Wednesday, January 8, 2020   
Floodwaters cause unwelcome visitors to seek shelter in your home
Clean-up after a flood can be a handful for homeowners. While they are busy pulling out furniture and debris, there's one thing they tend to forget -- bugs. Just like us, insects and pests want to stay dry too. They search for higher ground in places like your home, creating more problems for you and your family. Ants, termites, and mosquitoes. Usually, after a flood, these unwelcome visitors can seek shelter right in your home. All they need is a way in. Mississippi State University Entomologist Research Technician Joe MacGown said insects will navigate through the rising waters until they reach drier land. MSU Entomologist Richard Brown wants to warn folks to be on guard for the potential other troubles that lurk after floodwaters go down. "When there's a flood from excessive rain then these mosquitoes lay their eggs next to a body of water like a lake or a river then those eggs will hatch. They come out in large numbers and they all come out at one time, " said Brown.
Aldermen wary of new development in flood-prone area
In a display of exceptional caution, the Board of Aldermen tabled a conditional use request to build three duplexes on Lafayette Street during its meeting on Tuesday. Aldermen initially took no action on the issue, but City Attorney Chris Latimer informed the Board they must take action. By a unanimous vote, Aldermen then decided to table the issue. The conditional use request was the subject of a public hearing and focused on three proposed duplex structures on the portion of Lafayette Street just north of Gillespie Street. The lot in question is in Ward 7, and that ward's Alderman Henry Vaughn said the storm water problems on Lafayette Street especially are already significant. Ward 5 Alderman Hamp Beatty said the part of his ward just east of the lot also experienced significant flooding problems. Beatty, along with Vaughn, urged extreme caution beyond the new storm water ordinance due to the area's history of flooding.
Aldermen table request for development near floodplain
Recent storms and flooding took center stage at a local government meeting for the second time this week at Tuesday's board of aldermen meeting. The board tabled a request for a conditional use permit to build duplexes on three lots northeast of the intersection of South Lafayette Street and Gillespie Street. The land is not on a floodplain but is just across the street from one, City Engineer Edward Kemp said. Aldermen want to be absolutely certain the plans for the property adhered to the city's stormwater ordinance, updated last year and effective as of September. It requires new developments to provide stormwater mitigation to withstand a 100-year storm event, or 9.4 inches of rain over 24 hours. The region has experienced several episodes of constant rainfall over more than 24 hours each in the past few months.
Storms put pressure on Oktibbeha supes to deal with water management
Citizen complaints about recent flooding in their neighborhoods brought an ongoing Oktibbeha County supervisors' debate on whether to join the Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District again to the fore -- but still with no agreement. Several citizens came before the board to express concerns about the impacts of heavy rains and floods on their property and the related infrastructure problems. A branch of Sand Creek flows directly through the JennLake Meadows Manufactured Home Community, and it does not take much rain for the creek to overflow into the mobile home park, property manager Dori Hale told the board. Dora Powers, a resident of nearby East Sand Creek Road, said the culverts under the gravel road are "wasting away" and asked the board to fix them. Kevin Cane, who lives on South Montgomery Street south of Starkville, said the county installed two culverts that actually made it easier for his property to flood.
Chancery Clerk Sharon Livingston works to digitize Oktibbeha County records
Cutting the cost of government is always a priority, and Oktibbeha County Chancery Clerk Sharon Livingston decided digitizing paper records was the best way to make taxpayers' dollars count. Buying paper alone, Livingston said, cost a significant amount of money, making the decision to go digital at the beginning of 2019 even easier. "In this office, we're completely paperless," Livingston said. "We've saved the taxpayers of Oktibbeha County a lot of money." Purchasing one docket book for records, Livingston said, would typically cost the county roughly $900. Smaller record books cost between $400 and $500. Spending so much money just to house records no longer made sense in a digital world, Livingston said. Everything from property deeds to tax records has become digital under Livingston's watch.
