Friday, August 16, 2019   
Mississippi State, Habitat for Humanity break ground on Maroon Edition home
Mississippi State University and the Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity broke ground on Tuesday, Aug. 13, for the 11th home MSU and Habitat have partnered to build as part of the university's Maroon Edition program. MSU President Mark E. Keenum drove in the ceremonial first nail and presented Habitat with a $5,000 check from the university. The Maroon Edition program has both a reading and a service-learning component for participating students. The Maroon Edition First-Year Reading Experience encourages students to read a particular book. The book for the 2019 program is "Hold On with a Bulldog Grip: A Short Study of Ulysses S. Grant," which MSU and Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library historians John Marszalek, David Nolen and Louie Gallo wrote together with former Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank Williams.
College View development at Mississippi State opens
On Thursday, Aug. 8, Mississippi State University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new campus building, the College View development, which the university built in partnership with South Carolina-based Greystar Real Estate Partners. The $67 million facility includes 656 residential beds, 46,000 square feet of retail space, and a 7,000-square-foot addition to the MSU Child Development and Family Studies Center, a release from the university says. Greystar has a 40-year lease with MSU for the land, and is financing, building and managing the development. The College View development takes its name from the street it is on, which is close to downtown Starkville and the Cotton District community. The building has one-, two- and four-bedroom housing units for students and an outdoor entertainment area for concerts, festivals and other events.
SOCSD third graders see improvement on reading test
With the Mississippi Department of Education releasing test results for public schools statewide, results look good for the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District's third graders, who fared well on the reading gate exam. At the school board meeting Tuesday night, Director of Accountability, Accreditation and Assessment Tim Bourne shared preliminary data from MDE on the reading gate test and other required assessments. Bourne said 93% of those who took the test at Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary School and 87% of those who took the test at West Elementary School passed. Starkville High School showed 37.2% reading proficiency, 63.7% reading growth and 66% reading LPS growth. In math, SHS showed 33.4% proficiency, 72.8% growth and 93.8% math LPS growth. The school showed 21.9% proficiency in history and 68% proficiency in science. Its graduation rate was listed at 86.2%.
Once enemies, now allies: Chris McDaniel endorses Tate Reeves for Mississippi governor
A conservative lawmaker who often clashed politically with Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is now backing him in the Republican runoff for governor. Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, endorsed Reeves at a campaign event in Jones County on Thursday, according to Reeves' campaign. Reeves is facing off against former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller Jr. in the Aug. 27 Republican runoff election. McDaniel's support of Reeves is now official, but it comes after years of friction. He explained his endorsement Thursday in a lengthy Facebook post, which began: "No one has more reasons to be displeased with Tate Reeves than I do." Ultimately, McDaniel wrote that Reeves was the best choice for governor based on policy -- not personality. "He can be stubborn and hardheaded. But then again, so can I," McDaniel wrote. "However, the race for Governor isn't about personalities; it's about policy."
Sen. Chris McDaniel soared to prominence battling establishment Republicans. Now he's endorsing longtime foe Tate Reeves for governor
State Sen. Chris McDaniel, the tea party firebrand long at odds with what he calls the "political establishment," endorsed Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves over Bill Waller Jr. on Thursday in the Republican primary runoff for governor. Reading from prepared remarks, McDaniel railed against growing the size of government, an apparent reference to Waller's openness to Medicaid expansion allowed under the Affordable Care Act, which Waller calls reform. Reeves has seized on Waller's position, calling it support for expanding Obamacare; he continued hammering that point Thursday at the event in McDaniel's home of Jones County. The endorsement from McDaniel, who lost U.S. Senate races in 2014 and 2018, comes less than two weeks before voters will decide on August 27 whether Reeves or Waller will be the Republican nominee for the November governor's race. McDaniel, who said Thursday he had been warned that supporting Reeves could finish him in politics. The embrace of Reeves stands in stark contrast to McDaniel's political identity and career built around the persona of a candidate who could take on the establishment.
