Monday, July 31, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State fiscal year giving tops $100 million for four successive years
For a fourth consecutive year, Mississippi State University has topped the $100 million mark in private gifts. More than $108.6 million was contributed during the just-ended fiscal year 2017, marking the second highest fundraising year on record for the 139-year-old land-grant institution. "Private gifts have become crucial to maintaining excellence and achieving growth, and we gratefully acknowledge the impact of this generous outpouring of support," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. "This strong giving year creates further momentum for our Infinite Impact capital campaign and demonstrates the confidence our MSU family has in our accomplishments and plans for the future."
Mississippi State architecture student honored by Building Technology Educators' Society
Zachary R. Henry, a senior architecture major in Mississippi State's College of Architecture, Art and Design recently received national recognition from the Building Technology Educators' Society. Henry of Knoxville, Tenn., is one of only two students who were awarded scholarships by BTES during the nonprofit's national conference in Des Moines, Iowa. In addition to receiving a $500 travel scholarship, free conference admission and a complimentary BTES one-year membership, Henry presented his Best Undergraduate Paper award-winner "Ecological Functionalism in the Work of Glenn Murcutt: A Case Study of the Fredericks-White House" at the conference. A student in the university's Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, Henry plans to pursue a master's degree in environmental design studies following graduation.
Promise scholarship honors late author, Mississippi State alumnus Thomas Lawrence
A $100,000 scholarship in honor of the late alumnus Thomas R. "Tom" Lawrence of Opelika, Alabama, has been established at Mississippi State University. The endowment will support the MSU Promise Awards Program, which benefits students from Mississippi families with critical financial need. Contributions from Nashville, Tennessee-based Cumberland Pharmaceuticals and longtime friend and fellow MSU alumnus Will D. Carpenter, along with other friends and family of Lawrence, are making the scholarship possible. Lawrence served as a charter board member for the specialty pharmaceutical firm. The Thomas Lawrence Promise Endowed Scholarship may assist with the cost of tuition, fees, meals and housing for recipients. Candidates for the award will be Mississippi residents entering MSU as full-time freshman students or students transferring from a community college.
Scholarship honors late author and Mississippi State alumnus
A $100,000 scholarship in honor of the late alumnus Thomas R. "Tom" Lawrence of Opelika, Alabama, has been established at Mississippi State University. It will support the MSU Promise Awards Program, which benefits students from Mississippi families with critical financial need. Contributions from Nashville-based Cumberland Pharmaceuticals and longtime friend and fellow MSU alumnus Will D. Carpenter, along with other friends and family of Lawrence, are making the scholarship possible. Lawrence served as a charter board member for the specialty pharmaceutical firm. Texas-born Lawrence was raised in the Mississippi towns of Cleveland, Jackson and Ruleville. He graduated from MSU in 1961 with a degree in history.
Mississippi soybean crops looking good, ag service says
Most of the soybean crop in Mississippi has good potential, despite some challenges coming late in the growing season. Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, says more than 60 percent of the crop was planted in April. An extension service news release says the early planting date is an advantage because the crop has the potential to avoid times when it is vulnerable to certain diseases and insects common in the summer.
Mississippi State student injured in hit-and-run, parents credit God for protection
A Mid-South family is grateful their son survived after they said he was left to die in the street during a weekend visit to Memphis. Carter Kimes is a sophomore at Mississippi State University, but he is now recovering in the hospital and his parents are asking for the public's help to find the person responsible for the crash that almost took his life. "We kind of felt the worst may come. We said a little prayer together and hoped it wasn't going to be what we thought," Kirk Kimes said. Carter Kimes was crossing Union Avenue near Waldran heading to his hotel around 3:30 a.m. Sunday. He was coming back from a Redbirds game with friends and a night on Beale Street. Kimes is expected to eventually recover from his injuries. Kimes' parents want the person who did it caught.
