Thursday, September 12, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Keenum Optimistic in MSU Address
During his fall address to faculty Wednesday, MSU President Mark E. Keenum shared a new level of optimism, noting that for the first year since he began his presidency in January 2009, the university's state funding has not been cut. While he discussed numerous ongoing challenges, Keenum told faculty he believes "our long-term prospects as a university today look better than ever before." Keenum said the university had weathered hard economic times and a multi-year cut in state support by becoming more efficient and by significantly increasing revenue from tuition, through both higher enrollments and higher rates. He noted that while MSU has raised tuition rates, the university is among the least expensive in the Southeastern Conference and also less expensive than many regional universities in adjacent states.
Possible abduction reported on Maroon Alert
At 11:39 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, the Maroon Alert system reported a possible attempted abduction behind Sessums Hall. At 11:57 p.m., MSU police department dispatcher Nick Guyton said police are still investigating. They currently do not have any information other than what was released in the Maroon Alert. According to the Maroon Alert system, a person walking behind Sessums Hall reported that an unidentified black male wearing a grey shirt tried to grab them. The male released the victim and ran towards Burger King.
MSUPD investigating attempted abduction
Mississippi State University police officers were investigating an attempted, on-campus abduction Wednesday night, but no clear details were available on the situation. Sid Salter, director of university relations at MSU, said this morning the Maroon Alert has since been taken down and the investigation is continuing. Salter said a witness near Sessums Hall reportedly saw the attacker jump from between two cars, grab the female and throw her over his shoulder as he began running. When the victim screamed, a male student rushed to her aid. The alleged attacker then released the woman and ran. Salter stressed that the alleged abduction was an "isolated incident."
Starkville Hosts 9-11 Ceremony
On Wednesday, the country paused to remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Many of those killed in the terrorist attacks were first responders, and in Starkville, a ceremony and day of service were dedicated in their honor. September 11th is also a National Day of Service. Volunteer Starkville and the Maroon Volunteer Center helped to coordinate the event. The ceremony's guest speaker was Lt. Col. Brian S. Locke, a professor of military science at Mississippi State University.
Mississippi Paper Offers 9/11 Special
The Starkville (Miss.) Daily News is running a 9/11 promotion today that offers the newspaper for $9.11 per month. Which prompted a heads up on the Romanesko, a site that follows media news. The Romanesko site quotes David Garraway, a Mississippi State University employee: "Who thought this was a good marketing promotion?" Romanesko tried and failed to contact. Daily News publisher Don Norman.
Remember 9/11 with a $9.11 newspaper subscription or renewal
Jim Romensko blogs: "This was published in today's Starkville (Miss.) Daily News. 'Who thought this was a good marketing promotion?' asks David Garraway, a Mississippi State University employee. Daily News publisher Don Norman was out for lunch when I called for comment. (Update: I've called him three times now.) ALSO: I see on the Daily News website that a one-year home delivery subscription is $106, which is $8.83 a month. So readers are paying more for the 9/11 'special.' (Update 2: The Daily News receptionist tells me that readers normally pay $13 when they're on a month-to-month plan.)"
Newspaper's 9/11 promotional advertisement draws criticism
"Disrespectful." "Awful." "Heartless." And "Who thought this was a good marketing promotion?" Those were some of the online responses people had to a Starkville Daily News advertisement in Wednesday's edition of that daily newspaper. The ad was a subscription promotion presumably tied to the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. It read: "Today only...sign up for a new subscription or renew your subscription for $9.11 per month." Don Norman, publisher of the Starkville Daily News, did not respond to phone calls or email messages seeking comment Wednesday. Frances McDavid, a journalism instructor at Mississippi State University for more than two decades, said when newspapers, or any businesses, "are trying to acknowledge holidays, they should be sensitive to how their audience will respond to advertising."
