Monday, February 24, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
IT pros rank U. of Texas San Antonio best school for cybersecurity; Mississippi State is third
The University of Texas at San Antonio tops a list of schools that are considered by security practitioners as the best in the country for cybersecurity courses and degree programs. Mississippi State University Starkville was third. Center for Computer Security Research is a National Security Agency-certified center of academic excellence in information security. The Ponemon Institute, which conducted the survey for Hewlett-Packard, compiled the list of top schools based on responses from 1,958 security practitioners. Survey participants were given a list of 403 educational institutions and were asked to select and rank up to five of the institutions in descending order of preference.
Cell phone service could improve at Davis Wade
The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees approved on Thursday improvements to cellular phone service infrastructure at Mississippi State University's Davis Wade Stadium. According to the board's agenda, MSU requested permission from IHL to amend an existing lease with New Cingular Wireless, which provides the distributed antenna system multiple cellular service providers use to reach customers at MSU's home football games. In June 2011, the IHL Board cleared MSU to lease 1,635 square feet of space to NCW for this structure.
'Small-time' farming: Did you know? Small farm toys are a big deal
There is a dedicated group of farm toy enthusiasts in the Golden Triangle area. By day, they may be engineers, professors or research technicians. But free time may find them tracking down an elusive 1/64th scale John Deere cotton picker, restoring a child-sized pedal tractor, or swapping tales at a farm toy show with other folks with "mad plow disease." Thanks to the enthusiasm of people like Mitch Sisson, John Byrd Jr. of Starkville, Harry Collins of Tupelo, and Extension Service agent Scott Cagle, the Mississippi Farm Toy Show got its start 13 years ago in Starkville. In recent years, Greg Flint of Sturgis and Billy Self of Kosciusko have been active in putting on the show that outgrew its original home in the Mississippi State University "Bull Barn" and moved to the Mississippi Horse Park.
Coastal producers asked to aid Mississippi State research
Producers of various commodities in Mississippi's coastal region can help guide Mississippi State University's research and educational programs during an upcoming meeting. Experts from the MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will be available to discuss current issues, share research results and answer questions at the annual Commodity Advisory Council meeting Feb. 25 at the Coastal Research and Extension Center. Individual commodity sessions include commercial ornamental horticulture, fruits, livestock, row crops, seafood and aquaculture, forestry, home horticulture, vegetables, equine and beekeeping. Each commodity group will share its research and Extension priorities during a general session.
Lab gives chicken farmers a break, lowers fees
The more than 2,000 chicken growers in Mississippi can now save money on an annual test required to meet federal and state regulations and keep their samples in the state. The Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory has lowered its fee for testing chicken litter to $35 to be more in line with fees charged by labs in neighboring states. Many of the state's growers have been sending their samples to Louisiana and Arkansas. "The price reduction makes the Mississippi State Chemical Lab much more competitive and affordable for the state's poultry growers who need to have these tests run once a year, every year," said Tom Tabler, MSU Extension poultry specialist. "Now they can keep their samples within the state for the same price or less."
Poultry growers to pay less for analysis
The more than 2,000 chicken growers in Mississippi can now save money on an annual test required to meet federal and state regulations and keep their samples in the state. The Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory has lowered its fee for testing chicken litter to $35 to be more in line with fees charged by labs in neighboring states. For more information, contact the lab's Quality Assurance Manager Gale Hagood at (662) 325-2955 or State Chemist Ashli Brown at (662) 325-3428.
Wholesale Prices Stabilize
After the wild January ride, cattle and beef markets are settling into somewhat more stable and realistic levels moving forward," says Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist in his weekly market comments. Peel is referring to the weather-aided price spike in beef and fed cattle prices last month, which have since retreated to what appear to be sustainable levels, but on a higher plane than anticipated when the year began. Although end meats drove the price spike, John Michael Riley, Mississippi State University Extension economist, points out in this week's In the Cattle Markets that prices for middle meats remained fairly static rather than losing ground. "Anecdotal evidence indicates that wholesale boxed beef prices have benefited from low value product price increases," Riley says.
Dance group makes return to Mississippi State
The popular Koresh Dance Company makes a return visit to Mississippi State with a Lee Hall performance during the month's final week. The Feb. 27 show -- second of the university's 2014 spring semester Lyceum Series -- begins at 7:30 p.m. in Bettersworth Auditorium on campus. Also as part of its deep commitment to community outreach, the organization will hold a master class for MSU students, a workshop with Starkville's Henderson Middle School and, for the Lee Hall audience, a post-performance discussion.