Aldermen discuss school board, drainage in work session
Mayor Lynn Spruill told the Board of Aldermen at Friday's work session that she is looking to set a date for an appointment for the open school board position after receiving copies of applications and letters of interest. Spruill said she would like to interview applicants on Aug. 15 during a board meeting and make a decision on the appointment by the first meeting in September. "That way we are not doing it all in the same night," Spruill said. "So we have time to think about it, time to look at it." Quotes for the improvements of drainage on Green Street were brought up by City Engineer Edward Kemp. Kemp said there is flooding after a significant rain event and these improvements are not a final solution. "They're different projects, but they're both components that will help alleviate some of those issues," Kemp said.
Former fashion model qualifies for District 38 House race
The candidate list for the Nov. 7 special election to fill the Mississippi House of Representatives' vacant District 38 seat now includes two Starkville women after former fashion model-turned-entrepreneur, media executive and activist Narissa Bradford qualified for the race. Bradford will face former Starkville Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn in November's election. District 38's seat became vacant after former Rep. Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville, retired this summer to spend more time with his family. The district covers portions of Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties. Bradford was born in the Rock Hill community north of Starkville and spent 25 years working and traveling abroad. Returning to Starkville to spend more time with her family spurred Bradford to become a local activist, and she identified poverty, safety and education as three of her most important platforms in a release.
Auditor demands almost $102K from deceased Oktibbeha clerk
Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering's office is working to collect almost $102,000 in taxpayer funds owed by deceased Oktibbeha County Chancery Clerk Monica Banks. The annual state auditor's report of Fiscal Year 2017 exceptions listed two Golden Triangle embezzlement claims in the Golden Triangle -- one against Banks and another against Susan Holder, a former Mississippi State University employee indicted last year for taking more than $25,000 in grant funds awarded to the 4-H Foundation. While the state auditor's office issued a formal demand to Holder last year for $81,946.47 and her case progresses through Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, Pickering spokesperson Logan Reeves said his office is pursuing restitution through the holder of Banks' public bond as an elected official. Banks, 58, died in September 2016 after a lengthy illness.
Solution to transportation woes not easy
For the past five years, Republican Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall has used the annual political speakings at the Neshoba County Fair to advocate for more funds for what he said is a deteriorating transportation system. Hall, a Republican who is in his fifth term on the three-member Transportation Commission, reiterated his plea last week at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia. "When school starts next month, there will be buses making their way over bridges in the state in danger of failure," he said. Other elected officials now agree that additional funds are needed for Mississippi's infrastructure both on the state and local level. "The problem is real," Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said during his fair speech on Wednesday. "The goal is one we all agree on -- better roads and bridges."
Analysis: Stump speaking not as zippy in political off-year
The Neshoba County Fair can be one of the best places to see old-fashioned political stump speaking in Mississippi. But with no statewide or federal elections in 2017, this was a lackluster year for speeches. The only zingers were delivered in back-to-back appearances last week by two men who might be the top contenders for governor in 2019, should they both choose to run -- Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. Hood, the only Democrat in statewide office, said the Republican-led Legislature is making a hash of the state budget by cutting taxes and shortchanging mental health services, education and transportation. Reeves, one of the key players in pushing the tax cuts, said Republicans are taming government's "endless appetite" for money. He also snapped back at Hood. The politicians' speeches were greeted with applause, but not by the rowdy cheers of an election year.
Mississippi promised $400M to green companies, got few jobs back
For the most part, Mississippi's green dream has become a black hole. Starting in 2010, then-Gov. Haley Barbour convinced lawmakers to give seven green companies more than $400 million in taxpayer-backed loans -- more than the state spends for the departments of Health, Public Safety and Mental Health combined. "There were all kinds of deals," recalled Joe Max Higgins Jr., CEO of Golden Triangle Development Link in Columbus. "The attitude was, 'The (federal) government's giving away money. Let's go get some.'" In return for the state loaning millions, the green companies promised to hire nearly 5,000 Mississippians. In the seven years since, 621 jobs have materialized from those projects. Some of those companies have failed, some fell apart before borrowing any money, some borrowed less, and one has been a roaring success. The tab for taxpayers? $174 million.