Mississippi State's Vet Center Like a 'Family'
The eight people staffing Mississippi State's G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Center for America's Veterans may seem a small number, but they assist student veterans, service members, dependents and survivors in a big way. Currently, they serve more than 2,000 VSDS clients at the university from the center's offices at 126 Magruder St. on the south side of campus. Year after year, MSU is listed among the top military-friendly institutions in the nation, said center director Ken McRae, a retired Army officer.
Mississippi State providing plant research findings
Horticulture industry professionals and leisure gardeners can learn about new plant varieties, insect and disease control and the latest research findings during an Oct. 10 field day in Poplarville. The 40th annual Ornamental Horticulture Field Day will be at the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station. Experts from the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service will give research updates, introduce outstanding variety trial performers and present All-America Selections winners.
Jerome and Rosella Goddard Pen Scientific Thriller
Jerome Goddard, a research scientist at Mississippi State University, and wife Rosella, have authored a new book titled "Living Memories." It's a thriller based on the premise that memory can function as a virus, spread from person to person, and (in an "Inception"-like twist) be manipulated by outsiders to spread paranoia and fear.
Starkville School District bus ridership up almost 600 children per day
tarkville School District Assistant Superintendent Toriano Holloway has helped the school system with one of its most pressing issues a little more than a year since his hiring: The district has now worked out many of the kinks surrounding its transportation system. Holloway, who brought with him experience of working with transportation issues in his previous positions, told the SSD Board of Trustees Tuesday the school's bus system is now transporting about 2,818 students per day, an increase of about 560 children from last year.
Satellite offices still open for license renewals
Mississippi drivers still can get their licenses renewed or replaced at satellite offices that are open part time at various spots across the state. Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said because of modernization efforts, testing for new applicants for driver's licenses will not be conducted at the offices that are open part time -- generally in rural counties. "If you need a renewal, you can get that done" at the satellite office, Strain said. "If you lose your driver's license, you can get a replacement. They (Public Safety travel team members) will be there as they are scheduled to be there."
MEC's Waller Addresses Meridian Rotary Club
The vice president of the Mississippi Economic Council spoke at the weekly meeting of the Meridian Rotary Club about plan for the state's economy. Scott Waller talked about Blueprint Mississippi, which is a private initiative that looks at key strategies to help move the state forward economically. The initiative looks at economic competitiveness, educational advancement, resources and technology commercialization.
Mississippi still has $872 million to spend from $5.5 billion in Katrina recovery funds
Eight years after Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast, Mississippi still hasn't spent almost $1 billion in federal money dedicated to recovery from the storm. The remaining $872 million is part of $5.5 billion Congress gave the state to rebound from Katrina, which struck in August 2005, killed 238 people in Mississippi and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage, most heavily in coastal counties. More than half of the unspent money is tied up in a hotly debated plan to expand the state-owned Port of Gulfport, and millions more are allocated for projects that have yet to materialize. Critics also complain that some projects are far from the Katrina strike zone and don't seem to have a direct connection to recovery from the hurricane, while others have failed to take root or are not meeting promises of creating jobs. One of the projects -- a parking garage in Starkville near the Mississippi State University football stadium -- is more than 200 miles from Katrina's landfall.
Reeves pays tribute
During a stop in DeSoto County on Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves reflected on the nation's somber anniversary of the 911 attacks of a dozen years ago. "Today is a special day to remember," Reeves said to a gathering of the Rotary Club of Hernando. The economics major at Millsaps joked that among his immediate circle of friends, one went to Harvard, the other attended Duke, and another finished first in his class at the University of Mississippi. "I wound up with a government job," Reeves joked. "It's a job I enjoy. I am blessed."
Barbour still backs coal plant
Former Gov. Haley Barbour believes Mississippi Power's nearly $3 billion lignite coal gasification plant under construction in Kemper County is not only viable but will contribute to keeping energy prices low in Mississippi for decades to come, which bodes well for economic development. Barbour spoke Tuesday before the Madison County Business League about the necessity for solid energy policies in the state, region and nation. The gathering, billed "Coffee with the Governor," is an annual event held jointly with the Madison County Economic Development Authority. Hundreds of Madison County's top business and political leaders were on hand.
