Friday, April 4, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State hires new police chief
Mississippi State's police department has hired a new chief. Tim A. Potts' appointment is pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. University officials said Potts is expected to begin his work May 15. Potts said he was "humbled and honored by my selection to serve as the next police chief for the Mississippi State University Police Department. I am looking forward to listening to the students, staff, and faculty on issues important to them and working collaboratively. "I am anxious to become part of the Bulldog family," he emphasized.
Mississippi State selects new police chief
Mississippi State University officials say a new police chief has been selected for the university. Tim Potts, former captain of patrol operations at Purdue University, is pending a formal approval by the Board of Trustees but expects to begin work May 15. He is a graduate from the FBI National Academy and St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind.
MSU Names New Police Chief
Mississippi State's new police chief is a 23-year law enforcement veteran who has spent much of his career at Purdue University. The appointment of Tim A. Potts is pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. University officials said Potts is expected to begin his work May 15. A Brookston, Ill., native, Potts has worked at the West Lafayette, Ind., public institution since 1997. As captain of patrol operations since 2003, he led and managed a division that included 30 officers and 12 dispatchers. He also was responsible for departmental training and coordination of security arrangements for athletic events, convocations and other special events. Bill Kibler, Mississippi State's vice president for student affairs, said safety and security of the campus community are the university's highest priorities.
Mississippi State hires new chief of police
Mississippi State University Police Department announced Thursday it has selected Tim Potts, a captain of patrol operations with the police department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., as its next police chief. Potts has 23 years of law enforcement experience.
MSU Leaders Break Ground at Future Site of Fresh Food Company
On Thursday, Mississippi State University leaders broke ground at the future site of the Fresh Food Company. The plans were on hand for the restaurant style building. Located at the old intramural tennis courts, students can walk over and enjoy healthier options. The Fresh Food Company will offer meal plans, and a buffet style array of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins seven days a week. Southern Miss has a Fresh Food Company on its campus, as well.
Painting the town in New Houlka
Mississippi State University architectural professor Emily Roush Eliott and her student Katherine Ernst are on their way to making the square around the New Houlka City Hall just a little bit brighter. "I'm really excited about it because we have worked really hard on this," said Katherine Ernst. She's excited because she is putting into practice what she has learned in class at Mississippi State. Her professor is not there to just watch, she's working too. They are practicing what's called public interest architecture.
MSU Professor Launches Book About Arboretum
Mississippi's diverse ecosystems take center stage in a Mississippi State University landscape architecture expert's new book about the Crosby Arboretum. Bob Brzuszek, an Extension professor of landscape architecture, recently launched "The Crosby Arboretum: A Sustainable Regional Landscape," through the Louisiana State University Press. His book not only chronicles the property's evolution from agricultural site to award-winning arboretum, but also highlights concepts of sustainability and principles of native plant uses that can be applied in other landscapes. MSU's Crosby Arboretum is operated by the MSU Extension Service and is the premier native plant conservatory in the Southeast.
Hospice care now extends to pets in final stages
Hospice. It's not just for the two-legged members of your family anymore. Dr. Juliana Lyles, a hospice and euthanasia practitioner, was interviewed for the Fall 2013 issue of Pegasus Press, a publication of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Lyles is a 2009 graduate of MSU-CVM. Her practice is unconventional, to say the least -- unconventional, yet completely practical. The lifespan of the pets we love is about one-fifth the length of ours, so pet lovers are likely to experience end-of-life circumstances multiple times. Dr. Lyles says, "It's such an honor to be able to help families like this. What other job offers this kind of satisfaction with every appointment?"
Informal approval forced city's hand with Richardson's development
Former Community Developer William Snowden OK'd preliminary plans for Clayton Richardson's Shaggy Hound development before he purchased property adjacent to Starkville High School and began the city's formal development review process, Mayor Parker Wiseman confirmed Wednesday. Aldermen voted behind closed doors Tuesday to accept Richardson's site plan for the Shaggy Hound development, which will sit across from SHS's front doors and carpool area, and directed city staff to issue construction-facilitating permits once city mandated conditions are met with a driveway island proposal.
