Tuesday, August 27, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Expanded Starkville Bus Routes Clear Hurdle
As the 2013 fall semester gets under way, Mississippi State's shuttle buses are running the routes for the 17th consecutive year, but the university now has the green light to take the shuttle system further than it's ever been before. The receipt of a Section 5311 Rural General Public Transportation Program grant through the Mississippi Department of Transportation is enabling MSU and the City of Starkville to partner and expand the traditional campus system to include two new campus-community routes. Mike Harris, MSU director of parking services and principal investigator for the MDOT grant, said the shuttle system also will be renamed in the spring as the SMART system. An acronym for Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit, the new name reflects the expanded routes that span beyond campus boundaries well into Starkville, he added. Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum praised the City of Starkville and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership for their collaboration with the university on a project that benefits everyone.
New bus routes added to transit system in Starkville
Mississippi State University has announced that two new campus-community bus routes will be added to the transit system that already services those communities. According to an MSU news release on Monday, a grant through the Mississippi Department of Transportation will funnel more than $800,000 into transit operations and $1.5 million for the purchase of 12 new buses. Officials say two of those buses will the trolley-style shuttles that will provide routes in Starkville's historic downtown district.
Individual Tickets on Sale at MSU Riley Center
The MSU Riley Center in downtown Meridian started selling individual tickets Monday for its fall/winter season. Box officer manager Derron Radcliff says there is a little bit of something for everyone. From Driving Miss Daisy to Peter Pan, Ronnie Dunn to Blues Travelers, there are several convenient ways to buy your tickets. "You can buy your tickets on the Internet or you can come to the box office and purchase your tickets," said Radcliff.
Mississippi State Among Washington Monthly's Top 100
Mississippi State once again is listed among the top 100 in Washington Monthly magazine's College Guide and Rankings. In a report released Monday [Aug. 26], the university is 71st in the annual ranking of national universities, based on contributions to the public good in the three categories of social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and doctoral degrees) and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). In introducing the 2013 rankings, its editors point out how their survey is different from others. "Unlike U.S. News and World Report and similar guides, this one asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country," they write.
Chadwick walking track nears completion
Mississippi State University will welcome the addition of the Chadwick Lake walking and fitness path, a product of the MSU on the Move initiative, early this fall. Dan Whatley, construction administrator at MSU, said despite above-average rainfall this summer, construction on the walking path continues to progress according to plans following the official groundbreaking ceremony in early April. Bill Broyles, assistant vice president of Student Affairs, said in the event weather conditions hinder the completion of the project, MSU may choose to grant the contractor seven additional work days. Broyles also said while current construction plans are true to the original project design, changes were made to incorporate a newer and safer boardwalk near the Sanderson Center.
Science or Art?
Mississippi State University students have the opportunity to experience more artistic facets of science through the "Art of Physics" exhibit currently displayed on the second floor of the Colvard Student Union in the Colvard Union Gallery. The exhibit primarily features art from MSU faculty and staff in various disciplines, as well as other academic sources, focusing on displaying the beauty of science. The gallery is part of a series of activities sponsored by MSU's Maroon Edition. This year's Maroon Edition, "Physics for Future Presidents" by Richard A. Muller, focuses on the subject of science and, more specifically, physics in relation to modern political discussion. According to a University Relations report on the exhibit, "Art of Physics" is both an artistic expression and a visually pleasing representation of scientific data.
Commuter frustrations grow
Ongoing construction at Mississippi State University has affected parking spaces and many students have complained that more permits are sold than actual available parking space. However, Mike Harris, director of Parking and Transit Operations, said parking services sells permits based on a ratio, and it is impossible to have one-to-one parking space to keep everyone happy. "It's a two-headed coin. Some people see empty space and ask why we can't sell permits. Others complain we sell too many permits but they can't find parking space," he said. Harris said selling one-to-one permits is not possible in commuter parking lots, and the goal is to satisfy as many people as possible while frustrating the least number of people.
Columbus Hosts MSU Pep Rally
The city of Columbus is getting fired up for the Mississippi State football season. The Columbus/Lowndes MSU Alumni Association is hosting its annual Football Kickoff Pep Rally Tuesday at 6 p.m. The event in Leadership Plaza will feature music, an appearance by Bully and the MSU Cheerleaders, and an autograph session. Organizers will also give away MSU t-shirts. The event is free and open to the public.