Campaign cash piling up in 1st District race
A Democratic challenger in the 1st Congressional District has reported noteworthy fundraising activity since the announcement of his candidacy, but Republican incumbent Rep. Trent Kelly retains a formidable and significant cash advantage. Randy Wadkins, a chemistry professor at the University of Mississippi, entered the race earlier this year. Since then, he has collected almost $27,000 in campaign donations, according to Federal Elections Commission reports filed in mid-July. Wadkins has spent a little over $7,000 on campaign expenses, leaving him a cash on hand balance of more than $19,000. That makes him the most well-financed candidate to take on Kelly since the second-term congressman took office.
Kelly looks to cut visa paperwork faced by farmers
U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly has filed legislation that seeks to simplify the paperwork process faced by farmers trying to hire foreign workers. The 1st District congressman and member of the House Agriculture Committee wants to ease regulatory hoops related to the H-2A guest worker program, a visa category that allows non-citizens entry into the United States to perform agricultural jobs of 10 months or less. Kelly finds the program's administration onerous and slow. "Farmers in the 1st District have to endure government red tape when they apply for seasonal workers," Kelly said in a written statement. "They often wait 30 days or longer to get applications processed which can have an impact on their operations. That's unacceptable. This common sense legislation helps modernize and streamline the application process."
Trump insults and threatens GOP senators in long rant after health bill failure
After a years-long effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapsed on Capitol Hill, President Trump castigated Republican senators on social media Saturday. "They look like fools," the president wrote on Twitter -- and unless they tried yet again to repeal and replace Obamacare, they would be "total quitters" too. Trump's multi-chaptered and occasionally self-contradictory rant kicked off Friday morning, shortly after three Republican senators joined every Democrat to sink the GOP's last-ditch effort to overturn Obamacare, 51 to 49. As he continued his tweet storm into Saturday, Trump offered examples of bills that could not abide a filibuster -- along with heaping new demands, threats and insults on Republican senators.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus Is Out
President Donald Trump has named Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly as his new White House chief of staff, replacing an embattled Reince Priebus. Trump's announcement came after a week of turmoil in the White House that had prompted fervent speculation Priebus would be the next to go. But Priebus's job has been in question almost since the beginning when he was given the almost impossible goal of uniting disparate ideological factions within the Trump administration and serving as a bridge to establishment Republicans. Priebus was a leading voice for the GOP establishment in the Trump administration, where he was pitted against a populist faction that aimed to disrupt the status quo.
What's next for Jeff Sessions? Senate, governor runs suggested
Alabama is on the brink of an election process to select a new senator to replace the old senator who remains popular and, possibly, could soon be unemployed. That's pretty much a snapshot of the political landscape in Jeff Sessions' home state. And despite the unfolding drama, it may all end up meaning ... absolutely nothing. "I won't say it's crazy," said Jess Brown, a retired political science professor from Athens State University, "but I think it's low probability." The question -- whether people are quietly wondering to themselves or, as in the case of one Senate candidate, firing off a press release about it -- is this: Could Sessions, if he is no longer U.S. attorney general, seek to regain his seat in the U.S. Senate?
U.S. flexes military muscle after North Korea's ICBM test
The United States confronted North Korea over its latest missile test amid signs that time is running out on efforts to halt the country's headlong rush to build a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States. The U.S. flew two B-1 bombers over South Korea Sunday in a show of force. The U.S. conducted a test of its missile-defense system in Alaska and flew two supersonic bombers over South Korea on Sunday in a show of force following North Korea's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test on Friday. The U.S. has sent B-1 bombers to South Korea for flyovers several times this year in response to the North's banned missile tests and also following the death of a U.S. college student last month after he was released by North Korea in a coma.
Thursday's Town & Tower to feature IHL board member Walt Starr
Dr. J. Walt Starr, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees member, will speak at the fall meeting of the Town & Tower Club Thursday, Aug. 3. Lunch is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. on the campus of Mississippi University for Women in the Pope Banquet Hall, Hogarth Dining Center. The cost is $15, payable at the door. RSVP by Monday, July 31 to A native of Starkville, Starr was appointed to the Board by Gov. Phil Bryant in May 2015 to represent the Third (Northern) Supreme Court District for a term to expire May 7, 2024. He graduated from Mississippi State University in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, from the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry in 1984 and completed a periodontal residency from the University of Alabama Birmingham in 1988.
