Friday, June 28, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Study ranks Starkville, Oxford among 100 smartest cities
A San Francisco-based brain game company has ranked Starkville and Oxford among the 100 smartest cities in the nation for 2013. The company, Lumosity, develops brain-training exercises and collected data on five cognitive performance areas to compile its rankings. Several of the top cities are homes to universities, including Starkville, which came in at No. 34, and Oxford, with its No. 74 rank. The company's acknowledgment of the intelligence found in the state was welcomed by Jenn Gregory, CEO of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. "Starkville has become known as a very intellectual community," said Gregory. "We really embrace that and value education so much."
Choctaw County fans help turn Omaha maroon
After driving 13 hours to get to Omaha on Sunday, Fifth Circuit Court Judge Joey Loper of Ackerman had to do a double take. "Everywhere I looked it was maroon and white," He said. "It was like we were in Starkville for the Super Bulldog Weekend." Loper is one of several Choctaw countians who made the long trip to Nebraska this week in order to see the Mississippi State University Bulldogs take part in the College World Series. "The atmosphere is just overwhelming," said District 35 Rep. Joey Hood of Choctaw County, who made the trip west with his wife Cynthia and sons Jonah, 4, and Owen, 2.
Mississippi State fans have much to celebrate
The Dispatch editorializes: "By Friday afternoon -- when the last out of Mississippi State's 4-1 win over Oregon State had secured the Bulldogs a spot in the College World Series championship series, the river of excitement produced by Mississippi State's baseball team had become a torrent. ...The Bulldogs didn't bring home the big trophy, but they achieved much, both on and off the field of play. ...While nothing is assured, it seems reasonable to expect that this MSU team has created a momentum that will help a future MSU team not only reach the championship, but win it."
Lack of growing degree days slowed Mississippi corn
It's not exactly news to farmers unable to plant their intended acreages of corn and soybeans that this spring was frustratingly cold and wet. But growing degree day numbers quantify just how off kilter from normal this planting season has been. "Fourteen days during March had zero growing degree days," says Erick J. Larson, associate Extension/research professor of plant and soil sciences at Mississippi State University, who spoke at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation's joint soybean, corn, wheat, and feed grains advisory committee meeting at Grenada.
Unemployment increases across Golden Triangle
Statistics released Wednesday indicated there were about 300 more people in Lowndes County last month without work than there were in May 2012. That trend is also true in Oktibbeha and Clay counties, where jobless rates increased after unemployment rates had previously dropped between March and April. Oktibbeha County's unemployment rate rose to 9.3 percent in May after declining to 7.8 percent in April.
Higgins says Yokohama project on schedule
Area business leaders convened Wednesday for the Golden Triangle Development Link's quarterly luncheon and heard a report on the status of Yokohama Tire Company manufacturing plant construction in Clay County from Link CEO Joe Max Higgins. Higgins said Yokohama officials want to have the first of the new plant's four phases complete for testing by the fourth quarter of next year and begin tire production in the second quarter of 2015.
Medicaid debate emotional
A special session of the Mississippi Legislature called by Gov. Phil Bryant to try to prevent a Medicaid shutdown Sunday quickly brought emotional testimony and debate from lawmakers Thursday. "These are working folks!" said Rep. Bo Eaton, D-Taylorsville. "Help them today! In Jesus' name, care!" Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, gave emotional testimony about his "working poor" brother battling cancer without health insurance. Republican Speaker Philip Gunn, in a written statement, said: "Playing politics with people's lives is what got us here today."
Democrats lose vote on Medicaid
State House Democrats finally got to vote on a version of a Medicaid expansion proposal Thursday on the opening day of a special session that lasted into the early evening. Democrats lost that vote, 65-51. The Legislature is in special session because the existing Medicaid program covering 644,000 people -- poor pregnant women, poor children, the disabled and the elderly -- was not funded or reauthorized during the regular session for the new fiscal year, which starts Monday.