Chaos ends 2014 Legislature
Seldom does a legislative session avoid pitfalls, detours and hard feelings, but the 2014 legislative session, especially the final days, was more chaotic than most, and the chaos lasted until the very end. "It wasn't always pretty, but the legislative process is not always pretty," said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who drew the bipartisan ire of House members on a number of fronts, including insisting that certain projects be included in the Transportation budget, such as $10 million for work on busy Lakeland Drive in the Jackson area. Despite the aesthetics of the session, "significant ...conservative measures were passed to make Mississippi a better place," Reeve said moments after adjourning the 2014 session Wednesday night. Many Democrats expressed disappointment with the level of funding for education, the lack of across-the-board pay raises for state employees and the fact that the state again is not expanding Medicaid to cover the working poor as is allowed by federal law. Both sides are happy with some items.
Law & Disorder: 2014 legislative session ends
The 2014 legislative session staggered over the finish line late Wednesday night, with Gov. Phil Bryant having to nudge it with a special session order to buy more time and force negotiations after House and Senate Republican leaders reached an angry impasse. The three-month session produced some major policy, spending and reform, including an omnibus criminal justice overhaul aimed at soaring prison population and costs and a teacher pay raise. But it often found lawmakers camped on divisive, partisan social policy -- religious versus civil liberties, guns and ammo, abortion, gay rights. There was no shortage of fighting. But the fighting wasn't limited to partisanship and policy.
Governor signs religious practices bill
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Thursday that supporters say will assure unfettered practice of religion without government interference but that opponents worry could lead to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians. The bill, called the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, will become law July 1. It also will add "In God We Trust" to the state seal. Outside the state Capitol on Thursday, more than 75 gay-rights supporters protested against the bill. Jeff White of Waveland, a founder of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Lesbian and Gay Community Center, said as someone who is gay and Jewish, he worries such a new law could make him more vulnerable to unfair treatment. "It's the first time in my life that I've actually considered moving out of Mississippi," said White, 32. "It made me physically ill the past few days, realizing what they're trying to do."
Internet gambling and sports betting going under microscope in Mississippi
House Gaming Committee Chairman Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach, has commissioned a task force of experts to look at the pros and cons of Internet gambling and sports betting in Mississippi. The group's first meeting will be in May during the Southern Gaming Summit in Biloxi. It will present its findings by the end of the year. Bennett said this in no way endorses either form of gambling. "I'm looking for an unbiased study," he said.
Harper's pediatric research bill signed into law
Rep. Gregg Harper said he thought about Gabriella Miller and other ailing children Thursday as he watched President Barack Obama sign into law his bill to steer more money to pediatric medical research. Harper's bill, the "Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act" was named after a Virginia girl who advocated for more research for childhood cancers. Miller was 10 when she died from brain cancer in 2013. "Gabriella continues and will continue to accomplish great things through research," said Harper, R-3rd District, Mississippi. "It's very comforting, I believe, to her parents and certainly inspiring to me as a member of Congress to know pediatric research is an area that won't just stop here."
McDaniel invite from far right draws criticism
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran drew fire from his Republican challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, when he said he didn't know much about the tea party. Now it's McDaniel drawing fire for being too cozy with some on the far right. He had been promoted as a speaker next month at a "Firearm Freedom/Tea Party/Music Fest" rally, where featured sponsor, Pace Confederate Depot, has promoted itself as home for "Confederate, Tea Party, and White Pride Merchandise." Noel Fritsch, communications director for McDaniel, said Thursday that McDaniel "never agreed to go and will not go."