The Neighbourhood to headline Old Main Music Fest
Mississippi State's Student Association and the campus Music Maker Productions are bringing The Neighbourhood to perform for 2014 Old Main Music Festival. Free to all, the festival takes place Saturday, April 12 at the University Amphitheatre as part of the land-grant institution's 29th annual Super Bulldog Weekend. Formed in 2011, the five-man, California-based band has garnered a considerable fan base for its successful blending of different genres.
Organization Educates Women on Agriculture
A government study points to shrinking family farms, even as the value of crops and livestock continues to go up. Now one Mississippi organization wants to make sure women in particular are prepared. "As the whole farming community gets older, what's going to happen to their farms if there's no one to pass it on to?" said Mary Jane Coign. That's where Mississippi Women for Agriculture comes in -- educating women across the state on farming. The number of them is growing.
Girls invited to apply to outdoor camp at Mississippi State
Young women interested in careers based on their love of the outdoors, wildlife and science can learn about job options from mentors and professionals at an upcoming event. The Mississippi State University Extension Service is sponsoring Conservation Careers Discovery Days April 4-5. High school girls in ninth-twelfth grades can enjoy camping, bird watching, water sampling and other activities related to wildlife biology, ecology, research and land management. The event begins at 4 p.m. April 4 and concludes at 6 p.m. April 5. All event costs, including meals, camping equipment, travel and supplies, are covered by funds from the MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks' Youth Participation Initiative.
Mississippi State offering camp on intro to fashion
High school students with a passion for fashion can learn about career options at FashionPrep14, a new camp at Mississippi State University. The School of Human Sciences will introduce 14- to 17-year-old campers to the fashion industry May 30-June 6 on the Starkville campus. Campers will attend workshops taught by industry professionals and MSU faculty in apparel, textiles and merchandising. Current MSU students in the apparel, textiles and merchandising and human development and family studies programs will serve as counselors for the week.
Internal email says MSU engineering dean moving to new job with school
Mississippi State University Bagley College of Engineering Dean Achille Messac will transition to a tenured professor position within the aerospace engineering department on March 1, according to an email sent to faculty and staff from the provost's office. Messac, MSU's first African American dean, was hired in 2013 after serving as Syracuse University's chair and distinguished professor of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department. Messac succeeded Sarah Rajala as MSU's engineering dean.
Starkville Community Market launching a mid-week produce market this season
Starkville Community Market will offer a supplemental mid-week market this season that is expected to be open Tuesday afternoons during the market's normal spring and summer months, Greater Starkville Development Partnership officials confirmed this week. Officials extended last year's market, which normally runs to the last Saturday in July, through August because of increased supplies from artisans, bakers and farmers, and an increase in SCM's customer base. Those same increases enticed SCM to launch a mid-week option, GSDP Special Events and Projects Coordinator Jennifer Prather said.
Starkville aldermen trim budget committee to three members
Starkville aldermen approved shrinking its seven-person budget and audit committee to three board members, thereby easing schedule restraints and beginning long-range planning initiatives, but at least two aldermen say they feel left out of the process guiding the city's approximately $18 million budget. In July, the board formed its budget and audit committee with all seven aldermen, but Tuesday's move trims the group back to pre-election numbers. Ward 5 Alderman Scott Maynard will continue serving as the committee chair and be joined by Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins and Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn. One of the most significant budget challenges Starkville faces is addressing its aging infrastructure, Maynard said.
Democrats still pecking away on Medicaid expansion
Last week, almost quietly, the Mississippi House voted down a proposal to expand Medicaid to cover people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level as is allowed under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Democrats say it is important to offer the expansion amendment even if they know it will not pass because it keeps the issue alive. And they claim that as more Mississippians learn their political leaders are turning down on average $3 million per day in federal funds for health care that is going to other states that public support in the state for expanding Medicaid will grow.
AP analysis: Votes on pay raises for state employees fodder for 2015 elections
The campaign is nearly underway for the 2015 Mississippi legislative elections, a time when lawmakers often find that past decisions come back to haunt them in nasty attacks by their opponents. Voters can expect flailing against incumbents who spoke in support of the Affordable Care Act, the health reform law pushed by President Barack Obama. And there could be targeting of legislators who took tough stances on more Mississippi-specific issues.
