Monday, February 10, 2020   
Science Night at the Museums: fun exploration for all ages at Mississippi State
For the fourth consecutive year, Mississippi State's Museums and Galleries Committee is presenting Science Night at the Museums. Free and open to all, the interactive event is Feb. 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at various locations in Hilbun Hall, Harned Hall and the Cobb Institute of Archaeology. Amy Moe-Hoffman, committee chair and MSU geology instructor, said the event offers visitors a wide array of hands-on activities. "Participants can do everything from holding a live tarantula to watching chemical reactions," she said. The Dunn-Seiler Museum, located in Hilbun Hall, and the Lois Dowdle Cobb Museum of Archaeology, located in the Cobb Institute of Archaeology, will be open for tours and showcase MSU's research across various scientific disciplines. Featured specimens on display include portions of Dunn-Seiler's mosasaur skeleton, a 65-billion-year-old marine reptile that was found in the area last year. New this year is the inclusion of Harned Hall, which will highlight biological disciplines such as ornithology, botany, microscopy, microbiology and evolutionary biology.
State of Black Men Symposium part of Black History Month celebrations at Mississippi State
In celebration of Black History Month, Mississippi State's Men of Excellence student organization is presenting its bi-annual State of Black Men Symposium Tuesday, Feb. 18 at Colvard Student Union. Themed "Breaking Barriers But Accepting Challenges," the daylong program is free and open to the public. Advance registration is encouraged for non-university affiliates at Various discussions of relevant issues from the perspective of male minority students will take place. Sponsored by MSU's Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, the symposium culminates in Colvard Student Union Ballroom S and U with a 6 p.m. keynote address by motivational speaker, leadership trainer and author Samuel Jones.
Oktibbeha County Lake dam's structural issues go back decades, with funding main holdup to repair
The Oktibbeha County Lake Dam that came close to breaching and forcing a mass evacuation in January has had structural problems since it was built in 1965, and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has been notifying county supervisors of this since 1985. The emergency spillways are too small, the slopes on both sides of the levee are too steep and the box culvert under the County Lake Road bridge is cracking and coming apart, according to MDEQ and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspection reports. "Almost every communication that we've ever had with the board of supervisors since (1985) continued to have that same message," said William McKercher, chief of the MDEQ dam safety division. "I think as with most things, it's been an issue of funding (as to) why they didn't do anything to address that. There's always been discussion and plans on how to do it, but there's just never been funding available."
Mississippians warned to brace for heavy rain, flash flooding, storms
While residents in several counties of the state are still dealing with the last round of severe weather that swept through Wednesday, with nine confirmed tornadoes, Mother Nature is at it again. This week it's the likely threat of flash flooding -- and potentially severe storms. The National Weather Service Jackson says periods of heavy rain starting Monday through Thursday could mean up to 8 inches in the northern part of the state. Central Mississippi could see 3-5 inches and south Mississippi could see 1-3 inches. Such rainfall amounts are likely to wash out or close roads, flood property in flood-prone and low-lying areas and bring moderate river flooding. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency urged residents to prepare as it also issued a warning Sunday of potential heavy rainfall and flash flooding.
How an ex-pro wrestler became a top welfare official in Mississippi -- and got indicted
Nearly three years before an alleged embezzlement scheme landed them in handcuffs, Mississippi's welfare chief unilaterally decided to make a former professional wrestler a deputy administrator of the state's Department of Human Services. Brett DiBiase, 36, struggled with injuries and never made it big in wrestling, unlike his father, "The Million Dollar Man." But a few years after his career in the ring petered out, DiBiase became one of the top officials in a state agency tasked with distributing millions of dollars in public money to help poor people. It's unclear what -- if any -- qualifications DiBiase had for the job. The Clarion Ledger's attempts to reach DiBiase have been unsuccessful. His stint at MDHS was short, but the DiBiase family would continue to work with a nonprofit financially supported by MDHS for more than two years before the state auditor uncovered a "sprawling conspiracy" that allegedly bilked the government for at least $4 million.
Oxford University School executive director connected to DHS embezzlement scheme
The largest embezzlement scheme in Mississippi history has Oxford ties. Zach New, the executive director for Oxford University School, was among those arrested in connection with the Mississippi Department of Human Services embezzlement scheme where defendants are accused of stealing millions of dollars intended for the state's poor. After an eight-month investigation, special agents from the office of state auditor Shad White arrested John Davis, former Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, former DHS employee Latimer Smith, New and his mother Nancy New, along with Annie McGrew, accountant for Mississippi Community Education Center, and Brett DiBiase. Nancy New is the owner and director of the MCEC and New Learning, Incorporated, which she founded in 1991. Last April, Oxford University School announced a partnership and its incorporation into New Learning Resource School District (NLRSD), which is based out of Jackson and is an accredited school district with the Mississippi Department of Education. The EAGLE spoke with OUS headmaster Chris Kidd on Friday evening. Kidd said he was not able to discuss much and did not know many details, but did say the school would remain open for now.
