Friday, August 17, 2018  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mark Keenum to Chair College Football Playoff Board of Managers
Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff (CFP), today announced that Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum has been named chairman of the CFP Board of Managers. "Dr. Keenum is a respected and thoughtful leader in higher education, and we are delighted that he will be serving as chairman of the board," said Hancock. Keenum has been a member of the board since January 2015. He will officially begin his term as chair September 1. The Board of Managers, comprised of university presidents and chancellors representing the ten Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and University of Notre Dame, governs the College Football Playoff business, property and affairs. The board develops, reviews and approves annual budgets, policies and operating guidelines. It has authority over all aspects of the company's operations.
 
Mississippi State staff sets up GoFundMe for Coleman family
Staff and faculty at Mississippi State University have set up a GoFundMe to support Tabitha Coleman and her eight-year-old son Hunter Coleman. Hunter is living with severe cerebral palsy and is non-communicative. While he was getting his feeding tube changed, he fell ill with pneumonia and is currently on a ventilator. Tabitha Coleman said her son has been at the Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson for over 35 days, and there is still no timeframe for when they can return home. "I work a full time job, and I've exhausted all my leave," Coleman said. Amelia Fox, an assistant clinical professor in the MSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences who set up the GoFundMe, said Coleman is well known on campus from her service at the Post Office. Fox said the GoFundMe was originally set up to raise money for a wheelchair assessable van, but now money raised will go toward living expenses because Coleman has been in the hospital for an extended period of time with no income.
 
SOCSD test results show promising signs
The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District has received its state testing results for the 2017-2018 school year, and promising signs abound. The district showed almost across-the-board improvements, with considerable improvements at several schools in the categories of English-language arts, math and science. Schools across the state received their results this week, with accountability letter grades anticipated in mid September. The district is currently rated at a C. "We're really excited about the response we got from our teachers and then our students from the teachers over the past year (to) some changes that we put in place as we have come in and made some adjustments in our instructional programs in our district the way we do things," said Superintendent Eddie Peasant.
 
Johnny Moore mulling options with 30 days to appeal election contest ruling
The 30-day window for an appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court by Democratic mayoral challenger Johnny Moore has begun after the final judgment was filed in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court on Thursday declaring Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill the winner of the May 2017 Democratic Primary runoff for mayor. Judge Barry Ford, who was appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court to rule on the case, ruled from the bench in July that there was no justification in the facts or law to hold a new election, which was requested by Moore after alleging "various improper vote counts." According to the judgment, the court found that only one of Moore's allegations were valid, when one vote in Ward 1 was cast for "none of the above," but counted toward Spruill's vote total. This vote was ultimately counted and decreased Spruill's margin of victory from six votes to five.
 
Judge issues order for Oktibbeha County jurors in Jessica Chambers case
A major criminal trial will now at least include a jury from Oktibbeha County after an order filed in today in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court. Gerald W. Chatham, a circuit court judge in Panola County, issued an order to Circuit Clerk Tony Rook to draw a special venire of at least 300 jurors on Sept. 24, for the trial of Quinton Tellis. Tellis, 30, is accused of capital murder in the Dec. 6, 2014 death of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers in Courtland. According to the Associated Press, prosecutors in the case accuse Tellis of setting Chambers and her car on fire on a rural backroad in the small Panola County town of about 500 people. Firefighters found Chambers walking near the car the night of Dec. 6, with third-degree burns covering most of her body. Chambers died at a hospital in Memphis.
 
GOP Senate candidate polls followers on whether Robert E. Lee was hero or villain
A Republican state senator running for U.S. Senate in Mississippi asked his Twitter followers to respond to a poll asking whether Robert E. Lee was a hero or a villain. Chris McDaniel tweeted Thursday that he was "curious about what you think" of how the Confederate general should be remembered. "In light of all the political correctness and leftist hysteria, I'm curious about what you think: How should Robert E. Lee be remembered?" McDaniel wrote. The two options were "hero" and "villain." The poll had more than 75,000 votes as of Friday morning. McDaniel is running against Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the seat after Thad Cochran's (R) resignation earlier this year, and Democrat Mike Espy. He is trailing Hyde-Smith by 10 points according to a new GOP poll leaked from Hyde-Smith's campaign and obtained by Buzzfeed News earlier this month.
 