No decision yet by Childers on Senate race
Former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, a Booneville Democrat, has yet to decide whether he will enter the race for U.S. Senate. "I have not made a decision," was the only response from the former Prentiss County chancery clerk recently when asked whether he would enter the fray to replace veteran U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. The Republican Cochran, 76, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978, is facing a primary challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, who has strong backing from various Tea Party-related groups. In past elections, Democrats have been reluctant to challenge the popular Cochran. But some believe Cochran could face a challenge from McDaniel in the more conservative-leaning Republican primary that will be held June 3.
Chris McDaniel accuses critics of 'slander'
Mississippi Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, the conservative primary challenger to longtime GOP Sen. Thad Cochran, accused his adversaries of "slander" after critical comments from McDaniel about Hurricane Katrina relief touched off the first major controversy of the 2014 nomination fight. The remarks touched off a backlash in some Gulf Coast media, drawing editorial criticism from the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a top Cochran supporter and fundraiser, said in an interview that he was "flabbergasted" by McDaniel's comments.
Libertarian to challenge U.S. Rep. Nunnelee
Voters in Northeast Mississippi's 1st Congressional District now have another option in the general election besides two-term incumbent Alan Nunnelee. Nunnelee, a 55-year-old Republican from Tupelo, can expect the same opponent from two years ago who described the congressman's voting record as liberal on federal spending and mushy toward decreasing the size of government. Libertarian candidate Danny Bedwell of Columbus will mount another long-shot campaign to win the Nov. 4 election. No other candidates have announced intentions to seek the congressional seat that covers 22 counties. The deadline to file qualifying papers to join the race is 5 p.m. March 1.
Farm interests lie fallow
They're an endangered species in many state legislatures as more Americans move to urban centers or suburban cities: the rural lawmaker who knows what it's like to care for a herd, plant a crop or drive on gravel roads. Lawmakers and political experts say the dwindling numbers of farmers, ranchers and others who make their living off the land affect not just agricultural policy but other rural concerns: highways, health care, schools and high-speed Internet access. Urban and suburban lawmakers might be sympathetic, but they're often unfamiliar with particular concerns.
FAA risks losing drone war
The Washington Nationals used a drone to photograph spring training. Real estate agents use them to show off sprawling properties. Martin Scorsese hired one to film a scene in "The Wolf of Wall Street." So where does this leave the Federal Aviation Administration, which insists that commercial drone use is illegal? Way behind -- and facing turbulence as drone use explodes. "Most people want to comply with the FAA rules," said Ted Ellett, a former FAA general counsel who is now a partner specializing in aviation at the law firm Hogan Levells. "But the more the FAA acts like a big daddy, behemoth government agency that is imposing excessive restrictions, the more the feeling of 'I'm an American, they can't tell me what to do' kicks in. And that's a real danger for the FAA." Plenty of drone users are going ahead without waiting for the agency.
Wesley chapel renovation at MUW to get a boost from breakfast
For Mississippi University for Women students away from families and home churches, the Wesley Foundation offers an oasis of spiritual support and fellowship. On Saturday, March 1 a pancake breakfast will support renovation of the chapel at the Wesley Foundation, located at 224 11th St. S., at the intersection with Third Avenue S. "We're a nonprofit organization, and we're totally dependent on the support of the community and United Methodist churches," said Jessica Horton, Foundation administrative assistant. The campus ministry provides worship and mission opportunities, programming and spiritual retreats for students during the academic year.
Ole Miss speeds dorm plan to meet student growth
The University of Mississippi will try to speed up its normal construction process in order to head off what it fears will be a shortage of on-campus housing. The College Board on Thursday approved plans for an $18 million Northgate dormitory to be built near the corner of Jackson Avenue and Sorority Row. The university hopes to finish the structure of either four or five stories by the time class begins in August 2015. That would leapfrog plans that Ole Miss put forward last fall for additional housing that would open in 2016.
Student judicial process begins, FBI takes over statue investigation
The student judicial process began Friday to determine possible university punishment for three University of Mississippi students suspected of involvement in desecrating the James Meredith statue last week. As of Sunday evening, the students had not been charged with any crime. However, the student judicial process can occur even without criminal charges filed against the suspects. "No official university action has taken place regarding suspension or expulsion of the students involved," UM Communications Director Danny Blanton said. "The process of determining whether the students violated the university conduct policy is definitely underway, and we believe it will move pretty quickly." The FBI took complete control of the investigation on Friday, and the University Police Department will assist in the investigation.