Cochran challenger drops out of rally with white nationalist
State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-Miss.) primary challenger, will no longer attend a conservative rally where he was billed alongside a Confederate memorabilia merchant who is also a white nationalist. According to Talking Points Memo, as late as Wednesday afternoon, McDaniel was listed as the keynote speaker for the Combined Firearm Freedom Day/Tea Party Music Fest in Guntown, Miss., in May. Shortly after the controversial racial views of one of the attendees were highlighted by a local blog, McDaniel was removed from the flyer and his campaign claimed he was "not confirmed" for the event. Kevin Owen, the organizer of the event, told TPM McDaniel had been confirmed as the keynote speaker. By Wednesday evening, the organizers of the event posted a revised flyer that omitted McDaniel but still included McDaniel campaign manager, state Sen. Melanie Sojourner.
White Pride? GOP Challenger Faces Questions
The chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party said Thursday that the state senator challenging Republican Sen. Thad Cochran should explain why he was listed as a keynote speaker at an event that included a group that sells "white pride" merchandise. State Sen. Chris McDaniel, who is challenging Cochran, had been listed as a speaker at the Combined Firearm Freedom Day/Tea Party Music Fest in Guntown, Miss., on May 17. Listed as a vendor at the rally is Pace Confederate Depot, a group that "deals in Confederate, Tea Party, and White Pride Merchandise," according to its website. Mississippi GOP chairman Joe Nosef told NBC News Thursday that McDaniel should clarify whether he supported the group. "I think he should clear it up as fast as he can," Nosef said.
Supreme Court ruling may be windfall for political party leaders
The Supreme Court's decision to lift the cap on the amount donors can contribute in a congressional election cycle promises to shift power to the political party's established leaders, who had lost ground to outside groups. With the demise of the $123,200 limit for the two-year election cycle, party stalwarts such as House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be able to raise multimillion-dollar checks from wealthy contributors for new campaign committees. With control of such ventures, they will have substantial influence over the direction and ideology of their parties. For Boehner, who has been contending with a tea party insurgency for years, the chance to wield a larger campaign war chest could help him sharpen his edge against his GOP rivals. And although Democrats condemned the ruling, their leadership also stands to gain more control over congressional campaigns.
Bush 41 Reunion Looks to Burnish His Legacy
The elder George Bush will not give a speech. He is done with all that, he tells friends. But he will mingle and reminisce and bask in the admiration of graying men and women who helped him govern at a time when, some thought, they had reached the end of history. As it happens, history is not done with Mr. Bush, at least not if his advocates have anything to say about it. More than 800 supporters, allies, aides and even former opponents of Mr. Bush, the 41st president, will gather in College Station, Tex., on Friday for a three-day reunion to mark the 25th anniversary of the first Bush administration and try to burnish its legacy along the way.
Employers add 192,000 jobs in March
Employers added 192,000 jobs in March as milder weather helped propel the labor market out of its winter doldrums. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, despite a surge in job growth, because there were more people looking for jobs, including previously discouraged workers, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by Action Economics estimated that 195,000 jobs were added last month.
Play ball? Mississippi University for Women weighs its options
In the coming weeks, Mississippi University for Women plans to hire a consultant to evaluate bringing intercollegiate athletics back to the university. While a consultant has not yet been named, MUW President Jim Borsig said he expects the evaluation to be completed by Labor Day. The consultant will conduct a cost evaluation of the university's current facilities, as well as examining what an intercollegiate athletics program would look like. "They will do a cost estimate on operation and facilities, assessment on conferences and competition and will make a recommendation on what an intercollegiate sports program might look like for The W," Borsig said.
Men at Mississippi University for Women Take Stand Against Sexual Assault
Real men wear heels. Or at least they do when it comes to standing up for the women in their lives. Men strutted a mile across the Mississippi University for Women campus Thursday afternoon. While the event was lighthearted and funny, they were serious about taking a stand against sexual assault. Columbus police officers, firefighters and even Mayor Robert Smith participated. The Walk In Her Shoes is an annual event.
Six to be honored at Hamer luncheon at Jackson State University
Jackson State University's Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO will recognize six agents of change during the 2014 Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Awards Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Friday in Ballrooms A & B of the JSU Student Union.
