Tuesday, September 12, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
In their own words: Starkville residents reflect on 9/11
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum was in his office in the U.S. Senate Russell Building across the street from the Capitol. At the time, Keenum was working as the chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi. "I was in a meeting when a fellow staff member came into my office and asked me to turn on the TV, and I saw the first tower in flames," Keenum said. "My first thought was 'what a terrible accident.'" Keenum then watched on television as the second plane hit the World Trade Center and at that point, he realized it was no accident.
 
Local Leaders Reflect on Their 9/11 Experiences
Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing September 11th, 2001. For two Golden Triangle leaders, the attacks that day hit close to home At the time of the attack, Mississippi State University President, Dr. Mark Keenum, was working as Thad Cochran's Chief of Staff in Washington D.C., and Mayor Lynn Spruill was a pilot for Delta Airlines. The experiences they share are two of many in one of the darkest days in our nation's history. "That's a day I'll never forget for the rest of my life," said Keenum. Sixteen years later, both Spruill and Keenum see this nation forever changed.
 
Mississippi State prepares to observe WWI centennial
Mississippi State University has announced it will sponsor three public events in observance of World War I's centennial this fall. The first of the events will be held on Thursday, with veterans of later wars participating in reading and discussing soldier correspondence housed in the library archives in an event titled "The Great War: World War I Writing and Memorabilia from the Special Collections." The reading event will begin at 7 p.m. in Mitchell Memorial Library's third-floor John Grisham Room. The series of commemorative events is part of World War I and America -- a two-year national initiative of the Library of America. The series is also presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial and other organizations, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
 
Some Oktibbeha voters could shift to avoid split ballots
An effort by the Oktibbeha County Election Commission to clean up split precincts created by prior redistricting efforts will place more than 250 voters in new constable and justice court judge districts ahead of November's special elections. Outside of countywide seats -- circuit clerk and sheriff, for example -- Oktibbeha County is split between five districts that each elect a supervisor and election commissioner to represent the area, and is also divided between three districts of constables and justice court judges. Under the proposal, District 1's constable and justice court judge area will gain 218 new voters as 100 residents from the North Longview precinct residing in District 3 and 118 from the North Starkville II precinct residing in District 2 will be relocated. Additionally, 48 active West Starkville precinct voters will be moved from District 2 to District 3.
 
Legislators consider limits on new health care facilities
The chairmen of the House and Senate public health committees would not say whether they would support efforts to repeal the process where certain health care facilities must obtain a certificate of need to operate in the state. But Rep. Sam Mims, R-McComb, chairman of the House committee, and Sen. Dean Kirby, R-Pearl, chairman of the Senate panel, and members of their committees held a three-hour hearing on the issue Monday. "We are just interested in getting the best health care we can get for the dollars we are allotted," Kriby said after the meeting. Mims simply said "it is a big issue" that deserved the attention of his committee. Both said they would continue to study the issue.
 
Free market influences health care conversation
In a three-hour-long public health committee hearing Monday, lawmakers sought to answer the question: Can health care operate in a free market? The Legislature is considering changes to laws that require health care providers to receive a "certificate of need" from the state to buy certain equipment or offer certain services. The certificate is designed in part to prevent health systems from overexpanding and passing along the costs of expensive and underutilized equipment to patients. Medical professionals, lobbyists and free-market economists packed the Capitol committee room Monday as lawmakers argued the benefit of more competition in health care.
 
GOP senators push back against Steve Bannon's effort to dislodge incumbents
Senate Republicans are firing a warning shot at Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who is plotting a conservative uprising against the party's incumbents in next year's critical midterm elections. Concerned about retaining their fragile majority, GOP senators said in interviews Monday that Bannon's nascent effort would further damage the prospects of keeping control of the Senate. Republicans are already in the middle of a cycle in which some senators have been trying to fend off primary challengers, even before Bannon's meddling. POLITICO reported Sunday that other incumbents are on Bannon's target list: Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona as well as Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Bob Corker of Tennessee. In Mississippi, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who challenged Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in a nasty primary battle in 2014, is thought to be considering another run at the Senate, this time against Wicker. "I might comment on that later on," Wicker, also a former chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Monday of Bannon's effort to defeat GOP incumbents such as himself. "But not now."
 