SigEps speak out on former freshmen members
The president of the Mississippi Alpha chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon said the very day that chapter members knew the people responsible for the desecration of the James Meredith statue on campus were in their own midst, they voted to kick them out of the fraternity. "I learned about their involvement on Wednesday afternoon. By Wednesday night, the chapter had voted to expel all three, and we reported the information to the university and authorities," said SigEp president Jeremy Smith in written answers released by the fraternity's national headquarters. Smith said he and other members take the whole situation personally, but also see it as a mission. "As chapter president, I hope to use this humbling moment and the national stage it has created to lead our chapter and this campus in an effort to ensure that nothing like this ever occurs again at the University of Mississippi," he said.
Second alleged incident of racism involving a student at Ole Miss
A second alleged incident of racism has surfaced involving the University of Mississippi. An African-American student says she was targeted. Senior Kiesha Reeves told police someone threw alcohol at her from a moving car a few miles from campus. She says the person was also yelling racial slurs. "It has impacted me a lot because I have never witnessed this blatant racism before... plain hatred... it's always been very subtle and hasn't happened to me. I've only heard it. So for this to happen to me, it impacted me very much," Reeves said. When asked what it's like for her today, in 2014, to be a black student at Ole Miss, Reeves said it's very hard.
Officials discuss creating a 'college scene' in downtown Hattiesburg
During the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association's annual membership and awards luncheon in January, newly appointed executive director Walt Denton took the podium to promote Hattiesburg's college scene as his first priority. "This is Mississippi's premier college city," he said. "There's a big scene here, with downtown and the two universities, and I feel like we need to own it." For their part, university officials continue to express interest in getting their schools involved in downtown. Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett, about to put the wraps on his first official year at the university, said he is "open to conversations" about creating downtown partnerships that give Southern Miss a bigger presence there.
Ex-Alcorn State president resigned amid spending complaints
M. Christopher Brown II was regarded as a rising star in the world of historically black universities and a transformational leader at Mississippi's Alcorn State University. Hired at just 38, he and the university were winning awards and Alcorn's profile was on the rise. But by his third year on the job, complaints began to surface about money spent on lavish upgrades to the president's residence and the relationship between a Brown aide and a production company that staged campus concerts, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request. Amid an investigation of the spending by the board that oversees the university, Brown and two others resigned in December. "I'm sick about it because it's going to impact recruiting, support from the Legislature, everything," said Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds, who oversees the state's public universities.
JSU spring enrollment up over 2013 numbers
Jackson State University had another record increase with its spring 2014 enrollment, officials said today. This spring, 8,812 students are enrolled at JSU, a nearly 1 percent increase over last spring's enrollment of 8,760. The 2014 figure is the highest ever for a spring enrollment. JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers said in a news release that JSU has a reputation of offering quality programs in a nurturing environment. "As we continue to grow, we're investing in academics, faculty development and infrastructure," James C. Renick, JSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said in the release.
Jackson State to spend $1.55M to fix library walls
Jackson State University plans to spend $1.5 million to replace bricks and steel on the outside of its main library, as well the roof. The College Board approved the work Thursday for the H.T. Sampson Library. The university says water damage to parts of the building's exterior must be repaired or replaced for safety.
State expects to turn over Bryce Hospital grounds to U. of Alabama by June
The Alabama Department of Mental health hopes to move into the new Bryce Hospital facility by early June, completing the move from the hospital's historic grounds that were purchased in 2010 by the University of Alabama. UA purchased the Bryce property from the state in 2010, paying nearly $77 million for the 168 acres on the northeast side of campus and agreeing to pay another $10 million for environmental cleanup and historic preservation as part of an agreement with the state. The university's campus master plan proposes using the old Bryce grounds for new academic and residential buildings and recreational facilities while also preserving the green space of the main lawn.
Warrington gives record $75 million gift to U. of Florida
Al and Judy Warrington have just become the University of Florida's biggest Gator boosters. Their $75 million pledge to Al Warrington's namesake -- the Warrington College of Business Administration -- is the largest gift in UF's history, Tom Mitchell, vice president of Development and Alumni Affairs, announced Friday. It also makes Warrington -- at age 78 -- UF's first $100 million donor, Mitchell said. The Warringtons have a 40-year-long track record of giving their time, their energy and their money to the university -- not only in the business college but in other areas including athletics, stadium expansion, scholarships and research.
