Tuesday, June 6, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Legislature passes budget bills, concludes special session
The Mississippi Legislature worked late into the night Monday to approve the three budget bills that died during the 2017 regular session, and also passed versions of other budget-related items Gov. Phil Bryant included in the special session agenda. While it looked for much of Monday that parliamentary maneuvering of the Democratic minority would force legislators to return for a second day to conclude the special session, in the end, Democrats, knowing their efforts would not ultimately change the outcome of any legislation, stopped their efforts. Democrats, in a minority in both chambers, tried unsuccessfully to increase the appropriation for the Attorney General's office. The Legislature also passed Bryant's proposal to make changes to try to deal with some of the concerns expressed by the nation's major credit rating agencies with the state's budgeting process.
 
Legislature passes funding bills, wraps up special session in a day
Lawmakers worked into the night on Monday and finished a special session in one day, an effort to spare taxpayers more expenses that can run upwards of $100,000 a day when lawmakers are working at the Capitol. The House and Senate passed funding bills for the attorney general's office, State Aid roads and the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The transportation budgets died in a standoff between GOP leaders of the House and Senate over road and bridge funding and internet sales taxes. An 11th-hour snag over what Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood called "juvenile games" with his budget also left the AG budget in limbo after the regular three-month legislative session ended March 29.
 
Legislature passes funding bills in one-day session
The Legislature completed action Monday on seven spending bills for state agencies that prompted a special session called by the governor. While procedural motions on some technical bills hung up action for several hours, in the end those motions were removed, clearing the way for action to be completed. The Senate adjourned at 8:45 p.m., and the House adjourned by 10:30 p.m. The Legislature was meeting to address funding issues left unresolved at the end of its regular session. Budget bills for the Attorney General's Office and Mississippi Department of Transportation passed out of the House Monday morning and made it successfully through the Senate late in the day.
 
Black lawmakers condemn white colleague's lynch remark
A white Mississippi lawmaker showed no expression late Monday as 11 black colleagues made impassioned speeches condemning his online remark that people should be lynched for removing Confederate monuments. Legislators were working at the Capitol for the first time since Republican Rep. Karl Oliver of Winona posted the remark to Facebook on May 20. His post came after New Orleans pulled down three Confederate statues and a monument to white supremacy. He said Louisiana leaders were acting like Nazis and said, in all capital letters that they should be "LYNCHED." Oliver posted a general apology on Facebook on May 22. He said Monday he stands by that apology and he offered one-on-one apologies to some black colleagues.
 
Call for resignation of Rep. Oliver rejected in Senate
The Senate Rules Committee chairman declined to take up a resolution Monday that called for the resignation of Rep. Karl Oliver, who wrote in a Facebook post last month that those removing Confederate monuments "should be lynched." The resolution, which was first filed in the Senate by Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville, called for the resignation of Oliver. In the House, Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, D-Gulfport, filed a resolution Monday for Oliver's expulsion from the Legislature. The resolution by the chairperson of the Black Legislative Caucus was expected to be addressed when the House returned later in the afternoon to take up Senate appropriation bills. Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton, the Rules chairman, said his committee would not consider the resolution, effectively killing the item.
 
SPD officer placed on paid leave after Saturday shooting
The Starkville Police Department, along with the District Attorney's Office of the 16th Circuit Court, held a joint press conference on Monday at City Hall to discuss further details regarding an officer-involved shooting Saturday near South Wedgewood Road. The suspect -- identified by MBI as 18-year-old Zyterrious Gandy, of Starkville -- was injured during the incident. SPD Chief Frank Nichols told local media on Monday the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on paid administrative leave. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved," Nichols said. District Attorney Scott Colom also spoke to the media, praising the efforts of local law enforcement who turned the investigation over to MBI.
 
Trump group to team with Delta hoteliers for new chains
A longshot phone call to real estate magnate Donald Trump nearly 30 years ago by a convenience store owner in Greenwood eager to build a motel started a series of events that has been nothing but good news for the Chawla family. Trump returned the call and told V.K. Chawla he was impressed by his dream, but that he should try for an SBA Minority loan. A $450,000 loan was secured by the immigrant from India, who built a 40-room motel, the first of 17 hotels the Chawla family now operates in the Delta. The latest news is that Chawla Pointe LLC has been chosen to be the first to operate the latest Trump Hotel chain, called American Idea, and another called Scion.
 