Cancer survivor to address lawmakers
A 37-year-old uninsured cancer survivor and mother of three is scheduled to give a briefing Friday at the state Capitol to highlight the need for access to health care for low-income Mississippian. Leslie Hebert, a substitute teacher and student, will talk about her situation at 8:30 a.m. at an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Also on Friday, Just Advocacy of Mississippi has scheduled a rally on the south steps of the Capitol at 10 a.m.
New laws take effect Monday; unconcealed guns included
Hundreds of bills passed by the state Legislature in its regular session this year take effect Monday, the start of the state's fiscal year. Some are landmark policy changes --- charter schools, state-funded pre-K and other education reform. Others appear more quirky and have gotten little attention. After years of debate, colleges, universities and community colleges in Mississippi can offer gaming management courses. Supporters say the prohibition on Mississippi schools teaching casino management courses was preventing state residents from getting top jobs at the state casinos.
Immigration Overhaul, Hailed by Higher-Education Leaders, Passes Senate
The U.S. Senate passed a monumental bill to overhaul immigration law on Thursday that higher-education leaders hailed as giving foreign-born graduate students unprecedented access to green cards, a provision that research universities said would help them compete for top talent by giving the students greater certainty of landing jobs after they graduate. Although the bill, S 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, is viewed as unlikely to pass in the House of Representatives, it is widely considered a win for higher education. "The real game changer in the bill for universities is in the green-card section, where advanced-degree graduates for STEM fields have green cards stapled to their diplomas," said Craig Lindwarm, assistant director for international issues and Congressional and governmental affairs at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.
Mississippi senators Thad Cochran, Roger Wicker vote against immigration bill
Both of Mississippi's U.S. senators voted against an immigration bill that passed the chamber Thursday. Republicans Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker say they consider the bill flawed. It would still need to pass the U.S. House before it could become law.
A Bill Allowing More Foreign Workers Stirs a Tech Debate
As the Senate voted on a landmark immigration bill that would let Silicon Valley companies import more foreign engineers, some Americans remain locked in a deeply emotional argument over whether outsiders are taking jobs away from people like Joey Doernberg. Mr. Doernberg worked in chip design, before that industry shrank, and then for a solar energy company, before that industry shrank, and has been unemployed since the middle of last year. The questions of skills, jobs and nationality are a combustible mix these days. Americans like Mr. Doernberg and the powerful labor lobby say that what the tech industry really wants is to depress wages and bring in more pliant, less costly temporary workers from overseas. If there is such a talent shortage, they ask, why are wages for most engineers not rising faster?
Cantor Eyes Splitting Farm Bill
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is looking at splitting food stamps and farm programs in an effort to unite Republicans to pass a farm bill so leadership doesn't have to count on Democratic votes. "Cantor believes the best path now is to move forward with a bill that has 218 Republican votes since Democrats proved they cannot be trusted to work in good faith, and that path may be splitting up the bill," a GOP aide told CQ Roll Call on Thursday morning. Conservative lawmakers and outside advocacy groups -- who want much deeper spending cuts -- have from the beginning pushed to split the farm bill from its traditional inclusion of both food aid for the poor and aid for farm programs.
Where gray hair is a plus
Think you need to be in your 20s to launch a hot startup? Not on Capitol Hill. In Washington, it actually pays to be in your 60s when you're starting a new business --- at least on K Street. Take Sens. John Breaux, a Democrat, and Trent Lott, a Republican. The longtime friends and former staff members in the House during the '60s are a classic example of the well-worn path lawmakers, Capitol Hill aides and administration officials take to launch a second career well past what other industries would consider their prime. When they launched their firm about five years ago, the pair quickly became K Street titans, drawing some of the biggest retainers downtown before selling their boutique firm in 2010 to lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs.
Moss Point's Broomfield to vacate legislative seat Saturday
State Rep. Billy Broomfield, D-Moss Point, has submitted his paperwork to resign his legislative seat effective Saturday. Broomfield was recently elected mayor of Moss Point, and under state law, all elected municipal officials take office Monday. Broomfield told the Sun Herald he has given his resignation paperwork to Gov. Phil Bryant. In the next few weeks, Bryant will likely announce a special election to fill Broomfield's vacated seat in the Legislature.