Attorney general offers statewide message in Tupelo stop
Attorney General Jim Hood sounded very much like a candidate for governor during a stop in Tupelo on Thursday, delivering a message that touted pragmatic policy-making and decried corporate influence over state government. Speaking to the Tupelo Civitan Club, the fourth-term attorney general struck a populist tone, previewing talking points that will likely be among the highlights of an expected campaign next year. "People want us to come together and get things done," Hood said. "We're going to have to do something, because our state isn't moving." Casting an eye toward a special legislative session now expected to be called today, Hood said that if a lottery is created, the revenue should go to fund pre-kindergarten and not toward road and bridge infrastructure.
 
Louisiana politicians not sold on Mississippi's reservoir plan; worry over consequences
Louisiana politicians are digging in their heels as Mississippi pursues plans for a new reservoir on the Pearl River they fear could harm the Bayou State's ecology. During a meeting at the Louisiana capitol on Thursday, the attorney for a Mississippi flood control district tried to allay fears by emphasizing that the "One Lake" proposal is still in its early phases. We will continue to raise objections at every stage, Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, responded. The Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District is run by the state of Mississippi and local authorities around the state capital, Jackson. District representatives told the Louisiana Lower Pearl River Task Force that Jackson is still vulnerable to floods, such as the devastating storm of 1979. There have been many proposals, but most aren't workable.
 
Abe Lincoln's library faces so much debt that it's considering selling his stuff
Sometimes, even Abraham Lincoln needs a GoFundMe campaign. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, which supports Lincoln's museum in Springfield, Ill., has found itself $9.7 million in debt on a loan it took out 11 years ago to purchase a collection of rare artifacts from a private collector. Now, hundreds of Lincoln's personal possessions, including a beaver-fur stovepipe hat that Lincoln purportedly wore, as well as letters and other artifacts, are at risk of ending up on the auction block if the foundation can't pay off the hulking debt through state funding or private donations. On Wednesday, the foundation and its board members agreed to begin hunting for prospective auction houses.
 
Pentagon says China military 'likely training for strikes' on U.S. targets
China's military has expanded its bomber operations in recent years while "likely training for strikes" against the United States and its allies, a Pentagon report released on Thursday said. The assessment, which comes at a time of heightened U.S.-China tensions over trade, was contained in an annual report that highlighted China's efforts to increase its global influence, with defense spending that the Pentagon estimates exceeded $190 billion in 2017. The report comes as China and the United States plan to hold trade talks, offering hope they might resolve an escalating tariff conflict that threatens to degenerate into an all-out trade war. While Washington and Beijing maintain a military-to-military relationship aimed at containing tensions, this has been tested in recent months.
 
Hackers grow more clever at misdirecting users to fake sites
It's easier than ever to get waylaid on the internet, diverted to dangerous territory where scam artists await with traps baited for the unsuspecting user. It's all about devious misdirection, fumble-fingered typing and how our brains can confuse what our eyes see. Big money can await the clever scamster, and costs are rising for corporations and politicians who do not take heed. The problems lie in the inner workings of the internet, and touches on issues like the vast expansion of the combination of words, dots and symbols that comprise internet addresses. It's no longer just .com, .net., .org and a handful of others. Now, there are 1,900 new extensions, known as top-level domains. The problems revolve around what computer scientists refer to as "spoofing" of the Domain Name System, or DNS, which has been called the phone book of the internet. It's been going on for a while, and touches on what users type into the address bar of a browser window or click on at a website. There are new ways to make phony addresses look real.
 
