Wednesday, August 23, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Country's only unmanned aircraft regional flight center opens at Camp Shelby
Mississippi once again has proven it is one of the best locations in the country for military training and technology, 4th Congressional District Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Mississippi, said during a press conference Tuesday at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby. The event was held to celebrate the grand opening of the Department of Homeland Security's Common Unmanned Aircraft System Site. Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center along with DHS' Science and Technology Directorate and Mississippi State University on Tuesday demonstrated how it tests and evaluates small unmanned aircraft systems and their operators. Mississippi State faculty and staff in the area of aerospace engineering are leading the way for explorations in the new technology. "It's an important technology for all of us here in the state," President Mark Keenum said.
 
Department of Homeland Security partners with Camp Shelby for drone operation evaluations
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate will partner with Camp Shelby for operational evaluations of small unmanned aircraft systems. An opening day ceremony was held at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum Tuesday to kick-off the partnership. In attendance were William N. Bryant with DHS, Senator Thad Cochran, The Adjutant General of Mississippi Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, and other state and federal representatives. The partnership will observe demonstrations of drone capability operational evaluations at Camp Shelby's system support facility.
 
Camp Shelby new training ground for DHS drones
Unmanned aircraft, or drones, are being flown over an obstacle course at Camp Shelby. The Department of Homeland Security has partnered with Mississippi to test and evaluate unmanned aircraft systems. DHS has invested $72 million in the program. Mississippi State University is heavily involved in the program. DHS conducted a demonstration of the program at Camp Shelby's training facility Tuesday. "It will help our DHS components do several things. Protect our borders, number one. Assist in search and rescue, number two. It will help us to respond to natural disasters more efficiently. Also, while we're doing that, maintain the privacy, the rights, and liberties of the individuals of this country," said DHS Science and Technology Undersecretary William Bryan.
 
Mississippi State collaboration offers first-ever Education Expo in Tupelo
Two Mississippi State University departments are collaborating to host an expo for potential students in Northeast Mississippi. Mississippi State University's College of Education and Center for Distance Education will host the first-ever Education Expo on Monday, Aug. 28, at the Hancock Leadership Center on the Itawamba Community College Tupelo campus. The center is located at 1920 Briar Ridge Road in Tupelo. Taking place from 3-6 p.m., the event includes program representatives from the College of Education's various academic departments, as well as representatives from the Center for Distance Education, among other university programs.
 
Mississippi State Makes the Grass Greener
The Mississippi State Plant and Soil Sciences Department is a nationally recognized program, racking up a list of awards about as nice as the grass they cut. People who know grass, know there's an art to growing. Whether it's landscaping a football field, a golf course, or your front yard many people take pride in a fresh cut. The same can be said about MSU's Plant and Soil Sciences Department. It can be hard to imagine the amount of work put into researching different types of grass in our ecosystem. At Mississippi State's North Farm, it's just another day on the job. "We've got about six faculty that do turf grass research at this facility. It's an 8-acre facility, and we've done over 100 trials this year," said Grassturf Extension Specialist, Jay McCurdy.
 
Thousands come to Mississippi State for solar eclipse despite rain and clouds
Despite mid-morning showers and high temperatures, thousands made their way to the Mississippi State University Drill Field on Monday to watch the 2017 solar eclipse. The event -- the first total solar eclipse to be seen in the U.S. in nearly a century -- generated worldwide buzz, and although Starkville only saw a partial eclipse, the line to get special glasses for the event stretched across the field as anxious skywatchers eagerly awaited the rare celestial event. Assistant professor of Spanish Sol Pelaez brought her son to the Drill Field on Monday and stood looking to the sky with her eclipse glasses and a wide smile when the clouds finally passed to give a last-minute look at the eclipse. "I love it," she said. "I thought it was going to be darker but I really like it. It's very cool to see and I'm here with my kid so it's fun." Associate Professor of Astrophysics Angelle Tanner was one of the primary coordinators of the event and could be seen darting through the large crowd giving updates on the status of the eclipse.
 