Gulf Dead Zone Worries Fishing Industry Experts
Scientists are predicting that this summer's dead zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico will measure 8500 square miles -- the size of New Jersey. The northern Gulf dead zone may be outside of Mississippi's waters, but what happens in one part of the gulf can have a ripple effect throughout the whole region, says Read Hendon, director of the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Fisheries Research and Development.
Engineer Research and Development Center to furlough more than 1,000 workers due to sequester
About 1,050 employees at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg and three other locations expect to be furloughed one day a week beginning July 8 through Sept. 30. "Approximately 60 percent of the ERDC workforce is subject to furlough," ERDC assistant director Alice Duke said in an email to the Vicksburg Post. "ERDC, in compliance with DOD guidance, is in the process of distributing furlough decision notices this week to employees who are subject to furlough and previously received furlough proposal notices," she said. The ERDC employs 1,170 people.
Nissan adding 900 jobs at Smyrna, Tenn., for Rogue production
With the hiring of new workers for the production of the Leaf electric car and Rogue compact crossover, Nissan is on the verge of expanding the workforce at its Smyrna assembly complex to more than 7,000. About 900 contract workers will be the latest additions, Nissan said Thursday. Using contract workers is a controversial practice. It's prevalent throughout the industry, but some critics say it has left Nissan vulnerable to union representation, something the company has steadfastly resisted during its tenure in Tennessee. Two earlier efforts to bring the United Auto Workers union into the Smyrna plant failed. The UAW has been trying to organize Nissan's Canton, Miss., assembly plant for more than a year now, and one of the issues the union has been using to try to get support is the high percentage of contract workers. The union has now again turned its efforts toward Smyrna.
Chick-fil-A in gay marriage spotlight again
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy has entered the gay marriage debate again, almost a year after making comments that created a firestorm of protest for the Atlanta-based company. On Wednesday, Cathy tweeted: "Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies." Cathy's tweet was later deleted but not before screenshots were taken.
Sellout crowd awaits taping of Marty Stuart's show
A touch of Nashville is coming to Philadelphia this week as Country Music Star Marty Stuart brings his RFD-TV program, "The Marty Stuart Show," to the historic Ellis Theater in his hometown. The five-time Grammy Award winner and platinum recording artist will present a special concert and TV taping at 8 p.m. Friday. The concert/taping will represent the final episode of the popular TV show's fifth season. Stuart has long played the role of ambassador, educator and host on behalf of his hometown of Philadelphia as well as his state. "My home state and my hometown are unparalleled when it comes to the arts, music and genuine hospitality," he said.
University Research Center updates socio-economic handbook
The University Research Center recently updated the online data resource, the Mississippi Handbook of Selected Data, which contains maps, graphs and tables displaying socio-economic data relevant for Mississippi. Last updated in 2002, the handbook is published exclusively on the web and features an interactive table of contents for ease of navigating through the publication. "The Mississippi Handbook of Selected Data has always been a valuable resource," said Dr. Darrin Webb, state economist and director of the University Research Center. "The new interactive table of contents makes it more accessible, while the real time updating keeps the data current. We encourage users to send us their comments and suggestions for making this even more useful."
Delta State's LaForge: The green tie president
Bill LaForge's green tie collection started forming before he became the new president of Delta State University on April 15. "It started with my family when they gave me several for Christmas in anticipation," said LaForge. "They were sort of a hopeful wish." At the time, LaForge was campaigning to become DSU's eighth president after the retirement of Dr. John Hilpert. "Whenever I came before the IHL board for interviews I would have on a green tie," LaForge said. "People would always comment on them." And now that LaForge is more than two months into his new role, the green ties have taken on a special symbolic meaning.
Will BCBS no longer be accepted at U. of Mississippi Medical Center?