Mississippi Plants Knowingly Hired Undocumented Workers, ICE Says
Federal immigration officials believe that the companies targeted in raids at poultry plants across Mississippi last week knowingly hired undocumented immigrants, a violation of federal law, according to affidavits filed by federal agents supporting the raids. About 680 immigrants believed to be working without legal documentation were taken away on buses by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents during the coordinated sting on Aug. 7. The operation, which might be the largest work site enforcement action ever in a single state, focused on plants run by five companies: Peco Foods, Pearl River Foods, Koch Foods, A & B Inc. and P H Food Inc. The affidavits, made public the day after the raids, show that the agents believe that the companies were "willfully and unlawfully" employing undocumented immigrants. Julie Myers Wood, a former assistant secretary of homeland security who ran ICE, said in an interview that the use of informants signified that ICE was trying to be more aggressive about targeting employers.
White House readies $4 billion foreign aid cuts package
The White House budget office on Thursday evening sent a proposal to trim unspent foreign assistance funds by "north of $4 billion" to the State Department for review, according to a senior administration official. The final price tag of the rescissions package, which could also target unspent balances at the U.S. Agency for International Development, would likely change before being formally submitted to Capitol Hill, the official said. The foreign aid community has been bracing for the rescissions request, which could be sent to Congress within days, because it could effectively cancel previously appropriated funds even without action by lawmakers. The Office of Management and Budget lifted a pause on the targeted accounts late last week, but instead chose to "apportion" the funding at a rate of roughly 2 percent a day, posing challenges for State and USAID budget officers.
Democratic divide in Iowa: Will 'Medicare for All' and free college appeal to rural voters or send them back to Trump in 2020?
Ron Rosmann crossed the gravel stretch of Ironwood Road that cuts through his family farm's 700 acres and knelt in a turnip field with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, explaining to the Democratic presidential contender how he grows a variety of organic crops without the use of pesticides. After talking about conservation and the need to fight "Big Ag," the 69-year-old western Iowa farmer sat down with his family and Warren on strategically placed bales of hay to discuss her new agriculture plan as cameras recorded every moment from the other side of a weathered wooden fence. As a Warren aide ended the talk, Rosmann said he liked the farm plan but brought up one last "difficult issue" that "really bothers" him --- that her proposals to provide "Medicare for All" and cancel student debt might go too far and have gotten her labeled as a socialist. While Warren dismissed such talk as "name calling" and said she would rise above it by detailing her plans to voters, Rosmann's question cut to the heart of a dilemma facing Democrats as they seek to unseat Republican President Donald Trump in 2020.
Creative Recruiting Helps Rural Hospitals Overcome Doctor Shortages
Recruitment is a life or death issue, not just for patients in those areas, but for the hospitals themselves, says Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. Over the last decade, more than 100 rural hospitals have closed, he says, and over the next decade, another 700 more are at risk. "Keeping access to health care in rural America is simply a challenge no matter how you look at it, but this shortage of rural health care professionals just is an unfortunate driving issue towards more closures," Morgan says. And that's affecting the health of rural communities. "Most certainly the workforce shortages in rural America are contributing towards the decreased life expectancy that we're seeing in rural America," he says. For some rural hospitals, that dire need is the basis of their recruiting pitch: Come here. Make a difference.
Bond hearing set for Ole Miss student charged with murder of fellow student
The bond hearing for the Brandon Theesfeld, the Ole Miss student who was charged with the murder of 21-year old Alexandria "Ally" Kostial will be next week, according to Theesfeld's attorney Tony Farese. The bond hearing will take place Thursday, August 22 at 9 a.m. in Oxford. Farese said he requested the bond hearing Wednesday after talks with Lafayette County District Attorney Ben Creekmore's office, and they spoke with a court administrator Thursday. The date was scheduled around the Lafayette County Circuit Court's calendar. "We're going to request a reasonable bond from the court and hopefully get a bond set so that Mr. Theesfeld can be out to assist us in the preparation of the defense of his case," Farese said.
Ole Miss' new South Campus Recreation Center to open this month
The University of Mississippi's new state-of-the-art recreation facility is slated to open its doors later this month. The South Campus Recreation Center will open on Aug. 28, two days into the fall semester. The center is at the former Whirlpool property off Chucky Mullins Drive, south of Highway 6. The new facility will feature nearly 100,000 square feet of workout space, including a large functioning training zone and an indoor climbing wall. There will also be 25,000 square feet of fitness space, fitness studios, basketball courts, a multi-activity court and other amenities. Services for wellness education, outdoor programming and personal training will also be provided at the center. There will be two fields for intramural and club sports and informal recreation adjacent to the facility. A sidewalk will link the center to the South Campus Rail Trail. The SCRC will also be the home of the William Magee Center for Wellness Education. named in honor of Ole Miss graduate William Magee, who died of an accidental overdose after his graduation. The Magee Center will open Sept. 6.