Recent scandals show leaders failing to navigate acceptable behavior standards against changing mores
Successful people in power sometimes behave badly -- in both their professional capacities and in their personal lives. The last few weeks in higher education provide two prominent examples. The head football coach at the University of Mississippi resigned July 20 after a call from his mobile phone to an escort service was revealed. The University of Southern California took steps to fire its former medical school dean from the faculty after allegations came to light that he repeatedly used hard drugs and socialized with a group of much younger people, some of whom had criminal backgrounds and one of whom overdosed in his presence. In both cases, the universities acted after outside parties brought leaders' behavior to light. The two situations raised questions about the universities' priorities and processes. They also put the institutions' ethical and moral standards for their leaders under scrutiny.
UM professor and student collaborate to shed light on disorder
A study conducted by a University of Mississippi professor and one of his former students may lead to a better understanding of schizophrenia. Toshikazu "Tossi" Ikuta, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, teamed with Sara Kiparizoska, a 2016 biochemistry graduate from Laurel, to examine how the sense of smell is affected in patients with the disorder. Their article, "Disrupted Olfactory Integration in Schizophrenia: Functional Connectivity Study," will appear in the upcoming edition of the International Journal for Neuropsychopharmacology. A graduate of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Kiparizoska helped conduct the research for her honors thesis.
West Nile virus researcher believes vaccine should be available
While the number of people infected with West Nile virus continues to increase in Mississippi and elsewhere, prospects for a vaccine being developed won't be on the horizon until it is "an uncontrollable epidemic" in the nation, says Jackson scientist Dr. A. Arturo Leis. Leis is a senior scientist at the Center for Neuroscience and Neurological Recovery at Methodist Rehabilitation Center and clinical professor of neurology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Mississippi has 16 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus for 2017, according to the state Department of Health. Leis said the virus' peak season is mid-July through October. Leis said he and other researchers have seen lingering effects among West Nile survivors, which they do not understand yet.
Solution sought for flooding along railroad corridor that borders U. of Alabama campus
The University of Alabama is collaborating with other local partners to address storm drainage and flooding issues associated with the drainage ditch along the railroad corridor that borders the south side of campus. University officials met Thursday with representatives from the Alabama Department of Transportation, the city of Tuscaloosa, DCH Regional Medical Center and the Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern railroads about the drainage ditch, which runs along the tracks until they cross McFarland Boulevard just south of the hospital property. During heavy rains, there has been flooding along McFarland Boulevard, a state-maintained roadway, in low spots between 13th Street and the University Boulevard interchange. The discussions this week were preliminary but the partners are considering the possibility of combining their separate drainage problems into one program and seeking federal funding to pay for the storm sewer improvements, according to Tim Leopard, associate vice president of construction at UA.
Carnines Give $250K For U. of Arkansas Scholarship In Education Leadership
The University of Arkansas on Friday announced that alumnus Les Carnine and his wife Linda, of Edmond, Oklahoma, have committed $250,000 to the College of Education & Health Professions and Campaign Arkansas. Their money will create the Carnine Endowed Scholarship in Education Leadership. The scholarship will benefit students pursuing a doctor of education degree from the Education Leadership Program in Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the college. "The impact of a quality education has immeasurable benefits to not only the individual but to the community and to society in general," Les Carnine, who earned his doctorate in education administration from UA, said in a news release. "Quality leadership is an essential ingredient. It impacts students, families and co-workers."
Two years after plans announced, $245M Park West student apartment complex has grand opening at Texas A&M
Upon first inspection, one could be forgiven for mistaking the 50-acre Park West student apartment complex in College Station for a resort located in a more metropolitan area of the state. The facility's rooftop, 50,000-square-foot amenities deck boasts a swimming pool, hot tub, cabanas, outdoor grills and more. There are currently two Texas A&M bus stops for shuttling students to and from campus, and a convenience store and coffee shop located on site. Nearly two years to the day since plans for the $245 million project at 503 George Bush Drive were officially unveiled, Park West had its grand opening Friday just in time for the fall semester. The 2.2 million-square-foot public-private partnership, initiated by the Texas A&M University System, ranks as the largest student housing development of its kind in the nation.