SOCSD eyes new administrative home on Lynn Lane
A potential property acquisition could move many of Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District's administrative functions to the former Mississippi State Department of Health office on Lynn Lane and give Oktibbeha County supervisors access to surplus property. On Monday, SOCSD Superintendent Eddie Peasant and Assistant Superintendent Toriano Holloway unveiled a proposal from CMMG Enterprises LLC, the now-owner of the 48 Lynn Lane location, that gives the district four options to obtain the property. MSDH's District 4 office in Starkville became available after the agency trimmed its former nine-district organizational structure to three regional offices this summer.
 
Penguins will formally open Mississippi Aquarium in spring 2019
South African penguins will be the first creatures on display in the changing exhibit at the $93 million Mississippi Aquarium. Aquarium director David Kimmel said "Penguin Plunge" has already been booked for one year, beginning with the aquarium's opening in the spring of 2019. The City Council on Tuesday solidified aquarium plans by unanimously approving a $35 million bond issue that will complete funding, which includes money from the state and BP oil catastrophe. The regional tourist attraction is being built on 5.8 acres downtown, on the waterfront across from the harbor. Kimmel said the aquarium's fundraising arm, the Mississippi Aquarium Foundation, is up and running. The foundation, chaired by Anthony Wilson of Mississippi Power, will focus on large donations and sponsorships.
 
Hattiesburg to allow to-go cups downtown
You will soon be able to get a beer, wine or mixed drink to go when dining or enjoying downtown Hattiesburg. Council approved the "To-Go Cup" Ordinance Tuesday evening. The ordinance allows "the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages, beer or light wine in certain places" with exceptions for specials events in a boundary approved by the city. According to the ordinance, people must have the beverage in a paper, plastic or Styrofoam cup, can or non-glass item. Approved businesses must place cans specifically for that trash outside their establishment. In 2016, House Bill 1223 was signed into law, which authorized certain municipalities in the state to establish recreation and leisure districts. Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker, a representative at the time, worked to expand the area for cities in which it applied.
 
Guns, ammo tax holiday: What's exempt?
In its fourth year, Mississippi's Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday is expected to pack stores this weekend with shoppers looking for a discount on guns, ammunition and other items exempt from the state's 7 percent sales tax. "It's actually bigger for us than Black Friday," said Todd Sarotte, manager of Van's Sporting Goods in Brandon. "It's grown every year, and for the last two years it's been bigger than Black Friday for us." The tax holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and run through midnight Sunday, per a law the Mississippi Legislature passed in 2014. The state has for several years had a similar sales tax holiday weekend for back-to-school clothes. Louisiana has a similar hunting tax holiday.
 
Senate panel to again study transportation woes
The Senate Transportation Committee has two days of hearings scheduled for Thursday and Friday for members to again hear about the poor condition of the state's transportation system. The final segment of the hearings, called by Senate Transportation Chairman Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, will be a discussion of possible solutions. Thus far, finding a solution to deal with the state's infrastructure needs has been difficult to ascertain. State officials have been grappling with the issue for about five years. The legislative leadership, led by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn, have rejected calls to raise the state's 18.4-cent per gallon gas tax, one of the lowest in the nation, to provide additional funds for transportation needs.
 
Historians: Confederate emblem 'symbol of racial terror'
Historians in Mississippi say the Confederate battle emblem is a "symbol of racial terror" that needs to be stripped from the state flag. Thirty-four professors released a statement this week saying they expect questions from students about the recent white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, where some participants carried the rebel flag. The professors from public and private universities wrote that Mississippi legislators adopted the flag in 1894 to assert white supremacy. The professors wrote: "This flag does not reflect the entirety of the state's history and people. It ignores the reality of the African-American experience, and it limits the scope of what Mississippi has been, is, and can be."
 
Sen. Briggs Hopson favors state flag change and lottery
As the guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club Tuesday, Mississippi State Senator for District 23 Briggs Hopson discussed the recent legislative session as well as the ongoing discussions related to a Mississippi state lottery and the state flag. Hopson said that he would be in favor of changing the state flag and cast a vote in favor of making the change when given the choice during a statewide vote in 2001. Hopson also sharply condemned the hate groups that made national headlines last week following a rally in Charlottesville, Va., that resulted in the death of a counter protester. Although he is in favor of changing the flag, Hopson said that he does not expect it to come up for a vote in the Legislature. Hopson said one of the reasons he is in favor of changing the flag is due to the potential economic consequences of continuing to use a flag that includes the Confederate emblem.
 