Friday funeral for former state Sen. Billy Thames
Services are scheduled for Friday for former state Sen. Billy Thames, who worked on mental health and agriculture issues during his 28 years at the Mississippi Capitol. Thames died Tuesday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center of complications of surgery for colon cancer. He was 69. The funeral is 10 a.m. Friday at Pinelake Church near the Ross Barnett Reservoir, with burial in Lakeland Garden Park. Thames was a Democrat from Mize who served January 1980 to January 2008. After choosing not to seek re-election, Thames lived in Brandon and worked as a self-employed lobbyist.
Democrat's latest farm bill strategy: Threaten to double the price of milk
The top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee has launched a new strategy for passing a farm bill this year: threaten to send milk prices skyrocketing. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said he called Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack this week suggesting that the agency begin the process of implementing the 1949-era dairy policies that would take effect Oct. 1 if Congress fails to act on a farm bill before then. Peterson's strategy is not to see that happen, but to rouse the affected industry groups -- particularly the powerful International Dairy Foods Association -- into pressuring Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders to enact a bill preventing the cost hike.
Wasted Food Around The World Takes Heavy Toll On Environment
It's one of the great paradoxes of our time: Hundreds of millions of people go hungry, and yet we waste a whopping 1.43 billion tons of food --- one third of what we produce. Food waste is a problem in rich countries and poor countries alike, and it's happening throughout the supply chain -- from the farm to the truck to the warehouse to the store to your refrigerator. A report from the Food and Agriculture Organization out Wednesday brings these impacts into sharper focus. And the message is clear: All that food we're allowing to rot is creating billions of tons of greenhouse gases, and costing us precious water and land.
UAW says Chattanooga VW workers' approval paves way for official recognition of works council
A majority of workers at Volkswagen's assembly plant in Tennessee have signed cards favoring the union's representation in creating a German-style works council at the plant, a top United Auto Workers official said. Union representation at Volkswagen would signal a sea change in labor relations among foreign automakers who have resisted unions at their plants in the South. Republican politicians in the region have expressed fears that a UAW foothold at Volkswagen could spread to other automakers and hurt future recruiting efforts.
NASA launches drones to study tropical storms
NASA scientists are using former military surveillance drones to help them understand more about how tropical storms intensify, which they say could ultimately save lives by improving forecast models that predict a hurricane's strength. The drones are considered advantageous over manned aircraft because they can fly for much longer periods of time than traditional research aircraft and at much greater altitudes. Global Hawks can spend up to 28 hours in the air at a time and reach altitudes up to 12.3 miles, or roughly twice that of a typical commercial airliner.
Lt. Gov. Reeves visits Ole Miss College Republicans
The Ole Miss College Republicans hosted Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves at their meeting Wednesday night at Bryant Hall. Reeves was invited to speak at the weekly College Republicans meeting to discuss how he got into politics, commemorate the attacks on 9/11, share his views on the current state of the national government and answer questions from students. Reeves discussed his political history, from his membership in the College Republicans at Millsaps College in 1992 to his victory in the 2003 race for state treasurer. He encouraged students by stating that if he could win a state-wide election at 28 years of age, anybody can do it. He also talked about the struggles that come with political power. "People take shots at me every day," Reeves said. "I don't care where they come from; I'm just concerned with dodging them."
USM enrollment down, focus on 'quality students'
Enrollment is down for several universities across the state. The University of Southern Mississippi saw a 6.9% decrease in enrollment for the 2013 school year, which is a loss of 1,143 students. "We've renewed a focus on quality students," says Chief Communication Officer Jim Coll. Quality students, Coll says, are those like the ones in the honors college, which has its highest enrollment yet with 178 students and an average ACT score of 30. Another factor in the drop is the university's decision to cut off late registration to an earlier date, according to Coll.