One day after welfare officials exposed for fraud, lawmakers take aim at recipients
Less than 24 hours after officials revealed a state agency leader allegedly allowed subcontractors to steal millions intended for poor Mississippians, lawmakers advanced legislation to heighten scrutiny of public assistance applicants. The bill, authored by Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, would give the State Auditor's office new authority to examine income tax returns to determine eligibility for public assistance programs such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Senate Finance Committee passed the bill Thursday at the request of state Auditor Shad White, whose office investigated the case and arrested six people on embezzlement and fraud charges. The bill was originally filed in January.
Gov. Tate Reeves 'shocked' by wasteful MDOC spending
Gov. Tate Reeves says an initial review of the Mississippi Department of Corrections' books since he's taken office shows stunning financial waste and general mismanagement in recent years, even as prison officials requested more funding from lawmakers. "In time, when we understand the full scope of the issues, I will be eager to share all of that information with you," Reeves told reporters at a Thursday news conference. "I will just say this for now: The fears we had in the legislative branch have been confirmed -- money that was intended for the front lines, too often, did not reach there. We are going to fix that." The Republican governor said an investigation has begun to understand the full extent of the alleged waste, and more details would be released soon. But initial findings by his staff and others include what appear to be an excessive number of vehicles owned by the department, executive-level positions that appear to have received surprising amounts of compensation time payments in recent years, and other "commodities and expenditures" that may have been inappropriate.
Analysis: Mississippi gov wants scrutiny of prison spending
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has ordered a thorough review of spending in the state Department of Corrections, questioning whether money has been wasted in a prison system that has been plagued by violence and shoddy living conditions for some inmates. "I am, if nothing else, a budget hawk," Reeves told reporters Thursday in Jackson. "I hate spending other people's money." Reeves inherited a mess with the prison system when he took office last month. It's one partly of his own making because he was lieutenant governor the past eight years and had a significant role in writing laws and setting state budgets. Reeves said Thursday that an initial review of spending practices found the Department of Corrections might have given compensatory time payments to people on the higher end of its pay scale. He also questioned whether the department needs the 60 vehicles he said it has.
What Happens When QAnon Seeps From the Web to the Offline World
A city council member in California took the dais and quoted from QAnon, a pro-Trump conspiracy theory about "deep state" traitors plotting against the president, concluding her remarks, "God bless Q." A man spouting QAnon beliefs about child sex trafficking swung a crowbar inside a historic Catholic chapel in Arizona, damaging the altar and then fleeing before being arrested. And outside a Trump campaign rally in Florida, people in "Q" T-shirts stopped by a tent to hear outlandish tales of Democrats' secretly torturing and killing children to extract a life-extending chemical from their blood. What began online more than two years ago as an intricate, if baseless, conspiracy theory that quickly attracted thousands of followers has since found footholds in the offline world. QAnon has surfaced in political campaigns, criminal cases, merchandising and at least one college class.
House Democrats won't resurrect earmarks this year
Lawmakers won't get to insert special projects for their districts into spending bills this year after all, following weeks of internal discussions and some momentum among House Democrats. "While a tight time frame means the Appropriations Committee will not include community projects in fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, there is near-unanimous support in the Democratic Caucus for launching community project funding in the 117th Congress. In the coming months, appropriators will work closely with bipartisan Members to develop consensus around an accountable, effective, and transparent process for community project funding in fiscal year 2022," a House Democratic aide said Friday. The decision marks the second year in a row House Democrats appeared close to bringing back congressionally directed spending -- now rebranded "community project funding" -- before ultimately deciding against it. The practice has been absent from appropriations bills for nearly a decade, since it fell into political disfavor after several lobbying scandals.