Golden Triangle LINK CEO gives update
Economic development in the Golden Triangle is moving forward. Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins gave the update Tuesday. He talked about the recent purchase of Leigh Mall. The LINK is working with city leaders and the owners of the property, Hull Properties, to determine what the future of the mall will look like and how to attract new retailers. Higgins believes the Communiversity will play a big role in luring future industry to the area. "These are investments we make for the long term. That training center isn't a one-trick pony like let's do something and win something now. That should benefit your children and my grandchildren. We are going to continue to work and try to continue to bring more investment to the area," said Higgins.
Joe Max Higgins looks forward to working with new state administration
Golden Triangle LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said he has high hopes for the future of economic development in the Golden Triangle, updating Columbus Rotarians Tuesday on prospective projects and a political change at Mississippi Development Authority. Specifically, he said he's going to drink a glass of Scotch in celebration of MDA head Glenn McCullough's retirement at the end of the month. Higgins, one of the state's most prominent economic developers, has long been a critic of McCullough's. From the LINK's formation in 2003 through 2014, Higgins said, it saw an average of $445 million in investments and 479 jobs created per year. In the four years since McCullough became head of MDA, that number has dropped to $229 million and 303 jobs per year -- and that was after the LINK expanded its services to work on recruiting industrial development in Oktibbeha and Clay counties in addition to Lowndes County. Higgins said he has faith in newly-elected governor Tate Reeves to get MDA back on track and bring investments back to Mississippi.
Corps anticipates closing Steele Bayou Control Structure within the week
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District announced Tuesday it anticipates the need to close the gates of the Steele Bayou Control Structure, located approximately 10 miles north of Vicksburg, within the week. "Heavy rainfall across the region during the past two weeks has elevated the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The majority of the state of Mississippi has received above-average rainfall during the past 30 days, with some areas receiving two-to-three times their typical amount of rainfall," The District said in its release. "This heavy rainfall has elevated the lower Mississippi River to above-average levels for this time of year." The Steele Bayou Control Structure, combined with the Mississippi River and Yazoo Backwater levees, prevents the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers from backing up and further flooding in the delta.
Speaker Philip Gunn lays out priorities after first day of legislative session
As lawmakers prepare to tackle big issues such as Medicaid expansion, state employee pay and a gas tax increase this legislative session, Speaker Philip Gunn is treading lightly. Talking to reporters Tuesday after being re-elected to a third straight term as Speaker, Gunn provided few specific policy goals for the new session aside from wanting to create more jobs. Gunn thinks job creation is the number one issue for Mississippians, saying that lawmakers intend to introduce bills that will address the state's "brain drain" and improve workforce development. "Other things on the horizon are heath care -- a lot of issues there to be addressed -- infrastructure, education, the corrections system of course is having some issue right now," Gunn said. "So I think all those things are certainly on the radar screen."
Election challenge, prison unrest greet lawmakers at start of session
The new four-year term of the Mississippi Legislature began Tuesday amid the specter of the House having to decide an election challenge of one of its newest members and both chambers facing tough decisions in the coming weeks on how to deal with violence at prisons throughout the state. As expected, House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, newly elected to his third term as speaker, named a five-member committee to deal with the election challenge in House District 40 in DeSoto County. Democrat Hester Jackson McCray defeated incumbent Republican Ashley Henley by 14 votes in the Southaven-based district, but Henley challenged the results claiming voter irregularities. The state Constitution gives the two chambers the authority to resolve any election disputes. The special election challenge committee will be chaired by Rep. Rob Roberson, R-Starkville.
Newly Elected Transportation Commissioners Sworn In
Willie Simmons made history when he took his oath of office as Central District Transportation Commissioner. He became the first African American in state history to hold the office. Simmons served in the state legislature for 27 years and was the Chair of the Highways and Transportation Committee. He says his experience and friendships will be a valuable asset to funding state roads and bridges. "That has put me in a position to have a great working relationship with the legislature over on the Capitol side, but also the new Governor and Lieutenant Governor and our board of supervisors. So with that, I think we're gonna be successful in generating resources as well as taking care of our infrastructure system."