A University of Mississippi Medical Center patient said he was told that the hospital will no longer be a part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield network, starting Friday. The insurance company is the state's largest insurer. According to UMMC Public Affairs, the hospital and insurance company have been in contract talks since February. They are in the process of renegotiating the contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield for reimbursement of medical services. "We are in discussions with Blue Cross Blue Shield about contracts with UMMC and because they are ongoing we can't predict an outcome at this point," said UMMC spokesman Jack Mazurak. "We will certainly make UMMC patients and employees aware if it looks like there will be a cancellation of the contract."
Kelley-Winders, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College vice president, retiring after 44 years
Anna Faye Kelley-Winders, vice president of Community Campus, will retire from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on Sunday, after 44 years of service. Kelley-Winders was honored at the 2013 commencement ceremony, as the longest-serving employee of the college, and was honored with a concurrent resolution from the Mississippi Legislature on June 21. A George County native, she was first introduced to MGCCC almost 50 years ago as a student at the Perkinston Campus. Kelley-Winders has been instrumental in designing and developing new credit career-technical programs and many workforce and other non-credit offerings. Through a National Science Foundation grant almost 10 years ago, she established the first Women in Information Technology Conference at the college.
Pearl River Community College to upgrade campus with MDOT grant
A new $450,000 Mississippi Department of Transportation grant will make Pearl River Community College's Poplarville campus just a little easier to navigate on foot. "The grant is basically going to help make our campus a bit safer for pedestrians that come to visit us," said PRCC President William Lewis. The money, awarded by the MDOT via a federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant, will be used to enhance the commons area right in the heart of the campus. That means extending the campus's courtyard area near Crosby Hall, while adding more landscaping, lighting and seating. There also will be a pedestrian walkway from new parking areas currently under construction to the center of campus.
U. of Alabama to raise parking pass prices, on-campus students to pay $300 for annual pass
The University of Alabama has raised prices on its required parking passes for the 2013-2014 school year, charging $300 for residential passes. The increase is a $20 bump from last year's price, but will come as no surprise to students who have seen prices increase annually for the past several years. Faculty/staff permits will cost $245 per, and reserve permits for both students and faculty are $510. Parking passes, availability and tickets are frequently a hotly contested topic around campus. The Parking Services office collects millions in parking citations alone each year, not counting the revenue gathered from parking passes.
Corner Store at southern edge of U. of Alabama demolished
As a boy, Rich Anders stopped at The Corner store on the way to football games at nearby Bryant-Denny Stadium. Later, as a student at the University of Alabama, the convenience store served as a stop for groceries. The popular store at the corner of Paul W. Bryant Drive and Eighth Avenue on the south side of campus -- a fixture to Anders and others for almost 70 years -- was demolished this week. Construction crews are expected to complete the demolition of the vacant convenience store, which is on land owned by UA, this weekend. Cathy Andreen, director of media relations for UA, said landscaping will be installed once the demolition is complete and that the university will decide on a future use for the lot based on the campus master plan.
Construction continues on new Auburn University residence hall
Several hundred Auburn students will enjoy new housing when the fall semester begins in August. Construction on the South Donahue Residence Hall at Auburn University is nearing completion. The dormitories include state-of-the-art amenities for incoming students. The facility replaces what was Sewell Hall. The new residence hall for students and student-athletes includes one-, two- and four-bedroom suites, completely furnished with washers and dryers, queen-sized beds and a living room set including a 42-inch, flat-screen television. Ben Chapman, facilities project manager at Auburn, said they used materials like the quartz countertops and tile in the bathroom showers to ensure the facility is durable and high-quality.
Auburn University Recreation and Wellness Center nears completion
Auburn University will soon provide students with the longest indoor running track in the country, an in-pool rock climbing wall and much more in the new Recreation and Wellness Center. Jennifer Jarvis, center director, said she's excited for students, faculty and staff at the university to walk into the building for the first time. It's slated to open Aug. 19. "This is what students and faculty wanted from the beginning," Jarvis said. "They wanted a wow factor and they wanted something uniquely Auburn. We told our architects from the beginning, 'We don't have to have the biggest, but we want to have the best.'"
