Wednesday, September 25, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
U.S. agriculture secretary coming to Mississippi State
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will tour the campus at Mississippi State University on Wednesday and will be briefed on research projects funded by his agency. MSU officials say Vilsack will tour research projects at the university's R. R. Foil Plant Science Research Center, also known as North Farm, including a bioenergy pilot plant. He will also visit the Leveck Animal Research Center, or South Farm, where he will be briefed on research in the areas of water conservation, catfish and beef cattle health. He will conduct a round-table discussion with students before having dinner with university and state agriculture leaders.
Mississippi State University Students Shake Hands With Possible Future Employers
Every year, Mississippi State University hosts several career days to help students prepare for the real world. Hundreds of students came dressed in their best this week in hopes to get a job or at least an idea of the future career. "This is a great opportunity for employers to showcase themselves to the students and an opportunity for the students to investigate the type of employers that recruit on our campus," says MSU's Scott Maynard. With over 140 vendors on display, MSU junior Larry Mcgee, is hoping to gain experience and possibly a job to help build his resume. "I believe that it helps me greatly because I won't be as nervous to talk to people, I can be recognized by potential employers and just have the experience and also help me in the long run," he says.
Honest Abe Visits Mississippi State
The 16th President of the United States visited Mississippi State University this week. President Abraham Lincoln graced the halls of the Mitchell memorial Library, enlightening students and faculty during a presidential pres conference about the state of our nation. Of course the real Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, but his spirit was well represented through George Buss, a six-foot-four, sixth-generation Illinois native. He talked to WCBI about politics and the current state of America. Lincoln's appearance was part of a two-day program at Mississippi State, observing the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
Ag lenders to get updates during Extension/Farm Bureau events
The agriculture lending industry will be schooled on a number of topics during an upcoming series of workshops. Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Farm Bureau will host the events Oct. 15 at the Panola County Extension Office in Batesville, Oct. 16 at the Farm Bureau Building in Jackson and Oct. 24 at the Forrest County Extension Conference Center in Hattiesburg. Each workshop begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m. Scheduled topics include the Farm Bill, MSU production budgets, land value assessment, macroeconomic overviews, crop and livestock market outlooks and insurance.
New MSU Web Site Helps With Deer Management
As hunters gear up for the Oct. 1 opening day of the state's white-tailed deer archery season, scientists at Mississippi State University are announcing a new tool to help manage Mississippi's most popular game animal. MSU's Forest and Wildlife Research Center recently launched the MSU Deer Lab website, The site is based on four decades of research conducted by researchers in the university's deer ecology and management laboratory. Scientists in the lab are well known by biologists and land managers for their studies about white-tailed deer genetics, habitat and population management. The website provides a way to get the research information into a user-friendly format so others can benefit.
Officials celebrate start of Yokohama construction
"Some people say Mississippi's a club," Joe Max Higgins said Monday. "Mississippi is a family, and we've got new family members in the house today, folks." Higgins, the Golden Triangle Development Link CEO, was referring to Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi. Company, state and local officials broke ground on what will be one of the largest tire plants in the country during a ceremony at the Prairie Belt Powersite in Clay County. In December, Yokohama representatives visited the site for the first time. They stayed about an hour. Link officials had that amount of time to get their foot in the door. In the next two months, they hosted more and longer on-site visits. They boarded a plane to Asia on Valentine's Day, visiting corporate headquarters and plants for a week. They learned the Monday after they returned from the trip that they would host Yokohama Rubber Company Chairman and CEO Tadanobu Nagumo. He wanted to see West Point, Starkville, Columbus, Mississippi State University and meet with the governor, all in a four-hour window. "Pretty tough, huh?" Higgins said at the luncheon. "How do you do it? Well, we did."