MUW campus preparations for the start of school
Mississippi University for Women students are gearing up to head to campus, and work crews are hard at work getting ready to welcome them back. We all know what it takes to get students back in the swing of things; finalizing class schedule, ordering books, and of course going through the infamous move in day. What does it take for a campus to be ready to welcome students back? I spent the day here asking that question. Director Of MUW Campus relations Dave Haffly says he and his staff are anxiously awaiting the return of thousands of students this week. It takes quite a bit of work to get residence halls in tip-top shape. Jimmy Rice is MUW's ground supervisor. He says giving the best first impression goes from inside out.
 
Dorm Diva: After Five Designs takes on Ole Miss move-in
When college dormitories come to mind, the first thought probably isn't one of luxury and relaxation -- that is, unless you're Dawn Thomas. Thomas, who owns Jackson-based After Five Designs, has devoted the last 15 years to making dorm rooms come to life, awash in calming pastels and neutrals, with a splash or two of original artwork. The head of a surgery center in Jackson by day, Thomas first entered the dorm decorating business after decorating her daughters' and niece's rooms at Ole Miss. From there, the business grew, and now she and her team have decorated rooms across the country, from UCLA to the University of Alabama. This move-in season, Thomas' four-person team decorated eight residences for Ole Miss students, both apartments and dorms. On Wednesday afternoon, Thomas and her assistant, Nina Carmody, spent approximately five hours transforming a dorm room in Martin Hall for Olivia Sewell, of Olive Branch, and Delaney Cavanaugh, of Austin, Texas.
 
MGCCC uses Restore Act funding to launch new workforce ready programs
New opportunities are now in place for residents on the coast looking for new career paths. Wednesday, leaders at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College cut the ribbon on the West Harrison Center in Long Beach. Thanks to $4 million in Restore Act funding, the college is now offering five new workforce ready programs. The programs include massage therapy, commercial truck driving and cosmetology. "What we're trying to do is get students in who are unemployed or underemployed to come in and do a short-term training program, so they can go into the workforce with a sustainable wage to support their families," said MGCCC President Dr. Mary Graham. According to State Rep. Richard Bennett, a partnership is in the works to let high school students to also use the facility for workforce training.
 
More Mississippi students scoring proficient on state tests
More students are meeting or exceeding their grade-level expectations, according to state testing data from the 2017-18 school year. The Mississippi Department of Education released annual Mississippi Academic Assessment Program scores Thursday. This school year, 39.8 percent of students scored at the proficient or advanced level on their English Language Arts exams and 43.9 percent of students scored that high on the math assessment. Students in grades three through eight take MAAP tests in the two subjects to measure progress. High school students take English II and algebra assessments. More than 253,400 students took the assessments in the 2017-18 school year.
 
U. of Alabama Honors College students work cleanup at Collins-Riverside
Before any of them had stepped into a classroom, dozens of freshmen at the University of Alabama were already working this week. As part of a program in UA's Honors College, 80 first-year students spent 20 hours this week sprucing up Collins-Riverside Middle School, painting its gym, cleaning the inside and doing different beautification projects on campus. During that same time, dozens of other UA Honors College students served at Holt Elementary School, doing similar projects over there. The program, Alabama Action, has been part of the college for years. Its dual purpose is to give students the opportunity to get to know one another while getting involved in the community. The students receive one credit hour for participating in the one-week program. In addition to the service projects, students also heard lectures from community leaders about different issues in Alabama.
 
Auburn University students initiate program to increase vaccination rates
A pair of Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy students are teaming up to help those in need in Lee County. Adam Archer and Carl Okerberg, both members of the HSOP Class of 2020, have initiated a program to increase vaccination rates and address barriers to medication access and adherence. Working through the Mercy Medical Clinic, a free and charitable clinic for the underserved located in Auburn, the pair will focus on introducing vaccine services and helping find resources and eliminate barriers for patients in affording medications to improve health outcomes. Still in the early stages of implementing the program, Archer and Okerberg were selected as two of 15 Albert Schweitzer Fellows in the state of Alabama. Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities, while also fulfilling their academic responsibilities.
 