$56 million from USDA to help farmers improve water quality
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest $56 million this year to help agricultural producers improve water quality in more than 300 high-priority watersheds across the country. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is continuing two of its successful landscape-level water quality efforts, the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative and National Water Quality Initiative. This year, NRCS will make available $17.5 million to producers in 13 states: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin. MRBI supports each state's nutrient loss reduction strategy with overall goals of improving water quality, restoring wetlands and enhancing wildlife habitat while ensuring economic viability of agricultural lands along the nation's largest river. The nation's largest hypoxic zone, or low-oxygen area, sits at the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Here's what you need to know about UM's new mandatory diversity and inclusion training
A new mandate from the University of Mississippi requires that every student must take a diversity and inclusion training course, and not doing so could jeopardize a student's ability to register for classes for the next semester. This campus-wide requirement to participate in the training was proposed by Provost Noel Wilkin and Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement Katrina Caldwell after a picture emerged of university students in front of a bullet-riddled Emmett Till memorial and the murder of Ole Miss student Ally Kostial. The Council of Academic Administrators, which includes deans, faculty and students, voted on and approved the required training. According to Shawnboda Mead, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the university viewed this as an opportunity to ensure that each student was able to have engagement with these topics in alignment with the university's values of creating and supporting an inclusive campus environment for all.
Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics announces spring schedule
The spring slate of programs at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics will include several discussions on important people and historical moments throughout the world of journalism, including another appearance by Shepard Smith. The spring schedule was announced by the Overby Center on Wednesday, and will begin on Feb. 18 and run through April 7 with six diverse programs. "This spring's programs offer great conversations with and about nationally recognized experts," said Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center. "The audience will also have an opportunity to join these conversations." Making one of his first public appearances since leaving Fox News last fall, Shepard Smith is returning to the University of Mississippi after speaking with students last October. The program, titled "Shepard Smith Comes Home," will take place on March 31 and feature a discussion with Overby and Curtis Wilkie as Smith talks about his career in broadcast journalism.
U. of Mississippi Medical Center offering free cancer screenings to uninsured women
The University of Mississippi Medical Center is offering free cancer screenings for uninsured and underinsured women. According to a news release from UMMC, the Department of Pathology and the Cancer Center and Research Institute are offering free cervical, breast and oral cancer screenings for uninsured and underinsured women from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 25. The screenings are part of the College of American Pathologists Foundation See, Test and Treat program. Women will be given their results that day. UMMC caregivers and community providers will offer health information from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. that includes education about available community resources, diet and physical fitness. Additional education will be provided on women's cancer screenings.
Belhaven University names scholarship for best selling author Angie Thomas
New York Times Best Selling Author Angie Thomas says Jackson will always be home. We caught up with her Friday in between her travels around the country and the world. Thomas is hoping to inspire other writers with a scholarship being offered at Belhaven University. This month Angie Thomas will appear in Elle Magazine with several other award winning authors. Thomas said, "had you told me years ago that I would be in Elle Magazine, I would not have believed you. You know even being here as a student at Belhaven, studying Creative Writing, wanting to tell stories, wanting to write books, that wouldn't have crossed my mind, so that was a dream come true." Since the success of her first book "The Hate U Give", Thomas has traveled around the world. "The Hate U Give film has touched more people than I realized. I've been in countries all over the world where people have told me they've watched the movie. I was in Paris about a week ago", Thomas said. Thomas says Jackson will always be home and she wants to help bring opportunity and hope.
Jones, South Alabama sign admissions agreement
Jones College and the University of South Alabama have formed a new partnership to give students more ways to earn a bachelor's degree at USA. Friday, administrators from both schools signed a "Pathway USA" agreement. The goal is to make direct admission easier for Jones College students who've completed their studies at the associate degree level. It also creates an early acceptance program for Jones College nursing students who want a bachelor's degree at USA. "This pathway, if it all lines up, a student can earn a B.S. degree with one more semester after Jones, or one year, depending on how they do that," said Jesse Smith, president of Jones College. "It is an incredible, incredible opportunity for our students." "It gives them a route and a much cheaper route to get the B.S.N. degree along with the R.N. that they will have received (at Jones College)," said Tony Waldrop, president of the University of South Alabama.
Auburn trustees approve change of Jay Gogue's presidential title
The Auburn University Board of Trustees approved a proposal to remove the interim designation of Jay Gogue's title at its Feb. 7 meeting on the Auburn University at Montgomery campus. The motion comes following discussion from board members at a Nov. 22, 2019, meeting in which the proposal was raised by Charles McCrary, chair of the trustees' executive committee. The title change means Gogue is now the 20th president of the University after having served as 18th president from 2007 to 2017. Brian Keeter, executive director of public affairs, said "a timetable has not yet been determined" for selecting a new president. "A national presidential search is typically a nine to 12-month process from the date that it begins," Keeter said in an email statement.