Residents giddy with enthusiasm over arrival of new industry
The excitement in the air at Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi's ground-breaking ceremony in Clay County was almost palpable Monday morning as executives, lawmakers and Clay County residents gathered on the hundreds of acres of farm land that will soon house a booming tire manufacturer. The excitement was obvious on the faces of lawmakers and executives, but could not compare to the emotions that radiated from Clay County residents: excitement and dreams filled with hope. "It's like it's been raining here for several years and we finally have a rainbow to appear," said West Point native Ladonna Halverson. "Yokohama is our rainbow."
Prep for Yokohama Includes Seminars on Japanese Culture
The Golden Triangle is buzzing about the arrival of Yokohama Tire and this week, the Golden Triangle Development LINK is hosting seminars to give the public more information about Japanese culture. Tuesday's seminar was hosted at East Mississippi Community College. The LINK sponsored the seminars hoping to give those who may work and live closely with the Japanese an opportunity to get familiar with their customs and language. The local economy is expected to grow as well as the population of Japanese nationals and officials with the LINK say learning to communicate will be the key to making this new business venture a success. More seminars will be held at Mississippi State University on Wednesday at CAVS Room 2200, and Thursday at the Civic in West Point. The seminars are held twice a day at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
County education building in limbo
As consolidation committee members turn their attention to forming a unified school district's structure for students, the fate of the county's education building remains an unsettled issue. The county-owned facility, built in 2011, houses Oktibbeha County School District's administration. Construction plans were developed after the district's former headquarters were damaged after Hurricane Katrina made landfall and worked inland in 2005.
Company is coming to the Golden Triangle
Golden Triangle economic development leader Joe Max Higgins gears up for more industrial company after he and others landed a Yokohama Tire plant in Clay County. "Quite frankly, we're seeing a pretty big uptick. It's not going through the roof, but we've got at least 12 legitimate deals, and there's a whale in there. There's one that's in the hundreds of millions of dollars," Higgins said. Mums the word on who, but Higgins is more than willing to talk strategy. The approach includes a spec building. Expect more of the same. Two more spec buildings are coming -- one in Lowndes County and the other in Starkville. Both will be between 75,000 and 100,000 square feet that can double in size.
New C Spire home Internet service to be 100 times faster than industry average
An initiative by Ridgeland-based C Spire proposes to give homes in Mississippi the opportunity to have internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second --- about 100 times the average speed, CEO Hu Meena said Tuesday during a press conference at the C Spire headquarters. The regional telecommunications and technology services company's ultra high-speed Internet access will be marketed as C Spire Fiber to the Home. That first Mississippi city will be selected through a "Get Fiber First" program, which invites city officials from around the state to tell why their needs, wants and will benefit from the future operations and 1 Gig Fiber.
Mississippi sentencing, prison policies up for debate
Mississippi judges and prosecutors told lawmakers Tuesday that they're tired of the uncertainty about how long people will stay in prison after sentencing. Many inmates can earn time off for good behavior in prison. That means, for example, that a 10-year sentence for a nonviolent crime could translate into fewer years locked up. "We are the ones who get the phone calls and run into people in the store complaining about it," said Ronnie Harper, district attorney for Adams, Amite, Franklin and Wilkinson counties. Yet, some policymakers say that if judges are giving stiff sentences simply to ensure that inmates will remain incarcerated longer, that's stretching state resources.
New state superintendent could be named today
The announcement of Mississippi's new state superintendent of education could come as early as Wednesday. Board of Education Vice Chair Hal Gage of Vicksburg said that after interviewing five finalists Tuesday in closed sessions, the seven board members who were present voted unanimously for one candidate and intended to offer that person the job. The board had left open the possibility of follow-up interviews Wednesday, but decided it didn't need them. One of the finalists interviewed Tuesday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center's student center is current Clinton Superintendent Phil Burchfield. He declined comment.
Mississippi congressman Harper sees wiggle room in budget impasse
U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper thinks Congress may have a little wiggle room when it comes to avoiding a government shutdown next week. As it stands now, if Congress doesn't pass a continuing resolution to pay for government operations, at least part of it will have to be shuttered Oct. 1. "We'll fly back Wednesday, have votes Wednesday night and we're told be prepared to stay there until we get it worked out," he said. "We have until midnight Sept. 30."