Trump Organization to Launch 'American Idea' Hotel Chain
The sons of President Donald Trump said Monday their company is launching a new hotel chain inspired by their travels with their father's campaign. The Trump Organization is calling the new mid-market chain "American Idea" and said it will start with three hotels in Mississippi. The four Mississippi hotels for both chains will be owned by Chawla Hotels. The Trump Organization will get management and franchise fees for the new ventures. Chawla Hotels owns 17 hotels under various franchise names. "They're cashing in on the red states," said Kathleen Clark, a government ethics expert and law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. "I'm not surprised that the Trump family would look to opportunities to commercially exploit his political success."
 
Trump Organization to Go Budget Friendly With 'American Idea' Hotel Chain
On the campaign trail, President Trump's children rolled through dozens of small towns across the country, reveling in the adoration of the crowds. But they were less enamored of the budget-friendly hotels along the way, an assortment of run-of-the-mill offerings that were barely distinguishable from one another. That led to a business idea. On Monday, the Trump Organization announced plans for a new three-star hotel chain with a patriotic flair. And while the Trump Organization and its business partner say the down-market move is not about politics, the president's business is inherently viewed through that lens: The chain will make its debut in little-known towns in Mississippi, a state in the heart of Trump country that favored him over Hillary Clinton by a margin of 18 percentage points. The organization's business partner in Mississippi is a family-owned hotel company whose co-owner met Mr. Trump at a campaign event last summer and donated to his campaign.
 
Trump's hotel company moves into his political territory, beginning with Mississippi
President Trump's hotel company is pushing into territory he conquered as a political candidate, beginning with four new hotels in Mississippi. The company will open the first of its Scion line of hotels -- marketed as a four-star boutique brand -- early next year through a deal the company inked for a property under construction in Cleveland, Miss., population 15,800. The Trump Organization also announced three hotels under a new brand called American Idea, building off experiences Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump said they picked up on the campaign trail supporting their father in communities far from Trump Tower, where they grew up and made the announcement Monday night at a cocktail reception for hotel executives. Dinesh Chawla described himself as a social liberal and said he would like the Mississippi Scion to become a stop for tourists on the Mississippi Blues Trail and visitors to the Grammy Museum Mississippi, which opened recently nearby.
 
Hotelier partners with Trump family
The Trump brand is partnering with a Mississippi family to bring a new brand of upscale hotel to the Delta. Located in Cleveland, SCION at West End will be managed by Trump Hotels, in a partnership with Chawla Pointe LLC, a Mississippi company and hotelier family with 17 hotels in six cities in the Delta. SCION at West End will be a multi-faceted hospitality campus that will feature approximately 100 rooms, suites and extended stay accommodations; a 6,000-square-foot spa and fitness center; a 5,000-square-foot event hall; two acres of outdoor festival space and multiple entertainment outlets including two full-service restaurants, according to a news release issued Monday night. It's expected to open by Jan 2018, said Kris Yeager, Director of Development for Chawla Pointe.
 
Reality Leigh Winner: Accused NSA leaker left an easily followed trail, FBI says
The investigation that led to the arrest of a federal contractor on charges of leaking classified material that was published by The Intercept website apparently was not the stuff of big-budget Hollywood spy films. The affidavit filed Monday against Reality Leigh Winner, 25, states that federal authorities contacted the FBI on Thursday and said a "News Outlet" had reached out two days earlier relating to an upcoming story. The Intercept, which published its story Monday, apparently provided authorities with a copy of a top-secret NSA document discussing details of alleged Russian interference in U.S. elections. Officials quickly determined the information was classified.
 