Despite late planting, state's cotton crop looking 'decent'
Mississippi's cotton growers are hoping weather challenges don't prevent their late-planted crop from making the good yields it seems capable of producing. Darrin Dodds, state cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the bulk of the crop was in pretty decent shape by late August. "Some folks feel they are sitting on one of the better crops they've had," he said. "All that will boil down to the weather we have in the fall. We need a long, favorable fall, and the heat to stick with us and the rain to stay away."
Ideal place for nuclear waste? Talk of storage in Mississippi emerges again
Mississippi could see thousands of new jobs and billions in investments from storing and reprocessing the nation's nuclear waste, an energy trade group told state lawmakers Monday. But the proposal, made public just a few days ago, is drawing opponents, new and old. "Spent nuclear fuel is being stored now all over the U.S., including (in Mississippi at the Grand Gulf nuclear plant)," said Jason Dean of the Mississippi Energy Institute, in a presentation to the state Senate Economic Development Committee. "We think if we consolidate it in Mississippi, we can reprocess it. ... Technology has completely changed the paradigm."
Jobs, funds make nuclear waste enticing
Communities in Mississippi have expressed a preliminary interest in storing nuclear waste on an interim basis and reprocessing it, members of the Senate Economic Development Committee were told Monday. "You are talking about thousands of jobs, billions of dollars of investment. We want to have a conversation," Jason Dean, a private consultant representing the Mississippi Energy Institute, said of the proposal. The issue of disposing of the nuclear waste generated by the nation's power plants has been an ongoing dilemma. At one point in the 1980s, the salt dome near Richton in southeast Mississippi was viewed as a prime location to permanently store the radioactive waste.
Palazzo opposes plan to bring nuclear waste to Mississippi
The Mississippi Energy Institute is pushing for more exploration of storing and reprocessing used nuclear fuel in the state at the same time that one of the its congressmen is coming out against it. The Energy Institute also touts Mississippi's "unique geologic salt domes," in a two-page proposal for a "nuclear cluster" that it has published. That's an echo of a proposal to entomb nuclear waste in the Richton salt dome that sparked public opposition in the 1980s. U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, the Biloxi Republican who represents Richton and the rest of south Mississippi, opposes the idea. He and U.S. Rep Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, are supposed to meet with the Energy Institute Tuesday to hear the proposal. "Whatever plans are brewing for a possible nuclear waste facility, I think now is the time to send a clear message: No nuclear waste in Mississippi. Not now, not ever," Palazzo said in a statement.
Mississippi casino revenue again drops sharply in July
A sharp drop in coastal casino revenue contributed to a 6 percent drop in Mississippi gambling revenue in July. Mississippi Department of Revenue figures show statewide casino revenue fell 6 percent to $192.1 million. The 12 coastal casinos won $97 million from gamblers, down 8 percent from the $105.4 million they won in July 2012. The 18 riverboat casinos from Tunica to Natchez won $95.2 million, down 4 percent from the $93.7 million they won in July 2012. The numbers exclude Choctaw Indian casinos, which aren't required to report winnings to the state.
Sun Herald files new suit against state auditor, DMR
The Sun Herald filed a new lawsuit Monday against State Auditor Stacey Pickering, his office and the Department of Marine Resources that seeks copies of public records generated by the DMR. The Sun Herald initially wanted to add Pickering and his office to a public records lawsuit already filed against the DMR. However, attorney Henry Laird said the DMR and the Sun Herald disagree over whether DMR should remain a party to the lawsuit, originally filed in January against the DMR. Laird said the newspaper hopes to expedite its case by naming Pickering and his office, in addition to the DMR, in the new lawsuit.
Speaker taps Tupelo native for Board of Education
House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, announced Monday the appointment of former Clinton Mayor Rosemary Aultman -- a Tupelo native -- to the Mississippi Board of Education, filling a slot previously held by Martha "Jackie" Murphy of Rienzi. The term of Murphy, appointed by former House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, ended in June. Gunn originally had nominated Joel Bomgar of Madison, owner of a Ridgeland-based computer software company, to replace Murphy, but he was rejected during the 2013 session by the Senate Education Committee. With that rejection, Gunn started a new search that concluded with the nomination of Aultman, who served 20 years as the mayor of Clinton. Aultman, the former Rosemary Gibens of Tupelo, will serve the remainder of the year on the Board. If she stays on the Board for the full nine-year term, she will face Senate confirmation in 2014.