Haley Barbour blasts Senate Conservatives Fund and Club for Growth
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour had harsh words for cast-iron conservatives in Congress and the outside groups that back them in an interview for Post TV's "In Play" on Monday. "When you control the House, the Democrats control the Senate and the White House, you can't exactly cram your stuff down their throat," said Barbour, who also served as political director for President Ronald Reagan and chairman of the Republican National Committee. "Some of our friends sometimes forget that." Barbour went on to note that his bigger concern for the party moving forward was the number of outside conservative groups who seek to vilify Republican Members of Congress for allegedly breaking with party orthodoxy. "Some of these same people go out and raise money for outside organizations that attack the other Republicans not over principle, not over policy....over tactics," said Barbour.
Shutdown or Not, Farm Bill Extension Expires on Oct. 1
One thing's certain on Oct. 1: Congress will have allowed the nine-month extension of the 2008 farm bill to expire. Added to that, in a sort of one-two punch, the Agriculture Department could be faced with shutting down operations that same day, should Congress fail to reach agreement on a stopgap spending bill. USDA officials were tight-lipped Tuesday about any contingency plans, although one key Democratic senator voiced concerns about the impact on the agency. As for a shutdown's effect on the USDA, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, an appropriator and ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, also said he had no immediate concerns. Cochran said he trusted agriculture officials would take steps to "cause the least amount of pain and confusion."
Ted Cruz's Defiant Stand Is Also a Lonely One
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas never shrinks from staking out solitary ground in Washington, and Tuesday marked no exception. Wearing black tennis shoes in lieu of his customary boots, the Republican took to the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon in front of a handful of lawmakers and vowed to speak until he was "no longer able to stand" in resistance to President Barack Obama's health-care law. It technically was just a long speech that stretched late into the night---not a filibuster---and couldn't significantly delay a Senate vote expected Wednesday. But Mr. Cruz's defiant stand exemplified his unyielding brand of conservatism that, less than a year into his Senate career, has fueled speculation that he might run for president.
No winner yet in Hattiesburg: Affidavit, absentees still to be counted
Hattiesburg's special mayoral election is not yet decided, after all the precinct totals were counted. Once Rowan's count was complete, independent Dave Ware led 6,848 votes to Democrat Johnny DuPree's 6,816, leaving Ware with a 32-vote lead in the special mayoral election as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Independent challenger Shawn O'Hara had 20 votes. DuPree, who has served as mayor for three terms, kept the faith late Tuesday despite the deficit. "Y'all don't give up," DuPree told his supporters. Ware, who previously served as the councilman for Ward 4, wasn't taking anything for granted at his campaign party. The election was a replay of the June 4 general election in which DuPree defeated Ware by 37 votes on the strength of a crucial majority of absentee ballots.
German automotive component-maker breaks ground in Delta
A German automotive components company has broken ground in the Delta for a new plant. Gov. Phil Bryant and officials from Feuer Powertrain GmbH held an announcement and groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday in Tunica at the future site of the company's first U.S. manufacturing operations. The project represents a $140-million corporate investment and will create 300 new jobs, according to the Mississippi Development Authority. Feuer, manufacturer of crankshafts for the automotive and transportation industry, will begin production in Tunica in late 2014.
Atmos project to target economic development in Meridian
An announcement Tuesday morning from the state's Public Service Commission and Atmos Energy in Meridian signaled the beginning of a project that many local leaders hope will carry a large economic impact for years to come. Atmos Energy will tackle the multi-phase, multi-year project with an initial investment of $7.5 million. It will take about six years to complete all aspects associated with construction of the pipeline system that will run 8-inch high, pressure pipe more than 23 miles. The three industrial sites that will receive the pipeline service are the Sonny Montgomery Industrial Park, the I-20/59 Industrial Park and the Kewanee Mega-Site. Wade Jones, director of the East Mississippi Economic Development Corporation, said Atmos is taking on a huge investment that will pay dividends for everyone in the long run.