'Vaccines saving babies' despite billboard calling them deadly
A swaddled, sleeping infant appears on a large electronic billboard hovering over the Burger King on Main Street in Tupelo. "Are vaccines killing our babies?" it asks passersby. "Vaccines are saving our babies," said Dr. Paul Byers, Mississippi State Department of Health State epidemiologist. The billboard's question, posed by the Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights, is followed by a startling claim: "50+ Mississippi babies died following routine vaccines." "If vaccines kill babies, I'm on their side," Paul Offit, director of the vaccine education center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said of the Mississippi group. "But they don't." In April, Mississippi saw its first outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease in a decade. Six baseball players at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville contracted mumps, leading to 13 cases across the campus. Players and coaches experienced facial swelling, fever, headache and tender glands under the ears.
 
Trump fills Phoenix speech with charged language, accusing media and fellow Republicans of failings
As protesters massed on the streets of Phoenix, President Trump on Tuesday unleashed a vitriolic, 76-minute speech mocking those who considered his response to the Charlottesville white supremacist march racist, adopting racially charged language and hinting that he would pardon former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, long accused of brutality against Latinos. He re-read for more than 16 minutes the remarks he had uttered after violence in Virginia claimed the life of a woman protesting the white supremacists, omitting the remarks in which he said that both sides were to blame and occupied the same plane in his view. "The words were perfect," he said. But even as he sought to dismiss one racially fraught controversy, he ignited another with words that seemed to promise a pardon to Arpaio.
 
Mitch McConnell, in Private, Doubts if Trump Can Save Presidency
The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises. What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility, complicated by the position of Mr. McConnell's wife, Elaine L. Chao, in Mr. Trump's cabinet, according to more than a dozen people briefed on their imperiled partnership. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense. The rupture between Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell comes at a highly perilous moment for Republicans.
 
Democrats Hope for 'Perfect Storm' in Alabama Senate Race
As Republicans gear up for a grueling primary runoff in the Alabama special election Senate race, Democratic candidate Doug Jones has the race to himself. And Democrats see Jones as their best hope for victory in a ruby-red state. But that's a tall order for Jones. President Donald Trump won the state by 28 points in November. A Democrat has not won a Senate seat in Alabama since Sen. Richard C. Shelby was elected to a second term in 1992 -- and he switched to the GOP two years later. Jones has until the Dec. 12 election to make his case to Yellowhammer State voters, and Democrats know it will be tough. "You need that perfect storm to develop," said Zac McCrary, a Democratic pollster based in Montgomery. "You need virtually all of this to break the right way."
 
UM journalism alum Donica Phifer named managing editor of the Oxford Eagle
University of Mississippi alumna Donica Phifer has been named managing editor of The Oxford Eagle. Phifer, 31, joined the Eagle staff in August after five years as sports editor of the New Albany Gazette. Her outstanding reporting, design and photography skills have garnered several awards from the Mississippi Press Association. During her time in college, Phifer was a reporter, feature writer and staff editor at The Daily Mississippian, where she first worked with Eagle editor in chief Alex McDaniel. Aside from managing daily production and assignments, Phifer's role will include helping execute the Eagle's longterm print and digital strategies to amplify community journalism across multiple platforms.
 
Despite cuts, Delta State future looks bright
Delta State University President William N. LaForge delivered his fifth State of the University address Thursday during the opening convocation at the Bologna Performing Arts Center. LaForge explained the future of the university was positive, stable and advancing, and he was optimistic of a brighter future. "We are positive because we embrace and promote core values such as individual worth, a healthy lifestyle, hospitality, a strong work ethic, cultural enrichment, civility, and respect for all, loyalty, ethical conduct, and accountability in all we do," LaForge said. He said the university received a $2.2 million reduction in operating funds from the state, but despite the cuts made, there has been an increase in enrollment and no employee layoffs or terminations of programs. However, LaForge said he wanted everyone to understand that "not everything is rosy, and I want to make sure that you are aware of the negatives and the threats."
 