Mun Choi: U. of Missouri 'builds credibility' with lab finance plan
Tapping the state treasury no longer will be an essential element of University of Missouri construction plans, freeing strategic goals from political timetables and at the same time impressing on state leaders that help is welcome at any time, President Mun Choi said in an interview last week. Since he assumed his duties March 1, the university has implemented $101 million in budget cuts across the system and reduced the number of positions in the budget by about 500 jobs. Part of the money cut was to cover reductions in state aid. Part was the result of lower tuition revenue. But the biggest piece, $39.1 million, was to make money available for big plans Choi said he is determined to see through. In the capital construction request approved Friday by the UM Board of Curators, the university is asking for $150 million to support campus redevelopment and a $200 million building called the Translational Precision Medicine Complex.
Former U. of Missouri student sues Kappa Alpha for alcohol hazing
The University of Missouri chapter of Kappa Alpha fraternity and its national organization are being sued by a former MU student who was injured in a 2016 hazing event involving binge-drinking. Brandon Zingale was a Kappa Alpha pledge who nearly died in an alcohol-related hazing event in 2016, according to the lawsuit filed with the Boone County Circuit Court. During the night of Sept. 27, 2016, Zingale became so intoxicated he could not take care of himself, so fraternity members put him to bed wearing a backpack to keep him from rolling onto his back and dying of asphyxiation, according to the suit. The next morning, Zingale was found alone, unconscious, unresponsive and barely breathing as a result of alcohol poisoning. Defendants listed include the fraternity as well as the national affiliate, Kappa Alpha Order, and three fraternity members -- Jacob Lee, who at the time was chapter president, and Max McGrath and Ryan Heuermann.
Are Campus Activists Too Dogmatic?
One criticism of college students today is that they've fallen into a kind of fundamentalism in their efforts to call out racism, sexism, and other forms of intolerance. When they pressure university officials to un-invite conservative speakers, or demand that heads roll for insensitive comments, conservative critics argue that they too are engaging in intolerance. Even some liberal voices have urged students to dial back their outrage. John McWhorter, a professor at Columbia University, argued last month that student activists are tackling legitimate issues, but they go too far when they ban speakers from campus in a belief they will "pollute the space with their words," or when they hector those ignorant of the politically correct way to express their thoughts. At the core of the issue is a troubling tendency, on both the left and right, that goes well beyond college campuses: a consuming obsession with sin.
Clarifying the class size quandary
Angela Farmer, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Mississippi State, writes: "There is much debate and distress among parents when it comes to understanding the impact of class size. First and foremost, there is no magical number above which classes morph from productive, ordered settings to disruptive, chaotic disasters. There is no ideal number or perfect setting in which to instruct students. While few teachers would ask for K-12 settings with student loads over 30 students per class, many have managed such numbers regularly with little difficulty. Other instructors with limited classroom management skills may find themselves struggling with a class of 15."
Will GOP Congress and Legislature become the new 'death panels?'
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "In the 1960s popular songs like 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' by the Hollies, 'Lean on Me' by Bill Withers, and 'You've Got a Friend' by Carole King echoed a growing mood in the country to care for people in need. Today, the majority mood has shifted again. Speeches last week at the Neshoba County Fair by potential gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Jim Hood and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves reflected this shift. ...This mirrors majority political attitudes in Washington around health care. Tax cuts and costs dominate while commitment to care dwindles. The long-term outlook for those in need of care is harsh, particularly with regard to Medicaid."
Stump speakin' ain't for everyone
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "If either Attorney General Jim Hood or Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is elected Mississippi's next governor, it won't be because of their public speaking, bless their hearts. Their back-to-back stump speeches were, ostensibly, the highlight of the political speech-i-fying at the Neshoba County Fair last week, a potential preview of the 2019 gubernatorial battle. Well ... they still have a good while to practice, or search for speech writers before then. Mississippi's top politicians and candidates have to run a gauntlet the likes of which those in most other states no longer do: giving a 10-minute, old-timey stump speech in the sweltering heat under the Founders Square pavilion at the Neshoba County Fair." ...Longtime Mississippi political columnist and longtime Neshoba Fair-goer Sid Salter put it this way a few years back: 'Political speaking like that at Neshoba -- where the candidate is under pressure from the heat, the crowd, and the supporters of his opponents -- is a dying art. That's why the tradition at Neshoba remains so dear to fair-goers and why politicians leave Neshoba proud to have endured the experience.'"