FedEx gift supports U. of Mississippi's STEM Efforts
With a $250,000 gift to the University of Mississippi Science Building Fund, FedEx Corp. has honored Ole Miss alumnus Jim Barksdale upon his retirement as a longtime member of the global shipping company's leadership team. Barksdale served 13 years in various senior management positions at FedEx Express, including executive vice president and chief operating officer. He also provided leadership on the company's board of directors for 19 years. FedEx asked Barksdale to choose where to direct the gift at Ole Miss. "I chose to devote my gift to the STEM Building Fund because I think it will be significant to further our STEM training at the university," said Barksdale, a 1965 graduate of the UM School of Business Administration. "The future of the economic world depends upon having more graduates in science, technology, engineering and math, and I hope my gift will be in furtherance of those aims." The new STEM building will be designed to enhance active or cooperative learning, which is a departure from students simply listening to a professor's lecture. Students will spend class time in group work and discussions.
Women in medicine honored by the Mississippi State Medical Association
Ground breakers in medicine were recognized Thursday night by the Mississippi State Medical Association. 14 women who are first in their field or first to lead in various medical roles were honored. Presenting the awards was the first African American woman selected as President of the American Medical Association, Dr. Patrice Harris. Among them, Dr. Helen Barnes, the first African American board certified OB/GYN in Mississippi. Dr. Mary Currier the first woman to serve as State Epidemiologist and State Health Officer. Also on the list Dr. Freda Bush and Dr. LouAnn Woodward the first Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Women make up majority of incoming U. of Alabma law school class for first time
The incoming class of law students at the University of Alabama is made up of a majority of women for the first time in school history. Mark Brandon, the law school dean, welcomed the new students to the college during an orientation on Monday. "Individually and collectively, you are impressive," Brandon said. "All of us are excited to be able to welcome you into the community that is Alabama Law." Of the 137 first-year law students who enrolled this week, 53% are women and 19% are members of a racial or ethnic minority, according to the law school. The class was drawn from a pool of almost 1,500 applicants, and includes students from 24 states and China. Last fall, the school's total enrollment was 450, including 69 graduate students, according to enrollment records. The non-graduate-student enrollment was 44% women. The entering class last year was 117 students, which was 47% women and 53% men, according to the law school associate dean Thomas C. Ksobiech. Enrollment at UA's School of Law mirrors a national trend, as women have outnumbered men in law school classrooms across the country since 2016, according to the American Bar Association.
New students move into their homes for the next year during Auburn University Move-In
Auburn University was a bustle of suitcases and anxious students waiting to move into their new homes for the next year on Friday. Thursday, August 15, was Auburn's second move-in day for the fall. Each resident hall had numerous volunteers on the sidewalks, ready to help transport each student's belongings to their new room. Depending on the residence hall, the move-in process differs. At South Donahue, students pull up in front of the hall and wait as volunteers unload the belongings into cardboard boxes on rollers. At the Hill, cars can park in front of the resident hall and take their belongings directly up to their room. Some students were moving in with their best friends while others had never met their roommates before. Gabby Maziarz, who calls Birmingham home, moved into The Hill with her best friend. Matt Hendershot is another freshman moving into the Hill who plans to major in business management. He and his family traveled from Baltimore, Maryland.
U. of Tennessee assistant police chief resigns after neighbors say he pulled gun on them
The assistant chief of the University of Tennessee Police Department resigned Wednesday, three weeks after he mistakenly went to the wrong house and pulled a gun on his new next-door neighbors. Keith Lambert, a 32-year veteran of the campus police department who oversaw all day-to-day operations, had been on paid administrative leave since July 29. "Police officers should be seen as people who solve problems," Chief Troy Lane said in a statement announcing Lambert's resignation Thursday. "We take our responsibility to the community very seriously. When our high standards are not met, we take action." The investigation by the sheriff's office led to no criminal charges being filed. The Knox County District Attorney General's Office reviewed the case and opted not to prosecute. The campus police department's investigation, however, found Lambert --- whose lengthy personnel file contained no record of prior disciplinary action --- violated a slew of policies surrounding handguns, the use of force and reporting violations.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research director says accurate information key to better nutrition
The director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research spoke earlier this week about challenges facing agriculture producers --- and the issues consumers have obtaining accurate information about nutrition and goods --- before about 50 members and guests of the Bryan Rotary Club. Patrick Stover, who is also dean of agriculture and life sciences at AgriLife, said AgriLife is working around the state to help consumers cut through proverbial weeds of misinformation to access the most accurate data about food nutrition. "On the consumption side, there's a real problem with public trust," Stover said. "There is a lot of contradictory information that has come from nutritional science, such that nobody really believes what they hear." He added that in the absence of good information about nutrition, advocates of particular diets or lifestyles promote their perspective despite a lack of scientific evidence.