NSF grant will help U. of Alabama train future teachers
Students majoring in secondary math education at the University of Alabama will soon receive more training to help them prepare to teach computer science classes. The training will be funded through a two-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, as part of the new "CS for All" program. Secondary math education majors at UA now take a computer science course called CS 104 -- computer science principles -- as part of their mathematics major. "The grant is a pre-service preparation pathway that will enable secondary math education students to be prepared to offer a computer science course at their future high school," said Jeff Gray, UA computer science professor and principal investigator of the grant. The grant provides up to 30 $1,500 stipends during the next two years to students who take the new course.
 
Auburn University's 'Critical Conversations' series kicks off Sept. 1
Starting next Friday, Auburn University will host a series of lectures to examine free speech and intellectual diversity. Ivy League professors Cornel West and Robert George will kick off the "Critical Conversations" series, scheduled for 4 p.m. Sept. 1 in the Student Center Ballroom. The theme of the lecture will be "Ideological Differences and Free Speech on Campus." "We are excited to welcome Cornel West and Robert George to our campus as we launch this important series," said Tim Bossinger, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "As our students and faculty navigate these topics in the classroom, they will have the opportunity to engage in 'critical conversations' outside of class as well." Taffye Benson Clayton, associate provost and vice president for inclusion and diversity, said the idea for a lecture series started about nine months ago and "evolved."
 
Scooters shrink vast U. of Arkansas campus
Like other athletes at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, freshman pitcher Zebulon Vermillion follows a strict workout regimen to stay game-ready, but walking across campus to his math classes in University Hall isn't part of it. That's why his teammates persuaded him to buy a motor scooter and join the hundreds of UA students who zoom effortlessly between classes and events. "The first couple days [of class], I walked, because I didn't know there was moped parking outside Old Main, and it was miserable," Vermillion said. As students are returning to classes, many have added a visit to Fayetteville scooter dealerships to their back-to-school shopping list. At UA the popularity of scooters peaked in 2014, when students purchased 1,493 moped passes. So far this year, students have bought 334, compared with 354 during the same period last year.
 
Robert Nobles named interim vice chancellor for research and engagement at U. of Tennessee
University of Tennessee Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Robert Nobles has been named interim vice chancellor for research and engagement effective September 1. Nobles has served as associate vice chancellor since 2013 and will take over following the departure of Vice Chancellor Taylor Eighmy, who is leaving the university to become president of the University of Texas at San Antonio. UT Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport said in an announcement to the university that she plans to appoint a search committee in the coming weeks so that a search for the next vice chancellor can begin early this fall. Nobles served in previous roles at Texas A&M and at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston as a senior research administrator and is a co-investigator on a five-year $4.9 million National Institutes of Health award for the Program for Excellence and Equity in Research.
 
Texas A&M officials urge vigilance following campus bomb threat
Texas A&M officials said the university is taking precautions after a bomb threat was emailed to several campus offices Monday. The University Police Department said the threat did not include details about a time or location and was determined to be of low credibility. Authorities were investigating to determine the point of origin and sender. Off-duty officers were called in to conduct a campus-wide sweep of buildings and gathering spaces, but no device was found and no suspicious activities were identified, police said. Authorities are asking the campus community to remain vigilant and report suspicious behavior, packages and other objects to police.
 
At U. of Missouri, first-day numbers better than expected
First-day enrollment counts included some encouraging news for the University of Missouri, with an incoming freshman class slightly larger than expected and overall enrollment meeting a key psychological level. The incoming class is about 4,100, the university said in a news release. That would be the smallest incoming class in about 20 years but 100 more than estimated in May. Overall first-day enrollment was estimated more than 30,000 students. MU has seen two years of dramatic enrollment declines since campus protests over racial issues in November 2015. The protests led to the resignation of university system President Tim Wolfe and MU campus Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and this academic year is the first since those events where both the UM System and the Columbia campus have permanent leadership. Mun Choi became president on March 1 and Alexander Cartwright took over as chancellor on Aug. 1.
 
U. of Missouri announcement coming Thursday meant to help with college costs
University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and Pelema Morrice, vice provost for enrollment, will sign the Missouri Land Grant Compact on Thursday afternoon, an MU news release said. The initiative is intended to address "the university's pledge to support competitive, affordable education for Missourians," the release said. The compact is meant to make MU more accessible and affordable to Missouri residents. MU spokeswoman Liz McCune said details will be made public Thursday. The signing will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the Jesse Hall rotunda.
 
