Monday, July 25, 2016  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Private fund-raising effort tops $100M at Mississippi State
Mississippi State University has raised $103.2 million for fiscal year 2016, the third highest fund-raising year in school history and the third year in a row of surpassing $100 million. In all, more than 22,600 donors -- individuals, corporations, foundations, trusts and estates -- made contributions during FY16. In FY17, John Rush, vice president for alumni and development and MSU Foundation president and CEO, said the MSU Foundation will renew its focus in assisting MSU's strategic goals by fundraising for student scholarships and securing endowments to create distinguished faculty positions for crucial areas.
 
Agreements between Mississippi State, community colleges aid pathways to bachelor's degrees
Mississippi State University, East Mississippi Community College and Meridian Community College have joined forces to increase collaboration for nine bachelor degree programs. New agreements offer a comprehensive approach allowing students pursuing an associate's degree to conveniently bridge the gap to a bachelor's degree. The institutions are concentrating initially on accounting, applied technology, business administration, elementary education (traditional and technical paths), kinesiology, secondary education (English and social studies) and social work. The applied technology and one elementary education program offer significant transfer of credit from technical programs at the community colleges.
 
Mississippi State senior Mary Elizabeth Stringer crowned Miss Hospitality
Mary Elizabeth Stringer donned a crown and Miss Hospitality sash as she held a bouquet of flowers and waved to the crowd at the Saenger Theater in downtown Hattiesburg. A few hours earlier, Stringer was one of 27 women competing to be Mississippi's new Miss Hospitality. But now, the competition was over, and she was Mississippi's new Miss Hospitality. Stringer of Starkville won the title during the 67th annual pageant, which wrapped up Saturday night. Stringer is a senior at Mississippi State University, where she is studying kinesiology. She plans to become a physician's assistant specializing in pediatrics. She has served on the executive council of her sorority, Phi Mu, and is involved in the Student Association. She is currently serving her second term as a College of Education ambassador.
 
Mississippi State livestock judging campers sweep 4-H and FFA competitions
Teams that want to win big in 4-H and FFA livestock judging competitions should attend the Mississippi State University Livestock Judging Camp. The three-day camp in the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is open to teams and individuals who are 14 to 18 years of age. Past attendees have included top winners in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee livestock judging competitions. "The camp gives team members a chance to collaborate," said Brett Crow, the animal and dairy sciences instructor who oversees the camp. "During statewide competitions, the team score is made up of individual scores, so teammates are out there on their own trying to make the best decisions in a fast-paced, intense environment." Crow said the camp covers a lot of ground over the three days.
 
Weather improves truck farmers' harvests
Favorable weather and a steady consumer appetite for local produce are keeping Mississippi's truck crop industry strong. The state now has more than 80 farmers markets, compared to 52 in 2010. These markets make up the main avenue through which truck crop growers sell their goods, but local produce can be found with more frequency on grocery store shelves during the growing season. This trend reflects the shift in consumer preference. Jeff Wilson, a regional horticulture specialist at the Mississippi State University North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, said current concerns among growers are excessive heat and dry weather. All signs now point to a successful season due to good growing conditions in the spring.
 
Prehistoric fish discovered in the depths of Bluff Lake by MSU researchers
Alligators aren't the only prehistoric creatures lurking in the depths of the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge's waterways. Mississippi State researchers recently recorded unexpectedly high numbers of paddlefish near the refuge's spillway--a shocking discovery given the size of the waterway and what is currently known about paddlefish biology. "It was pretty astounding," said Michael Colvin, assistant wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture professor in MSU's Forest and Wildlife Research Center. "We pulled up all these paddlefish using gill nets. They can grow to over five feet long, so it was fairly dramatic to see these giant, prehistoric fish come out of that small area."
 