Woman rescued after being trapped on U. of Florida's O'Connell Center
A University of Florida graduate who reportedly told a friend that she had always wanted to climb to the top of the O'Connell Center was rescued early Thursday morning after slipping and becoming trapped in a rain-collection area of the building. Teodora Latinska, 23, of Gainesville, was about 20 feet up on one of the concrete rain gutters on the side of the building when she slipped and fell at around 2:21 a.m., according to University Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Kristy Sasser. Latinska had been drinking at a midtown bar with Kevin McMahon, 28, Sasser said. As they neared the center, she told McMahon of her long-held desire to summit the O'Dome, Sasser said.
Young students get real-life lessons in science at U. of Florida
Some young science lovers got a rare opportunity to explore microscopic worlds this month. Nineteen students, ages 10 to 15, spent part of their summer vacation in a microbiology lab at the University of Florida, learning about tiny microbes that have a huge impact on humans. The first summer microbiology apprenticeship program at UF was launched by Monika Oli, a professor in the microbiology and cell science department and UF's current Teacher of the Year.
U. of Georgia dedicates new Rutherford Hall
Former residents of old Rutherford Hall had a hard time noticing the differences between it and the new Rutherford Hall during a Thursday dedication ceremony at the University of Georgia. "I would not know it had been taken down if I came back to campus to visit," said Emily Sanders Gunnells of Athens. Gunnells, mother of UGA senior associate athletic directory Glada Horvat, agreed with UGA President Michael Adams' assessment in Adams' last public function as president.
Texas A&M camp encourages STEM learning
A high-ranking IBM executive stressed the importance of science and math education to prepare students for a "new era of computing" during a speech Thursday to a select group of incoming Texas A&M University freshmen. Rodney C. Adkins, the company's senior vice president of corporate strategy, visited the A&M campus on Thursday to meet with the inaugural group of Posse Foundation students -- 10 incoming freshmen selected from among 500 Houston-area applicants -- participating in the university's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camp. He emphasized the presence of technology in nearly all aspects of daily life and the marketplace, such as health care, energy efficiency, water management and food science.
New solar project to power Texas A&M-Central Texas campus
The Texas A&M University System has announced the creation of the largest solar test site in the world to power the entire Texas A&M University-Central Texas campus and greatly expedite the development of photovoltaic solar technologies. The ambitious project was announced in Killeen on Thursday by A&M System Chancellor John Sharp and A&M-Central Texas President Marc Nigliazzo. The university will collaborate with California-based PPA Partners to create the Center For Solar Energy, a $600 million project that will span up to 800 acres in Bell County.
U. of Missouri museums' priceless artifacts make move a challenge
Thousands of ancient artifacts, famous paintings and archeological remnants in two prized University of Missouri museums soon will receive a new home, but it's not a move that everyone is happy about. The Museum of Art and Archeology, the Museum of Anthropology and the Museum Support Center will pack up their collections and move into the former Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, now as Mizzou North, at Garth Avenue and Business Loop 70. The move is part of the first wave of Renew Mizzou, a $22.85 million project that will include major renovations to Jesse, Pickard and Swallow halls. The decision to move the museums to Mizzou North triggered criticism from MU faculty and community members, who worry about the museums' future.
Interest rates on student loans set to double next week
U.S. senators headed home for a Fourth of July recess without passing a bill that would prevent interest rates from doubling on student loans next week, leading to a ramp-up of political finger-pointing. Last year, Democrats used the looming increase in the cost of student loans to great political effect, pressuring Republicans in an election year and rallying young voters in support of President Obama's campaign. Now, as a temporary extension of discounted interest rates is set to lapse, Democrats are at odds with one another over the issue, with the party's leaders privately grumbling about a White House proposal nearer to Republicans' solution than their own. So Republicans are happily turning the political heat on Democrats.