U. of Missouri police chief: Guns would increase violent crime on campus
Allowing guns anywhere on the University of Missouri campus would increase violent crimes on campus, MU Police Chief Doug Schwandt said Thursday during a trial that will determine if university employees will be allowed to bring firearms to work. The state and a law professor are seeking a change in a UM System regulation that prohibits most people from having guns on campus. The lawsuit is seeking the university to allow faculty and staff to transport guns to campus, to be able to transfer their guns from the passenger area to the trunk of a vehicle. It also seeks to allow employees with concealed-carry permits to keep their guns with them at work. Schwandt was the second-to-last witness in the two-day trial over the UM regulations. Circuit Judge Jeff Harris did not rule at the end of testimony. He directed the parties to file proposed finding of facts and conclusions of law by Sept. 30 and will make a ruling at some point after that. "Introducing guns on our campus would have nothing but adverse impacts in countless ways," Schwandt said.
PETA calls U. of Missouri rat research 'an insult to science'
A study of "resistance training" using rats with weights attached to their tails, promoted by the University of Missouri as an example of how it finds treatments for human problems, actually demonstrated nothing that will help people, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals stated in a letter to campus leaders. The article, published in the May issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology, studied the impact of exercise on rats whose brains had been injected with a toxin that diminished cognitive function. The rats were put through an exercise regimen of climbing ladders a little more than 3 feet tall with weights tied to their tails. Taylor Kelty, doctoral candidate, and Frank Booth, professor, both in the MU Department of Biomedical Science, were among the study's authors. In PETA's view, the experiment did not provide any insight into the impact of exercise on humans. The university stands by the research, spokesman Christian Basi said. The researchers followed all of MU's standards for using animals in experiments, which are stricter than federal requirements, he said.
House bill pushes more transparency for student borrowers
Rep. Donna Shalala, a Florida Democrat and former university president, has spent much of her first year in Congress seeking tougher federal standards on for-profit colleges, an issue that has divided members of Congress along partisan lines. Thursday, though, she released a bill along with one of President Trump's favorite lawmakers, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz. The bipartisan bill would push more regular disclosures to student borrowers during the lifetime of their loan, including when they are still in college. The legislation is the latest evidence that while Democrats and Republicans are split on many major higher ed issues, transparency still has broad bipartisan support. The Shalala bill would require that students receive monthly notifications about projected payments after graduation as well as descriptions of costs like origination fees. It would also require that borrowers have the option to make payments toward their loans while in college.
Report finds student loans make up growing share of severely delinquent debt
The New York Fed this week presented an unsettling picture of how student loans stack up to other household debt. Defaulted student loans have surpassed all other types of household debt classified as "severely derogatory," including mortgage and credit card debt, according to a report from New York Fed researchers. Fed researchers defined severely derogatory debt as any kind of delinquent loan combined with a repossession, foreclosure, or charge off. The proportion of debt falling into that category in U.S. households has stayed fairly consistent for the past four years. But defaulted student loans now make up 35 percent of that debt. Auto loans are the only type of severely delinquent debt to see the same growth in recent years, but they trail student loans in the severely delinquent category. That trend though is not entirely shocking, said Colleen Campbell, director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress. "Student debt is fundamentally different from other types of debt," she said.