Brazil scientists find Zika traces in Culex mosquitoes in wild
Brazilian researchers on Thursday said they found signs of the Zika virus in a common mosquito that is a separate species from the insect known to be the primary means of transmission. They warned, however, that further tests are needed to determine whether the species, known as Culex quinquefasciatus, is in fact responsible for transmitting the virus to humans and, if so, to what extent. Many questions remain to determine whether Culex, even if capable of carrying Zika, would be a significant source of infection in humans. "Just finding the virus in another species doesn't mean that it can efficiently transmit it," says Jerome Goddard, an entomologist and specialist in mosquito-borne illnesses at Mississippi State University.
 
Elevate basic bouquets with tips from a Biloxi professional: Mississippi State's Jim Del Prince
There they sit in the cooler near the bagged lettuce and other produce, or maybe in buckets of water nearby -- Gerbera daisies, chrysanthemums, roses, carnations. Pretty but basic. Grocery store bouquets are handy and readily available, but how do you make them look more like a custom design while staying within budget? Just look outside. Jim DelPrince, floral design specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Biloxi and an associate professor, recently gave some grocery store bouquets a fancy boost with some unexpected touches he found on and near the grounds of the Extension Service as well as some leftover accents from other projects.
 
More than 'no means no': How Mississippi teaches consent
The Clarion-Ledger spoke with representatives, including Title IX coordinators, from each of the state's public universities about what and how students are learning about consent. Regina Hyatt, Vice President for Student Affairs at Mississippi State University said first-year students and new employees are required to complete an online module called HAVEN, before they come to campus. Several of the faculty interviewed for this article told The Clarion-Ledger that the most frequently asked question students have concerning consent involves alcohol: "what happens if we're both drunk?" "There is a difference between being drunk and incapacitated," said Brett Harvey, Title IX coordinator for MSU.
 
Starkville man charged with armed robbery
It took police less than two days to find the man responsible for a Wednesday robbery. Police were called to the Brooksville Garden apartment complex on Everglade Avenue for an armed robbery on Wednesday. The following day, police issued an arrest warrant for Edward Lamar Ware, 30, of Starkville. On Friday, Starkville police, along with the U.S. Marshal Task Force, found Ware in an apartment on Pilcher Street. Ware locked himself in the residence and shortly after was taken into custody without incident.
 
Neshoba County Fair releases details about Donald Trump Jr. appearance
The son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will address an audience at the Neshoba County Fair next week. Fair officials said Friday that Donald Trump, Jr., will speak at 4 p.m. Tuesday on the grandstand stage. Campaign officials invited the elder Trump to speak at the fair but details could not be worked out with his campaign schedule.
 
Campers enjoy Neshoba County Fair
When most people think of Mississippi's Giant House Party, the cabins come to mind, but it's a bit of a different atmosphere outside of the fair gates. Five-hundred and twenty RVs line the outside of the fairgrounds. One camper that's had his spot for 25 years says the campground has a community of its own. "It's different than anything you'll ever see. You'll meet friends that you'll be friends with forever," says Dalton Perkins. The camping area has grown the most over the past years, nearly doubling the amount of spots and there is still a waiting list with hundreds of names hoping each year they get called to claim their little patch of land at the Neshoba County Fair.
 
Overcoming racial and economic struggle in Philadelphia, Mississippi
The 2016 Democratic National Convention begins Monday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Delegates of the Democratic Party will officially announce the nominee for president and vice president of the United States in the election. Last week, we took you to Cleveland, Mississippi, during the Republican National Convention to see what the town and its economy looks like 50 years after Robert F. Kennedy took a tour of the delta. Turns out, there's a Philadelphia in Mississippi, too. Philadelphia is a small town made up of approximately 7,000 people in Neshoba County. Both of those names became widely known after three young civil rights workers went missing in 1964. Philadelphia, like the rest of Mississippi and the United States, has made some progress since. Today, Philadelphia has its first African-American mayor, and he's currently serving his second term.
 