U. of Alabama trustees to consider issuing $236M in bonds
Committees for the University of Alabama System board of trustees on Thursday approved resolutions that would increase tuition for medical school students by 4 percent, issue $236 million in bonds for debt refinancing and capital projects and begin preliminary planning for a $60 million performing arts center on the Bryce Hospital grounds. The resolutions approved by the Finance and Physical Properties committees are scheduled to go before the full board today at its regular meeting on the University of Alabama in Huntsville campus. The resolution approved by the Finance Committee would increase tuition by 4 percent in 2014-15 for students of the system's schools of medicine, dentistry and optometry.
U. of Florida Ph.D. students try to explain years of research in 180 seconds
For many doctoral students, boiling down their research into a short, palatable explanation -- say for relatives at the holidays or friends at cocktail hour -- can be a formidable challenge. Forty-one University of Florida graduate students undertook that type of challenge Thursday as participants in the "Three Minute Thesis Competition," an event that started at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008 and has traveled to 170 universities in 17 countries, including 37 in the U.S. Eleven UF students who made the final cut from previous rounds of the event competed for the school's best distiller of high-level knowledge.
Louisiana higher education official leaves with little fanfare
Louisiana has been without a top higher education executive for the past two weeks, but not too many people have noticed. Jim Purcell, the state commissioner of higher education, walked away from his job March 20, making a quiet exit three years after he was brought in to guide the state's colleges and universities. His tenure coincided with steep state budget cuts that some say have left postsecondary education in Louisiana nearly crippled. His exit was so low-key that a number of lawmakers, including a few who sit on the Legislature's education committees, didn't immediately know he was gone. Purcell's decision not to seek a new contract wasn't exactly a surprise. It is well known throughout the State Capitol that Purcell's relationship with Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration was shaky.
U. of Tennessee staffer fired for Facebook use sues institution
A former staffer at the University of Tennessee at Martin says she was fired after she voiced her support online for cleaning a filthy microwave oven, but her case against the institution will likely have more to do with the free speech rights and responsibilities of administrative employees than with dirty dishes. The microwave in question was housed near the information technology security department's help desk, where plaintiff Angela J. Fortner served as IT manager and supervisor of about 17 full- and part-time employees until her termination last October.
Upstate senators vote to unseat U. of South Carolina board
Two Upstate senators say they voted against each incumbent University of South Carolina trustee because of "questionable activities" allowed to occur on two of USC's campuses. Sen. Mike Fair, a Greenville Republican and a former USC trustee, said he was "disappointed and personally offended by several of their decisions in recent months." Fair provided a litany of what he called failures of board oversight from the USC-Columbia campus, including the assignment of a book which he said attacks Ronald Reagan and the university's refusal to follow state law on the teaching of the Constitution. USC spokesmen couldn't be reached to comment.
Texas A&M student senate pushing for rescission of on-campus stun gun ban
Texas A&M students are once again pushing for guns on campus -- this time stun guns. The student senate overwhelmingly passed a measure, via a voice vote, on Wednesday night that recommends administrators rescind the campus prohibition of stun guns. A&M students leaders for years have lobbied for concealed handguns on campus and the same arguments were used to push for stun guns. The weapons are legal to carry in Texas but prohibited under the A&M Student Conduct Code along with firearms, Tasers, slingshots, switchblades, knives and clubs.
U. of Missouri finishes first phase of sexual assault, mental health policy review
The inventory phase of the sexual assault and mental health policy review is over, and the University of Missouri is preparing for the assessment of effectiveness phase, which starts in just more than a week. In the wake of questions about how the university handled a rape allegation by a former MU swimmer, UM System President Tim Wolfe directed the chancellors of all four campuses to initiate their own reviews of how their schools respond to sexual assaults. This effort comes after an ESPN story in January cast doubt on whether MU administrators did everything they should have in the case of Sasha Menu Courey, a former MU swimmer who committed suicide in 2011. Menu Courey suffered from borderline personality disorder and alleged that she had been raped.