Trump's voter commission meets amid concerns about mission
A commission created by President Donald Trump to investigate his allegations of voter fraud is coming to New Hampshire a week after its vice chairman angered state leaders by claiming out-of-state voters in November helped elect a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. The vice chairman, Republican Kris Kobach, who also is Kansas' secretary of state, said last week that newly released data showed more than 6,500 people registered to vote last year using out-of-state driver's licenses but only 15 percent had acquired New Hampshire licenses. That was proof, he said, that fraud likely led to then-Gov. Maggie Hassan's victory over Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte in the Senate race. But state law allows someone -- like a college student or military personnel on active duty -- to be domiciled in New Hampshire for voting purposes and be a resident of another state for driver's licensing purposes.
 
Employers, colleges rush to protect DACA
Leading corporations and colleges and universities are mobilizing to protect recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors. President Trump is winding down the program over the next six months, saying it's up to Congress to do something about the nearly 800,000 people who are enrolled. The average age of a DACA recipient, commonly referred to as a "Dreamer," is 22; many are attending school, while others are working legally at some of America's biggest companies. Some of those companies are speaking out, vowing that they will stand by their DACA employees. Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, has offered to pay the legal bills for any of the company's 39 employees enrolled in the program should the government try to deport them.
 
As China quietly invests in American tech startups, US struggles to respond
Amid concerns from U.S. lawmakers and the Pentagon that China is "weaponizing" investment in early-stage technologies, Congress is considering legislation aimed at sealing regulatory gaps. Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, is poised to introduce a bill to modernize and broaden the reach of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, a secretive, interagency panel that screens foreign investment in the U.S. economy to safeguard national security. China has been able to circumvent the committee by investing in early-stage technologies that are potentially critical to the military. The trend, which is setting off alarm bells as both an economic and national security threat, has been detailed in an unreleased Pentagon report.
 
New iPhone and its competitors hope to make laptops obsolete
LaNada Peppers uses her Samsung Galaxy Note 5 for nearly everything. As a journalist and communications manager, the 35-year-old relies on her smartphone to take photos, update social media, write stories, book interviews, capture video and send emails. Yet she still lugs around a laptop for things her phone can't do as well: editing photos and video and storing and backing up files. That gap could close Tuesday when Samsung's fierce rival Apple unveils its newest iPhone. After spending past iterations increasing the size of the phone, improving its screen, honing its camera and, as of last year, getting rid of the analog headphone jack, design leaks suggest that the new phone's main selling point, aside from being sleeker and shinier than iPhones past, will be the breadth of its capabilities.
 
Fourth, final provost candidate speaks to U. of Mississippi
The last of four planned provost candidate open forums commenced Friday at the Inn at Ole Miss with Craig H. Kennedy presenting. Kennedy focused on moving the university forward by providing a quality education to all students, increasing diversity and retaining faculty. Kennedy currently serves as a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education and is the dean of the College of Education at the University of Georgia. His research focuses on social relationships and aggression with autism and neurodevelopmental disabilities. He has won multiple awards, including the B.F. Skinner New Research Award from the American Psychological Association. Kennedy highlighted five areas he would want to focus on as provost: undergraduate education, graduate education, faculty, diversity and staff.
 
Two men charged with rape, kidnapping of Ole Miss student
Two men are facing rape and kidnapping charges in connection with the disappearance of a University of Mississippi student on Sunday. District Attorney John Champion said Charles Roger Prince, 34, and Kedrick Kevon Norwood, 28, both of Panola County, are charged with one count of kidnapping and rape each. Authorities said Norwood and Prince are on parole. Norwood had served time on charges of simple assault of a police officer and grand larceny, and Prince was convicted of sale of cocaine. Police said an Ole Miss student and a friend got into a vehicle with two men on the Oxford Square at around 1:11 a.m., according to a Oxford Police Department news release. The Clarion-Ledger does not identify alleged victims of sex crimes.
 