Tupelo shooting controversy prompts consultant hire
The mayor has hired a consultant to advise his administration about communication strategy in the wake of tension over the June shooting death of a black man by a white city police officer. The consultant, Danny Blanton, will be paid a rate of $5,000 per month and be reimbursed for relevant expenses and travel. According to a signed agreement between Blanton and the city, he will be retained on a monthly basis for no longer than a year. However, both parties could agree to an extension of this time period. Mayor Jason Shelton said he's unsure how long Blanton's services will be required but estimated that "a couple months" is likely. Blanton was director of media and public relations for the University of Mississippi from 2001 until 2015. Speaking with the Daily Journal on Friday, he highlighted several high-profile incidents that occurred during his tenure.
 
Critics: Mississippi's state bureaucracy out of control
Mississippi's dozens of small agencies, boards and commissions are in the wind, geographically, politically and fiscally. They operate largely as -- and where -- they please with little oversight or examination for efficiency or for whether they're really needed. They are run by appointed boards, mostly members of the industries they regulate. They are funded mostly by fees they charge businesses for their regulation. Their ranks have slowly grown over many years, a creeping bureaucratic sprawl that some say is more about protecting existing practitioners from competition than protecting Mississippians with regulations.
 
Supreme Court justice suggests legislating away 'demon chipmunk'
Southern District Supreme Court Justice Michael Randolph suggested during last week's oral arguments to let the voters of Mississippi decide whether to allow the so-called "demon chipmunk" to continue to operate within the state Capitol. The "demon chipmunk" is the term that has been used to describe the speed at which Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, sets a computer reading application to read bills in the Mississippi House. Section 59 of the 1890s state Constitution gives any legislator the right to require a bill to be read orally before the final vote. Section 59 has been used to slow the legislative process or as a form of protest. In recent years, the reading application has been used, but Gunn is the first presiding officer to turn it to full speed, to an incomprehensible level, what was tagged in the halls of the Capitol as the demon chipmunk level.
 
Analysis: Mississippi Democrats' odds remain long
Does Hillary Clinton really have a chance of winning Mississippi's six electoral votes? Not likely. Are Democrats more competitive in the Magnolia State's presidential contest than they used to be? Maybe. Will Clinton fare better against Donald Trump in Mississippi than in every neighboring state? The prognosticators all think so. This is the problem facing Democrats. Mississippians have voted for a Democratic presidential candidate just once in the last 60 years, when Georgian Jimmy Carter edged out Gerald Ford by less than 15,000 votes in 1976. Before that, the last Democratic winner was Adlai Stevenson in his failed 1956 campaign against Dwight Eisenhower. That year was the last gasp of the Democratic Solid South, the 20th time in 21 presidential elections that Mississippi had given its votes to its ancestral party.
 
Teachers, public education touted at conference
Teachers were told Friday they must not only teach, but also be involved in making policy if education is going to improve in Mississippi. Ana Morris, an Oak Grove teacher and the 2015 state teacher of the year, said teachers "must have a foot in the classroom and a foot in policy. You can be a change agent. You can speak for every child." Morris and New Albany teacher Mary Margarett King, were among the speakers at a forum hosted by Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, at the Jackson Convention Center, highlighting the importance of public education and trying to garner input from teachers. King told the educators and others in attendance that teachers need to interact with policymakers, such as legislators, to give them input.
 
Budget cuts stress mental health agencies
The mental health safety net across North Mississippi is stressed out. North Mississippi State Hospital didn't lose any beds in the last round of budget cuts, but it has been pushed to the brink to maintain services. "We are on the edge of the cliff," said Dr. Paul Callens, director of the 50-bed inpatient psychiatric hospital located in East Tupelo that handled more than 600 admissions in the last fiscal year. "If there are any more cuts, we're going to be forced to close beds and lay off staff." Mississippi isn't alone in the erosion of capacity in its mental health safety net. According to a June 2016 report issued by the Treatment Advocacy Center, there's been a 17 percent drop in the number of inpatient psychiatric beds per capita.
 