World Trade Center artifact on display at USM
An artifact from the World Trade Center has made its way to Hattiesburg. A 111 lb. metal piece of the fallen Twin Towers is on display at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. It was granted by special request to Mayor Johnny Dupree after the 9/11 attacks, and the city of Hattiesburg then donated it to the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011. The dedication of this artifact was held Wednesday during a September 11 memorial ceremony.
William Carey earns top ranking
William Carey University is growing steadily when measured by buildings and students. Now, a national magazine's annual college rankings report shows that the school's reputation is also on the rise. U.S. News and World Report just named William Carey as the best value in the South among regional universities, a pleasant surprise to William Carey President Tommy King. "Someone went to the (U.S. News and World Report) website and said, 'Did you happen to see that you're No. 1?'" said King, with a chuckle. "That caught us by surprise." William Carey also shot up the charts in terms of its overall ranking among regional universities in the South, moving from No. 69 to No. 36. Only Mississippi College (ranked No. 27) is ranked higher in the state.
The Final Barrier: 50 years later, segregation still exists
"Are we really not going to talk about the black girl?" The question -- asked by Alpha Gamma Delta member Melanie Gotz during her chapter's sorority recruitment -- was greeted by silence. The sorority's active members and a few alumnae gathered in the room to hear the unexpected news that there would be no voting on potential new members that night. The chapter, they were told, had already agreed on which students would be invited back for the next round. Gotz and several of her sorority sisters, however, were far from satisfied. They wanted to discuss one potential new member in particular. The recruit, who asked to remain anonymous, seemed like the perfect sorority pledge on paper, yet didn't receive a bid from any of the 16 Panhellenic sororities during formal recruitment. Gotz and others said they know why: The recruit is black. Fifty years after Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first black students to desegregate The University of Alabama, there remains one last bastion of segregation on campus: The UA greek system is still almost completely divided along racial lines.
Many at U. of Florida pay tribute to 9/11 by doing a good deed
The Good Deed Marathon has been an annual event at the University of Florida since 2002, said Aaron Notik, the associate rabbi and program director at the Jewish Student Center, as a way to counteract the dark, terrible deed that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. "In the Jewish tradition, the best way to combat that is with light and good deeds," Notik said. Their goal is to get 1,000 students to commit themselves to doing a good deed, he said -- a thousand points of light pushing back against the darkness.
U. of South Carolina plans luxury student apartments
The University of South Carolina is getting in the game amid a flurry of private, resort-style student housing developments near campus with a six-story, 919-bed apartment complex of its own. The housing complex -- compete with a pool, volleyball court, fitness center and other high-end amenities -- will be located in what is now a parking lot behind the Carolina Coliseum. A dining facility, classrooms and parking garage will be built on an adjoining block north of Devine Street behind the new Moore School of Business as part of the project. USC officials wouldn't comment on the project, saying they are in confidential negotiations with a private developer to build the complex and that the school's board of trustees hasn't approved the project.
Georgia universities seek a $49 million budget increase
The University System of Georgia is asking Gov. Nathan Deal for a $49 million budget increase next year, according to a resolution the Board of Regents unanimously approved Wednesday. The boost represents a 2.6 percent increase to the system's $1.9 billion share of taxpayer money. The University System saw its student enrollment shrink, which would subtract $20 million from the funding formula. At the same time, adding buildings to the system in the past year qualifies it for $20 million more in maintenance funding.
Texas A&M University announces shuffling of high-level positions
The Texas A&M University System has announced the shuffling of some high-level administrative positions. Chancellor John Sharp announced the changes Wednesday in a news release. Guy Diedrich, vice chancellor of federal and state relations, will assume the position of vice chancellor for strategic initiatives on Oct. 1. The vice chancellor spot was recently vacated by Brett Giroir, who is taking over the top spot at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center. The appointments still need the approval of the system Board of Regents, which next meets in October.