Southern cautions on Kemper coal unit as EPA carbon model
Southern Co power utility, which is building one of the world's first advanced coal-fired plants that also captures carbon dioxide emissions, cautioned federal regulators that, because of location, its $5 billion project should not be used as a standard for future coal plants. The 582-megawatt Mississippi plant's proximity to oil fields, where the CO2 can be injected, cannot be easily replicated in other parts of the country, the company said. Instead of encouraging development of all U.S. energy resources, Southern said the EPA's performance standards for new plants "essentially eliminate coal as a future generation option" and potentially restrict new natural gas-fired plants.
Ole Miss student injured in Texas alert and remembering friends, parents say
In an interview with Texas news station KVUE, the parents of Carson Otter said he is alert and can remember friends. His parents said they are thankful for the outpouring of support they've received since the incident happened. Otter went to Austin for the Sept. 14 Ole Miss football game and suffered a brain injury early Saturday morning following a fight outside a downtown bar.
Treasurer Fitch touts financial literacy initiative
State Treasurer Lynn Fitch was in Hattiesburg Tuesday, visiting Southern Miss and stressing the importance of teaching financial literacy in Mississippi high schools. Fitch met with students and faculty at the Dubard School for Language Disorders. She says she has a lot of support for her initiative that would mandate the teaching of one semester of personal finance in all Mississippi high schools. She hopes a bill on the initiative will be submitted in the next legislative session.
JSU professor to attend White House briefing Wednesday
A Jackson State associate professor will attend a White House briefing on social work education Wednesday. Associate Professor of Social Work Dr. Olga Osby was chosen to be a part of the briefing focusing on the role of social work education and determining health. Osby recently secured a $220,000 grant from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for a research project on the role African-American grandfathers play in child rearing. The proposal is titled American Grandfathers in Community Engagement and Family Stabilization.
Brownstone Center officially opens at Pearl River Community College
A state-of-the-art, multi-million dollar performing arts facility was officially opened in Poplarville Tuesday night. A concert by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra began the inaugural season at the new Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Arts at Pearl River Community College. The estate of the late Mrs. Brownstone, a Pearl River County native, provided millions of dollars for its construction. Future events will include lectures and other concerts. "To see it go from the plans on the paper to the actual facility is remarkable," said Archie Rawls, chairman of Fine Arts/Communication at PRCC and director of the Brownstone Center. "It really has exceeded all our expectations," he said.
Northeast Mississippi Community College employee finds cooking a great stress reliever
Debbie Ozbirn admits she has a job that can wear on her nerves at times. Fortunately, she has a trick that relaxes her. Cooking. "This job can be stressful at times and cooking is a major stress reliever," said Ozbirn, a financial aid associate at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville. "My family gets to enjoy the benefits of it."
U. of Alabama Faculty Senate forms diversity panel
The University of Alabama Faculty Senate on Tuesday approved creation of a task force to research and make recommendations on ways to increase diversity on campus and reform the governance of student organizations in the wake of allegations of discrimination during the fall sorority rush. The senate, which voted last week to table an earlier draft of the resolution, approved forming an ad hoc task force of students, faculty and administrators to explore ways to continue efforts to further integrate the Greek system and other student organizations, foster a more equitable environment on campus and make systemic reforms in the governance of student organizations. The task force will report its findings to the Faculty Senate.
Alabama will not release names of students who pledge during continuous open bidding
The University of Alabama does not plan to release the names of the students who pledge during continuous open bidding, UA spokesperson Cathy Andreen said Tuesday. "The National organizations have asked that these girls have their privacy be respected and their names not be released," Andreen said in an email. The formal sorority recruitment application has a statement in the disclosure agreement that allows for the release of names, Andreen said. Halle Lindsay and Cami McCant are among those black women who accepted invitations through the continuous open bid process, which was reopened by UA President Judy Bonner after the university landed in the national spotlight for racial segregation and claims of discrimination in its Greek system.