Mississippi Forestry Commission cuts 25 jobs
Budget cuts are to blame for 25 people losing their jobs with the Mississippi Forestry Commission. Among those laid off are law enforcement positions, including the longtime chief investigator from South Mississippi. The more than two dozen lost jobs statewide comes in the wake of the commission's budget being cut by $3.2 million. Assistant State Forester Russell Bozeman says it has been rough couple of days. According to Bozeman, the job cuts were directly related to the budget reduction of 16 percent in the fiscal year 2017 budget. That 16 percent cut, he says, is substantial. Two thirds of that reduction was made up through operational efficiencies, but he says, one third required personnel cuts.
 
Cochran, Wicker: $20.3M for Mississippi airport upgrades
Mississippi's two U.S. senators say 19 of the state's airports will benefit from $20.3 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Airport Improvement Program grants include $13.8 million approved for runway work at the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport and nearly $4.6 million for noise abatement and other work at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker announced the grants Friday in a news release. The grants will also support projects at 19 other facilities.
 
Megan Mullen: RNC delegate experience 'surreal'
When Gov. Phil Bryant announced during the roll call of the states at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week that "the great state of Mississippi, the birthplace of America's music" casted 25 votes for Donald Trump, Mississippi State football fans likely noticed a familiar face. As the camera zoomed out, Megan Mullen, wife of head football coach Dan Mullen, could be seen clapping with as much enthusiasm, as if her Bulldogs had scored a touchdown. Mullen was among the 40 Mississippians selected for the state's Republican delegation, which included U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, House Speaker Philip Gunn and Treasurer Lynn Fitch. "Since I was eight years old, I can remember seeing the role call of the states. To be a part of it is almost surreal in a way," said Mullen.
 
Hacked emails are posted online as Democrats' convention nears
As Hillary Clinton prepares to accept her party's nomination for president, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks has released nearly 20,000 hacked emails that offer an embarrassing look inside the workings of the Democratic Party as it prepares for its convention in Philadelphia. Some of the emails from the Democratic National Committee include discussions about how to undermine Clinton's chief rival for the presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.); details of perks provided to party donors attending the convention; and email exchanges among party officials, journalists and others.
 
Hillary Clinton Unveils Tim Kaine as a Running Mate Qualified to Step in as President
Hillary Clinton on Saturday made her debut with newly minted running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who quickly opened an attack on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, questioning his temperament and skewering his business record. Mr. Kaine took to the stage with the presumptive Democratic nominee at a rally in Miami and made clear one of his main roles will be aggressively targeting Mr. Trump. Citing Mr. Trump's record as a casino owner in Atlantic City, N.J., Mr. Kaine said: "He leaves a trail of broken promises and wrecked lives wherever he goes." The rally at Florida International University marked the pair's first joint campaign appearance.
 
Ex-KKK Leader David Duke Says He Plans to Run for US Senate
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke announced Friday on his website that he plans to run for U.S. Senate in Louisiana. "I'm proud to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate," Duke said in a video. "I believe in equal rights for all and respect for all Americans. However, what makes me different is I also demand respect for the rights and heritage of European Americans." Duke's announcement came as the state is grappling with deep racial tensions. It also came one day after Donald Trump accepted the GOP nomination for president. Duke said in the video, "I'm overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I've championed for years. My slogan remains America first." Roger Villere, chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana, denounced Duke's candidacy in a statement.
 
UMMC to pay $2.75 million fee in federal settlement
After failing to notify patients of a potential data breach in 2013, the University of Mississippi Medical Center announced Friday it will pay the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services a $2.75 million penalty. The fee is part of a settlement agreement between UMMC and the health department's Office for Civil Rights following a federal investigation into alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The investigation stemmed from the theft of an intensive care unit laptop that created a potential data breach that could have affected 10,000 patients.
 