Art museum at U. of Kentucky names its new chief
Stuart Horodner, artistic director of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, has been named the new director of The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky. Horodner succeeds Kathy Walsh-Piper, who announced her retirement from the post last year. Michael Tick, dean of the UK College of Fine Arts, co-chaired the search committee with Mary John O'Hair, dean of the university's College of Education and selected Horodner for the post. Announcing her retirement last spring, Walsh-Piper had some terse words for UK administrators and said the museum, which is housed in a back corner of the Singletary Center for the Arts, needs a new location. "This museum needs to be a priority for someone," Walsh-Piper said.
Report: Millions of dollars left on the table from Texas A&M fall semester dining plans
Last semester at Texas A&M, millions of dollars were left on the table when thousands of meal plans expired at the end of the semester. Freshmen and sophomores forced to buy food from a private vendor are particularly upset with what they feel is wasted money. It's not just students who are adjusting to a new way to dine on campus. A&M administrators and employees of Chartwells, the private company that took over dining in 2012, are still making changes to one of the largest outsourcing contracts at a public university. Last semester was the first time that Aggie underclassmen living on campus were forced to buy Chartwells' meal plans comprised of individual meals, called meal trades, and dining dollars, which act like gift cards. Chartwells representatives said expiring meals at the end of each semester is part of their business model and is an industry norm.
U. of Missouri Department of Residential Life meets with University Village residents after walkway collapse
Members of the University of Missouri's Department of Residential Life and building engineers addressed residents of the MU-run University Village apartments, following Saturday's deadly walkway collapse. Frankie Minor, Department of Residential Life director, said the university is still waiting on answers as to what caused the collapse and fielded a bevy of questions from concerned residents. "We don't have all the information," Minor said. "We want to make sure we're doing a thorough analysis of what happened, but we're relying upon the experts to critically analyze this, to come up with the most accurate representation of what happened." Residents living in the affected building have been evacuated, but they were able to retrieve essential items from their apartments Saturday night and Sunday morning.
How colleges are finding tomorrow's prodigies
Across the country, colleges are experimenting with online learning to see how it might reshape higher education in the future. Most expect it to usher in one of the biggest revolutions since the advent of the chalkboard -- eventually. For now, online classes -- MOOCs in particular -- represent more of a tantalizing idea than a transformative one. Critics excoriate the free courses for not having done much yet to help solve the high cost of college. Professors fret that MOOCs threaten in-person teaching and the experience of going to school on campus. But one overlooked benefit of online learning has been to help universities find a new generation of talented students -- and perhaps, along the way, society's next Steve Jobs, Maya Angelou, or Yo-Yo Ma.
BILL CRAWFORD (OPINION): Reporter says McDaniel hedging on key issues
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "If you sense something fishy about Sen. Thad Cochran's upstart opponent, it may be the flip-flopping. Republican senate candidate Chris McDaniel's issue fickleness was exposed in a recent article by reporter Alexander Burns. McDaniel promotes himself as an anti-government, anti-spending purist in the mold of Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, both of whom, for example, took strong ideological positions against the federal farm bill and the Hurricane Sandy relief bill. 'I'm not going to do anything for you,' McDaniel preached to a group of University of Mississippi students, according to Burns. 'I'm going to get the government off your back, then I'm gonna let you do it for yourself.' But a little later, Burns reported, McDaniel 'hedged that statement.'"
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): McDaniel's Katrina response lacked sense
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "In his effort to make longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran look out of touch with Mississippians, state Sen. Chris McDaniel paused long enough last week to make himself look so. McDaniel hemmed and hawed when a Politico reporter from D.C. asked whether he would have supported the federal Hurricane Katrina aid Cochran championed. ...And it would appear he and his campaign staff haven't closely studied the most important Mississippi legislation to come out of Congress in his lifetime. ...Cochran's defining achievement was securing an unprecedented program that provided Mississippi $5 billion to help repair and rebuild 40,000 homes and apartments damaged or destroyed by the storm."