LSU President, Sen. Bill Cassidy: 'As college costs rocket up, unlock the data that will enable smart choices'
In a special essay to CNN published Thursday, LSU President F. King Alexander and Sen. Bill Cassidy advocate for the College Transparency Act, a piece of legislation that will lift a ban on the U.S. Department of Education's ability to collect certain data on students. The act will give people looking at going to college -- and weighing the cost of obtaining a degree as well as the time it will take to repay the debt -- more information to make their decisions, Cassidy and Alexander write. The same level of data available for people purchasing cars, homes or airplane tickets should be available for college degrees, especially considering the cost, they write. "For many prospective college students, it is nearly impossible to determine whether the cost of college is actually worth it," Alexander and Cassidy write.
 
Family of Max Gruver files suit seeking $25M in damages against LSU, frat
The family of Maxwell Gruver, an LSU student who died in a Phi Delta Theta hazing incident last year, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, saying the school and fraternity knew for years that pledges were being abused and that the 18-year-old's death could have been avoided if the institutions had taken steps against "masculine rites of passage." The wrongful death lawsuit, which seeks $25 million in damages, names the university, a housing corporation, the fraternity and more than a dozen of its members. It cites a portion of federal law that makes sex discrimination illegal. Attorneys argue in the lawsuit that LSU, in printed material and television advertising, misleads students about the value of Greek Life by promoting it as a "valuable educational opportunity" while simultaneously not publicizing or reporting on incidents of hazing and misconduct.
 
U. of Tennessee's largest freshman class in history moves in
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville will be bustling as the school brings in its largest freshman class in history -- a total of more than 5,150 students. Many of them already call the Volunteer State home. "We expect more students from right here in Tennessee in this class," said Fabrizio D'Aloisio, assistant vice provost for enrollment management and director of undergraduate admissions at UT Knoxville. He attributes the influx of in-state students to the university's amped-up communication efforts with more emails, more print materials and more travel to Tennessee high schools. Students were expected to start the great migration to campus on Saturday, Aug. 18, to settle in before starting classes Wednesday, Aug. 22.
 
Artist reimagines U. of Kentucky's controversial mural in Memorial Hall
"There is not a man under the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him." This line, from Frederick Douglass' 1852 speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" is now emblazoned around the domed ceiling of the University of Kentucky's Memorial Hall entryway. The words were carefully painted there this week by artist Karyn Olivier as she attempts to contextualize and commemorate one of UK's most controversial spaces. "I'm presenting what's already there, but it's remixed or reinterpreted," Olivier said. "It makes sense to use what's in front of me." What's in front of her, and anyone who walks into Memorial Hall, is the 1934 lobby mural by Ann Rice O'Hanlon, depicting the history of Kentucky with a fresco that includes black workers, probably slaves, toiling in a tobacco field and a native American wielding a tomahawk. For more than a decade, the mural has provoked anger and hurt for students and others who find the images demeaning.
 
UGA acceptance getting tougher
The University of Georgia's freshman class is in, and the standards for acceptance continue to rise. Nearly 26,500 students applied, and about 5,750 of those are beginning classes. The university reports that the class of 2022 has an average weighted high school GPA of 4.04, which is a record. The average ACT score is 30, which ties last year's record. For comparison, the average weighted GPA of incoming UGA students was 3.9 four years ago, and the average ACT score was 29. SAT scores of incoming students have reached a record level, with an average of 1365 for the Class of 2022 compared to 1344 last year. "As the University of Georgia gains prominence as one of the top public research universities, the caliber of students we are attracting continues to rise," said President Jere W. Morehead.
 
Eating bugs: UGA conference serves up insects
If you're a typical Westerner, you find the idea of eating bugs yucky. But it may be time to change your attitude. More than 100 people gathered at the University of Georgia this week to tell you why. There's really no reason not to eat insects other than the prejudices we learned from our parents at a very young age, said anthropologist Julie Lesnik, a keynote speaker at "Eating Insects Athens," a gathering of the North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture. It may be too late for most of us unable to overcome the "ick" factor of chomping down on fried crickets, but a younger generation could come to embrace the culinary possibilities offered by insects. "Children learn what is disgusting," Lesnik said during a talk at UGA's Georgia Center for Continuing Education. But she said we don't have to keep teaching our children what should be, or shouldn't be, regarding entomophagy, a fancy term for the eating of insects.
 