U. of Alabama invites U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO to talk integrity, fair competition, Lance Armstrong case
Travis T. Tygart, the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, will discuss ethics in the sporting arena during a Sept. 27 lecture at the University of Alabama. The USADA CEO will present as part of the Distinguished Lectures in Sport Management series at 1 p.m. on Friday in 247 Bryant Hall. The lecture, titled "Playing Fair and Winning: An Inside View of Ethics and Integrity from the Lance Armstrong Case," which is geared toward students in the College of Human Environmental Sciences Sport Management program, is open to the public.
Bryant, U. of Alabama trustees sue over firm's use of houndstooth pattern
The University of Alabama System board of trustees and its president pro tem Paul W. Bryant Jr. have filed a federal trademark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit in an effort to prevent a Georgia company from producing apparel with the logo Houndstooth Mafia. In the lawsuit filed last Thursday, Bryant and the board claim Houndstooth Mafia Enterprises LLC's use of the houndstooth pattern, UA's crimson and white color scheme and other phrases and terminology will create the impression the brand is associated with the university and its legendary football coach Paul W. "Bear" Bryant. Michael Spearing, counsel for the university and the plaintiff's attorney listed in the lawsuit, referred requests for comment about the lawsuit to UA's Media Relations, which did not rely by press time.
Police: U. of South Carolina student lied about attempted kidnapping
A University of South Carolina student was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with lying about an attempted kidnapping. Rachel Mosser, 18, was charged with filing a false police report and false swearing. According to a news release, CPD investigators have determined that Mosser lied when she told police that a black male tried to take her against her will as she walked along the 600 block of Pickens Street Tuesday morning. "The suspect tied up valuable law enforcement resources, time and energy in trying to locate the so-called suspect," said Interim Columbia Police Chief Ruben Santiago in a release. "This case should be a clear example of how lying to police will get you in trouble every time."
'Walking Dead' producer talks zombie apocalypse at U. of Georgia
The AMC series "Walking Dead" will have legs as long as people keep watching, an executive producer of the record-setting cable television series told a University of Georgia audience Tuesday. Some series have to end when their creators decide to try new things -- like another popular AMC series, "Mad Men," which is scheduled to end in 2015. But comic book artist Robert Kirkman, on whose work the series is based, has produced more than 130 comic books and has ideas for about 250, "Walking Dead" executive producer Gale Anne Hurd told a mostly student audience of nearly 200 people Tuesday in UGA's Russell Research Library. Hurd was in Athens to receive an award from DiGamma Kappa, UGA's student broadcasting society. Set in Atlanta after a zombie apocalypse, the award-winning show is by some measures the most popular cable TV drama ever; its third-season finale attracted a record 12.4 million viewers.
U. of Florida student jailed, accused of making bomb threat
Police have arrested a University of Florida student they say recently threatened to explode a bomb at a fraternity chapter meeting. Carson Lee Ridenhour, 19, made statements on Sept. 17 to Khaled Abdelghany at a speed rush meeting of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity chapter that he would explode a device at the next scheduled chapter meeting, according to a University of Florida Police report. Ridenhour never recanted his statement, the report said, and the fraternity members were concerned that he would carry out his threat.
U. of Arkansas to Receive $1.4M for Research
U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor and John Boozman and Rep. Steve Womack say the University of Arkansas will receive $1.4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The three say the funding will be used to create a Maritime Transportation Research and Education Center known as MarTREC. The center will be used to expand the university's transportation research that includes promoting livability and emergency management of coastal and river valley communities. UA will establish MarTREC as part of the Transportation Department's University Transit Center program that includes Jackson State University, LSU and the University of New Orleans.
Are colleges being too quick to suspend professors?