Supreme Court will decide whether police can use cellphone data to track suspects
The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether police need to provide evidence of a crime before they may obtain data from cellphone towers that show where a suspect has traveled. Although it revolves around the right to privacy, the case does not involve intercepting private conversations over a cellphone or seizing the personal data that are stored in the phone. Three years ago, in Riley vs. California, the court said police need a search warrant and evidence of "probable cause" before they may download the contents of a phone. But most courts have said people do not have the same right to privacy for data kept by others, including the logs of calls that are maintained by telephone companies. Federal law, however, limits how and when the police may obtain records of cellphone calls.
 
UMMC seeks to ferret out root causes of hunger in children
Dr. Bettina Beech can't forget being told of a visit by a young girl to a University of Mississippi Medical Center physician. "They asked her, 'What did you have for dinner last night?' said Beech, professor and dean of the John D. Bower School of Population Health. "She said, 'Last night, it wasn't my turn to have dinner.'" The child wouldn't pass the "hunger vital signs" screen performed by Dr. Sadhana Dharmapuri, assistant professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine, and the other two physicians at the Adolescent and Young Adult Health Clinic in the Jackson Medical Mall. Beginning this month, patients seen by adolescent medicine identified as living with food or housing insecurity also will be seen by the nurse practitioner staffing the new EversCare clinic tucked into the Myrlie Evers Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities.
 
USM British Studies program confident in safety after London attacks
The director of the University of Southern Mississippi's British Studies program said he is confident the program can "carry on" safely for the rest of the summer. Dr. David Davies said there are 135 participants overseas in the British Studies Program, 120 students and 15 faculty and staff. Davies said two-thirds of those students are from Southern Miss. After the attacks Saturday, USM President Rodney Bennett tweeted: "All of our students and faculty members studying there have been accounted for and are safe." Davies said the group is staying at a residence hall at the University of Manchester, which is in the northern part of the city, while the attacks at the London Bridge and Borough Market happened in the southeast part of the city.
 
JSU mess may prompt changes to searches
Members of the College Board often say that the most important thing they do is choose the presidents of Mississippi's eight public universities. It's also the most controversial, as last week's extraordinarily messy end to Jackson State University's presidential search proved. Trustees now say they're going to consider changes in how they select campus leaders. But while unhappy Jackson State alumni say trustees should give each school's supporters more voice in choosing, the outcome could be just the opposite. The search also again displayed the distrust that alumni of the three historically black universities have for trustees. Trustees are likely to discuss changes to presidential searches at their annual September retreat.
 
Headed to Harvard, Enterprise student overwhelmed by kindness
Having overcome homelessness, receiving his diploma from Enterprise High School and earning a scholarship to Harvard University, Hunter Mollett is continuing to receive lessons in the kindness and generosity of others. Since a report about his acceptance into one of the most prestigious universities in the world was featured in the May 13 edition of The Meridian Star, Mollett said, he has been overwhelmed with generosity. "I find it really awesome there are so many generous people out there," Mollett said. "I had one lady call me whose husband is in hospice care and she wanted to send me money for a bike to ride on campus. I think it's so amazing she thought of me during her difficult time." Having been abandoned by his parents by his junior year of high school, Mollett has lived like a nomad, moving between caring faculty members, extended family and friends.
 
Auburn University professor to be honored for acoustics research
Malcolm Crocker, Auburn University professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, has been awarded the 2017 Per Bruel Gold Medal for Noise Control and Acoustics from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, or ASME. Established in 1987, the award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of noise control and acoustics, including practical applications benefiting the mechanical engineering discipline. It is named in honor of Per Bruel, a Danish academic and inventor who was a pioneer in acoustics and acoustic instrumentation. "Throughout his career, Malcolm has distinguished himself as one of the world's foremost experts in acoustics and vibration," said Jeff Suhling, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. "This award is a crowning achievement for Malcolm and signifies just how important his contributions have been to the discipline and to Auburn University."
 
U. of South Carolina names UGA professor as its next communications school dean
The University of South Carolina's communications school soon will have a new dean. USC said Monday it has hired Tom Reichert, the head of the University of Georgia's advertising and public relations department, to succeed Charles Bierbauer as dean of its College of Information and Communications. Bierbauer, a former CNN and ABC News correspondent and USC's longest serving active dean, announced last August he would step down at the end of the academic year. He took the job in 2002. Reichert starts on Aug. 1, before students arrive later that month.
 