Ole Miss creates Department of Higher Education
The University of Mississippi School of Education is home to a new Department of Higher Education, with legal scholar Neal Hutchens as its interim chair and professor. The new department, which has eight full-time faculty members, several affiliate faculty throughout the university and more than 200 graduate students, was previously part of the university's Department of Leadership and Counselor Education. It will function as an independent unit within the School of Education. As interim chair, Hutchens hopes to launch an undergraduate minor in higher education, strengthen and build new partnerships with units throughout campus, and implement an outreach and engagement plan to highlight the accomplishments of faculty, students and alumni.
 
Fall enrollment at William Carey University increases 4.4 percent
William Carey University is reporting a 4.4 percent increase in enrollment for the fall 2017 trimester. With the close of late registration, enrollment stands at 4,694 compared to 4,496 in fall 2016. Enrollment at the Hattiesburg campus is 3,544 (including 411 in the College of Osteopathic Medicine), and 1,150 students are enrolled at the Tradition campus in Biloxi. "We are so thankful to the Lord and to our hard-working admissions staff and faculty for this amazing result," said WCU President Tommy King. "Our university theme for this year, 'Carey Strong' has been demonstrated." Each year, the university selects a theme as an idea to focus on throughout the year and to unify the campus. The 2017-2018 theme "Carey Strong - God is our Refuge and Strength" is based on Psalm 46:1-2, 11, which is the scripture the pulpit Bible in Bass Memorial Chapel was open to the morning the tornado hit.
 
Supreme Court justice's lecture at U. of Alabama canceled by weather
The lecture by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor scheduled for Tuesday has been canceled because of weather associated with Irma, which was a tropical storm as it moved across Georgia and Alabama on Monday. Sotomayor was scheduled to give the fall 2017 Albritton Lecture at the University of Alabama School of Law on Tuesday. Weather associated with Irma canceled her flight plans. It is unclear when or if Sotomayor's appearance will be rescheduled, according to the university.
 
Auburn University library serves as a shelter from the storm
The Ralph Brown Draughon Library at Auburn University is serving as a safe space for anyone needing or wanting to wait out the remnants of Tropical Storm Irma on campus. Ashley Cotney, her husband Juan Martinez and 4-year-old daughter Aleigha Martinez left their mobile home at Midway Manor in Opelika about 7:30 Sunday night. They slept in one of the study spaces on the first floor of the library Sunday night and intend to stay Monday night as well. "I brought an air mattress and everything to stay here," Cotney said. "We plan on staying here tonight too, because the winds could get up to 70 miles per hour, with maybe stronger gusts than that." According to the university's website, the library stopped performing regular library services at midnight Sunday, but remained open as a shelter. Students also are using the space to study.
 
LSU behind 9 other SEC schools in 2018 U.S. News best colleges rankings
LSU tied for 133rd among national universities in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings released Tuesday. The school was ranked 135th last year. The rankings are based on a wide range of factors, including peer reviews, ACT and SAT scores, graduation and retention rates and faculty resources. High rankings are often cited by school officials as a sort of seal of approval to prospective students and parents. LSU, whose highest ranking was 124th in 2011, finished behind nine schools in the Southeastern Conference. It also said LSU ranks highest in Louisiana among public universities for both early and mid career earnings: $52,700 and $100,400 respectively.
 
U. of Tennessee ranked No. 46 among public universities in U.S. News & World Report
The University of Tennessee held on to the No. 46 spot among public universities in the latest rankings from U.S. News and World Report released Tuesday. UT made improvements in class sizes and assessments from peer institutions, though its graduation and acceptance rates were slightly behind last year's. The list released Tuesday shows that UT also held the same spot among all universities as it did last year at No. 103. Princeton University ranked No. 1 and the University of California Berkeley was the top-ranked public university. Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick said that while there are fluctuations from year to year, part of the purpose of the rankings from an administrative standpoint is to see what areas can be improved upon.
 