White House rejects calls to postpone HBCU conference
The White House will not postpone a conference on historically black colleges next month, rejecting calls from African-American lawmakers who said President Donald Trump should shelve the event after his comments about the fatal protest in Charlottesville, Va. The Sept. 17-19 conference will go on as scheduled, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, director for communications for the White House's Office of Public Liaison said Tuesday. "President Trump's commitment to the HBCU community remains strong and unwavering," Manigault-Newman said in a statement to McClatchy. "Registration is currently at capacity and we are looking forward to welcoming HBCU presidents, students and guests." Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., the first African-American lawmaker to call for Trump to postpone the conference, was still wary.
 
UNC Says It Can't Legally Remove Confederate Statue, Despite Governor's Guidance
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said on Tuesday that it did not have the legal authority to remove a Confederate monument from its campus, despite guidance from Gov. Roy Cooper suggesting that administrators "take immediate measures" if they feel there is a risk to public safety. The announcement came just hours before a planned demonstration by protesters demanding the removal of the statue, commonly known as Silent Sam. The monument was erected in 1913 and stands as a memorial to alumni who served in the Confederate Army. A law signed in 2015 by Governor Cooper's Republican predecessor, Pat McCrory, dictated that the North Carolina Historical Commission must give permission for any state-owned statue, monument, plaque, or marker on public property to be altered. Mr. Cooper said immediate danger would allow the university to remove the monument, but the university said in its statement on Tuesday that it wasn't that simple.
 
At Washington and Lee, complicated debate about Robert E. Lee
In many of the battles over Confederate leaders who are honored with building names and statues on campuses across the country, Robert E. Lee has not been seen as the worst of the worst. When the University of Texas at Austin removed a statue of Jefferson Davis in 2015, it let the statue of Lee stay. But after a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. -- organized on the premise of protesting the planned removal of a Lee statue -- much has changed. Lee statues have since come down at UT and at Duke University. But if those universities were able to remove their statues, the challenges raised by Lee are far greater 70 miles away at Lexington's Washington and Lee University, which is named after both George Washington and Robert E. Lee.
 
The myth of Southern blood
Jason Morgan Ward, a professor of history at Mississippi State, writes in The Washington Post: "When I saw Nazi and Confederate flags mingling in Charlottesville, I thought about Victor Bernstein. And blood. Until SS harassment forced him out in 1939, Bernstein covered Nazi Germany for the Jewish Telegraph Agency. After the war, he returned to cover the Nuremberg trials. In between, he investigated white supremacist violence in the American South. ...To a Jewish reporter who had survived a stint in Nazi Germany, many white Southerners seemed as preoccupied with blood purity as the master-race theorists of the Third Reich. Seventy-five years later, when neo-Confederates and neo-Nazis descended on Charlottesville to protest the pending removal of a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Bernstein's reflections on his trip south ring true: 'The swastika is no prettier when entwined with magnolia blossoms.'"


SPORTS
 
How can Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald become an elite passer?
Nick Fitzgerald was sitting in a Mexican restaurant one day in Starkville in the late spring, surrounded by roommates and family, when his phone buzzed. Fitzgerald didn't recognize the number. The area code was from Louisiana and the Mississippi State quarterback doesn't know too many people from there. So he didn't answer. The caller left a voicemail message and Fitzgerald listened. "Hey, Nick, this is Archie Manning..." the message began. "I kind of felt my jaw drop after that," Fitzgerald said. "I was like, 'What?'" Fitzgerald's friends then looked at him like he was crazy, he said, so he rewound the message and put it on speaker. Then he called Manning. That was how Fitzgerald learned he was invited to the Manning Passing Academy, an invitation-only camp in Louisiana for the top college football quarterbacks. Expectations are now heightened for Fitzgerald in Year 2. Dan Mullen has said multiple times that he wants to see Fitzgerald take a step further this season.
 