Arkansas' Clinton School Offers Executive Master's of Public Service Degree Online
The Clinton School of Public Service will begin offering an executive master's of public service degree through an online curriculum beginning next year. Designed for "experienced professionals" who want to be able to earn a graduate degree without having to relocate or leave their jobs, the program will be the first of its kind, the school's administration said. "We are the first university in the country and the world to offer an executive master's of public service degree," Skip Rutherford, dean of the school, said. "The people who will benefit the most from this program are people who are committed public servants and want to take their career to the next level," Susan Hoffpauir, associate dean, said. The first cohort in the executive master's program is expected to begin studies in March 2018.
 
U. of Tennessee lobbyist in Washington draws $161,000
The University of Tennessee, in addition to spending over $560,000 a year on its lobbying effort in Nashville, also has a Washington lobbyist, Kurt Schlieter, who lives in Washington and is paid $161,063 a year. He works out of his house. Other public state universities in Tennessee do not have a Washington lobbyist. He would be considered conservative on several political issues as he was a state lobbyist for the National Rifle Association and worked for former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, too. UT's views on guns on campus would differ from the NRA's.
 
Lifetime of service: Before Texas A&M tenure, Rudder played key D-Day role
Gen. James Earl Rudder may be best known around Aggieland for the critical changes made during his tenure as president of Texas A&M University, but years before he stepped into the office, he served his country in World War II, making a name for himself during the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. Today, as people around the world mark the 73rd anniversary of the beginning of the historic battle, Rudder is remembered among the many brave soldiers who put their lives on the line throughout the war in pursuit of victory. Texas A&M University Archivist Greg Bailey said then-Lt. Col. Rudder was tasked on D-Day with leading a special unit of hand-picked men -- now referred to as the Rudder Rangers -- to storm the 100-foot cliff face Pointe du Hoc, at the top of which sat German howitzer cannons set to fire over the beaches of Normandy.
 
U. of Missouri seeks rapid assessment of administrative costs
The University of Missouri is seeking a consultant who can do a rapid assessment of $185 million spent annually on system and Columbia campus administration as the cash-strapped school searches for savings. On Monday the university postponed the deadline for bids, originally Friday, to June 16. The consultant selected must be ready to begin work within 30 days and complete the assessment within 60 days from that date, the request for proposals states. The study will look at finance, human resources, information technology and operations at the UM System and on the Columbia campus. The study excludes administration of MU Health Care and the Rolla, St. Louis and Kansas City campuses unless the ideas generated show a promise of additional savings.
 
News of U. of Missouri layoffs begins trickling in
The vast majority of University of Missouri employees who are being laid off were notified on Monday, MU Provost and Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes said in an email. "Today has been a hard day," Stokes wrote. "...Those who are being separated from MU are not at fault in any way. Indeed, we are losing talented and dedicated administrators, faculty and staff, some who have served the university faithfully for many years. This is a painful step that circumstances have required us to take." More specific information about the layoffs began to trickle in Monday afternoon. Mizzou Creative, which manages promotional materials for MU such as the alumni magazine, Mizzou, was eliminated Monday. "We were informed that the department would not continue in its current form," a member of the office who preferred not to be named, said. he office also publishes the MU visitors guide and news.missouri.edu. It handles the MU home page and MU social media accounts, and it oversees MU Alert.
 
Advocates warn cuts to Office for Civil Rights would further slow resolution of Title IX cases
When students file a complaint that their institution mishandled or ignored claims of sexual assault or harassment, they can often expect to wait years for a resolution from the Department of Education. Those delays frustrate not only those bringing the complaints but colleges that remain under prolonged investigation as well. Advocates say that problem would be exacerbated by cuts to staffing at the department's Office for Civil Rights included in last month's White House budget proposal. Under the Obama administration, OCR took on an increasingly prominent role in responding to sexual assaults on campus -- and in pressuring colleges and universities themselves to take more aggressive action on the issue. The budget maintains level funding for the office but calls for reducing full-time staffing by 7 percent to 523 employees. That reduction is part of broader changes proposed throughout federal agencies to eliminate or cut back the role of offices designated to monitor and sanction discrimination.
 