Farmers, consumer groups seek to defend meat labeling rules in court fight
A coalition of groups representing farmers, ranchers and consumers is pushing to join the high-stakes legal battle over new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations requiring more descriptive country-of-origin labels (COOL) on meat. The agency in May finalized a rule requiring meat packaging that gives consumers more information about where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The regulations were meant to bring the United States into compliance with international standards following a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling last year that previous labeling practices were unfair to Mexico and Canada. But meat processing and packing industry groups from all three countries are challenging the regulations in court, saying they would cripple business and violate First Amendment protections from compelled speech.
Turning Off The Spigot In Western Kansas Farmland
Across the high plains, many farmers depend on underground stores of water, and they worry about wells going dry. A new scientific study of western Kansas lays out a predicted timeline for those fears to become reality. But it also shows an alternative path for farming in Kansas: The moment of reckoning can be delayed, and the impact softened, if farmers start conserving water now. David Steward, a water expert at Kansas State University, says that he and his colleagues started this research project with a specific kind of person in mind: "The family farmer who's trying to see into the future, and trying to pass on his or her land to their grandchildren." Farmers in western Kansas have good reason to worry about the future. They know that that big irrigated fields of corn in this part of the country are taking water out of underground aquifers much faster than rain or snow can fill those natural reservoirs back up.
California, federal methods to push renewable-fuel use stir conflict
California and the federal government want drivers to use more renewable fuels in their cars and trucks. That's where the trouble lies. The state and federal governments share a goal, but have adopted very different ways to reach it. The resulting conflict has contributed to a snarl that reaches from fuel pumps in Los Angeles to sugar cane fields in Brazil. Along the way, the dispute has divided environmental groups and the oil industry, pitting allies against each other. It's even possible that the conflicting policies, both aimed at reducing global warming, could actually make things worse, some scientists said.
PHIL BRYANT and HANK BOUNDS: New $15,000 scholarships will help train teachers for Mississippi
Gov. Phil Bryant and Commissioner of Higher Education Hank M. Bounds write: "Recent headlines have highlighted the importance of having exceptional teachers in every classroom, the rise in tuition and the burden that student loan debt has become to recent graduates. A financial aid program passed by the Mississippi Legislature during the 2013 session addresses all three issues. The Teacher Education Scholars Program provides a $15,000 per year award. Students can aw apply for the Teacher Education Scholars Program online at mississippi.edu/financialaid through Sept. 15. Recipients must agree to teach in a Mississippi public school district for at least five years. This program has great potential."
Southern Miss to host ribbon cutting, fall convocation
On Wednesday, the Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast campus will celebrate its past and look forward to the future in a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by the annual fall convocation. The event kicks off with a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of Elizabeth Hall, which houses the College of Arts and Letters. The finished product marks the end of five major building projects the school took on after Hurricane Katrina devastated the campus in 2005. "We are Mississippi's only beachfront campus," said Dr. Frances Lucas, vice president and executive officer for the Coast campus. "We consider ourselves the front porch of higher education."
USM Symphony Orchestra to begin 94th season, will feature Beach Boys, Beethoven
Every year, Hattiesburg's music lovers anxiously await the announcement of the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra season. This year's season features special guests from classical celebrities to the Beach Boys. Celebrating 94 years, the venerable organization is the state's oldest orchestra and a leader in cultural offerings for the region. Opening night, Oct. 3, will feature famed flutist and conductor Ransom Wilson in a program of Mozart and Beethoven entitled "Eternal Elegance." The orchestra moves to Beau Rivage Casino and Resort in Biloxi to join the internationally acclaimed Beach Boys for a one-night-only concert event on Oct. 11.
Process developed at U. of Alabama licensed by Colorado company
A Colorado-based company has licensed a method of capturing carbon dioxide pioneered by a University of Alabama assistant professor, with the hope of developing the method as a more energy-efficient way of reducing emissions at fossil-fuel power plants. ION Engineering in Boulder, Colo., has licensed a carbon-capture process using imidazole solutions, or solvents, developed by Jason Bara, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at UA. The clean energy company funded Bara's early work on a more energy-efficient solution through a sponsored research agreement, according to CEO Buz Brown.