Firefighter's wife sues U. of Missouri Board of Curators
The widow of Lt. Bruce Britt, the Columbia firefighter who was killed in February after part of a walkway collapsed at University Village, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the University of Missouri Board of Curators. Leigh Britt and her daughter, Stormy, are the plaintiffs in the case. In a petition filed Monday, Britt said the curators are responsible for her husband's death because the university failed to "properly maintain and/or construct the University Village Apartments." The lack of attention caused a "dangerous condition, of which Defendant Curators was aware," that ultimately led to the firefighter's death. Bruce Britt died Feb. 22 after firefighters and police responded to University Village for reports of a partial building collapse.
U. of Missouri Libraries' irreparable moldy books will be available online
University of Missouri Libraries confirmed Thursday that about 400,000 of the 600,000 books exposed to mold last fall will be saved, and the remainder will be available online. The estimate, delivered at Thursday's MU Faculty Council meeting, tacks closely to the prediction MU Libraries Director Jim Cogswell made in February. Interim Provost Ken Dean announced $1.7 million has been allocated to give midyear raises to 217 faculty members. Dean also updated faculty on the search for a new provost. Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin has selected a 15-member search committee that includes eight faculty members. A search firm will also be hired for the process, Dean said.
Many returning military vets bound for college
The challenges of helping the veterans go to college and stick with it until they graduate is the focus of a major conference getting underway Friday at the University of South Carolina that is drawing representatives from schools as far off as California and Arizona -- and as close as Mississippi and the Carolinas. Tens of thousands of new veterans are expected to return to the workforce or to college in the next several years as the military downsizes after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and as the Pentagon budget is pared back. Among the challenges, schools will have to work with returning vets on establishing their academic credentials and finding areas of study that take advantage of skills learned in the military.
Higher education: Is college worth it?
When LaTisha Styles graduated from Kennesaw State University in Georgia in 2006 she had $35,000 of student debt. This obligation would have been easy to discharge if her Spanish degree had helped her land a well-paid job. But there is no shortage of Spanish-speakers in a nation that borders Latin America. So Ms Styles found herself working in a clothes shop and a fast-food restaurant for no more than $11 an hour. Frustrated, she took the gutsy decision to go back to the same college and study something more pragmatic. She majored in finance, and now has a good job at an investment consulting firm. Her debt has swollen to $65,000, but she will have little trouble paying it off. As Ms Styles's story shows, there is no simple answer to the question "Is college worth it?" Some degrees pay for themselves; others don't. American schoolkids pondering whether to take on huge student loans are constantly told that college is the gateway to the middle class. The truth is more nuanced.
Can Free College Save American Cities?
Can free college save American cities? Nine years and $50 million into a bold experiment, Kalamazoo is beginning to find out.

Bulldogs' SEC streak to be tested in Baton Rouge
No. 9 Mississippi State has claimed its first three Southeastern Conference series this season. But for the Bulldogs to win a fourth, they will have to do so in one of college baseball's most hostile venues, LSU's Alex Box Stadium. "We feel like we've had a good week of preparation and our kids are excited about going down and playing a really good LSU team in a great environment Baton Rouge," said MSU skipper John Cohen. "This has been a longstanding series and there have been a lot of great games over the years. I feel like it'll be really competitive." The three-game set gets underway tonight at 6:30 on CSS followed by an ESPNU telecast at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The series finale is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.
Setup Pitch: 12 Mississippi State vs. 9 LSU
Mississippi State looks to capture its fourth-straight Southeastern Conference series victory this weekend in Baton Rouge. The Bulldogs will have to do despite a loss in their pitching rotation. MSU coach John Cohen announced on Thursday that Preston Brown will not make his start today due to shoulder soreness suffered in a bullpen session. The sophomore had started MSU's last two series-openers. In all likelihood, Cohen will bump Ross Mitchell and Trevor Fitts up a day. Mitchell has been MSU's most consistent starter throughout the season. Fitts will be matched with one of the best arms in the country in Aaron Nola.