Analysis suggests age bias at play in reduction of federal funding to early-career researchers
Young researchers represent the future of science and often make unexpected discoveries. Yet National Institutes of Health grants to principal investigators under the age of 46 have dropped steadily since 1982, according to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academies. That's despite a near tripling of inflation-corrected federal funding for the NIH over the same period, meaning age bias, not scarcity of resources was likely at play, the study says. The PI success ratio, or the fraction of basic-science researchers receiving grants, also dropped for younger scientists (under 46) and increased for those over 55. The NIH already has begun work to improve the grant outlook for younger researchers, and the new paper suggests such efforts -- namely the Early-Stage Investigator priority policy started in 2008 -- have been successful.
 
Inside the Meme Thread, a Growing Forum for College Students Nationwide
Harvard University's reported decision to rescind the admissions offers of at least 10 people for posting offensive memes sheds light on a lesser-known student forum: the meme thread. In the past year, Facebook groups featuring college-specific jokes and memes, have gained popularity at universities like Cornell University, Princeton University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Southern California. The pages are normally home to jokes that are specific to the creator's campus and primarily feature pictures with captions -- referred to as "memes" -- pertaining to local politics or school-specific inside jokes. One of the first was created in 2016 at the University of California at Berkeley.
 
Judge Wingate: former MDOC commissioner Epps no small-time offender
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "There's no way to know what former Mississippi Commissioner of Corrections Christopher Epps expected when he walked into court -- at last -- to hear his sentence, but the nearly 20-year term imposed by U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate must have come as a surprise. Prosecutors had recommended 13 years and Epps' attorney was hoping for less. Letters to the judge from legislators asked for leniency, perhaps no prison time at all. Yet Wingate stood his ground, voiced outrage. 'This is the largest graft operation in the state of Mississippi, definitely the largest I have seen' the judge said. 'Mr. Epps betrayed the state of Mississippi.' Indeed. And hooray for not treating this as yet another routine public corruption case."
 
On being a Mississippi tourist at the Grammy Museum
Columnist Phil Hardwick writes in the Mississippi Business Journal: "My wife and I became Mississippi tourists on a recent Monday holiday and motored to the Delta town of Cleveland to check out the Mississippi Grammy Museum. We had been meaning to go since its opening in March of 2016. It is, after all, a national attraction in our own backyard. We were not disappointed, but what happened on the way there and back was half the fun."


SPORTS
 
Super win for State over Southern Miss
Brent Rooker got Mississippi State off to a bang with a solo home run in the first inning in the Hattiesburg Regional final. But it would be Rooker's pop up in the eighth inning that would send the 17th-ranked Bulldogs to a Super Regional with an 8-6 win over No. 10 Southern Miss in the early morning hours on Tuesday. Rooker skied a two-out pitch into no-man's land in shallow right field just out of the grasp of three Golden Eagle defenders allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to score. "I was just trying to put a ball in play with two strikes," Rooker said. "(Nick Sandlin) made a good pitch and I popped it up obviously. I was a little disappointed coming out of the box that I didn't get a better piece of it but I knew the way the wind was playing and the ball had been carrying all night that it might be trouble." MSU (40-25) tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a RBI single by Elijah MacNamee to complete the team's fourth win in two days, fighting back through the loser's bracket after dropping the regional opener to South Alabama on Friday.
 
Mississippi State beats USM 8-6 to win regional championship
The Mississippi State Bulldogs are not done yet. MSU rallied late Monday night and into early Tuesday morning at Pete Taylor Park, beating Southern Miss 8-6 to win the Hattiesburg Regional. Down to their last loss after South Alabama beat them on Friday, the Bulldogs won four in a row between Sunday and Monday in order to advance to next weekend's super regional at LSU. Mississippi State (40-25) won the day's first game easily, 8-1, but things immediately did not go its way in the second game. Southern Miss (50-16) jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first inning, and made it 5-1 in the fourth. But the Bulldogs scored three runs in the fifth when Cody Brown hit a home run to right field, and pulled back to within a run in the seventh. The go-ahead run came in the eighth inning on a strange play.
 