Changes at U. of Missouri residential, dining halls meant to increase housing options
Starting in fall 2017, the Dobbs Wok stir-fry and other favored dishes at Dobbs Pavilion will no longer be available. That's because the dining hall is being demolished as part of a master plan to add beds at the University of Missouri. Here is a quick look at other changes to residence halls and dining facilities coming in the next couple of years. Residential Life Director Frankie Minor said he hopes these changes will accommodate more returning students to MU, and allow students living in Tiger Diggs and other extended campus areas to move back onto campus.
Gender-neutral housing a possibility at the U. of Missouri, but no plans set
The University of Missouri may join the ranks of Columbia, Brown and Boston universities if the MU Office of Residential Life allows gender-neutral housing in future residence halls. MU is among a large group of Midwestern public universities without housing to serve transgender, gender-nonconforming or coupled students. The university has been talking about adding this housing option for a couple of years. One of the biggest obstacles facing this program is sheer demand for housing in general.
Arkansas Research Alliance Aligns With FDA on Commercialization
The Arkansas Research Alliance has entered into a partnership with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to help commercialize the technology developed at the FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research at Jefferson. A partnership intermediary agreement was signed Monday night by FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg and ARA president Jerry Adams at a Governor's Mansion reception kicking off the third-annual Global Summit on Regulatory Science being held this week in Little Rock. It comes two years after Hamburg and Beebe signed a memorandum of understanding that established a nanotechnology research collaboration between FDA and the state's five research universities: the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock; the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; and Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
Graduate-School Enrollments Rise, Mostly Thanks to Foreign Students
Enrollments in graduate programs at American colleges and universities have increased modestly, driven largely by a rise in international students, according to a report being released on Thursday by the Council of Graduate Schools. The number of international students in American graduate programs went up by 8 percent from the fall of 2011 to the fall of 2012, up slightly from the 7.8-percent increase in the previous year. By contrast, first-time graduate enrollment increased by only 0.6 percent for U.S. citizens and permanent residents over the same period. First-time enrollments of U.S. citizens and permanent residents was flat or down from the previous year in a number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
Oregon professors object to contract language divorcing academic freedom from free speech
Push and pull between administrators and faculty unions during contract negotiations is to be expected. But some faculty members at the University of Oregon say administrators in their contract negotiations are attempting to gut a particularly sacred university policy: academic freedom. Bill Harbaugh, professor of economics and moderator of the "UO Matters" blog, which is frequently critical of university policy, said decoupling academic freedom from free speech left room for administrators to punish those faculty -- like him -- who say things administrators don't like. He also objected to the idea that administrators would be the ones deciding what qualifies as "civil."
U. of Virginia should break some ties with state, panel says in preliminary report
A University of Virginia panel has proposed that the institution break many of its ties with the state government and operate more like a private school. Such an arrangement --- which would need state lawmakers' approval and likely would meet opposition --- would allow Virginia's flagship public school the freedom to more easily increase tuition and accept more top-tier students from across the country and the world. Although it could increase U-Va.'s prestige and shore up its finances, such a move could also make it more difficult for in-state students to win admission and could significantly raise their tuition. Already, the preliminary proposal has drawn criticism and questions from the university community and state lawmakers, who said moving U-Va. toward a private model could be contrary to the public mission Thomas Jefferson laid out when he founded the university nearly two centuries ago.
Our view: A rich literary heritage continues
The Dispatch editorializes: "Michael Farris Smith sat at a table in the W Room at the Mississippi University for Women student center Tuesday, busily signing copies of his book, "Rivers," as avid readers, MUW officials and students milled about, some standing in line waiting to have their books signed, others mingling over hors d'oeuvres, punch and wine as singer/guitarist Paul Brady provided a musical backdrop. Tuesday was the launch day for "Rivers" and to say that the book has been much anticipated is an understatement. ... During Tuesday's book-signing, MUW director of university relations Maridith Geuder, sat at the table next to Smith, handing him books to be signed. On her blouse, she wore a button: 'Read Local.' We are fortunate to have so rich a collection of talented local authors to choose from. Smith is the most recent. Somehow, we do not expect him to be the last."