Texas A&M University System regents approve $3.8B capital plan
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Thursday approved a $3.8 billion, five-year capital plan for the system, which includes roughly $2.8 billion in previously approved projects that are already underway and $1.1 billion in proposed future projects. With the approval of the capital plan, the regents also authorized appropriation of 10 percent of the planning amounts for the fiscal year 2019 proposed projects. Those projects, which will be brought back to the regents for final approval before construction begins, includes about $617 million for the flagship campus in College Station alone. Two of the system's top administrators were also given new titles. Billy Hamilton, formerly executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer, is now deputy chancellor and chief financial officer. M. Katherine Banks remains dean of the College of Engineering and agency director of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, but she is now vice chancellor of engineering and national laboratories.
 
White House tell-all from Omarosa Manigault Newman blasts Ed Secretary Betsy DeVos
In her just-released White House memoir, Omarosa Manigault Newman paints herself as the biggest champion of historically black colleges in the Trump administration. But that cause wasn't backed by everyone on Trump's team, according to her telling. And her chief nemesis in that mission was none other than Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Manigault Newman, a longtime confidante of President Trump and graduate of two HBCUs, served as director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison until a messy departure in December. Since then, she's criticized the president and the administration in a series of TV appearances in the run-up to the release of her memoir, Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House. The Trump White House is historically unpopular among African Americans but made it a point early on to court historically black colleges, partly at the urging of Manigault Newman, who earned degrees at Central State University and Howard University.
 
College Presidents Land a New Gig: Podcasting
As it turned out, the president's office made for a terrible recording studio. Air conditioning whirred. The floors of the building, dedicated in 1898, creaked. And the walls were thin enough to hear noises from surrounding rooms. So Scott L. Wyatt, Southern Utah University's president, moved the makeshift podcast studio to a "small, junky" bedroom in a midcentury house adjacent to the campus, in Cedar City. Wyatt and Steven Meredith, assistant to the president for planning and effectiveness, are finishing their first year of producing a weekly higher-education podcast. In some ways, podcasts are a natural way to expand a president's communications. Other college presidents, too, are stepping into the podcast studio. Linda A. Livingstone, Baylor University's president, has made a few appearances on its "Baylor Connections" podcast, which has also highlighted faculty research. "Inside Mizzou" will feature conversations between Alexander N. Cartwright, chancellor of the University of Missouri at Columbia, and students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
 
Duke will leave empty the spot in its chapel that previously had statue of Robert E. Lee
A year ago, in the wake of the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., set off by white supremacists, Duke University removed from its chapel a statue of Robert E. Lee. The statue was one of 10 at the entrance to the chapel. It was seen by many as an affirmation of the Confederate cause. The removal of the statue left open the question of what to do with the empty space created by the decision. On Thursday, the university announced that the spot will remain empty. Vincent E. Price, president of Duke, said that the idea came from Reverend Luke Powery, the dean of the chapel, who said a year ago that the empty space could represent "a hole that is in the heart of the United States of America, and perhaps in our own human hearts -- that hole that is from the sin of racism and hatred of any kind."
 
Why Does Publishing Higher-Ed Research Take So Long?
A perfect storm is slowing journal publication in the field of higher education, leading one top title to temporarily halt submissions. Growth in the discipline, a spike in quality and international submissions, reluctance by scholars to review articles, and focus on a limited number of top publications all contribute to backlogs and sluggish turnaround, say editors of the top three journals in the field. Scholars are buzzing about prospective solutions, including more and bigger journals, honoraria to encourage article reviews, and an increase in online publication. The backlog of accepted articles is one problem; the slow turnaround time for consideration is another.
 