For a decade, Francis Collins has shielded NIH -- while making waves of his own
For months after President Donald Trump's inauguration in January 2017, biomedical scientists were on edge. The White House had asked geneticist Francis Collins to stay on as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, but nobody knew for how long. Some unconventional candidates for the NIH post, including a surgeon-turned-entrepreneur and a Tea Party member of Congress, provoked "major angst," recalls NIH observer Tony Mazzaschi, policy director for the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health in Washington, D.C. Soon, Trump proposed slashing the agency's budget by 22%. But in early June 2017, relief came when the White House announced that Collins would remain NIH director. Two years later, biomedical scientists are counting themselves lucky. Collins has helped shield NIH from threatened budget cuts as well as the upheaval that has shaken many other federal agencies under the Trump administration. As he completes a decade as NIH director this month, Collins, 69, has been a survivor -- he's one of a few top-level holdovers from former President Barack Obama's administration and has served longer than any other NIH head in 50 years.
How Calling on Random Students Could Hurt Women
When professors pose a question in class, they often find that the same few students raise their hands -- while everyone else avoids eye contact. To avoid this dynamic, some instructors simply call on random students. They should think twice, says Judith E. Larkin. No one likes being put on the spot, says Larkin, a professor emerita of psychology at Canisius College. But the experience, her research shows, is particularly negative for women. Larkin has studied the gender dynamics of public performance for years. Her interest was piqued in the late 1990s when she noticed there weren't many female contestants on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Larkin later read that the show struggled to book them. Larkin thought that her discipline, psychology, could help explain this phenomenon. So she designed an experiment, asking male and female students if they would submit their names to go on the show.
HBCU international students are bringing in global exposure and money
In 2008-09, Tennessee State had 77 international undergraduate students. By the fall of 2016, the year before Alharthi enrolled, it had 549 -- 8 percent of its undergraduate student body of about 7,000. Other historically black colleges and universities are sparking similar rapid growth in their numbers of international students -- for the same reasons. In addition to the tuition money they often bring -- many foreign students pay the full sticker price, often aided by their home countries' governments -- there are benefits for the HBCUs' American students. Many are from low-income families and cannot afford study-abroad programs. Having international classmates exposes them to cultures very different from their own. Also, when they graduate, they will join an increasingly globalized workforce, and could benefit from understanding the perspectives of their international peers. The influx of foreign students to HBCUs includes a large number from the Middle East, thanks in part to government-funded scholarships.

Mississippi State Fan Day set for August 24 at Palmeiro Center
Mississippi State's annual Fan Day featuring the 2019 Bulldog football team is set for Saturday, Aug. 24, inside the Palmeiro Center. Doors open at 2 p.m. with autograph availability running from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Fans are asked to enter through the southeast entrance of the Palmeiro Center. To help ensure everyone in attendance has a chance to meet all of the student-athletes and head coach Joe Moorhead, student-athletes may only sign the official 2019 season posters while Coach Moorhead will autograph one item of choice per person. Posters and schedule cards will be available for free to fans. Other attractions include a Kids' Zone with inflatable games, appearances by Bully and the MSU Spirit Squads. There will be free drinks for fans. Dyehard, MSU's new official merchandising partner, will be set up inside the Palmeiro Center. Following Fan Day, fans are encouraged to attend MSU soccer's matchup against BYU at 7 p.m. at the MSU Soccer Field.
Future forecast on target for Mississippi State's Fabien Lovett
Fabien Lovett was rated the No. 4 prospect in Mississippi for the class of 2018. The four-star defensive lineman from Olive Branch received double-digit scholarship offers during the recruiting process but the prospect of early playing time at Mississippi State intrigued him. Lovett looked at the Bulldogs' depth chart and believed he would have the opportunity to start as a redshirt freshman in 2019. "That's my plan and that's my goal," Lovett said. "Depth chart-wise, I knew after this past year that I had a high chance of playing if I just worked." And work he has. Since arriving in Starkville last summer, Lovett lost 20-25 pounds and reported to camp this fall weighing in at 315-pounds stretched across his 6-foot-4 frame.