Two House Democrats become independents as new four-year term begins
State Reps. Kevin Horan of Grenada and Michael Ted Evans of Preston, both re-elected unopposed as Democrats this past year, will begin their new four-year term as independents. Both confirmed Monday afternoon they were leaving the Democratic Party and would serve with no party affiliation when the 2020 legislative session begins Tuesday. "I am looking out for the people of my district," said Horan, who has been serving in the state House since 2012. "My responsibility is to the people of District 34. I don't know what the future holds." He did not rule out switching to the majority Republican Party at some point. "I just wanted to put myself in the best position to help my people," said Evans, who also has been in the state House since 2012. "My district is pretty much 50-50 Democratic and Republican."
2020 Legislative Preview: GOP In Charge, But Conflict Ahead?
"We won it all!" cried Gov. Phil Bryant, exultant in victory behind the podium at the GOP's election-night party at the West Jackson on Tuesday, Nov. 5. "We know who we are!" Republicans ran the table in Mississippi 2019's elections, leaving the state in the hands of Reeves and the Legislature to new Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, the new president of the Senate, and House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton. The executive shuffle complements a greater share of Republican legislators in the Mississippi Senate than in living memory. In spite of a small Democratic minority gain in the Mississippi House, the outcome is clear: The GOP is in control. The GOP's newfound dominance in Mississippi does not mean a pacified Legislature, outgoing House Minority Leader Rep. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, says.
Violence at Parchman: Lack of funding, not enough guards, decrepit conditions
Violence has roiled the Mississippi prison system for more than a week, with state corrections officials imposing a statewide lockdown and a county coroner declaring that gangs in the prisons have launched an all-out war against each other. At the center of the chaos: the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman -- one of America's most notorious prisons. Since July, seven prisoners have been killed by fellow inmates at what is supposed to be the most secure facility in the state. That compares to four inmate killings in the prior eight years. The current violence comes after years of neglect by state officials, who allowed conditions at Parchman to deteriorate when federal courts ended oversight of the facility in 2011, according to an investigation by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica.
Rep. Bennie Thompson to seek federal investigation into 'ongoing failures' within MDOC
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson is calling for a federal civil rights investigation into conditions at Mississippi prisons following days of bloodshed leading to the deaths of five men. Thompson, the state's lone congressional Democrat and the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, made the announcement on Twitter Monday. "I will be requesting that the U.S. Attorney General launch an investigation into the ongoing failures in safety, security, health, and environmental standards within the Mississippi Department of Corrections," Thompson tweeted. "This is unacceptable." Thompson hopes such an investigation will force state lawmakers to change conditions across the state's prisons, a spokesperson told Mississippi Today.
Congress made a mistake on parking benefits tax measure -- and admitted it
Your pastor can park at his special space again without having to pay the federal "church tax." And your local charity can spend more time helping people rather than trying to figure out how to navigate federal tax forms. Congress has conceded it made a mistake when it slipped the tax into a 2017 bill that was supposed to cut taxes. So as part of the fiscal 2020 budget agreement, the tax is gone. In 2018 and 2019, the government imposed a 21% tax on parking benefits provided to employees by nonprofit and religious institutions, creating a financial and logistical nightmare for churches, schools and others across the country. Some found they were spending more money to comply than they were paying in tax. The Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy reported that it cost $400 in accountant fees to determine a tax liability of $17. The repeal will mean refunds to those who have paid the tax. But it still has meant a huge burden for nonprofits.
Iran retaliates with missile attacks on U.S. troop locations in Iraq
In what it described as a "hard" retaliation, Iran's Islamist government fired a series of ballistic missiles at military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops days after President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike that killed a top Iranian general. The Iranian attack early Wednesday local time, confirmed by the Department of Defense, further plunged the U.S. into a dangerous conflict with an unpredictable geopolitical foe. It is perhaps the biggest international crisis to test Trump yet, and it comes as he also faces a likely impeachment trial in the Senate. But Iranian officials signaled that they did not want the crisis to spiral out of control, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, posting on Twitter: "We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression." Trump, too, appeared inclined to calm things down. "All is well!" he tweeted late Tuesday.