Biloxi's Cody Brown plays starring role as Mississippi State clinches Super Regional bid
With the hot bat of Biloxi's Cody Brown leading the way, Mississippi State clinched the Hattiesburg Regional with wins of 8-1 and 8-6 over Southern Miss Monday night at Pete Taylor Park. With his team trailing 5-1 in the fifth inning of the second game, Brown sent a 3-run home run well into the pine trees above the right field wall to spark the Bulldogs' rally. MSU (40-25) will travel to play rival LSU in the Super Regional. The Bulldogs battled back to win four consecutive games after falling 6-3 to South Alabama in the team's regional opener on Friday. Brown, a senior, took the field in each of the last four games knowing that his Bulldog career was one defeat away from ending. Brown was named the Most Outsanding Player of the Hattiesburg Regional after going 10-for-19 at the plate over the course of five games. He hit two homers, knocked in seven runs and scored three times.
 
How Mississippi State advanced to a super regional after beating USM
The only thing ordinary about Mississippi State's regional win against Southern Miss at Pete Taylor Park was its celebration afterward. Maybe Riley Self falling down after being greeted by teammates was an exception because that was kind of funny. Besides that, it was the stuff you usually see. You know, players jumping around, clapping and yelling to each other. But how they advanced to a super regional matchup against host LSU next weekend? Now that was some wild stuff. "Wow," Andy Cannizaro said. "Oh, my gosh. What a day." The end of a daunting task -- Mississippi State needed to win four straight games, including doubleheaders on Sunday and Monday while facing elimination after dropping the opener -- was completed with an 8-6 win over Southern Miss at 12:48 a.m. Tuesday.
 
Golden Eagles fall short vs. Mississippi State
Southern Miss ran out of magic Monday. Needing one win to advance to the super regional round for the second time in program history, the Golden Eagles lost twice to Mississippi State at Pete Taylor Park. They dropped the first game 8-1 -- which was delayed by nearly five hours by inclement weather in the area -- before falling 8-6 minutes after midnight to end their season. The Bulldogs (40-25) move on to face LSU at the Baton Rouge Super Regional later this week. Scott Berry, who was ejected between the eighth and ninth innings of the second game for arguing with first base umpire Michael Banks, guided his team to a program-best 50-16 overall record in his eighth season as coach. "It's never easy to end it the way we ended it today," Berry said.
 
LSU to face Mississippi State in super regional
Brent Rooker and Cody Brown each had three RBIs, and Mississippi State beat host Southern Miss 8-6 early Tuesday in Game 7 of the Hattiesburg Regional to advance to the super regional. Mississippi State (40-25) won four games in two days -- including two against Southern Miss -- to advance to play No. 4 national seed LSU. Rooker hit his 23rd home run of the season in the first inning, but Southern Miss answered with four runs in the bottom half to chase Bulldogs starter Cole Gordon. Mississippi State loaded the bases in the seventh without a hit, but only scored one run to get within 6-5. They took a 7-6 lead with two outs in the eighth on Rooker's high pop-up that found space in shallow right field, and Elijah MacNamee added an insurance run in the ninth with his first hit of the game.
 
LSU-Mississippi State series will start Saturday at Alex Box Stadium
It will be baseball under the lights for the right to go to the College World Series for LSU and Mississippi State, the NCAA announced on Tuesday morning. The Tigers and Bulldogs will begin the best-of-three series with Game 1 of the Super Regional at 8 p.m. on Saturday and Game 2 at 8 p.m. on Sunday. A potential Game 3 time for Monday is yet to be determined but would be played at either noon, 3 p.m. or 6 p.m., depending on other games. The Tigers were one of five national seeds to advance in the tournament along with No. 1 Oregon State, No. 3 Florida, No. 6 TCU and No. 7 Louisville. An LSU-Mississippi State series also guarantees the SEC at least one team in the College World Series. Florida, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Texas A&M are also playing in Super Regionals.
 