Arkansas Universities Report Record-Breaking 11th Day Counts
Seven Arkansas universities reported record-breaking enrollment last week, though the University of Arkansas also said its growth had slowed. The numbers are based on an 11th day count required by the Department of Higher Education. UA in Fayetteville welcomed 27,558 students for the fall 2017 semester, the 19th consecutive year for enrollment growth. Still, the 1.3 percent increase was lower than the average growth rate of 12.3 percent over the past five years. Undergraduate enrollment was up 2.2 percent to a record 23,044, while graduate student enrollment dropped by 2.7 percent to 4,161.
 
UGA, others to remain closed Tuesday
As Tropical Storm Irma approached Monday morning, school officials weighed whether to keep the doors shut Tuesday as well, depending on the weather outlook and how much damage Monday's high winds and heavy rains left behind. Three colleges didn't wait, and announced on Sunday they'd be closed Tuesday as well as Monday. Athens Technical College, the University of Georgia and the University of North Georgia, which has a campus in Watkinsville, won't have classes Tuesday. With winds gusting at more than 50 miles per hour and rainfall of up to 7 inches, forecasters expected the storm to leave many downed trees and power outages in its wake.
 
U. of Missouri makes public statement about professor's firing
The University of Missouri on Monday released a statement explaining the rationale behind firing former tenured engineering professor Galen Suppes. The statement was released several days after MU won a $600,000 judgement against Suppes in a Boone County civil case. MU had sued Suppes on breach of contract and other counts, alleging his actions spoiled a deal to market a process for making propylene glycol. Suppes was fired in May, and he lost appeals of his firing in a different court and before the Board of Curators. "Dr. Suppes' misconduct has impacted many of our students, staff and faculty over a very long period of time," College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa said in the statement.
 
Plan to review U. of Missouri academic programs includes measuring success
In its initial report, released Monday, a task force created to evaluate University of Missouri academic programs set forth what standards and process it will use to determine each program's success. The MU Task Force on Academic Program Analysis, Enhancement, and Opportunities was assembled by Provost Garnett Stokes to review academic programs and recommend whether to invest in the programs, combine them with other programs or cut them entirely. The reviews are taking place amid deep budget cuts and pressure to uphold excellence within the university. Although MU already eliminated several hundred jobs and some programs, the reviews could lead to more cuts. In addition, by studying commitment to research and the grants received for it, the task force can compare the productivity of MU programs against those of competing universities.
 
How U.S. News college rankings promote economic inequality on campus
America's universities are getting two report cards this year. The first, from the Equality of Opportunity Project, brought the shocking revelation that many top universities, including Princeton and Yale, admit more students from the top 1 percent of earners than the bottom 60 percent combined. The second, from U.S. News and World Report, is due on Tuesday -- with Princeton and Yale among the contenders for the top spot in the annual rankings. The two are related: A POLITICO review shows that the criteria used in the U.S. News rankings -- a measure so closely followed in the academic world that some colleges have built them into strategic plans -- create incentives for schools to favor wealthier students over less wealthy applicants.
 
Could college messaging app Islands be the new Yik Yak?
As thousands of students armed with smartphones start the new school year, they'll have plenty of social media options to choose from to find friends and connect with their peers. But at a select group of college campuses, a new player has entered the scene -- a student-centered networking app called Islands. Billed as "Slack for college students," Islands is a location-based app designed specifically with college students, rather than business colleagues, in mind. In an interview, Greg Isenberg, CEO of Islands, said that he wanted to create an experience that will "delight people" and help "connect the disconnected." The ability to post anonymously on Islands has sparked comparisons with another campus-based social media app -- Yik Yak. Though Yik Yak officially shut down operations earlier this year, at its peak the app was ubiquitous on college campuses, and at one point was valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.
 