LSU, Mississippi State resume intense SEC rivalry
Inside the dugout, LSU's Raph Rhymes watched as Kendall Graveman's pitch flew toward the head of his teammate, Mason Katz. All around him, things got wild. "The dugout was going crazy, thinking that he threw at our guy," Rhymes said earlier this week. "That's just part of the rivalry." Graveman's high fastball in last season's series finale has re-ignited a storied rivalry between two of the Southeastern Conference's historic baseball powers -- Mississippi State and LSU. The teams will meet in a three-game weekend series at Alex Box Stadium starting Friday for the first time since the incident in Starkville, Miss., last year. LSU coach Paul Mainieri said he and State coach John Cohen discussed the incident over the summer and that all is well.
Risk vs. reward: After watching last season, Mississippi State's Garner hits field
Daniel Garner did not hear his name called during the 2012 MLB Draft. But it was not due to a lack of interest or talent. Garner was a Louisville Slugger All-American at Sparkman (Ala.) High School, hitting over .400 each of his final two seasons there. But the six-foot, 214-pounder had already made up his mind to pursue college baseball. Although the choice to turn down professional baseball was difficult, it was a calculated decision by Garner and his family. Garner arrived at Mississippi State in the fall of 2012 and redshirted on last year's club that finished as the national runner-up at the College World Series. "Coach (John) Cohen and Coach (Butch) Thompson really know their stuff," Garner said. "You've got the Palmeiro Center open 24/7 and that's the best baseball facility in the country and you can work on your game anytime."
Mullen calls out Mississippi State's sloppiness
Even a three-touchdown day didn't impress Dan Mullen. "I guess if he had three touchdowns, that's pretty good," Mullen said. "In my mind, he should have five then." Mental miscues marred wide receiver Joe Morrow's three trips to the end zone during Thursday's practice. Overall, Mississippi State's coach wasn't pleased with the final practice leading up to its second scrimmage of the spring. "I was disappointed. It was a sloppy practice. At this point, installation is pretty much over," Mullen said. "There's a lot of guys to me, especially young guys, have to understand how serious it is if they want to get on the field and go play."
Mississippi State's McDonald will represent U.S. at Curtis Cup
Ally McDonald is about to become a worldwide name in her sport. The Mississippi State junior golfer might be the first MSU student-athlete to wear red, white, and blue and not be given a hard time. Last month, she was selected to represent the United States in the 2014 Curtis Cup Match on June 6-8. For a player who could be recognized as the best amateur player in the state and at MSU, McDonald will compete against a team made up of eight of the top players from Great Britain & Ireland. According to the world amateur golf rankings, McDonald will be the fifth-best player among the 16 participants. "When you think about it, really sit down and think about it, it's one of the most humbling things I've ever experienced and that golf has allowed me to be a part of," McDonald said.
Super Bulldog Weekend approaching at Mississippi State
The 29th annual Super Bulldog Weekend, a Mississippi State spring homecoming tradition featuring four days of athletic events and a pig cooking contest, will take place April 10-13 on the MSU campus. The event is once again being presented by Regions Bank. The annual pig cooking contest gets underway at 8 a.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday at McArthur Hall on the corner of Barr and Collegeview Streets. The Cotton District Arts Festival, a showcase of art, music and food in Starkville, will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Kickoff for the Maroon-White spring football game at Davis Wade Stadium will be at noon CT on Saturday, April 12. Admission to the spring football game is free.
U. of Alabama trustees to consider increasing budget for baseball stadium expansion
The physical properties committee of the University of Alabama System board of trustees on Thursday approved a resolution to increase the budget for the renovation and expansion of Sewell-Thomas Stadium by $5 million to reflect revised estimates for construction costs. "Construction budgets are very time sensitive," said Tim Leopard, UA's assistant vice president for construction. Leopard said the original $30 million budget was prepared two years ago. The resolution, which will be considered by the full board of trustees Friday, would authorize a revised budget of $35 million and awarding construction contracts to the eventual low bidder for the work.