Education Department releases annual tuition pricing lists
The Education Department has updated its annual list of the country's most expensive colleges (by net price and by list price), and, as always, this year's list contains familiar names. The lists, posted on the Education Department's College Affordability and Transparency Center, are a sort of "hall of shame" intended to force colleges to be more transparent about both their list prices and the prices students pay after financial aid. Colleges have criticized the lists, arguing that they oversimplify -- many factors are driving tuition increases, including shrinking state budgets at public institutions. But the lists' power appears to be fading, released with less fanfare and greeted with less media coverage than in the past.
New Science Standards Designed for Wide Range of Learners
When the writers of the Next Generation Science Standards began sketching out a new vision for K-12 science education, they gave themselves a mandate: Develop standards with all students in mind, not just the high achievers already expected to excel in the subject. Now, three years later, their notion---that every student should get a deep, rigorous science education that would prepare them for demanding coursework, a college degree in the sciences, and a career that could follow---has helped produce a set of standards meant for the most-advanced science students, as well as students who previously may have been steered away from taking a science class, writers of the standards said.
Legislature stressed in the special session
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Legislators failed on Thursday to complete work on Gov. Phil Bryant's proposed reauthorization and funding of Medicaid, and Democrats lost a vote that would have prevented spending appropriated money until a straight-line vote on expanding Medicaid by 300,000 people is held. ...If the expansion were approved an additional 300,000 Mississippians, many of them working poor people who hold jobs but without employer-provided health coverage and without sufficient income to buy it on the retail market. These health costs many legislators like to ignore land squarely on institutional providers like hospitals, which must absorb them as uncompensated care. We hope the Senate takes a broader, more compassionate and less political view of Medicaid."

Mississippi State takes curtain call for CWS run
The song that signaled the end to most games at Dudy Noble Field --- albeit in the ninth inning -- concluded the 2013 season. Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down," the entrance music of lights-out closer Jonathan Holder, echoed throughout Mississippi State's home ballpark Thursday night as the Bulldogs tried to exit the field following a celebration of their trip to the College World Series. But the MSU faithful managed to buck the trend, making sure the song didn't end this night or this season, which officially closed with the Bulldogs' 8-0 loss to UCLA in Game 2 of the finals on Tuesday. Fans piled onto the dugout asking for autographs. "We've all played a part in this unprecedented season," MSU president Mark Keenum said. "Thank you to each and everyone one of you for taking us on this great journey."
Bulldogs, fans celebrate each other
There was no parade in Starkville Thursday night for Mississippi State's most successful baseball team ever. Who needs a march down the street when you've got Dudy Noble Field -- the capitol building of Southeastern Conference baseball -- for hosting a "Welcome Home Celebration." The Bulldogs, two days removed from a disappointing College World Series championship series loss to UCLA in Omaha, received an enthusiastic salute from their administration and an estimated 4,000 adoring fans, many who traveled to Nebraska to support their maroon-clad boys of spring and summer.
Fans gather at Dudy Noble Field to show appreciation to Bulldogs
It has been a wild ride for the Mississippi State baseball team this season. That all came to an end on Thursday night. The Bulldogs were greeted by fans at Dudy Noble Field to celebrate the 2013 Bulldog campaign. MSU finished the season 51-20 and were the national runner-ups to the UCLA Bruins. An estimated crowd of 4,000 fans were in attendance Thursday night to celebrate the 2013 season with the team and the unveiling of the runner-up trophy.
MSU's College World Series run could have long-term benefits
Mississippi State University's run in the College World Series is expected to have long-term benefits. Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Director Rick Cleveland said the playoff run will pay off for years to come. "I think, for just the College World Series, they may spend more money than they make on just this event, but the long-term benefits of it far outweigh that. Their enrollment will go up, their giving will go up," Cleveland said.