Update: Termination of U. of Arkansas Spokesman John Diamond Followed Loss of Confidence
David Gearhart, chancellor of the University of Arkansas, told reporters Monday that he "and many members of the senior team" had lost confidence in the university's chief spokesman, John Diamond, months before Diamond's immediate supervisor, Chris Wyrick, decided to fire him after a particularly rancorous meeting on Thursday. Diamond acknowledged to Arkansas Business that Gearhart had been unhappy with his service as far back as January, when they disagreed over how to respond to media demands for information on a budgeting shortfall in the University Advancement division. "There is no question in my mind that the disillusionment that Dave Gearhart had with me had to do with my attempt to follow the [Freedom of Information Act] law and dealing with the media in general," Diamond said. He was contacted by telephone after the briefing held in Gearhart's office in Fayetteville, which included Wyrick and at least six other UA officials.
U. of Arkansas Begins Semester with More Than 25K Students
The University of Arkansas is beginning the fall semester with more than 25,000 students for the first time ever at the Fayetteville campus. Students at the state's flagship university began classes Monday and officials say there is more classroom space and less construction. Major building projects begun in 2011 have been completed. One change that returning students will notice is that they now have 15 minutes between classes. Administrators extended the time in acknowledgment that campus expansions create a need for more time for students to get to their next class.
U. of Florida professors to receive 5 percent raise
University of Florida professors would see a 5 percent raise under an agreement inked between administrators and union officials, ending a one-month impasse and ensuring all faculty will get a pay increase this fall. The three-year contract between Tigert Hall and the United Faculty of Florida's UF chapter must still be ratified by union membership and approved by the UF board of trustees. Once that happens, the new salaries would take effect Oct. 1. The contract -- which took 16 months to negotiate and was stalled by a one-month impasse -- covers about 1,700 faculty members in such colleges as engineering, liberal arts and sciences, fine arts and education, or 37 percent of UF's 4,500 faculty members. In addition to the raises, the contract offers new provisions for research support, and it keeps in place many articles of the old contract, including continued protection of academic freedom and working conditions.
Magazine raps value Louisiana colleges deliver
Louisiana colleges, both public and private, aren't very good in contributing to the overall public well-being, according to rankings released Monday by Washington Monthly Magazine. They also don't provide that much value, according to another list Washington Monthly released Monday, although the "Best Bang for the Buck" list excludes a number of schools where 20 percent of students or less qualify for federal financial aid. Of the four Louisiana universities on the National Rankings list, Tulane University had the highest placement coming in at 100, while LSU had the second poorest showing with a 178. LSU President King Alexander said he believes his school would have been better recognized for providing good value on the "Bang for the Buck" list if not for criteria that requires that schools on that list have upward of 20 percent of their students eligible for federal Pell Grants.
Pastides has no plans to leave U. of South Carolina: 'The work is not done'
University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides says he has no plans to leave Columbia after five years leading the state's flagship college. "The work is not done," he said. "I don't covet being the president of another university." Pastides, 59, acknowledged he began thinking about what he would do after leaving USC with the recent decisions by presidents James Barker, 65, to retire from Clemson University and Ray Greenberg, 57, to leave the Medical University of South Carolina for a post at the University of Texas. (This month, George Benson, 67, also announced he would step down as president at the College of Charleston.) But Pastides said he does not have an age in mind when he can see himself stepping away from the president's desk. He said he will know it is time to step down when his energy runs out.
Magazine names Athens among top historic college towns
ConventionSouth magazine recently named Athens one of the top historic college towns in the South. The magazine, a multimedia source for planning meetings and events, will release its list, dubbed the "South's Historic College Towns with Hip Group Appeal," in its September issue. The list will include what made the city standout. It picked one city within each of 15 states in the magazine's coverage area. Other selected college towns include Tuscaloosa, Ala., home of the University of Alabama; Fayetteville, Ark., home of the University of Arkansas; Gainesville, Fla., home of the University of Florida; Oxford, Miss., home of the University of Mississippi; Knoxville, Tenn., home of the University of Tennessee; and College Station, Texas, home of Texas A & M University, among others.