It would be hard to find a faculty advocate opposed to the suspension last week of a University of Florida professor of veterinary science who was secretly taking videos of students' body parts with a device hidden in his pen. Administrative -- and police -- action came swiftly, without any public objection from fellow instructors. But beyond such a clear violation of professional conduct, and, in this case, the law, faculty advocates often are quick to criticize institutions for jumping the gun with punishments. A spate of forced leaves for professors in recent memory raises the question of what exactly constitutes suspension-worthy speech and action -- particularly a suspension made unilaterally by administrators. In other words, does a line exist and, if so, where?
U.S. to Contact Borrowers With New Options for Repaying Student Loans
When President Obama last month announced proposals to make college more affordable, many critics focused on his plan to rate colleges based on measures like tuition, graduation rates, and the debt and earnings of graduates, and eventually to link financial aid to those ratings. Largely overlooked was a more immediate change that could make a dent in the rising number of student-loan borrowers going into default. Starting next month, the Department of Education will contact borrowers who are struggling to repay their federal loans to make sure they know all the options available to them. "We think there are lots of people who could benefit from our income-based repayment programs but haven't signed up, and we want to get to them before they default," said Arne Duncan, the education secretary. "The challenge is getting the word out."
OUR VIEW: West Point and Yokohama say, 'I do'
The Dispatch editorializes: "Monday was a perfect day for an outdoor wedding. That was the day Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi broke ground on the first phase of its $300-million facility in Clay County. The event featured many of the trappings you typically expect at ground-breaking ceremonies. There were the customary silver shovels and speeches filled with analogies. Of all the analogies, we found the one offered by Yokohama Tire Company President Hikomitso Noji, most appropriate. Noji likened the day's festivities to a wedding and the idea that Monday's ground-breaking is symbolic of a committed relationship built on mutual trust is especially appealing."
OUR OPINION: Fast-track investment will employ thousands
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Yokohama Tire's fast track toward production at its under-construction West Point plant embodies two firsts for the Japanese manufacturer: It is the first ground-up plant in the U.S. and its shovel to roll-off time is projected to be the quickest in the worldwide firm's history. Speed, in fact, has been a constant in the idea that West Point could win the plant siting against about 3,000 competitors. ...It is significant that other Japanese companies in Mississippi like Nissan and Toyota also influenced the Yokohama decision. ...It's unrealistic to expect investment on the scale of Yokohama's every time there's an economic development announcement, but 10 years ago other plants of similar size were unheard of in Northeast Mississippi. Today those similar companies employ thousands from near Columbus to Blue Springs in Union County."
BRIAN PERRY: Pastor makes race an issue
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "Racial politics in Mississippi is changing. It is hard to deny race is not a component in elections, but most political leaders refuse to make overt racial pleas in campaigns. Such is the case in Tuesday's re-do election in Hattiesburg. ...That race plays a role in the election between Dupree (who is black) and Ware (who is white) is undeniable. Fortunately, I've seen no evidence that either candidate or campaign is overtly engaged in racial politics. ...While the campaigns may not be playing the race card, the same cannot be said about their supporters. ...Certainly race is still an issue for some voters when they make a decision on casting their ballots. Fortunately, mainstream candidates no longer make explicit racial calls. That's more than can be said for campaign supporters."

Dan Mullen eyes consistent effort from Mississippi State
Mississippi State has executed half of its season flawlessly. The other half, not so much. In its wins, Mississippi State has shown an explosive offense, averaging 56.5 points -- a scoring average that would place it behind juggernaut offenses like Baylor and Oregon. In losses, that average drops to 11.5 points. Only Southern Miss, Massachusetts, Miami of Ohio and Florida International are worse. The Bulldogs hope to find consistency this week during their bye.