No. 24 meets 12th Man: Jeff Gordon previews Texas A&M-themed car
It may not be football season in Aggieland, but a roar could be heard near Kyle Field Thursday as NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon unveiled the Aggie-themed car he'll drive at an upcoming Sprint Cup race. As 2,000 fans looked on, Gordon drove the maroon-and-white car, branded with the Dwight Look College of Engineering logo, down Joe Routt Boulevard past Kyle Field and into a cordoned area in front of Rudder Tower. The Aggie race car was made possible by Texas A&M alum Charlie Shaver, '80, who is also the chairman and CEO of Axalta Coatings Systems, which sponsors Gordon and the No. 24 Axalta Racing Chevrolet SS. Gordon will race the maroon car for Hendrick Motorsports at Sunday's Duck Commander 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth as 28 engineering students making up the 12th Man Pit Crew get a behind-the-scenes look at the impact of engineering on the popular sport.
Dogs take to the drawing board: UGA targets recruits with unique portraits
Prized football recruits can make their decisions based on anything and everything. Early playing time. Staying close to home. Wanting to win championships. Connecting with the coaches. Grabbing a prospect's attention when he's getting pursued by dozens of schools isn't always easy. Georgia is sending recruits hand-drawn portraits of themselves with a message from coach Mark Richt that are created by a student assistant in the Bulldogs' recruiting office. "No one else was doing that," said Daryl Jones, Georgia's director of on-campus recruiting.
Bo Bikes Bama among activities surrounding annual A-Day festivities
Auburn's annual A-Day scrimmage is always a huge event as fans get their first look at the next season's Tigers. But this year, the Auburn athletic department is adding to the festivities with several other activities for fans of all ages to enjoy through the weekend of A-Day, which is scheduled for April 19 at 2 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Those festivities include the third-annual Bo Bikes Bama charity bike ride to raise money for the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund, which provides disaster and emergency management resources for the state of Alabama.
Vandy, Ole Miss to play at LP Field
Vanderbilt should pocket additional dollars while giving its season-ticket holders a different experience at no additional charge. Ole Miss will get all the seats it can sell for an SEC road contest. Vanderbilt's decision to move a Sept. 6 home football game against the Rebels to LP Field was billed Thursday as a means to expand the Commodores' brand in their home city while offering fans the flavor of downtown. It remains to be seen whether fans view it that way or believe their university sacrificed its home-field advantage in a competitive league rivalry.
Leaders of Athlete-Union Effort Seek Support on Capitol Hill
Until now the push for collective-bargaining rights by college athletes has been confined to a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, which last week handed an early victory to football players at Northwestern University in their bid to unionize. But on Thursday, the two main leaders of the movement took their cause before members of Congress in an effort to pre-empt lobbying by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and to shape the contours of a burgeoning public debate. "We wanted to play a little defense because, with this ruling, college athletes have asserted their rights," Ramogi Huma, president of the College Athletes Players Association, said at an gathering with reporters here on Thursday at the Aspen Institute. "The last thing we want to see is the NCAA use their lobbying power to change the laws."
Heading Into NCAA Final Four, Some Fans Find Booze Ban Hard to Swallow
The men's basketball Final Four that begins Saturday in Arlington, Texas, is the culmination of the highly popular tournament run by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, with an anticipated TV audience of millions and a sellout of AT&T Stadium. But thousands of fans who attend the games will be forced to swallow a policy that is nearly unique among major American sporting events: The NCAA doesn't sell alcohol to the general public at its championships. The no-booze rule, in place during all rounds of the tournament, endures even as more colleges and universities, such as Texas, have begun selling beer at athletic events. An NCAA spokeswoman said the association's overall goal is to maintain "an environment that promotes healthy choices about alcohol."

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