Five Bulldogs named Preseason All-SEC
Five Mississippi State players were picked to Preaseason All-SEC Team selected by the league's coaches on Thursday. Junior linebacker Erroll Thompson was named to the first team after recording 87 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions last year. Senior center Darryl Williams and junior cornerback Cameron Dantzler were deemed second team selections while junior running back Kylin Hill and senior defensive end Chauncey Rivers were chosen to the third team. Nine schools had at least one first team selection with Alabama leading the way with nine. Ole Miss was the only school that did not have a player picked to the first, second or third team. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
Five Mississippi State players named to the coaches preseason All-SEC team
Preseason awards are starting to find their way to social media, and on Thursday, the SEC announced its preseason all-conference team as voted on by the league's coaches. Five Mississippi State players saw their names among the honorees, led by first-team selection junior linebacker Erroll Thompson. Thompson is MSU's leading returning tackler from a season ago, racking up 87 stops to go with 3 sacks and 2 interceptions. He was also a first-team selection on the team announced at SEC Media Days. He is joined by two of his Bulldog defensive teammates, junior cornerback Cam Dantzler on the second team, and senior defensive end Chauncey Rivers on the third team. Offensively, State is represented by senior center Darryl Williams on the second team and junior running back Kylin Hill on the third team. Both Dantzler and Williams were second-team selections by the media as well.
From Starkville to Gotham -- and that's not even Jake Mangum's biggest adjustment
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: Baseball is a game of adjustments. Pitchers adjust to hitters. Hitters adjust to pitchers. It's back and forth, and it's constant. Jake Mangum, famously the all-time hits leader in the Southeastern Conference, clearly has learned to adjust far better than most. Still, there was nothing to properly prepare him for the changes he has faced this summer, his first in professional baseball after a record-breaking career at Mississippi State. Start with this one: from life in Starkville to life in New York City. And this: From playing on college baseball's biggest stage in the College World Series before thousands, to playing before hundreds for the Brooklyn Cyclones in the Class A short-season NY-Penn League. And perhaps the hardest adjustment: from metal bats to wooden bats. "The whole thing has been a really big learning process," Mangum said late Wednesday night from his motel room in Burlington, Vermont. "It took me a minute." It was more like a month. First things first: Mangum has adjusted.
USM's basketball coach wants to play in Biloxi
With new Southern Miss basketball coach Jay Ladner featuring deep ties on the Coast, you'd be right to assume that he wants to end the Golden Eagles' 11-year drought of playing games in Biloxi. While a regular season game at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum appears out of the question for the 2019-20 campaign, USM seems on track play a exhibition contest in Biloxi ahead Ladner's first season as the USM head coach. Ladner, who coached at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis before starting his college coaching career, said Thursday during an event with fans at the Sunkist Country Club that he is in talks with Ole Miss to play a preseason game at the Coast Coliseum be "I talked with (Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis) and he is all for it," Ladner said. "It's late so we've got a lot of details to work out. I'm not in a position to say we are in fact going to do it this year, but everybody is on the same page to do it."
Auburn uses rare visit from SEC referees to simulate two-minute offense
Every second counts. That's the case for Auburn out on the practice field this season, where sweat and humidity fogs up visors and an unrelenting heat beats down before every drill. And that could be case under dizzying lights in crunch time this fall, in the final two minutes of games with championships on the line. The Auburn football team made the most of its visit from SEC referees this week, collaborating with them to run two-minute simulations as close to the real deal as they could be on the practice field --- moving the ball up the field with a real crew there to spot the ball between plays and operate pre-snap procedures just as they will on gamedays this year. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said last month that the conference would send a set of officials to each campus in the league for a two-day camp during preseason practices, emphasizing communication and discussing rules and techniques with coaches and players. They were also allowed to engage in on-field practices, and Auburn used them Tuesday and Wednesday to fine-tune one of the most critical operations in its gameplan, the two-minute drill.
Tennessee football: Neyland Stadium alcohol sales will begin in time for BYU game
University of Tennessee football fans will be able to purchase beer at Neyland Stadium in time for SEC play but not for the season opener Aug. 31. The university has decided to implement beer sales at the stadium starting Sept. 7 for the game against BYU. In a news release, Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer called the current game day experience at Neyland Stadium "historic and unrivaled." However, he feels the new concession options will help make that experience even better. "I appreciate everyone whose efforts have helped us develop what we believe is a comprehensive and responsible plan for alcohol sales at home football games," he said. In recent weeks, an alcohol task force appointed by UT-Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman and comprised of campus officials have been developing policies to make sure alcohol is served responsibly. The task force policies were more about implementing a plan already created by vending company Aramark and approved by the city beer board.