Bulldogs take practices to 'The Farm'
It's not uncommon for football coaches at all levels to conduct training camp outside of their normal practice facilities. Coaches have been doing that for decades, but what Dan Mullen does has become a tradition -- and a rite of passage -- at Mississippi State. Instead of walking onto the lush turf and grass fields behind the $25 million Seal Football Complex, Mullen has the Bulldogs go a little more rustic by shifting practices to an area on the south side of campus known as "The Farm" The Farm is an isolated field located on the south side of MSU's campus near the veterinary school. The Bulldogs have spent several days practicing there during training camp each year since Mullen's arrival in 2009. Saturday's practice was the fourth for State this fall and Mullen has been pleased with the progress thus far.
Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald focused on leadership role
Fall camp is much different for Nick Fitzgerald this year. The Mississippi State junior was battling three others last fall to be the starting quarterback in 2016 and eventually won the job. Fitzgerald started all 13 games for the Bulldogs last season which caused the other candidates to transfer. "Last year going into camp, I was in the mindset of beating other people out," Fitzgerald said. "I was more worried about what play this guy made or what throw he made instead of focusing on what I needed to work on to make myself better. Going into this camp, that's my main goal -- focus on me and trying to fix what I can fix." Along with increased production and accuracy in the passing game, MSU coach Dan Mullen wants to see his quarterback expand on his leadership role as well entering Year 2 as the starter.
Nick Gibson hopes to find place in Mississippi State's backfield
Matt Glover saw Nick Gibson run three plays in eighth grade. The Pinson Valley High School football coach watched Gibson go 80 yards for a touchdown run on the first one, but a holding call negated the score. Gibson took the next play 90 yards for a touchdown. That score, too, was called back by a penalty. Glover noticed Gibson showing fatigue, but it didn't stop him from taking the next handoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Glover knew then he had a Southeastern Conference-caliber running back. After a standout prep career, Glover feels this could be the year Gibson delivers similar production. "I knew once he got to State and once he got comfortable doing what they were doing, it's only a matter of time," he said. "I think the in-state schools (Alabama and Auburn) looking over him put a chip on his shoulder. I'm glad he's at State."
Tolando Cleveland is back healthy and wants to lead Bulldogs
Late during Mississippi State's practice on Wednesday, cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley needed to "yank" Tolando Cleveland. The senior corner, as Buckley recalled, wasn't interested in coming out. The coach won that battle. "You love that, but you hate it," Buckley said of Cleveland's response. Don't get Buckley wrong; he wants Cleveland on the field. Buckley just knows how important it is for Mississippi State for Cleveland to stay on the field -- for the duration of this season. Cleveland's season last year ended before it ever started. He was expected to be a starter and was poised to have a solid season after making 10 starts as a junior in 2015 with 42 tackles and three pass deflections. But the goals of improving those numbers and helping lead MSU in the secondary were wiped out when Dan Mullen announced on Aug. 24, 2016 that Cleveland would miss the entire season after tearing his ACL in his left knee.
Pair of Mississippi State women's players perform on national stage
Timid isn't a word that is usually associated with Victoria Vivians. Aggressive. Fearless. Cold-blooded. Those are just some of the ways Vivians' offensive exploits have been described. When you score 5,745 points in your high school career, it's easy to learn how to forget a missed shot and to think about taking and making the next one. But Vivians, a rising senior on the Mississippi State women's basketball team, revealed Thursday she didn't play with that confidence or swagger in 2015 when she was invited to participate in the USA Basketball Pan American Games and World University Games Team Trials at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Earlier this month, Vivians and rising junior Teaira McCowan were invited to the United States U23 National Team Training Camp on July 31-Aug. 4 at the United States Olympic Training Center. The 12-player team selected from the camp will represent the U.S. at the inaugural U23 Four Nations Tournament in Tokyo, Japan.