Report Faults U. of Virginia on Response to White-Supremacist Rally
The University of Virginia could have done more to anticipate a white-supremacist rally that turned violent on the campus last month, and its police force did not attempt to enforce bans on open flames that might have halted the torch-wielding demonstrators before the situation got out of hand, according to an internal working group's report released on Monday. The working group, led by Risa L. Goluboff, dean of the university's law school, concluded that UVa was predisposed to defend constitutionally protected free speech, as long as violence did not break out. Matters escalated, the report found, despite tools at the university's disposal that might have defused the situation earlier. The report lends credence to criticism from some student activists and professors, who have argued that the university failed to take seriously concerns that a demonstration might take place on August 11 on the university's historic grounds.
 
Summer adventure turned tide of American history
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "Summer was a happy time in the Mississippi Delta for 12-year-old Simeon Wright. It only became happier when Wright and his brothers were told a cousin, Bobo, would be visiting from Chicago. It was 1955. There was no way to know events over the ensuing days would kindle America's conscience. But that's what happened. Visiting Mississippi a few years ago, Wright, who died last week at 74, said he doesn't remember whether he knew Bobo's real name back then. Everybody knows it today. Emmett Louis Till, Jr."
 
Let's unlock the untapped potential among millions of disabled people
Congressman Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi, writes for The Hill: "It seems that the more time passes, the faster time flies. It feels like just yesterday that my wife, Sidney, and I were bringing home our daughter, Maggie, from the hospital, and then a few years later, our son, Livingston. Through our time as parents, Sidney and I have made it a priority to teach our children the value of hard work, and we feel strongly that time spent on hard work should be valued and appreciated. It has been our privilege to watch Livingston, now 28, learn that appreciation for hard work and persevere despite being diagnosed with an intellectual disability known as Fragile X Syndrome. Through his hard work, Livingston became one of the first graduates of Mississippi State University's Access Program for students with intellectual disabilities, and now is a dedicated part-time employee at Primo's Cafe near our home in Mississippi."


SPORTS
 
How can Malik Dear help Mississippi State's offense?
Mississippi State doesn't necessarily need Malik Dear this season, especially considering he would be coming off an ACL tear, but the Bulldogs are certainly not in the position to turn away another reliable receiver, either. After suffering the injury in the spring and missing the season's first two games, Dan Mullen said on Monday that there's a chance Dear will play Saturday against No. 11 LSU at Davis Wade Stadium (6 p.m, ESPN). Dear has to first practice first. The junior receiver (who has a redshirt year available) has yet to participate in a full practice. "I know he really wants to play this week," Mullen said. "He's on the edge this week. Talking to trainers, he might practice some and have a limited role in this game this week for us. We'll see how he does. It's up in the air." Even if Dear is available and plays against LSU (2-0), the expectation is that Mississippi State (2-0) will ease him back into action.
 
Mississippi State ready to find out how good it is against LSU
Dan Mullen felt it on his Monday morning run around campus in Starkville. The ninth-year head coach at Mississippi State was partially amped due to his playlist of U2, Jimmy Buffett and Tupac, but there was also a different feel in the air. That's how his entire team feels this week when MSU (2-0) opens SEC play by hosting No. 12 LSU (2-0) at 6 p.m. on Saturday night at Davis Wade Stadium. "Everything is different. If they need me to motivate them, they're messed up," Mullen said. "They don't need a big rallying cry this week. Our guys know it's different and you can feel the intensity picks up."
 
Clang, clang! LSU's young, heavily flagged team preparing for State's noisy tradition
Danny Etling's experience with cowbells is singular -- a cowbell. During youth football, one of his teammates' mothers rang a cowbell during games. The two teammates turned to rivals when they attended different high schools -- Etling to South Vigo High and his friend to North Vigo High, both in Terre Haute, Indiana. That cowbell noise didn't go away. She'd even bang on it the old fashioned way, hitting it with a drumstick like the infamous Saturday Night Live clip featuring Will Farrell. LSU and its senior quarterback are preparing to hear many more Saturday night during the Southeastern Conference opener at Mississippi State. The 12th-ranked Tigers (2-0) meet the Bulldogs (2-0) at 6 p.m. at Scott Field in Starkville, an unusual environment that features the metallic banging of thousands of cowbells. Mississippi State fans hold dear their tradition of bringing -- and ringing -- cowbells during football games.
 