Iran cyberattack risk is up after missile strike on Iraqi bases with US troops
Americans should be on heightened alert for cyberattacks after Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two military bases in Iraq where U.S. troops are stationed late Tuesday, security researchers say. Iran could target private businesses and government infrastructure to avenge last week's killing of its top military commander as tensions between Tehran and Washington reach one of their highest points since the 1979 Iranian revolution. "I am not predicting it will happen, but if it happens, I won't be surprised," said Steven Bellovin, a computer science professor at Columbia University School of Engineering. A cyber conflict has been silently raging for years. In retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week, Iran could target the power and electricity you use, the smart devices you carry or your bank account, security experts say.
Chief Justice Roberts would hold the gavel, but not the power, at Trump impeachment trial
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will preside over any impeachment trial of President Donald Trump as the Constitution requires, but don't expect him to make decisions that substantively reshape the action. Although there is speculation about how active a role Roberts will take in an impeachment trial and whether key witnesses testify, the Senate under past rules has given relatively little authority to the nation's top judicial figure. And in the areas Roberts might have authority to make rulings, such as questions about whether evidence is relevant, the rules also allow the Senate to call for a vote to overrule him anyway. Also, past impeachment trial rules, such as those for President Bill Clinton in 1999, give the chief justice the ability to defer making a ruling on his own and instead put a question to a Senate vote. "All he has to do is look straight at the senators and say, 'What do you think, boys and girls?'" said Frank O. Bowman III, a law professor at the University of Missouri and author of "High Crimes & Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump."
Bloomberg and Trump Buy Super Bowl Ads at $10 Million Each
Michael R. Bloomberg's presidential campaign has secured a 60-second advertising spot to air nationally during next month's Super Bowl telecast, an ad buy that will most likely cost at least $10 million. Hours after The New York Times reported Mr. Bloomberg's plans, President Trump's re-election campaign said that it, too, had reserved 60 seconds' worth of advertising during the game for roughly $10 million. The dueling ads on the year's biggest night of television are evidence that the two New York billionaires are preparing for a schoolyard brawl on the national airwaves over the coming months, with each increasingly willing to dip into his vast resources -- Mr. Bloomberg is spending his own fortune, and Mr. Trump has a nine-figure campaign war chest -- to broadcast their messages. The Trump campaign's decision to advertise during the Super Bowl, which was first reported by Politico, continues a strategy of advertising during major sporting events.
Fears of Bernie Sanders win growing among Democratic establishment
Increasingly alarmed that Bernie Sanders could become their party's presidential nominee, establishment-minded Democrats are warning primary voters that the self-described democratic socialist would struggle to defeat President Donald Trump and hurt the party's chances in premier House, Senate and governors' races. The urgent warnings come as Sanders shows new signs of strength on the ground in the first two states on the presidential primary calendar, Iowa and New Hampshire, backed by a dominant fundraising operation. The Vermont senator has largely escaped close scrutiny over the last year as his rivals doubted the quirky 78-year-old's ability to win the nomination. But less than a month before Iowa's kickoff caucuses, the doubters are being forced to take Sanders seriously.
States gear up for abortion fights with eye on Supreme Court
State legislators across the country are preparing a new round of measures to crack down on or expand access to abortion services as supporters and opponents plot a growing legal battle that is likely to end at the Supreme Court. In states controlled by Republicans, legislators are promoting new bills to severely limit abortion access. Perhaps the strictest measure being debated this year is in Ohio, where legislators are considering a bill that would make performing or receiving an abortion a crime punishable by long jail sentences. The rush of anti-abortion legislation builds on a new approach conservative lawmakers have taken in recent years. After a virtual stalemate for much of the first decade of the century, the last 10 years have seen a spike in abortion restriction measures. S
Arkansas proposes review of suit; ex-student says school acted with 'deliberate indifference'
A legal question raised by a University of Arkansas, Fayetteville attorney in a court filing Monday proposes that an appellate court review a Title IX lawsuit against the university before a jury trial scheduled for March. A review could make a trial "unnecessary," the filing states, while a response Tuesday by the former student suing UA claims "the controlling issue of law is not unclear" and that the case is "ripe for trial." In the lawsuit, filed in 2016, the former student claims the school acted with "deliberate indifference" after her October 2014 report that she was sexually assaulted in her dorm room by another student. On Monday, UA stated in court documents that it's a legal question as to whether a Title IX lawsuit claiming "deliberate indifference" must include a claim that further harassment took place after a school received "initial notice of the problem."