Mississippi State secondary makes strides in win over Troy
Mississippi State essentially made up for its deficiencies in the secondary with one play. As Troy began to replicate its offensive success against the Bulldogs defense from the matchup in the previous season, Jamerson Love turned the momentum. With his first career interception return for touchdown, Love took a tipped pass 70 yards back to the end zone for the game's first score and got the Davis Wade Stadium announced crowd of 55,096 incredibly excited. "That's a product of the pressure up front from our line and when (the quarterback) has to throw the football when he doesn't want to, the ball will be there up for grabs," Love said.
Mississippi State aims to improve on bye
Dan Mullen didn't set the bar too high for Mississippi State's bye week. He just wants three good practices. "I don't know how many days it's going to take us to have three good practices," Mullen said. "They already had their day off on Sunday so, you know, they got a lift in on Monday and we'll have three good practices." On the surface, Mullen's expectations weren't much. But when he dove in deeper, the Bulldogs have more than a few things to improve before it hosts LSU on Oct. 5.
MSU Notebook: Bulldogs make changes to defensive line
Mississippi State is dealing with another defensive player being injured in the past month leaving a big hole in the middle of the line. Junior defensive tackle P.J. Jones has been sidelined since the season-opening game with a unknown left foot injury that has held him out of action in each of the first two home games. Freshman defensive lineman Chris Jones has been more than a adequate replacement starting at defensive tackle in place of P.J. Jones in the last two home games. Chris Jones had three tackles and one for a loss in Saturday's 62-7 victory over Troy.
RICK CLEVELAND: Bulldogs' Gabe Jackson turning heads
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State's 340-pound road grader of a guard, could be playing for large money on Sundays right now. No doubt about it. He knows it. His coaches know it. NFL scouts know it. Those poor guys he flattened in State's 62-7 victory over Troy Saturday night know it, as well. Boy, do they know it. But Jackson made the decision to stay and play his senior season at State --- and he's not looking back."
LOGAN LOWERY: Naming a starter not so cut and dry | Logan Lowery (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "For as long as I can remember, the most popular man on Mississippi State's campus seems to be the backup quarterback. Having been born and raised in the Golden Triangle, I recall Bulldog fans clamoring for Matt Wyatt when Derrick Taite was the starter, then for Wayne Madkin when Wyatt was the starter and vice versa in the late 90s. Current quarterback Tyler Russell was also in those shoes as fans salivated for him to take over the starting role from Chris Relf two years ago. Now Russell finds himself amid another quarterback controversy after suffering a concussion during the second half in week one against Oklahoma State. Sophomore Dak Prescott has started the past three games for the Bulldogs, accounting for 860 yards of offense and nine touchdowns and no turnovers over that span."
Scott Central's Vivians commits to Mississippi State
Chad Harrison knew something was wrong with his All-State player. The Scott Central High School girls basketball coach waited until the end of practice Monday to check with Victoria Vivians to see what was bothering her. He quickly realized Vivians had come to a decision that was going to end a national recruiting battle. "I want to go to Mississippi State," Vivians told Harrison. Those seven words set off a chain reaction of phone calls, text messages, emails, and tweets that spread the word that one of the country's top prep basketball players was coming to Starkville to join coach Vic Schaefer's women's basketball program.
ADAM MINICHINO: MSU women's basketball takes step forward | Adam Minichino (Opinion)
The Dispatch's Adam Minichino writes: "LaToya Thomas and Tan White have become synonymous with Mississippi State women's basketball. Hailing from Greenville and Tupelo, Thomas and White played integral leading roles in some of the program's best seasons. ...More than 13 years later, the announcement Monday that Scott Central High School standout Victoria Vivians will play basketball at MSU conjures images of Thomas' deft scoring touch and White's lightning-quick thievery. Ranked as the No. 27 and the No. 40 recruit in the Class of 2014 by two of the nation's top recruiting services, Vivians has the potential to be a program-changer for second-year MSU coach Vic Schaefer. While other recent top Mississippi recruits like Tiaria Griffin and Krista Donald (Georgia), Rachel Hollivay and April Sykes (Rutgers), and LaSondra Barrett (LSU) opted to leave the state, Vivians' decision to remain in Mississippi could change that trend. The operative word is could."