Mississippi State's Jeffery Simmons emerges as standout
In the span of 60 minutes of football on Saturday, Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons put on impressive display of what a 300-pound man can do to dominate a game. His first act was on special teams, when he blocked an extra point and a few minutes later blocked a punt before recovering it for a touchdown. His second act was on defense, when he scooped up a fumble and rumbled 90 yards for another touchdown during the Bulldogs' 57-21 win over Louisiana Tech. Nobody was close to catching him. Simmons, a 6-foot-4, 301-pound sophomore, has quickly emerged as one of Mississippi State's best defensive players going into the team's Southeastern Conference opener. The Bulldogs (2-0) host No. 12 LSU (2-0) on Saturday.
 
Mississippi State's Jeffery Simmons selected SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week
Mississippi State's Jeffery Simmons was selected as the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week on Monday after his outstanding performance against Louisiana Tech. Simmons recorded five tackles, blocked an extra point, blocked a punt that he recovered in the end zone for a touchdown and also returned a fumble recovery 90-yards for another score. The 6-foot-4, 301-pound nose guard from Macon is the first MSU defensive player to have two touchdowns in a game since Johnathan Banks against Florida in 2009. His fumble return was also the longest returned for a score since Josh Morgan had a 97-yarder against BYU in 2000.
 
Ed Orgeron says LSU's Arden Key cleared to play vs. Mississippi State
LSU's top pass rusher, Arden Key, has been cleared to come back from shoulder surgery and play Saturday at Mississippi State. "We're going to play him as much as we can. We'll see during the week how much he can do," Orgeron said Monday. "Obviously we're fired up to have Arden Key back." Key, who had an LSU single-season record 12 sacks in 2016, had surgery in the offseason and has been practicing on a limited basis this fall. Orgeron said LSU head trainer Jack Marucci has overseen Key's performance in flexibility and strength tests he had to pass before being cleared for full contact. This week, Orgeron said, Key is "going to take full hits, full contact, and then we'll see what's happening."
 
Dan Mullen motivates Nick Fitzgerald with sarcasm
If Nick Fitzgerald was looking for encouragement from Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen after his first quarter performance against Louisiana Tech on Saturday, he'd come to the wrong person. Fitzgerald began the game by going 1 of 6 for minus-1 yard and an interception that was returned 61 yards down to the 2-yard line that allowed Louisiana Tech to score two plays later. "My great coaching and motivation on the sideline was 'that was a pretty pathetic first quarter right there wasn't it? That was awful,'" Mullen said. Mullen's tongue-in-cheek sarcasm lightened the mood for his junior quarterback, who ended the opening quarter by hitting a wide-open Jordan Thomas in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown.
 
Balanced effort leads Mississippi State's ground attack
Dan Mullen's eyes dropped to the box score in his hands. In addition to seeing two 100-yard rushers -- Nick Fitzgerald and Aeris Williams -- the Mississippi State football coach saw his team more than double Louisiana Tech in rushing yards (327-152). Needless to say, Mullen offered glowing reviews of everyone involved. "(Running back) Aeris (Williams) was running the ball hard," Mullen said before he trailed off and looked at the box score again. "Man, he only had nine carries." Five other players had carries behind an offensive line that helped MSU average 8.2 yards per carry in a 57-21 victory. Their work was needed after MSU (2-0) fell behind 9-0 eight minutes into the game. "We blocked them up front, that's what we did," Mullen said.
 
Notebook: Dan Mullen takes slow start in stride
Dan Mullen knew he had to choose his moment carefully. In his experience as Mississippi State's football coach, there are times when the best way to move past a rough start is to simply laugh about it. On the road against Louisiana Tech Saturday, quarterback Nick Fitzgerald had one, completing one of his first six passes, one of them intercepted. The one pass that was completed? Good for a loss of one yard. "That was a pretty pathetic first quarter, right? That was awful," Mullen cracked through a smile. "We complete a couple of passes and at that point he's a little more relaxed, he'll laugh it off and say, 'Yeah that wasn't very good at all.'" The light moment relieved Fitzgerald and sent him into a frenzy.
 