Strength in numbers for Bulldogs safeties
Mississippi State has a nice mix of safeties at the back end of its secondary. Juniors Brandon Bryant and Mark McLaurin both return at the position after combining to make 16 starts last season. But the Bulldogs also have three junior college transfers joining the mix along with two others switching positions to safety. Because of the abundance of depth, safeties coach Ron English wants to continually roll guys through on Saturdays. "When I've had an opportunity to rotate safeties it's been good to do that because you keep them healthy and fresh," English said. "At that position there's a lot of contact. We've got the two safety spots and the nickel so what we'd like to do is to hopefully have a rotation."
 
Bulldogs, Gamecocks hold rematch on Feb. 5
Three of Mississippi State's five losses in women's basketball last season came at the hands of South Carolina. The Bulldogs finished as the runner-up behind the Gamecocks for the SEC regular season title, SEC Tournament championship as well as the national championship. MSU will get a rematch with South Carolina in Starkville on Feb. 5 as part of eight league games inside Humphrey Coliseum. The Bulldogs will also try to avenge their other losses from last season at Tennessee on Jan. 21 as well as against Kentucky Feb. 11 in Starkville and Feb. 25 in Lexington. Vic Schaefer's squad is coming off the best season in program history posting a 34-5 overall record including a 13-3 mark in league play.
 
Jake Gautreau joins Mississippi State baseball coaching staff
For three years, Jake Gautreau had a very good job with the Boras Corporation, the most powerful entity in professional baseball player representation. Gautreau was doing the player evaluation and recruitment in Texas and Louisiana, the two areas he knows better than any other. He and his family were living in his wife's hometown. All that was missing was on-field coaching. Mississippi State gave him that opportunity. Gautreau was announced as MSU's new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator in June; after a summer full of recruiting travel, Gautreau met the media for the first time Tuesday. "Being back on the field, working alongside a really good friend of mine is very special, very unique," Gautreau said. "Being able to be a part of this with (MSU head coach) Andy (Cannizaro) here was a no-brainer." The new job gets Gautreau back on the field, but as he sees it, his title of recruiting coordinator contains shades of his old job.
 
Mississippi State, Ole Miss join to host Magnolia Invitational at Old Waverly
Kory Henkes said the idea of a partnership with Ginger Brown-Lemm struck her when the two crossed paths at a tournament a couple of years ago; Brown-Lemm characterized it as her extending the rival program an, "olive branch." By whatever label, the Ole Miss and Mississippi State women's golf programs are collaborating. The two programs announced the inaugural Magnolia Invitational Tuesday, to be held at Old Waverly Oct. 1-3. The field for the first installment of the tournament is already complete: Auburn, Augusta State, Kansas State, LSU, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee and Troy will join MSU and Ole Miss. "It seems like a natural fit for any competition to be at this world-class facility and we're blessed to have it every day," said Brown-Lemm, MSU's coach. "What a great way to showcase our unbelievable opportunities here at Mississippi State."
 
Q&A: NCAA president Mark Emmert on sexual violence, player safety, more
With the college football season nearing, IndyStar sat down with NCAA President Mark Emmert to discuss various issues surrounding college sports. In a short but all-encompassing interview, Emmert answered questions about the recent sexual violence policy implemented by the NCAA, player safety as it pertains to strength coaches, NCAA enforcement and the organization's role in eSports, among other issues. Emmert noted the NCAA has been following the news and the constant political unrest around the country. There have been conversations about how the NCAA might handle a rally or protest if it occurred at an event. The college football season kicks off this Saturday, Aug. 26 with a slate of matchups all day, highlighted by No. 14 Stanford vs. Rice in Australia at 10 p.m.
 
Financial terms of Southern Miss-Liberty football series revealed
Liberty will pay Southern Miss $500,000 as part of the two schools' home-and-home football series deal. The agreement made by the Golden Eagles and Flames was announced last week. It will send Southern Miss to Lynchburg, Virginia, on Oct. 24, 2020, for which Liberty will shell out $500,000, according to a copy of the game contract the Hattiesburg American obtained via open records request. The return game, which will be played at M.M. Roberts Stadium, is set for Oct. 1, 2022, and Liberty will not receive any compensation for it. The pact is beneficial for cash-strapped Southern Miss' bottom line. The athletic department generated $25,915,460 in revenue for fiscal year 2016.
 