UM among best colleges to work for
The University of Mississippi continues to build on its list of achievements, receiving recognition in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "2016 Great Colleges to Work For" Honor Roll. In acknowledging this latest honor, Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter noted this distinction is a reflection of the welcoming and supportive atmosphere that faculty and staff find on all campuses of the UM system. "The University of Mississippi is extremely honored to once again be recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education as a great place to work," said Clay Jones, assistant vice chancellor and director of human resources.
 
USM professors support fired Carey colleague
The Southern Miss chapter of a professors' group that supports academic freedom is sponsoring a lecture for a professor who hasn't had a chance to teach in public since he was fired from William Carey in May. Daniel Browning, a former tenured professor of religion and history at Carey, will talk about his research aligning with a recent trip to Turkey. His lecture takes place Tuesday at Java Werks and is sponsored by the University of Southern Mississippi chapter of American Association of University Professors. "We reached out to Dr. Browning to offer our support as an organization, but also on a personal level," said Alan Thompson, Southern Miss AAUP president and associate professor of criminal justice. "I found Dr. Browning to be a sincere and likable person. There is no evidence that there was justification for his termination."
 
Copiah-Lincoln Community College named to 'Great College to Work For' list
The director of library services at Copiah-Lincoln Community College's Natchez campus said waking up and going to work is easy because she knows her coworkers have a similar goal: making sure students succeed. Staff job satisfaction was one of the reasons Co-Lin was recently named one of the best colleges in the nation for which to work by The Chronicle of Higher Education, a trade publication for colleges and universities. The school is one of 93 institutions to receive "Great College to Work For" recognition. Two other two-year college systems in Mississippi received the honor.
 
Hinds Community College's Woods, Hartfield retire
John Woods of Clinton has retired as vice president for Economic Development and Training. He joined Hinds Community College in 1991. He previously worked at Mississippi State University. He retires with 34 years of total service to the state of Mississippi and is the longest serving workforce specialist in the state. Colleen Hartfield of Raymond, vice president for Community Relations and Governmental Affairs, has retired after a combined 18 years of service at HCC. She was first hired as assistant director of public relations in 1984 and was promoted to district director of public relations a year later. She left the college in 1992 and spent 14 years at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where she became vice president for Institutional Relations. She returned to Hinds in 2006, assuming president cabinet level responsibilities for public relations, marketing, publications, sports information, web communications and governmental affairs.
 
UGA: Staff handled complaint correctly after dogs left in truck at veterinary hospital
Hundreds of people shared a Canton woman's Facebook post Thursday after she failed to get authorities to take action about four dogs left in a truck parked at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Teaching Hospital as temperatures climbed Thursday morning. Diane Warren said she's always gotten the best of care at the teaching hospital, but wasn't too impressed with the way UGA and animal control responded to her concerns. "Our front desk staff reported to hospital management that they witnessed this owner making multiple trips outside throughout the appointment," according to the UGA statement. They saw that all four windows were down, according to UGA's statement.
 
Texas A&M educator offers tips on teaching climate change
The controversy and common misconceptions surrounding climate change can cause many teachers to be reluctant or unsure how to respond when confronted by students and parents. To help educators better understand these phenomenons and how to teach it in their classrooms, Gunnar Schade, an associate professor in the department of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M, offered his expertise Thursday to kindergarten through 12th grade teachers from across the state during a six-hour climate change workshop in Rudder Tower on the Texas A&M campus. The workshop, which counted toward the teachers' required professional development training hours, focused on the scientific evidence of the Earth gradually warming over the past few years because of human activity, as well as how to debunk several common myths regarding the subject.
 
U. of Missouri curators set themes to guide presidential search
The University of Missouri, a top leader at the institution said during a recent survey, is like a confederacy of universities, each with strong states' rights. "The long-term vision is to turn the confederacy into a federacy then into one university, but that won't happen in Missouri," said the leader, who was not identified in the survey report. "Alumni, faculty, people and politicians won't like it." The report, summarizing interviews conducted by The Bernard Consulting Group of Kansas City, was presented Friday to the Board of Curators as they spent five hours talking about how to interview candidates for a new UM System president. The officials interviewed -- eight of the nine curators, four chancellors, interim President Mike Middleton and two others -- are listed in the report, but no statements are attributed.
 