Georgia-Mississippi State kickoff time, TV selection announced
Georgia's string of night football games will continue in week four of its season. The Sept. 23 home game against Mississippi State in Sanford Stadium will kick off at 7 p.m. and be shown nationally on ESPN, the SEC announced on Monday. Georgia (2-0) opened at night against Appalachian State and played last week under the lights at Notre Dame. Saturday's game for the No. 13 Bulldogs against Samford is at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC alternate channel. The Georgia-Mississippi State game is the first football game between the schools since 2011 when Georgia won at home 24-10. Mississippi State (2-0) has defeated Charleston Southern and Louisiana Tech and faces LSU this Saturday. The Sept. 23 game will mark the return of former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to Athens. It's his first season in the same position on coach Dan Mullen's staff.
 
Ole Miss wraps up long Day 1 of NCAA Committee on Infractions hearing
The doors of the John A. Roebling ballroom at the Embassy Suites finally flung open a few minutes before 6 p.m. Monday evening. Hugh Freeze exited the room. Lee Tyner, Ole Miss' general counsel, soon followed, as did Ross Bjork and others. Those exits marked the end of Day 1 of Ole Miss' long-awaited hearing before the Committee on Infractions. Ole Miss' football program is alleged to have committed 21 NCAA violations, including 15 Level I violations. Two-to-three days have been set aside for this hearing, which started at 8:30 Monday morning and lasted nearly nine and a half hours. The hearing resumes at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
 
U. of Florida evaluating storm damage first, preparing to host Volunteers
Florida usually has what basically amounts to exhibition games to ease its way in into the SEC season. Not this time, not in this strange and unsuccessful start to 2017. Thanks to Hurricane Irma, which barrelled through Gainesville on Sunday night and Monday morning, the Gators are jumping right into SEC play against division rival Tennessee coming off their season-opening loss to Michigan on Sept. 2. This past Saturday's "exhibition" game against Northern Colorado was canceled Thursday. Now, with almost the entire state impacted by the hurricane, the question is: where will Saturday's game against the Vols be played? UF athletic director Scott Stricklin posted on Twitter over the weekend that the status of the Gators' home opener would be evaluated after the storm and the damage in Gainesville and around the state has been assessed.
 
Butch Jones anticipates Vols will play Gators in Gainesville
Tennessee coach Butch Jones said Monday he's expecting the Vols will play Florida on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) as scheduled in Gainesville. Hurricane Irma, now considered a tropical storm, made landfall in Florida on Sunday and proceeded north up the Gulf Coast. The effects of the storm were felt throughout the state, including in Gainesville. "We fully anticipate playing the game in Gainesville, but (Tennessee athletic director) John Currie is on top of things, and he's handling the communication," Jones said. Jones reiterated during a Monday stop at the Knoxville Quarterback Club that he plans for the game to be played in The Swamp. Chuck Dunlap, the SEC's director of communications, wrote in a statement that the conference has been in communication with the athletic departments at Florida and Tennessee and will continue to monitor the effects of Irma.
 
Charlene Sumlin thanks supporters in followup tweet about racist letter
Charlene Sumlin, wife of Texas A&M football coach Kevin Sumlin, tweeted an update on the threatening letter with a racial slur that was sent to the Sumlin home last week. She first tweeted a photo of the letter on Thursday. On Sunday, she expressed her thanks for the "hundreds of text messages, phone calls, private messages" of support the family has received. She addressed "conspiracy theorists" regarding the postal marks on the envelope and defended the privacy of her family. She also praised the efforts of local law enforcement. "They asked us if we wanted to press charges and I couldn't answer 'YES, TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW' fast enough. I want to make an example of this person. I want everyone to understand that I will do anything and everything to PROTECT MY FAMILY," she wrote.



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