SAM R. HALL (OPINION): Gunn banking lots of political capital
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "House Speaker Philip Gunn is shrewdly building a political base throughout the state with his support of legislation that historically has not enjoyed GOP backing. ...So why is Gunn -- who is a solid conservative leader with wide support among both the tea party and establishment wings of the Republican Party -- supporting progressive bills that have historically found little favor among GOP lawmakers? ...The speaker is proving his political acumen by sowing the political field in an effort to not only retain his leadership position but also increase his majority. And at the same time, if he has an eye toward higher office in 2019 -- he's already got a leg up on the most likely primary challenger..."

Alwal leads OT win for Mississippi State
For the second time this season, it took overtime to decide the outcome between Mississippi State and Ole Miss in women's basketball. For the Bulldogs, Sunday was their second straight extra session, and for the first time this year MSU came out on top in overtime, 72-70. Vic Schaefer's Bulldogs battled back from a 13-point deficit in the second half to split the series with their state rival. "It was just a very special day for us and for our players," Schaefer said. "I'm really happy they have a chance to experience that. This is what college athletics is all about."
Mississippi State Tops Ole Miss In Overtime
Mississippi State saved its best basketball for when it mattered most Sunday afternoon. Playing an overtime session for a third time this season, the Bulldogs had the better finishing kick as MSU knocked off in-state rival Ole Miss 72-70 in a Southeastern Conference contest played before a crowd of 3,155. MSU rallied from a 13-point deficit to earn a season split with the archrival for a second straight year. MSU improved to 18-10 overall and 5-9 in league play, while Ole Miss fell to 10-18 and 1-13. "It was one heck of a game," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said.
Mississippi State, Baylor highlight inaugural Gulf Coast Softball Classic
Red-hot Mississippi State and No. 15 Baylor highlight a 10-team college field for the inaugural Mississippi Gulf Coast Softball Classic, which will be played at the Gulfport Sportsplex on Friday through Sunday. Mississippi State comes into the tournament with a 14-0 record after beating Iowa 9-1 on Sunday in Starkville. Joining Mississippi State and Baylor in the field are Texas-San Antonio, Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas State, Memphis, Ohio, South Alabama, Chattanooga and Nicholls (La.) State. Play begins Friday at 11 a.m., with nine games scheduled for three fields.
Bulldogs lose to Crusaders, settle for series split
Fans filed out of Dudy Noble Field on Sunday without much to say. One turned to her family and said, "Well, it was a nice day." The comment referred to the weather, not Mississippi State's 6-1 loss to Holy Cross. Compliments were hard to come by for MSU this weekend. Holy Cross took the final two games of a four-game series. The two-game skid set the defending national runners up record to 4-4. "You play 56 ball games. If you're mentally weak, you're gonna let a five-year-old walking out of the ball park say, 'Hey, you went 0 for 4 today' get to you?" MSU coach John Cohen said. "That's the great benefit of playing in a program where people care."
AutoZone reups through 2019 with Liberty Bowl
Almost two months after attracting the second largest crowd since the last time Mississippi State played in the game, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl has extended its sponsorship agreement with AutoZone Inc. through the 2019 season. AutoZone has been the game's title sponsor since 2004 and has been a major sponsor for 20 years. The 2013 game, which featured Mississippi State and Rice University, attracted 57,846 fans. Mississippi State played in the highest attended game in 2007, when 63,816 fans attended the matchup between the Bulldogs and the University of Central Florida. The sponsorship extension comes six months after the AutoZone Liberty Bowl announced affiliations with the Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference that will also run until 2019.
Ole Miss to hire architect for stadium expansion
The University of Mississippi's stadium plans could soon get a little more concrete. The College Board approved plans Thursday for Ole Miss to pay AECOM Technology Corp. $2.4 million to design the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium expansion. The project calls for enclosing the north end zone and adding suites and skyboxes on the south and west sides. The design work will be paid for through donations to Ole Miss' Forward Together athletics fundraising campaign.
Student attendance a concern for Gators
A growing and troubling trend in college football became obvious at Florida games last fall in The Swamp. The evidence was out there in plain sight, on the east side of the stadium, where large portions of the student section would remain vacant or only partially filled just before kickoff. In some games, a portion of those empty seats would eventually be filled. In others, thousands would remain vacant. It is a trend that school officials are hoping to prevent from mushrooming into a student tradition at Florida. "This is an issue that is on everyone's agenda in the SEC," said Mike Hill, UF's executive associate athletics director for external affairs. "It's not unique to Florida or anywhere else."

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