HOF quarterback Kelly, others honor late pro lineman Kent Hull
It's hard to sneak away when you're a Hall of Fame quarterback. But, as more than 400 people made their way to the Jackson Hilton banquet hall to honor the late Kent Hull, one of the last to trickle in was Jim Kelly. The former Buffalo Bills all-pro visited Jackson on Tuesday to honor Hull, a Greenwood native who starred as a center at Mississippi State before becoming Kelly's teammate in the NFL for 11 seasons. Even before being diagnosed with jaw cancer in early June, Kelly agreed to be the event's keynote speaker. It wasn't just because of what Hull did for him in their pro careers, "but what he also meant to me in my spiritual life and also as a friend."
JOHN L. PITTS: College athletes already well paid | John L. Pitts (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's John L. Pitts writes: "Lots of people are taking about the need to pay college athletes, but judging from the stories you see lately, it seems like many of them are getting paid already. This seems another example of trying to create a special class out of certain people while arguing about fairness. Johnny Manziel makes a lot of money for Texas A&M, so isn't it fair that he should get some of it? Ah, but he does already, without regard to his hobby of selling autographs. He's getting a college education -- have you priced one of those lately? -- and a nice place to live and three meals a day and the best medical and physical therapy care available. And the chance to be Big Man on Campus, which is priceless. This is part of the terms of his employment. ...In a universe where Alabama and LSU can openly pay players, where does that leave schools like Ole Miss and Mississippi State?"
U. of Alabama homecoming parade starts early this year
Fans who want to attend the University of Alabama's homecoming parade on Oct. 5 had better be sure their alarm clock is working. The parade will begin at 7 a.m., UA announced Tuesday. The early parade is tied to an early kickoff, 11:21 a.m., against the Georgia State University Panthers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. "I think this is the first time it's ever been this early," said Ashley Hayes, the executive director of parade events. The theme of this year's homecoming is “Leaving a Crimson Legacy.”
UGA ends four-year run as Stadion Classic golf tournament host
There won't be another former Georgia golfer winning a title at his alma mater this spring. The University of Georgia announced Tuesday that it was ending its four-year run as host of the Tour's Stadion Classic at UGA, citing the lack of sponsorships to cover the rising costs of taking the event's exposure to the next level, including televising it. Georgia director of golf and men's team coach Chris Haack said the tournament had been a boon to recruiting -- the team's top two players earned a sponsor's exemption to play each year ­-- and brought new levels of visibility to the program while acting as a springboard for several former Bulldogs' careers.
GAIL KERR: Much about Vanderbilt rape case remains a mystery | Gail Kerr (Opinion)
Columnist Gail Kerr writes in The Tennessean: "It's a pretty simple question: On the night of June 23, when an unconscious Vanderbilt student was allegedly viciously raped by members of the Vanderbilt football team, was the starting quarterback there before, during or after? It's a yes or no question. But prosecutors are playing a championship game of dodgeball. And District Attorney Torry Johnson's attempt to face reporters and explain made it worse, not better."
RACHEL BACHMAN: Penn State Case Exposes NCAA's Muddled Mandate | Rachel Bachman (Opinion
Rachel Bachman writes in The Wall Street Journal: "The NCAA website allows the public to search its database of major infractions cases going back to 1953. Type in a school name and the institution's worst transgressions will appear along with the corresponding punishment. But enter "Pennsylvania State University," and the site responds "no results found." The most notorious sanctions in NCAA history -- against Penn State's football program for the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal -- don't appear in the database because they were leveled in July 2012 by executive fiat, outside the organization's normal infractions process. ...On Tuesday, the NCAA rolled back one of the harshest of these penalties... By scaling back its punishment, however, the NCAA only further muddled a question the institution has never fully worked out: whether it exists solely to enforce the rules of competition in intercollegiate sports, or whether it has a secondary responsibility to make sure its members behave morally."

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