Chance of active draft is slim, U. of Florida professors say
The likelihood of an active draft in the near future is slim, multiple UF professors said. Gaining the public support necessary to reenact the draft would be politically impossible. In 1973, a draft ended to combat public opposition to the Vietnam War. Since then, eligible people have continued to register for the theoretical future draft in the process of applying for federal student aid and driver licenses. The Selective Service System would recruit people from that registry in the event the U.S. faced an immediate existential threat and the active draft was reinstated. The draft is still inactive, the selective service clarified in a tweet in response to renewed interest following the U.S. airstrike on Gen. Qassem Soleimani. It would take congressional approval for the draft to activate. This is unlikely for a number of reasons, said Paul Ortiz, a UF history professor. Lawmakers would first need to conduct a successful campaign in favor of the active draft. Current public distrust of the government makes this difficult.
Texas A&M makes changes to VeoRide bike-share program
VeoRide users are now required to remain on Texas A&M's campus while using the bicycles and must lock the vehicles to a bike rack or face fines up to $75. Local VeoRide employees are retrofitting bicycles with coiled-cable locks, and Texas A&M's Transportation Services workers are bringing in 50 new bike racks this week as the rules go into effect. While 1,200 VeoRides will be available by the start of A&M's spring semester on Monday, employees will continue adding locks to bikes until the entire 2,000-vehicle fleet is back in use. The revised geofence encompasses the A&M campus only, including Park West and University Gardens. The new rules come after Transportation Services sent out a campus-wide email in December stating that it might not renew its contract with VeoRide due to increasing "unsafe antics" and other violations.
U. of Missouri expands use of app to track class attendance
A smartphone application that lets professors know if a student is in class or not will be put to wider use at the University of Missouri in the spring semester. Sometimes controversial, the SpotterEDU app is currently used only by the MU Athletics Department. Jim Spain, MU Vice Provost for undergraduate studies, said Tuesday that in the spring semester, it will be used in 10 to 15 classes in the general student population. Developed by former MU men's assistant basketball coach Rick Carter, the app was featured in a Dec. 24 Washington Post story that showed some critics are raising concerns about student privacy, with others complaining that it infringes on student independence. Carter, who coached at MU in the 2012-13 season, is the CEO of SpotterEDU, and said he came up with the idea while recruiting for MU when he determined that a player was skipping his classes.
Are Rural Students the Next Priority for Colleges?
It's not hard to find folks in higher education talking about the challenges of getting more rural students to and through college. It's the solutions that are more elusive. Several colleges are also focusing more holistically on rural students. In some instances, their interest is tied directly to regional agricultural needs and colleges' plans to develop academic and outreach programs designed to help farmers adapt to new technologies. "A lot of farm workers are going to have to become farm technicians" is how Douglas Steele, vice president for food, agriculture, and natural resources at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, put it.
Wide availability of cheap new education-related web addresses creating headache for brand managers
Most U.S. university websites have ended in ".edu" since the dawn of the internet, but in recent years the number of domain name options has exploded. New extensions such as ".university," ".college," ".degree" and ".education" present an opportunity to modernize the online branding of higher education institutions that, in many cases, selected their web address in the '80s and '90s. But it's an opportunity few institutions have embraced, said Bob Brock, president of the Educational Marketing Group. Many institutions are buying these new domain names but aren't actively using them, said Brock. Colleges are purchasing these addresses simply to protect their brands and prevent third parties from snapping them up. Which domains institutions should buy or not is a tricky question, said Liz Gross, founder and CEO of Campus Sonar, a company that develops social media strategies for higher education institutions. Taking some preventative measures to protect your institution's reputation is sensible. "When the .sucks domain name came out a few years ago, the easiest way for many brands to deal with it was to buy it," she said.