Talent Transplant: Dr. Jerome Gilbert
For Dr. Jerome Gilbert, a 1973 trip to Bartow, WV, set the wheels in motion for his journey from curious Mississippi high school student to president of Marshall University. After being chosen as a delegate to the National Youth Science Camp in West Virginia during his senior year, the Jackson, MS, native spent a month immersed in the mountains of Almost Heaven. "The state made a big impression on me," says Gilbert. "After that experience, I felt tied to West Virginia, and I always felt that someday there would be an opportunity to come back. I just didn't know when it might be." The opportunity finally arose in 2015 when Gilbert was contacted by a search firm seeking applicants for the presidency at Marshall. At the time, he was serving as provost of his alma mater, Mississippi State University.


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State adding metal detectors at Davis Wade Stadium
Mississippi State football fans will have to go through an extra layer of security this season. The school is adding walk-through metal detectors at all gates of Davis Wade Stadium, the university announced Thursday. The metal detectors will be in place for the season opener Sept. 1 against Stephen F. Austin. Metal detectors have been in place at Mississippi State's Humphrey Coliseum the last two basketball seasons. They are also mandatory at all NFL and Major League Baseball stadiums, and present at many college stadiums around the country. When fans arrive at the gates of Davis Wade Stadium, they will be asked to follow the instructions of the security screening staff and place large metal objects such as phones, keys, cameras, approved seat cushions and cowbells in containers or in their clear bag on screening tables before passing through the metal detectors.
 
Mississippi State gets back to practice after day off at Geyser Falls
Mississippi State got back on the practice field on a cloudy Thursday evening. The Bulldogs took the day off Wednesday for a team bonding trip to Geyser Falls water park. Geyser Falls presented an opportunity for players to relax during the latter half of a grueling training camp, but Thursday's practice wasn't fun and games. There are competitions taking place all over the roster, and coach Joe Moorhead spent most of the media's viewing periods on the other side of the fields watching the defense's battles. With just over two weeks until kickoff, Moorhead appears to be ultra-conscious of what's happening on both sides of the ball. The Bulldogs have five more training camp practices and one more scrimmage on Saturday. By the end of next week, all practices will be dedicated to preparation for Stephen F. Austin.
 
Joe Moorhead wants Mississippi State offense, linemen to be versatile
One of the Joe Moorhead offense's primary tenants is it does whatever a defense allows it to. It may accomplish that with the spread and zone concepts most popular in today's college football, and most popular in the Moorhead offense, but if given the opportunity, it will gash defenses with more traditional concepts such as pulling offensive linemen. "Zone, zone read, power, pin-and-pull, lead. It's a mixture of everything," new offensive line coach Marcus Johnson said. Mississippi State's offensive linemen did so much pulling in the Dan Mullen system, Johnson found he didn't have much teaching to do. Johnson said he has drilled that skill at times in preseason camp, including in individual drills Tuesday, and has found MSU to be proficient in every way. It will help the Bulldogs in many ways. "They've done a great job of skip-pulling and staying square," Johnson said, referencing the kind of pull where the lineman keeps his shoulders parallel with the line of scrimmage as he crosses the formation. "They've done a great job of open pulls, as well, working down the line.
 
No shortage of tight ends at State
Joe Moorhead's offense has a history of prominently featuring the tight end in the passing game. Over the last three years, a tight end has been among the top two receivers in Moorhead's system and led the team in receiving twice over that span. That track record has Mississippi State's tight ends salivating. "They're excited about this system," said tight ends coach Mark Hudspeth. "If you go back and look at coach's offenses at Penn State and Fordham, tight ends were a big part of the system." In order to aid their receiving ability, Hudspeth -- with the help of the strength and conditioning staff -- requested that the tight ends shed some pounds over the summer. "That's helped them become better route-runners and increased their speed," Hudspeth said.
 
Jessika Carter paces Mississippi State to win in Italy tour finale
Jessika Carter showed why she was one of the top players in the country coming out of high school, as she scored 18 points and hauled down 14 rebounds to lead Mississippi State to a 96-59 win against German team International Select Thursday evening. The win in the foothills of the Italian Alps wrapped a perfect 3-0 mark for the Bulldogs on their tour of Italy. Carter led four MSU players in double figures. Teaira McCowan added 15 points, while Myah Taylor and Jordan Danberry collected 11 and 10 points, respectively. "I thought Jessika took some things we talked about and went and did them," Vic Schaefer said.
 