Kentucky baseball makes history by advancing to its first super regional
In a season marked by unprecedented achievement, Kentucky's baseball team added perhaps its best never-before on Monday night/Tuesday morning. UK advanced to the first NCAA super regional in program history by rallying past North Carolina State 10-5. Surely in anticipation of witnessing history, a large crowd came to Cliff Hagan Stadium. The announced attendance of 5,005 was a UK record. Although a spring storm delayed the start of the game for two hours and 14 minutes, it hardly dampened fan enthusiasm. Full-throated sing-a-longs to "Sweet Caroline," the final rendition coming as 1 a.m. loomed, proved that. UK Coach Nick Mingione said his reaction to seeing the bleachers nearly full after an evacuation was, "I cannot believe these people are still here. If you don't think ... their cheering like that doesn't help, man, you're crazy. Because I'm confident they helped us win that game. And I couldn't be more appreciative." Kentucky rallied to take the lead for good minutes into the midnight hour.
 
Auburn baseball season ends with shutout loss to Florida State in NCAA Regional final
A little more than 20 years ago on the same field at Dick Howser Stadium against the same Florida State program, Auburn had one of the most memorable weekends in program history. David Ross hit a two-out, walk-off, three run home run to life the Tigers over the Seminoles on May 24, 1997. Tim Hudson pitched eight innings of two-run ball the next day to do the same thing, sending Auburn to the College World Series. Ross and Hudson were in attendance for Monday's NCAA Regional final between Auburn and Florida State, but history did not repeat itself in Tallahassee, Fla. The final result was a 6-0 Seminoles victory and the end of the Tigers' season. Auburn, which has not advanced past the Regional round since 1999, can only look toward 2018. "I thought we were going to get them," said coach Butch Thompson after the Tigers failed to advance out of Tallahassee for the seventh time in nine all-time postseason trips.
 
Year after tragedy, Vanderbilt enjoys every moment of NCAA Regional title
It came 366 days after tearful Vanderbilt players slowly walked off the field. And this time, it looked so different. One leap year and two days ago, the Commodores lost back-to-back games in an NCAA Regional about 48 hours after losing teammate Donny Everett to a drowning accident. That night, they stared aimlessly at the field. They hugged each other. They cried in the dugout. But none of that sadness was present at 10:27 p.m. Monday, when Vanderbilt won an NCAA Regional title by knocking off host Clemson 8-0 in the clinching game. The Commodores advance to the best-of-three Super Regional versus No. 1 overall seed Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., beginning either Friday or Saturday. "I want success for them in a large way for a myriad of reasons, especially with the circumstances they've been involved in over the course of the year," coach Tim Corbin said.
 
New Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon lays out his vision
Sometime after midnight, Brad Bohannon peeled off an orange Auburn uniform and made his way to the Tallahassee airport. There was a plane waiting to take the Auburn assistant to Tuscaloosa where he'd become the University of Alabama baseball coach in the morning. A few hours later, he wore a crimson tie and grinned as he stepped to the podium. "I have been waiting all week to get up here to say 'Roll Tide, baby. Roll Tide,'" Alabama's new baseball coach said. Bohannon was introduced as Alabama's 32nd head coach at a news conference. It's Bohannon's first head coaching job after spending the last 14 years as an assistant at Kentucky and Auburn. About a dozen current players sat in the first two rows of the press conference as Bohannon laid out his vision for Alabama.
 
With football support staff sizes questioned, SEC focus more on roles than numbers
Greg Byrne was hired by Alabama as it new athletic director in January and started his new job on March 1 in Tuscaloosa where Nick Saban's football program is coming off another appearance in the national title game. The nation's marquee program has done it with an army of behind the scenes staff members with a range of responsibilities. The school's athletic website list seven football "analysts," not including recently hired Chris Weinke. With scrutiny nationally on the size of football support staffs, Byrne was asked if he thought the size at Alabama would look different three years from now. "Well, I think Coach Saban and how we've structured our program has worked really well for Alabama and for Coach Saban," Byrne said. SEC schools aren't rushing to put a cap on staff sizes. "I think it's hard to pick a number," coach Kirby Smart said.



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