UVA decides to save its library card catalog
The card catalog for the University of Virginia's Alderman Library was once the only way to find needed books. Over four million cards cataloged each book's location and from where it was donated. Today, students and researchers use a digital catalog to find library materials, as is typical with most academic libraries. The card catalog, all 68 cabinets of it, was taken out of commission in 1989. The university's library is set to undergo major renovations over the next three years, and for a while, the future of the card catalog seemed uncertain. "There was no real disagreement on the potential research value of the card catalog," said John Unsworth, dean of libraries at Virginia. "The question wasn't, 'Is it worth saving?' It was, 'Can we afford to save it?'" Neal Curtis and Sam Lemley, two graduate students at the university who had worked previously with the card catalog, felt compelled to act. They presented a plan to load the card catalog into boxes, store it at a facility in Waynesboro, Va., during renovations, and then keep it in university-owned high-density storage.
Health care, retirement system woes major challenges for state leaders
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: State voters in 2019 chose a new governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and state treasurer along with significant turnover in both the state House and Senate. There will be new state agency leadership and the legislative committee system will see a substantial reshuffling of the deck in terms of committee chairmen. All that new political horsepower will be tested quickly. Mississippi's new executive branch leadership and the Mississippi Legislature face some unavoidable challenges that will prove daunting -- and are not problems of their creation. The baby boom generation is marching toward significant consumption of resources in terms of public health care and public employee retirement benefits. Clearly, Social Security and Medicare are federal programs, but Mississippi taxpayers are at least partially on the hook for state public employee retirement benefits and for a fraction of Medicaid benefits.

Mississippi State men prepare for first SEC road contest against Alabama
Shortly after Mississippi State's loss to Auburn in its Southeastern Conference opener Saturday, men's basketball coach Ben Howland said his team needed to play with more poise. The fifth-year coach felt his players too often fell into a trap of playing too fast and out of control, and would benefit from running more of the team's halfcourt sets instead of settling for rushed shots. That concept may prove difficult against Alabama, MSU's first SEC road opponent at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Crimson Tide play at the fourth-fastest pace in the country, according to, with their average offensive possession lasting 15 seconds. "We have to control the tempo," Howland said. "They play very quickly and shoot a ton of 3s, that's the key to their deal. They're taking 30 3-pointers per game, they're literally the Houston Rockets of college basketball."
Ben Howland hopes to see more poise from Mississippi State tonight
Mississippi State has only played one true road game this season. Coach Ben Howland and the Bulldogs now face back-to-back road tests, beginning tonight in a venue in which they haven't had much success. MSU travels across the state line to Alabama at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network in search of just its second win at Coleman Coliseum since 2008. The Bulldogs have only won once in their last 10 trips to Tuscaloosa (67-61 in 2016) and are just 15-80 there all-time. The Crimson Tide edged out an 83-79 victory there last year although State was later captured a season split with an 81-62 win in Starkville. "The pace of play and handling their pressure defensively is going to be critical," said MSU coach Ben Howland. "Not getting sped up on offense to where we're shooting ill-advised shots. The most important thing on offense is taking good shots."
Alabama expects a battle on the boards with Bulldogs
After a painful double-overtime loss at Florida in its Southeastern Conference opener last Saturday, the Alabama men's basketball team will be looking to rebound at home on Wednesday night -- literally and figuratively. The Crimson Tide hosts Mississippi State, which is also seeking its first SEC win after opening with a loss to Auburn. "This is the best offensive rebounding team in the country," Alabama coach Nate Oats said of the Bulldogs. "Go look at their numbers." The Bulldogs rebound more than 40 percent of their missed shots and have two players -- 6-foot-10 Reggie Perry and 6-11 Abdul Ado -- ranked among the top 50 offensive rebounders in the NCAA. Oats said Alabama has improved on rebounding since its loss to North Carolina in December, which he called "a disaster." In addition to rebounding, MSU's Perry -- a teammate of Kira Lewis on the USA Junior National team last summer -- is a scoring threat.