Mississippi State wants to learn lessons from CWS trip
Mental notes are what Mississippi State head coach John Cohen and his staff will take after the Bulldogs won their most games in a trip to Omaha and earned their first trip to the College World Series Finals. "We'll go back at look at what we did right to get here and why we played so poorly in the championship series," Cohen said. "We have to use this as an educational experience. Otherwise, it didn't mean anything." MSU (51-20) finished with the second-most victories by a team in school history. Cohen and his staff vowed Tuesday night to use the losses as learning tools just like they've used other instances from practices or in mid-week games that few remember.
Twelve SEC newcomers who should make a splash in 2013 | Mike Herndon (Opinion)
Columnist Mike Herndon writes: "Back in February, I looked at some of the SEC's new early enrollees most likely to make an early impact this fall. Since then, we've had spring practices and most of the rest of 2013's signees have made their way to campuses around the conference, so it's time to update that list. ...Jeremey Chappelle, WR, Mississippi State -- The Bulldogs lost their top three pass catchers from 2012. Chappelle (6-3, 210), a junior-college transfer, showed at the Maroon and White game that he can help fill the void, finishing with 114 yards receiving. ...Justin Cox, CB, Mississippi State -- With three-quarters of the Bulldogs' secondary graduated, this talented junior-college transfer was already penciled in at one of the starting cornerback spots in spring practice."
The Costly Toll of NCAA Sanctions
Oregon football fans breathed a sigh of relief this week when their team, er, ducked major penalties for NCAA violations involving player-scouting services. Indeed, compared with recent punishments against other football programs, the Ducks landed on a financial feather bed. Oregon's three lost scholarships are worth $93,741. That's a tiny fraction of the more than $7 million in major-college football scholarships lost to NCAA sanctions in the past five years. That total dollar amount could fund scholarships for the entire Alabama football team---twice. Southern California's 30-scholarship sanction for former star Reggie Bush accepting improper benefits was even more costly than it appeared. A Trojans athletic scholarship runs a whopping $60,000, compared with Mississippi State's $20,332 when averaging the cost of in-state versus out-of-state tuition.
Search continues for new U. of Southern Mississippi athletic director
The University of Southern Mississippi may not know who its next athletic director will be. But, apparently, the university knows at least one person who won't. Spokesman Jim Coll said Thursday afternoon that President Rodney Bennett does not consider his former colleague, ex-University of Georgia athletic director Damon Evans, a candidate to replace Jeff Hammond as the next Southern Miss AD. Hammond, who had been named athletics director in June 2012, was told last week by Bennett that he would not continue to lead the athletic department after Sunday, when his contract expires.
Hammond thanks USM boosters in email
Southern Miss president Rodney Bennett announced last week that Jeff Hammond will not be retained as the school's athletic director once his contract runs out on June 30. Hammond sent an email to the school's boosters Thursday thanking them for their support in his 1 1/2 years on the job as athletic director. He gave no indication on whether he plans to take up Bennett's offer to work elsewhere at the university.
College Station city council mulls agreements that could secure financial aid for Kyle Field renovations
The College Station City Council was presented agreements Thursday evening that would lock them into a 30-year deal to have Texas A&M open its doors to several facilities in exchange for financial help in the reconstruction of Kyle Field. The agreements would have the city funneling an estimated $14 million in unallocated hotel-motel tax revenue over the next 30 years to the Bryan-College Station Convention & Visitors Bureau in exchange for access to A&M's meeting spaces. The four agreements between College Station, Brazos County, the CVB and A&M call for spending about $36 million to help fund Kyle Field's renovation in exchange for the facility access, which is expected to boost tourism and the hotel industry with the increase in available booking space.
UGA QB Aaron Murray surprises 96-year-old Elberton fan
When Mildred Bradford entered Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall at the University of Georgia on Thursday, she thought she was there for a tour of the facility she had won in a contest. The 96-year-old Elberton resident and long-time Georgia Bulldogs fan was surprised to learn that the contest was staged and she really was there to meet UGA quarterback Aaron Murray. With a hand over her mouth, Bradford starred at Murray in surprise as family members, Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall staff and nurses from Athens Regional Medical Center watched with smiles on their faces.

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