Texas A&M's Reed Arena floor takes on new look
Texas A&M volleyball, as well as men's and women's basketball will scuffle their sneakers on a newly painted court inside Reed Arena this season. The updated design, painted onto the existing wood, features a maroon outline of Texas behind the A&M logo, as well as maroon sidelines. The inside of the lane has been switched to natural wood color; a departure from the maroon paint that previously filled the area under the basket. The new midcourt logo is the fourth iteration of the tip-off area. Previously the shape of the Lone Star State was a wooden color. Changes were already necessary because of the new NCAA-mandated distance for the men's basketball 3-point arc, now back almost two feet at 22 feet, 1¾ inches. Due to the small difference in cost to only change the 3-point lines and repaint the whole floor, the athletic department elected to go with the full paint overhaul, an A&M athletics spokesperson said.
U. of Arkansas' Julie Cromer Peoples Cromer Peoples hired as AD at Ohio
Julie Cromer Peoples, who served as the University of Arkansas' interim athletics director for three weeks in 2017, has been hired as the athletics director at Ohio University. Ohio announced the hiring Thursday in a press release. In a statement, Cromer Peoples said she was "humbled and honored" to accept the position for the school that is a member of the Mid-American Conference. She will be formally introduced at a news conference Friday in Athens, Ohio, and will begin her new job Aug. 31. She is the first female to be hired as AD at Ohio. Cromer Peoples has spent the past five years at Arkansas, serving as a close aide to two ADs, Jeff Long and Hunter Yurachek. Among her several roles, she was the Razorbacks' senior women's administrator and the designated sport administrator for football and women's golf -- and previously women's basketball -- assisting in personnel matters and scheduling for those sports.
UGA adds to football recruiting support staff
Georgia's overhauled football recruiting operation now includes someone hired off Mack Brown's support staff at North Carolina. Angela Kirkpatrick held the title director of on campus recruiting at North Carolina since October 2017. She was hired this month at Georgia as an assistant recruiting coordinator. Kirkpatrick, a 2016 Tennessee graduate, coordinated on-campus recruiting for the Tar Heels, which signed its highest ranked recruiting class in the last eight years, according to her North Carolina bio. Another new hire, Logen Reed, will also hold the title assistant recruiting coordinator. The 2019 Indiana graduate was a recruiting intern for the Hoosiers since October, 2016, according to her LinkedIn profile. They join director of recruiting operations Haley Schafsma and Cameron Lemons, also an assistant recruiting coordinator, in joining the Bulldogs recruiting support staff since the program and two staffers parted ways. Georgia's recruiting efforts continue to be led by Marshall Malchow, its director of player personnel who was one of Kirby Smart's first hires as coach. The Bulldogs have signed top three classes in the last three recruiting cycles.
Does Fishing Have a Future? As the young turn away from the sport, companies and schools look for new ways to reel them in
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that the number of anglers in the U.S. increased from 33.1 million in 2011 to 35.8 million in 2016, but the number of total days they fished dropped precipitously -- from 553.8 million to 459.3 million, a 17% decrease. What is keeping older kids off the water? In his book "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder," Richard Louv writes that loss of discretionary time and increased screen use keep young people indoors. But he thinks there is more at work. "Much of society no longer sees time spent in the natural world as 'enrichment,'" Mr. Louv writes. For young people, another inducement to try their hand at fishing can be found in high schools, where fishing teams compete for a spot in the High School Fishing World Finals. James Hall coaches one such high-school team near his Birmingham, Ala., home, and says that many team members wouldn't fish otherwise. He too sees the young inspiring the old to return to the sport.
Superdome to receive $450M in renovations
New Orleans' iconic Superdome, home to the Saints football team and a symbol of the city's revival after Hurricane Katrina, will undergo a $450 million facelift, under a financing plan approved Thursday that is aimed at keeping the NFL team in Louisiana for decades. The 44-year-old domed stadium, which has hosted seven Super Bowls, will see its ramp system removed and replaced with elevators and escalators, club and suite levels expanded, new entry gates erected, concession stands added and access for people with disabilities improved. Construction is expected to take four years, working around football and other event schedules, but will be completed before the Superdome hosts its next Super Bowl in 2024, said Doug Thornton, a New Orleans-based executive for SMG, which manages the facility. The Superdome renovations are part of Gov. John Bel Edwards' ongoing negotiations for a new state contract that could extend through 2050 with the Saints.

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