Pet owner reportedly punches A&M veterinarian student examining dog
A Texas A&M veterinary student was punched twice in the face by a woman who'd brought her dog into the Texas A&M University Small Animal Hospital for medical care, according to a police report. The vet student, who was seven months pregnant, told police she was trying to give the woman's dog a treat to put a muzzle on the animal when the owner struck her twice, the report states. It was unclear from the police report what may have prompted the woman's alleged actions. Texas A&M police charged the woman with Class A misdemeanor assault, which is punishable by up to a year in prison.
Old Cellphones, Once Bound for Landfills, Now Bring Colleges Money
College officials often face logistical and philosophical dilemmas in disposing of cast-off cellphones, tablets, computers, and printers. "At a lot of universities -- unless they have a centralized program in place or some sort of waste-management policy through their facilities department -- it is really challenging to be able to recycle just about anything," says Jennifer Sellers, sustainability coordinator at Coastal Carolina University, in Conway, S.C., and a veteran professional in the recycling and waste-management industry. "It is enough just to get people to throw trash in the trash can, especially when things get hectic." Now a recycling company based in Erie, Pa., has started a nationwide program in which it pays colleges for spent ink and toner cartridges and small electronics, diverting devices away from landfills and into the $20-billion-a-year electronics-recycling market.
Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology
Online education arguably came of age in the last year, with the explosion of massive open online courses driving the public's (and politicians') interest in digitally delivered courses and contributing to the perception that they represent not only higher education's future, but its present. Faculty members, by and large, still aren't buying -- and they are particularly skeptical about the value of MOOCs, Inside Higher Ed's new Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology suggests. The survey of 2,251 professors, which, like Inside Higher Ed's other surveys, was conducted by Gallup, finds significant skepticism among faculty members about the quality of online learning.
Reject nuclear waste storage
The Clarion-Ledger editorializes: "Some ideas are so bad they don't deserve consideration, and such is the case with the Mississippi Energy Institute's proposal to build a permanent nuclear waste storage facility in Mississippi. ...we hope that Gov. Phil Bryant and state lawmakers will politely remove Mississippi from any consideration --- short-term or long-term --- as a site to store the nuclear waste from across the country. Some risks are just too great, especially for returns that will not be fully realized for at least 15 years."

Bulldogs prep for spotlight
Dan Mullen doesn't want to put too much weight on one game, but Saturday's season opener against Oklahoma State could alter the big picture for Mississippi State in a good way. In his four years at MSU, Mullen has a 2-15 record against ranked opponents, with nine consecutive losses. Oklahoma State is ranked No. 13. The teams meet at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Houston's Reliant Stadium. "In the big picture of the program, I don't think one game turns you in any different direction," Mullen said at Monday's press conference. "It's the consistency in which you play, and hopefully the consistency in how we win is really how I view the big picture."
No. 13 Oklahoma State provides Week 1 test for Mississippi State
Dan Mullen was nonchalant during his game week news conference. "You get 12 Saturdays, or possibly a Thursday or a Friday thrown in every once in a while," Mullen said Monday. "You get those opportunities and they don't come along very often. If you take care of your opportunities, maybe you get 13 or 14." But in his fifth year at the helm of the Mississippi State football team, this season is different. The changes began off the field in the new Leo W. Seal Jr. Football Complex. They continue on the field as Mississippi State opens Saturday against No. 13 Oklahoma State at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Bulldogs' season opener is no laughing matter; Oklahoma State to provide stiff challenge
Mississippi State's four previous season openers under coach Dan Mullen have been laughers, with the Bulldogs beating overmatched opponents by an average of nearly 44 points. Humor might be harder to find this Saturday. Mississippi State faces No. 13 Oklahoma State at Reliant Stadium in Houston in the toughest opener of Mullen's tenure. The marquee matchup on a neutral field brings the potential for a galvanizing victory, but also the risk of a humbling loss. Mullen said playing such a difficult opponent isn't necessarily a problem, but poses different challenges.
Two true freshmen in mix for Mississippi State
They haven't played a game yet, but a couple of true freshmen are already in line to see action in Mississippi State's season opener. The latest depth chart includes defensive end Chris Jones and wide receiver De'Runnya Wilson as second-stringers. Both are expected to be among the half-dozen or so freshmen on the travel roster when MSU heads to Houston to face No. 13 Oklahoma State on Saturday. "They are two guys we expect to play in this first game for us," head coach Dan Mullen said Monday.