'Turtle' doesn't shy from many roles at Mississippi State
When the Mississippi State coaching staff announced the weekly honors from the Alcorn State game, Christian Holmes' name -- or his nickname "Turtle" -- continued to pop up. Special Teams: Turtle. Defense: Turtle. Offense: Turtle."Everybody's just like, 'Whoa, he really did play a lot of snaps,'" Holmes said. "I was like, 'Yeah, I didn't come out in the second half at all.'"
Bulldogs' Chris Jones determined to move back outside
Chris Jones insists that he is still a defensive end. Although Jones has added 55 pounds since his days at Houston High School last year, the now 6-foot-5, 305-pounder still wants to play the position that made him one of the most sought after recruits in the country. Jones, a true freshman at Mississippi State, started his first college game at defensive tackle last week and recorded a pair of tackles. But Jones is in a light-hearted clash with coach Dan Mullen to remain at end on occasion. The former Hilltopper might get his wish as early as this weekend when MSU travels to Auburn to begin conference play.
Auburn preparing plan of attack for two Mississippi State quarterbacks
Auburn is preparing for two Mississippi State quarterbacks, even if it has a good idea who will take the majority of snaps Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. MSU quarterback Tyler Russell, a two-year starter, is expected to return from a concussion he suffered in the third quarter of a 21-3 loss to Oklahoma State in the opening game of the season. Backup Dak Prescott started in Russell's place last week, completing 12 of 19 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for one more score in a 51-7 victory against Alcorn State. Auburn is preparing to face both by utilizing two scout team quarterbacks, although coach Gus Malzahn was not clear on who is sharing time on the scout team when asked Wednesday. Freshman Tucker Tuberville is the Tigers' main scout team quarterback.
Stout RBs await Mississippi State's D
Mississippi State won't see Darren McFadden, Felix Jones or Peyton Hillis on the field Saturday in Auburn. But it should prepare to wrap up a quartet of runners similar to trio now in the NFL. Or at least Tigers coach Guz Malzahn thinks so. "I'll tell you what, it's probably close at Arkansas in 2006 with Felix, McFadden and Michael Smith and Peyton Hillis. It'd be a little similar to that," Malzahn said. "I mean hopefully those guys will end up being as close as being as good as that bunch was."
Documents, text messages reveal impermissible benefits to five SEC players
Five Southeastern Conference football stars violated NCAA rules by receiving extra benefits prior to completing their collegiate careers, a Yahoo Sports investigation has found. The benefits – which in some cases came from multiple individuals – were conveyed to University of Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, University of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, Tennessee defensive end Maurice Couch, Mississippi State University defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and Mississippi State wideout Chad Bumphis. The identities of these players were revealed in a web of financial and text message records belonging to former Crimson Tide defensive end Luther Davis. "Mississippi State constantly educates our student athletes about agent related issues," the school told Yahoo Sports in a statement.
Former Mississippi State players accepted benefits, Yahoo Sports says
Mississippi State officials plan to investigate the findings of a report that former players accepted impermissible benefits while attending the university. Yahoo Sports reported Wednesday that text messages and financial records show former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis was a middle man for NFL agents and financial advisers for former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and wide receiver Chad Bumphis. "Mississippi State constantly educates our student athletes about agent-related issues," the university said in a statement Wednesday.
D.J. Fluker cooperating with Alabama compliance officers regarding improper benefits investigation
Former University of Alabama lineman D.J. Fluker has been interviewed by UA compliance officers and is cooperating with the school's investigation into allegations that he received improper benefits while playing for the Crimson Tide, The Tuscaloosa News has learned. The Tuscaloosa News has also learned that Luther Davis, the former player cited in a Yahoo Sports report as the conduit for the money and benefits, has been informed that he is not welcome around the UA football facility and that UA officials have warned him to stay away from players.