Mississippi State's Rickea Jackson earns SEC Freshman of the Week
Mississippi State forward Rickea Jackson earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors from the league office on Tuesday. Jackson averaged 18.5 points, six rebounds and three assists per game in the now 13th-ranked Bulldogs' wins over Florida and Georgia. The 6-foot-2 native of Detroit poured in a career-high 20 points against the Gators and followed up by scoring 17 against Georgia. Jackson leads all SEC freshmen in scoring during conference play and is third on MSU's team averaging 13.1 points per game this season. Jackson is the first Bulldog to be tabbed SEC Freshman of the Week since Teaira McCowan was in 2015.
Four Bulldogs tabbed Perfect Game All-Americans
Four Mississippi State players were picked as Preseason All-Americans by Perfect Game on Tuesday. Junior second baseman Justin Foscue and sophomore starting pitcher JT Ginn were both selected to the second team while juniors Jordan Westburg and Tanner Allen were tabbed to the third team as a middle infielder and outfielder respectively. Foscue batted .331 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs last season while Ginn posted an 8-4 record with a 3.13 earned run average, 105 strikeouts and 19 walks in 86 1/3 innings. Westburg hit .294 with six homers and 61 RBI while finished with a .349 average, seven long balls and 66 RBIs.
Will Conference USA tournament stay in Biloxi? Future unclear after scheduling snafu
The business owner who first brought the Conference USA baseball tournament to Biloxi says he is fighting to keep it there, but a scheduling mix-up and increased costs are threatening its future on the Coast. This will be the fourth year for Conference USA Baseball Championship at MGM Park, from May 20-24. The tournament is always the same week in May, and dates were announced May 3, 2019. Yet when the Biloxi Shuckers' 2020 schedule was released by Southern League three months later on Aug. 1, a game was scheduled on May 20, opening night of the C-USA tournament. "The Wednesday we need the stadium for the tournament is double-booked," said Timothy Bennett, president of Overtime Sports and a part owner of the Shuckers. He and Overtime Sports are being charged $27,500 by Shuckers management to pay for a double header the prior night to free up the stadium.
School's in session: LSU and Clemson to have class as planned on day of national championship
On the same day LSU will kick off against Clemson in the College Football Playoff national championship game Monday, students will kick off the spring semester on the Baton Rouge campus. And classes will be in session Monday and Tuesday, just as planned. A university spokesperson said that the academic calendar won't change for the big game in New Orleans. "LSU will begin the spring semester as scheduled on Jan. 13," the university said in a statement. "Students may contact their individual professors directly if they need to discuss class attendance." A Clemson University spokesperson said its university is taking the same approach just like it's done in years past. This will be Clemson's fourth national title game appearance since 2015, and it's hasn't altered its schedule in the past, the school said.
Florida House speaker: College athletics have 'basically become pro sports'
House Speaker Jose Oliva offered support Tuesday to lawmakers who want Florida's college athletes to be able to cash in on their names and images, as three influential House committees prepare to jointly discuss the issue next week. Appearing on a Tallahassee radio show, Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, said "some sort of reform" is needed to the college athletics system, which has "basically become pro sports." Oliva, in part, compared college football players, who cannot be paid, to other athletes, such as swimmers, who can make money if they go to the Olympics. "The discussion we're having in Florida is about treating all student athletes the same and making sure that we are not restricting one group of athletes because they're more valuable and their activity is more valuable than another," Oliva said during a 16-minute interview on the Preston Scott show on WFLA radio. "I don't think that any conservative would be in support of that." Following a law signed last year in California, four bills have been filed for Florida's 2020 legislative session that would allow college athletes to make money off their names and images. The 60-day session will begin Jan. 14.

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