Sullivan sets record to help Gordon get first win at Mississippi State
The regular-season home opener was more a mental cleansing than a celebration for the Mississippi State University women's soccer program. MSU first-year head coach Aaron Gordon felt his team needed a trip home after a crushing season-opening 3-2 loss to the University of South Alabama on Friday to start feeling better, which is why Gordon didn't and couldn't make his first regular-season match in Starkville about his leadership of the program. He had to make the 4-0 victory against Arkansas State University about getting the season back on track quickly. "Maybe we didn't meet our own expectations in a hostile environment in Mobile, but we talked about it on the bus ride that we're coming back to our house," Gordon said. "We needed to redeem ourselves a little bit. We needed a mulligan."
Bryce named Mississippi State assistant woman's tennis coach
Mississippi State women's tennis coach Daryl Greenan has named James Bryce as an assistant for the Lady Bulldogs program. Greenan says Bryce will replace Courtney Steinbock, who accepted the same position at Oklahoma State this summer. The hiring, announced Monday, is pending the approval of the Board of Trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning.
Alabama's Nick Saban: The Scariest Man in College Football
Few men in sports make a better villain than the unsmiling, unsparing, unstoppable coach of the back-to-back national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Warren St. John spent three weeks on Nick Saban's trail -- and a couple of days in his face -- on a mission to find the soul of the scariest man in college football.
U. of Tennessee to ban backpacks on game days at Neyland Stadium
Fans gearing up for Saturday's season opener will not be allowed to bring backpacks into Neyland Stadium, University of Tennessee officials confirmed Monday. UT Police Chief Troy Lane plans to talk about the new policy at a news conference this afternoon with the Knoxville Police Department outside the stadium. UT has long banned bags larger than 12 square inches, officials said. The policy change follows similar moves across college football. The University of Kentucky announced last week it would not allow backpacks and large bags into Commonwealth Stadium. Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU and Vanderbilt all have similar rules, said a UTPD spokeswoman.
At Alabama, Fans Are Getting a Little Bored With All the Winning
Sometime in the middle of last season---which, like the previous season, ended with Alabama winning college football's national title---the popular sports-radio host Paul Finebaum was filling up his car at a gas station in Alabama. A listener stopped him to say three things. The first was "Roll Tide." The second was that Nick Saban becoming the coach of the Crimson Tide was one of the greatest things that had ever happened in his life. The third was something Finebaum wasn't used to hearing: "To be perfectly honest with you," the fan said, "it's really gotten boring." As Alabama prepares to open its season Saturday against Virginia Tech, the 124 other teams theoretically playing the same game are once again united in a single purpose: to dethrone the Tide. But hardly anyone appears up to it. Amid all of this prolonged dominance, there are signs that boredom, if not downright apathy, has started to creep in. The first offenders: Alabama students.
ESPN College Gameday to be at UGA season opener
It's extra validation to what was already a showcase game. Georgia's football season opener at Clemson on Saturday night is the site of ESPN's popular "College GameDay," which will broadcast its pregame show in the morning. "Big-time game," Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said. " 'College GameDay' is going to be there."
Sewanee makes big changes to South's oldest field
The empty football field is quiet and the stone-clad bleachers directly in front of the press box are weathered. McGee Field is home to The University of the South at Sewanee, where they have played football at this location since 1891. It's the oldest football field in the South and fourth-oldest in the nation. After more than 120 years of playing football on the same field, however, the field is in a major transition. A $1.5 million renovation is underway.
To Protect Its Empire, ESPN Stays on Offense
ESPN likes to call itself the Worldwide Leader in Sports, and by most every measure it is in a league of its own. So it may be hard to imagine that the sports media conglomerate has arrived at one of the most precarious moments in its nearly 34-year life. The more than $6 billion in cable fees flowing annually to ESPN from almost 100 million homes is threatened as growing numbers of consumers cut ties with cable providers to avoid rising bills for pay TV, turning instead to video streaming services. All of this, particularly consumers' move away from pay TV, is reverberating in Bristol. But ESPN has shown over the past decade that it will fight tenaciously and opportunistically to protect an empire it built by using the billions of dollars it collected from cable fees to gobble up the rights to more and more sports events.

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