MUW set to make history in men's soccer debut
The signs of permanency have been installed. A new scoreboard is positioned in the far left corner if you're facing Sprint Mart Field at the downtown Columbus Soccer Club. Strategically placed in front of the trees, two portable soccer dugouts offer some cover from the sun. At midfield, a wooden platform has been set up to provide a place for teams to film the action. Mississippi University for Women men's soccer coach Tim Gould looks at the signs of progress and smiles. At 6 tonight, Gould's Owls will play the first men's sporting event in school history when they take on East Central Community College in an exhibition match.
 
Gamecocks' Final Four runs fuel record U. of South Carolina freshman class
Jake Hoppa happened to be touring the University of South Carolina in March when its downtown campus erupted in celebration of the men's basketball team's first trip to the Final Four. The 18-year-old from Rochester, N.Y., just had decided to attend USC. But the scene in Columbia --- students splashing in fountains on campus and in Five Points -- reinforced the future sport management major's choice. "I watched the Baylor game from my hotel room," Hoppa said. "You could actually hear the excitement coming from Five Points. It was just wild, the atmosphere here then. Just amazing. I wanted to get out of high school by that point and just come to college." That excitement drew more than Hoppa. Thanks, in part, to a so-called "basketball bounce," USC welcomed a record-shattering freshman class to campus Tuesday. The 5,800 freshmen are about 500 more than USC had expected.
 
Review shows former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze made at least 12 calls to escort services
Former Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze used his university-issued cellphone to call numbers linked to erotic services dating back to at least 2014, records show. A preliminary review of Freeze's phone records, obtained by ESPN through an open records request, revealed he dialed at least 12 numbers that are associated with online advertisements for female escorts. The calls took place over a 33-month period beginning in April 2014 and usually lasted two minutes or less. The findings are consistent with what Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey Vitter announced in July when he said Freeze resigned after confirming to him and athletic director Ross Bjork "a pattern of personal misconduct inconsistent with the standards we expect from the leader of our football team."
 
UGA graduate and Dreamland BBQ co-owner proud to serve Bulldog fans
When it was announced recently that Alabama-based Dreamland BBQ won a contract to serve Bulldog fans at concession stands of revered Sanford Stadium, there were mixed reviews. Some University of Georgia fans took the news as an affront. How can a barbecue joint in Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama, serve barbecue to the Bulldog faithful? But Dreamland does have a Georgia connection. One of the owners, Betty Hooks Underwood, is a 1958 graduate of UGA. She and her husband, Bobby Underwood, entered a business contract with Dreamland founder John "Big Daddy" Bishop and his daughter, Jeanette, to expand the Dreamland product in 1992. They built a restaurant in Birmingham and soon the business blossomed. Today, Dreamland restaurants are also established in Florida and in the Georgia cities of Duluth and Roswell.
 
LSU playing 7 neutral-site games in 9 seasons, and New Orleans could be next
LSU opens this season at a neutral site -- Houston's NRG Stadium -- for the sixth time in the past eight years. The program is one of the nation's leaders in these types of games. Why? "It's all about recruiting," said Verge Ausberry, the school's deputy director of athletics. "It's about the university and the national publicity we get." t's not a coincidence that five of the Tigers' seven neutral-site games between 2010 and 2018 originated or will originate from Texas: The games are in 2010 (North Carolina in Atlanta), 2011 (Oregon in Arlington, Texas), 2013 (TCU in Arlington), 2014 (Wisconsin in Houston), 2016 (Wisconsin in Green Bay, Wisconsin), 2017 (BYU in Houston) and 2018 (Miami in Arlington). Don't look for these neutral-site games to end any time soon.
 
ESPN pulls Robert Lee from Virginia game 'simply because of the coincidence of his name'
ESPN announced on Tuesday night that announcer Robert Lee has been moved from Virginia's home-opener and re-assigned "simply because of the coincidence of his name." Lee, an Asian-American, will now call the Youngstown versus Pitt game. "We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name," ESPN released in a statement, via SI's Richard Deitsch. "In that moment it felt right to all parties. It's a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play by play for a football game has become an issue." Keri Potts, ESPN PR/Senior Director of College Sports, told AL.com on Wednesday morning Lee felt compelled to make the move.



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