MIKE BONNER: Is another NCAA probe coming? | Mike Bonner (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Mike Bonner writes: "For the second time in four months, Mississippi State could potentially be dealing with an NCAA investigation. A Yahoo Sports report said two former Bulldogs had a flight paid for them while attending Mississippi State. This comes after MSU began self-imposed two years of probation in June after a recruit took benefits from a booster. But what does Wednesday's report mean to Mississippi State?"
Fans criticize U. of Alabama athletics Facebook post
A post on the University of Alabama athletics Facebook page drew ire from fans for asking them to change their profile pictures to an image of late coach Bear Bryant's houndstooth hat. The request was to celebrate what would have been Bryant's 100th birthday Wednesday. Most of the hundreds of comments criticized the timing because it also marked the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. One response stated it's "not a good day to remember a football coach. We need to honor our fallen heroes." Alabama spokesman Doug Walker had no comment.
Texas A&M University on the lookout for students reselling football tickets
Texas A&M University officials said Wednesday they remained on the lookout for students attempting to make money off of tickets to this weekend's game against the University of Alabama. Since Monday, more than 200 students had been contacted and educated about the university policy prohibiting students from reselling tickets for a profit, said Jason Cook, senior associate athletics director for Texas A&M. Earlier in the week, two students had their tickets voided and their sports option privileges revoked for the remainder of the season after they were caught by Aggie athletic staff violating the resell policy.
U. of Missouri athletic leaders favor paying players
Last week's Time magazine cover had a photo of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel with the headline, "It's Time to Pay College Athletes." Key figures in the Missouri athletic department and in the Southeastern Conference agree. In the last month, MU Athletic Director Mike Alden and football Coach Gary Pinkel have come out in favor of paying athletes a stipend in addition to their scholarships.
Faculty group lobbies for NCAA changes
A group of faculty athletic representatives from the NCAA's largest football schools recommended on Wednesday a change to the association's governance structure. The 1A FAR Board of Directors, which is made up of representatives from Football Bowl Subdivision schools, submitted its proposal to the NCAA outlining recommended changes that would put FBS schools in their own division. Earlier this month the NCAA requested input for redesigning the Division I governance structure. With the gap widening between the richest athletics programs in the biggest conference and schools with smaller budgets, criticism of the one-size-fits-all rule book has increased.
Lawsuit targets 'select' soccer team rules
A chancery hearing on Tuesday will consider whether new rules governing high school soccer players and other athletes, who play for independent or "select" teams, will stand. Sixteen high school soccer players seek removal of a state athletic group rule that they claim prevents their play for their own high school teams and on select teams. The players, through their parents or guardians, filed a lawsuit this week in chancery court in Lee County to stop enforcement of the rule established for the 2012-2013 school year by the Mississippi High School Activities Association Inc. The plaintiffs and their adult representatives filing the lawsuit are Ben Alford and Deanna Alford, Tanner Scoville and Jeff Scoville, Boston Hampton and Eric Hampton, Val Lawson and Gregory Lawson, Arman Borazjani and Abdolsamad Boraqzjani, D'Antae Bush and Daphne Bush, Connor Dunne and James Dunne, Michael Godley and Randall Godley, Caleb Gwaltney and Steve Gwaltney, Luke Josey and Joel Dell Josey, Christian Kingery and Rachel Kingery, Daniel Luck and Rogelio Luck, Ben Mackin and Andrew Mackin, Alex Ross and Matt Ross, Michael Sullivan and Barry Sullivan, and Rylan Moore and David Ray Moore. The players attend Tupelo High School or Starkville High School.
Area soccer coaches face tough decisions
Unless some Tupelo and Starkville high school-aged soccer players receive injunctive relief next week from the court, they'll have a difficult decision to make. The choice: Play for their high school soccer team or play for their independent club. They will not be allowed to do both. The Mississippi High School Activities Association's updated handbook for the 2013-14 school year says no more than five players from an independent soccer team can participate on its high school soccer team during the school year.

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