Academics fact-check pervasive idea that liberal academics indoctrinate their students
Is an entire generation of voters "lost" to the Grand Old Party, and is academe at fault? That's what conservative pollster and pundit Frank Luntz told a roomful of delegates at the Republican National Convention last week. Yet academics who study the issue disagree. "Luntz doesn't have his facts straight," said Neil Gross, Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology at Colby College, who has studied politics and the professoriate. "Young Americans are leaning to the left these days, but it has very little to do with what they're being taught by college professors." A healthy body of research also suggests that -- contrary to popular belief -- students are not indoctrinated by their professors, liberal or conservative. And much of that research doesn't dispute that professors may be to the left of American society -- the disagreement is about the alleged indoctrination.
 
Higher education record of Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running mate
Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, named by Hillary Clinton as her running mate, is a moderate Democrat who has been supportive of spending on higher education both in the Senate and as governor of Virginia. The focus of his time in the Senate has not been on education issues, but he has periodically been involved in them. As governor, Kaine successfully pushed for a $2 billion bond package for facilities at public colleges and universities. Kaine has periodically taught at the University of Richmond. Kaine's wife, Anne Holton, is Virginia's secretary of education. Prior to assuming that position, she was the program director for Great Expectations, a program of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education that helps youth in foster care gain access to higher education.
 
Summer camp memories are good memories for Marshall University's president Jerry Gilbert
Summer camp season is winding down across West Virginia as we near the end of July, but the president of Marshall University is already making plans to be part of Summer 2017's National Youth Science Camp in Pocahontas County. Dr. Jerry Gilbert was one of two delegates from Mississippi during the 1973 National Youth Science Camp, put on by the National Youth Science Foundation at Camp Pocahontas near Bartow. "It was an adventure of a lifetime in a lot of ways," Gilbert told MetroNews of the experience. His chemistry teacher at Jackson Preparatory School in Jackson, Miss. suggested it, said Gilbert, so he applied for and was accepted as a delegate during the summer before he began his freshman year at Mississippi State University.
 
Legislative groups should target disaffected youth
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "As legislators gather in their working groups to study programs and budgets, they should also take note of long-term phenomena with significant impacts. One of these is a downward spiral that can cripple communities. It's named 'The Iron Circle of Poverty.' It's called the "iron circle" because it is extremely hard to break. Few communities have the talented leadership and sense of common purpose needed to do so. Without help from state leadership and resources, many will not. ...State leaders tend to look at early childhood education, juvenile justice, mental health, law enforcement, and youth programs as stand-alone programs. They need to be considered as complementary components of a vital system if we are to effectively deal with our growing disconnected youth problem."
 
Other Donald at Neshoba Fair; Reeves, Hood square off
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "A Republican political star is born in Cleveland, Ohio. Now he heads to the Neshoba County Fair. The Donald isn't coming to Mississippi's Giant House Party this week. He was invited but couldn't make it. But The Other Donald, his son, Donald John "Don" Trump Jr. is scheduled to be there on Tuesday to soak in some Mississippi hospitality and scorching heat (I hope somebody warned him, and please, somebody tell him: Do not wear a suit!) He won't be there Wednesday or Thursday, the fair's political speaking days, and at first it seemed he wouldn't give an old-fashioned stump speech in the sawdust and red dirt of Founder's Square. I understand he now will tour the fairgrounds and glad hand with folks Tuesday and then speak from the grandstand at 4:15 p.m. I know he's been all over the world, but I suspect Mr. Trump the younger has never seen anything quite like the 127th annual Neshoba County Fair."
 