Nearly decade-old lawsuit reinstated against Alcorn State over coach firing
The Mississippi Court of Appeals has reinstated a nearly decade-old lawsuit against Alcorn State University by the school's former head football coach. The appeals court on Thursday reversed a 2016 decision by a circuit judge throwing out the case. The court said former coach Ernest Jones Jones should have been allowed to pursue a claim that Alcorn breached his contract by firing him without cause in early 2009. Also, the court said Jones' claim against then-athletic director Darren Hamilton, who initiated the firing, should have been allowed to go forward. Jones' attorney, Jim Waide of Tupelo, said the Court of Appeals also decided that a university employee may sue an employer for breach of contract and is not limited to the administrative review provided by statute.
 
A few reasons why Alabama's rethinking Bryant-Denny Stadium
Just eight years ago this month Alabama rolled out the latest expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Adding more than 9,600 seats to the south end zone, the stadium was finally mostly symmetrical again. That was 2010 coming off the first of Nick Saban's national titles at Alabama. After No. 5, the school is reimagining that $65-million project as part of the $288 in updates announced Thursday. Why, you ask? A lot has changed in less than a decade. Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne said he didn't know the exact capacity of post-renovation Bryant-Denny Stadium. It'll likely be less than 100,000, he said. Some of the seating lost to the video board will be made up on the student terrace that creates standing room. That's part of the evolution in stadium design that allows for different experiences beyond traditional seating in bleachers.
 
U. of Alabama announces $600-million plan to upgrade athletic facilities
The University of Alabama has made big strides in athletics facilities in the last 10 years. Now the department is making plans for even bigger steps in the next 10 years. Alabama unveiled a 10-year, $600 million initiative Thursday to upgrade Bryant-Denny Stadium, Coleman Coliseum, the Mal Moore Athletic Facility and several other athletics facilities. Athletics director Greg Byrne announced the plan at a news conference along with president Stuart R. Bell and football coach Nick Saban. Byrne presented the plan for 'The Crimson Standard' after a year-and-a-half of research and study. Alabama has already secured commitments for nearly $143 million towards the plan, Byrne said. That included a $1 million pledge from Nick and Terry Saban.
 
When Beyonce and Jay-Z leave, Gamecocks might have to replace Williams-Brice field
University of South Carolina officials are prepared to replace the entire playing field at Williams-Brice Stadium a week before the Gamecocks football team's season opener if damage caused by next week's concert requires it. Husband and wife music superstars Beyoncé and Jay-Z will hold a concert in the stadium Tuesday. In preparation for the show, all the grass at Williams-Brice Stadium has been covered with thick plastic panels. With the panels in place for at least five days, much of the grass is expected to die, Clark Cox, the Gamecocks assistant athletics director for turf and landscaping services, told The State on Thursday. "When this is all over with and they take that cover up, we will come up and strip the dead grass, anything that is not recoverable, which in this case is probably going to be a pretty large portion if not the entire field, and replace it," Cox said.
 
Auburn football announces future home-and-home series with Baylor and UCLA
Auburn has expanded its nonconference schedule to include a Power 5 opponent every year through 2028. The Tigers will play a series of home-and-home games with Baylor and UCLA in a four-year span from 2025-2028, Director of Athletics Allen Greene announced Thursday. The Tigers will play Baylor in 2025-26 and UCLA in 2027-28. Auburn will play at Baylor in Waco, Texas on Aug. 30, 2025, with the Tigers hosting the Bears at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 5, 2026. The two schools have previously met four times, with the last meeting occurring in 1976 in Auburn. The Auburn-UCLA series, which was contracted in March 2017, will see the Tigers at UCLA in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Sept. 4, 2027. The Bruins will come to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 2, 2028. The series marks the first-ever meetings between the two programs.



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