Attorneys for Ole Miss, IHL seek to dismiss Houston Nutt lawsuit
Attorneys representing the University of Mississippi and the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning filed a motion in federal court Thursday asking that former Ole Miss football coach Houston Nutt's breach of contract lawsuit be dismissed. Earlier in July, Nutt filed the federal lawsuit against IHL, the university and the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, alleging that representatives of the athletic department breached his contract by orchestrating a misinformation campaign to mislead "the media, Ole Miss boosters and potential recruiting prospects about the true nature of matters that were being investigated by the NCAA." Oxford attorney Cal Mayo, who is representing the university and IHL but not the athletics foundation, filed the motion for dismissal on Thursday, saying his two clients cannot be considered citizens of the state, as the original lawsuit stated, and cannot be sued in federal court.
Who are the boosters involved in Ole Miss' NCAA case? School identifies 12 of 14 in unredacted response
The identities of 12 of the 14 boosters involved in the NCAA's investigation into Ole Miss' football program have been revealed. In accordance with a final order recently handed down by the Mississippi Ethics Commission, Ole Miss on Friday released the names of boosters referenced in the two Notice of Allegations the school received from the NCAA as well as the university's responses. Boosters' names were previously redacted in the documents. One booster, referred to as Booster 12 along with the booster's employer (Booster 14), remained unnamed after appealing the MEC's decision and being granted a temporary order of stay by the Hinds County Chancery Court. Ole Miss is awaiting further word from the court before revealing their names.
Attorney claims Ole Miss trying to avoid full disclosure of Hugh Freeze's phone records
Thomas Mars, the Arkansas-based attorney for former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, claims the university is trying to avoid full disclosure of more than five years of former coach Hugh Freeze's phone records and is challenging the school's estimate of $25,100 in legal fees to complete the request. In a letter sent to Ole Miss general counsel Friday and shared with USA TODAY Sports, Mars says the schools is engaging in "stonewalling tactics" for dealing with requests under the Mississippi Open Records Act. "From the very outset, the University has found all kinds of creative and illegitimate reasons to delay producing documents, redact documents without legal justification," he wrote. Earlier this week, Ole Miss informed Mars that combing through 33,000 cell phone records would take approximately 190 hours of legal work for the school's outside counsel and the school's general counsel. The school says Nutt and Mars would have the burden to pay those legal costs, totaling approximately $25,100.
Who is Hugh Freeze? Conflicting views of former Ole Miss coach emerge
Hugh Freeze stood outside his house near a muscular dog earlier this week when a reporter approached. "You better watch this dog," Freeze said, and a moment later he added, "I can control him." But less than two weeks after he abruptly resigned as head football coach at the University of Mississippi, the narrative of the once-charmed coach has spun beyond control. Freeze, 47, was the devout Christian who beat Nick Saban and Alabama two years in a row, built a team that climbed to No. 3 in the polls and, at least in the eyes of the Ole Miss faithful, could do little wrong. Another side has emerged, though. Since resigning, several former students have taken to social media to speak out against -- and support -- Freeze. Three women who were students at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis in the late 1990s and early 2000s described to USA TODAY Sports how Freeze made them feel uncomfortable with inappropriate behavior. All of it has led to a difficult question: Who is Hugh Freeze?
As schools chase championships, female coaches still playing catch up in SEC, elsewhere
Dawn Staley basked in South Carolina's women's basketball national championship in the weeks that followed by wearing a "net-lace" the coach cut down to Gamecock Club events and a victory parade, but she went without it during the SEC spring meetings in Destin. She's the most high-profile female head coach in a league where 34.2 percent of women's teams are coached by females. In the women's basketball meeting room, six of the 14 coaches are men. "It's always a topic of conversation," Staley said. The SEC's percentage of female head coaches is the second lowest in the power five conferences surveyed behind the Big 12's 32 percent, according to a June report on "Gender, Race & LGBT Inclusion of Head Coaches of Women's Teams" that coincided with the 45th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark federal law that prohibits sex discrimination.

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