Trump Jr.'s speech to face instant social media scrutiny
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "From heated races to choose county supervisors or local justices of the peace to the White House, the Neshoba County Fair remains Mississippi's premier political stump. That fact will be again underscored this week with the scheduled appearance of the son of newly minted Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump at the Neshoba grandstand at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. ...Don Trump's speech itself may not really matter. Social media has changed political engagement -- even in traditional political venues like Neshoba -- to the point that a stump speech isn't required. ...The optics will be that Trump came to the place some in the media have dubbed 'Republican Woodstock' and rubbed elbows with rural Mississippians at a campground fair -- a campground fair that has received national political attention before."


SPORTS
 
Allen set to bring energy to Mississippi State women
Alicia Mardis refuses to take the blame. After all, she was merely playing basketball as an eighth-grader at Coconut Creek High School in Florida when she noticed her sister, Jacaira Allen, watching her. She didn't realize she was making an impression on a younger sister whose only athletic claim to fame to that point was playing football in the street with the local boys. From there, the story goes in two directions. Depending on who you want to believe, Mardis either "forced" her sister to play basketball or Allen opted to follow in the footsteps of someone she loves. Judging from Mardis' laugh when asked how it happened, the story comes into focus. "She saw me and said, 'You're pretty good. I am going to try it out,' " Mardis said. "She tried it out and she liked it and is pretty good at it now. I always knew she was going to be as good as she is now, if not better." More than five years later, the example Mardis set or her decision "to force" her sister to play basketball, if you believe Allen, is set to pay dividends for the Mississippi State women's basketball team.
 
Mississippi State's women's basketball team will play in Biloxi
The Mississippi State University women's basketball team will make a rare appearance on the Mississippi Gulf Coast later this year. The Lady Bulldogs, coming off an historically successful season, will face Tulane at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on Wed., Nov. 16th, as part of their non-conference schedule. Mississippi Coast Coliseum Executive Director Matt McDonnell confirmed the game on Thursday. Mississippi State, led by standout sophomore Victoria Vivians who was named First Team All Southeastern Conference as well as honorable mention All-America, rang up 28 wins last season en route to earning the program's second NCAA Sweet 16 berth. Head coach Vic Schaefer's squad matched the school record with 11 SEC wins, claimed its best regular season finish with a tie for second.
 
Hughes aims for shift in recruiting culture at Jackson State
Tony Hughes is trying to change the culture with Jackson State's recruiting plans. In 2013, Rick Comegy was fired and one of the reasons was because his lack of recruiting in the Jackson area. Harold Jackson was hired with the intentions of recruiting local, but that seemed to be more lip service than anything else. Hughes took another step toward establishing the Tigers' recruiting foundation with "Tigers Night under the lights" camp for high school athletes at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium on Thursday night. "The whole purpose of this camp is to let every kid leave here feeling like a million bucks," Hughes said. "We want every kid, from the eighth grader to the five-star 12th-grader, when he leaves this camp at Jackson State University, that he feels like he's been coached and he's a better player than he was when he first got here."
 
Cellphone trouble leads to violations at Ole Miss
Ole Miss coaches haven't fared well with their cellphones recently. Impermissible cellphone use comprised five of the 13 violations the athletic department self-reported to the NCAA from Jan. 1 to May 31 of this year, according to documents obtained by The Clarion-Ledger through an open records request. The biggest trouble stems from pocket dialing. The football coaching staff also suffered a few problems.
 
Ole Miss experiences record-setting year in fundraising
The Ole Miss Athletics Foundation set a record with $45.6 million in contributions in the fiscal year that ended June 30, breaking the previous high of $35.2 set last fiscal year. The foundation raised $26 million in fiscal year 2013 and $27.4 million in fiscal year 2014, bringing the total contributions to $134.2 million over the past four years. The Forward Together campaign has raised $167.5 million. After reaching its original goal of $150 million earlier this year, the goal was raised to $200 million. The campaign has received $30 million this fiscal year and could reach its new goal by next June.
 
