a NCAA regional championship game at 6 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium against host Florida State, Bohannon will be flown back on a private plane trip to Tallahassee, to resume his assistant coaching duties at Auburn for at least one more game. Auburn head coach Butch Thompson confirmed Bohannon would remain with the Auburn team this weekend and would continue his assistant coaching duties with the Tigers through the Tallahassee Regional. Thompson also said Thursday if Auburn were to advance to a super regional that the men would "sit down and communicate" about future postseason games.
U. of Alabama president: It's 'pretty clear' Nick Saban is happy at Alabama
Stuart Bell is tasked with a wide variety of tasks as the University of Alabama's president, but one of the most important is making sure Nick Saban is happy. Saban has been a massive financial boon for the university both on and off the field. The Alabama football coach's tremendous success on the football field, namely four national titles, has made the school considerably more attractive to students from across the country. Call it the Saban Effect. It's not hard to do the math and see how lucrative this has been for the state's flagship university. It's one reason why it was so crucial for Bell and other university leaders to give Saban a contract extension that should keep him coaching at Alabama until 2024. "I think Nick has had such a positive impact on the university in a lot of ways, certainly in athletics," Bell said at the SEC spring meetings in Sandestin
Florida AD takes role in potential discipline for Antonio Callaway |
Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin offered a telling response when asked about standout receiver Antonio Callaway at the Southeastern Conference's annual meetings Friday. Asked how involved he is in Callaway's situation, Stricklin responded: "Which one?" Callaway is facing two misdemeanor drug charges stemming from a traffic stop in Gainesville last month. The junior from Miami was charged with marijuana possession (less than 20 grams) and drug equipment possession. He also was the subject of a Title IX investigation last year. He was eventually ruled "not responsible" of sexual battery against a female student. Callaway has a Tuesday court date to address the drug charges. Stricklin said he and coach Jim McElwain have discussed discipline for Callaway.
Why did UNC call off course based on Chapel Hill athletic-academic scandal?
Three years after a major report revealed the scope of academic fraud at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill -- 3,100 students over two decades, many of them athletes -- some allege the university may still be trying to cover it up. Jay Smith, a professor of history who developed a course on universities and big-time athletics, including the UNC scandal, says the university won't allow him to offer the class this year over concerns about "blowback." "I wasn't surprised that administrators were unhappy that I was teaching this course, but I was genuinely surprised that they were brazen enough to quash it in the way that they did," Smith said. UNC may have "the most ham-handed administrators in all of higher education. It's embarrassing."

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