UGA study: Player-on-player hits cause more serious head impacts
In football, player-vs.-player hits will likely cause more severe head impacts than other impacts, according to a new study by a University of Georgia researcher. The research also points to potential rule changes to further protect players. The study, which is published in the most recent issue of the journal Pediatrics, analyzed nearly 7,000 head impacts during 13 games in a high school football team's season and post-season. Julianne Schmidt, assistant professor in the UGA College of Education and author of the article, said the analysis of game videos found players sustained more serious head impacts when hitting another player than players who hit their heads on another object, such as the ground.
 
Kentucky football unveils new, high-tech practice facility
Mark Stoops' favorite part of the new Kentucky practice facility is the main team meeting room. "It's a beautiful setting," the head coach said this week previewing the Cats' new, $45 million facility. "It's nice and quiet and we're all alone in there. I like the team room. It's really beautiful." Ask almost anyone associated with UK football and he or she has a different favorite part of the new facility, which the media toured Friday afternoon. As the final additions were being placed on the new facility, Stoops said he purposefully stayed out. He went back in late last week. "I was really overwhelmed," the head coach said. "It was incredible. It was a great feeling. When you put all the finishing touches on it and the graphics and you put it all together, it's amazing."
 
Advisory committee named in Missouri athletics director search
An advisory committee that will aid in the search for a new MU athletics director includes two alumni and a member of the UM System Board of Curators. Members of the five-person committee, announced Friday in an email from MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley, are Darryl Chatman, alumni representative; Sarah Reesman, senior associate director for the Missouri athletics department; Phil Snowden, curator; Don Walsworth, alumni representative; and Christina Wells, faculty athletics representative. The committee will work with Todd Turner, founder of College Sports Associates. The national executive search and consulting firm assists NCAA Division I universities and conferences. Wren Baker is the interim athletics director.
 
N.C.A.A. Will Quiz Host Cities About Anti-Discrimination Policies
The N.C.A.A. unveiled a questionnaire Friday that requires current and prospective host cities of its championship competitions "to specifically outline how they will protect participants and spectators from discrimination," including details on how they would mitigate any local discriminatory laws or rules that permit the refusal of services to members of any group. The policy change, first hinted at in April, was announced a day after the N.B.A.'s decision to withdraw next year's All-Star Game from Charlotte drew the ire of the state's Republican governor, Pat McCrory, who is running for re-election this year. The N.C.A.A. has a history of taking progressive stances on social issues. It can be difficult for the N.C.A.A. to take politically charged stands, however, since it is a membership association that includes more than 1,000 institutions.
 
D.J. Pulley is named Athletic Director at William Carey University
William Carey University named D.J. Pulley its new athletic director. Pulley has served at WCU in many roles since 2004. He was sports information director and women's basketball assistant coach from 2004 to 2015 and men's golf coach from 2004 to 2012. From 2012 to 2015, he was responsible for processing student-athlete eligibility for all sports with the NAIA. In December, he left WCU and worked as an agent with Farm Bureau Insurance in Petal. Crusaders basketball coach Steve Knight, a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, had been the school's AD since 1987. Knight opted to remain basketball coach. "The growth of Carey's athletic program has made it necessary for us to have a full-time athletic director," King said.
 
William Winter, Mississippi sports fanatic
Mississippi syndicated sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "Gov. William Winter, at 93, still walks with a spring in his step. His handshake is firm and his mind is as sharp and clear as a cloudless, blue-skied spring morning in his beloved Mississippi. His knowledge of this state's political and social history is vast, of course, but Winter's friends know that he probably knows as much about the state's sports history as any living human. In 1942, Winter covered Boo Ferriss's last pitching performance at Mississippi State, a victory over Ole Miss in Oxford. Seventy-four years later, Winter rode with this writer to the C Spire Ferriss Trophy ceremonies in Cleveland and recalled that afternoon so long ago. 'I was in awe of Boo Ferriss back then; I was sure he would be a Major League star,' Winter said. 'I was an Ole Miss man but a Boo Ferriss fan. I think I probably called him Mr. Ferriss when I interviewed him.'"



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