Auburn University honored by national community group
Auburn University's local work has been recognized again by a prominent national group. The Carnegie Foundation has renewed the university's Community Engagement Classification through 2026. "This prestigious distinction recognizes Auburn's critical outreach role in engaging the university's knowledge base and expertise directly with communities to solve pressing societal problems and improve the quality of life for the public we serve," said Royrickers Cook, Auburn's associate provost and vice president for university outreach. Some of Auburn's outreach programs include summer camps, college prep and job training, he said. OLLI, the Other Lifelong Learning Institute, also is an example of Auburn outreach, Cook said.
Florida bill could make college, university president searches private
Florida's public college and university students won't know their school's candidates for president until later in the selection process if a proposed bill passes. In January, the Florida Senate education committee approved State Bill 774 in a 6-1 vote. The bill explains that state colleges and universities would keep personal information of the presidential applicants and discussion involving the selection of applicants secret. Only the information of the finalists for the position would be released to the public, according to the bill. It still must go through two committees and receive support from Florida's chambers and Gov. Ron DeSantis before it can become law. Some Floridians are concerned that a lack of transparency could negatively affect how future college and university presidents are chosen.
Peter Brews of U. of South Carolina's Moore School of Business: 'Excellence all over the building'
For six years, Peter Brews has been leading the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina through a series of transformations. In the post-recession environment of the past decade, enrollment has risen so quickly that it had to be capped. The school itself moved to an elegant new building in Columbia's Vista. Brews also has overseen a major revision of how the school educates undergraduates, switching to a four-year program instead of a concentration in business classes for junior and senior years. He also reportedly was a semifinalist last year to become president at USC, which hired retired West Point Superintendent Bob Caslen. In a recent interview Brews, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, explained how the school, and America, have changed during his tenure. The interview has been edited for space and clarity.
U. of Missouri System president predicts modest growth in Columbia campus enrollment
The University of Missouri's Columbia campus will likely see modest growth in first-time freshmen enrollment in the fall, UM System President Mun Choi told the Board of Curators at its meeting this week. The campus last fall saw its first increase in total enrollment since 2015, an important step toward stability after a decline of almost 6,000 over the previous three years. The applications received so far show that trend will continue, Choi said. He estimated Thursday that between 5,600 and 5,800 students entering college for the first time would enroll in August. In the fall 2019 semester, first-time students totaled 5,432. Choi also promoted a system-wide effort called Project Unify. "The goal is to increase student success seamlessly across all campuses," Choi said. Pending in the project is aligning summer registration dates among campuses and addressing differences in how each of the four campuses treat students with outstanding balances for tuition, books or other costs.
Demonstrators gather to protest live animal use at U. of Missouri
Eight demonstrators gathered at 11 a.m. Thursday in front of Memorial Union to protest the University of Missouri's medical residency program's use of live animals to train residents on emergency procedures. The demonstration was organized by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and was held at the same time the UM Board of Curators was meeting in Memorial Union. The MU Emergency Medicine Residency program uses up to six pigs every year to train residents on emergency procedures that are very serious but rarely happen, MU spokesperson Christian Basi said. Kerry Foley, a volunteer physician with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, said that 96% of medical residency programs in the U.S. and Canada have replaced live animals with simulators for training. Foley said this number comes from surveys conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Basi said MU questions the validity of the committee's statistics.
East Carolina trustees reprimanded over student election meddling
The University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted on Friday to censure a trustee of East Carolina University, one of its constituent institutions. Another trustee resigned. The two men in question, Phil Lewis, who resigned, and Robert Moore, who was censured, were both accused of meddling in student government elections at ECU by offering campaign contributions to a former student government president if she ran again and agreed to support them. The student government president is a member of the ECU Board of Trustees. Their goal was to shift the board's leadership. Censuring Moore was the strongest action the Board of Governors could take, as he was appointed as an ECU trustee by the state Legislature and could not be removed by the Board of Governors. The news was first reported by North Carolina paper The News & Observer. Jeff Popke, a professor of geography and chair of the faculty at ECU, said that the actions of the trustees and the recent commentary around the university -- with one editorial calling the college "a great embarrassment" -- have taken an enormous toll on university morale.
Top Producers of Fulbright U.S. Scholars and Students, 2019-20
Several colleges have seen an increase this year in their numbers of award recipients in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar and Fulbright U.S. Student Programs. The exchange programs are sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Eight doctoral, two master's, seven baccalaureate, and two special-focus institutions, all highlighted with boldfaced text, were top producers of both U.S. scholars and U.S. students in 2019-20. Among the top-producing doctoral institutions of Fulbright U.S. students, 16 have been on the top-producing list every year for the past 10 years. They are Arizona State University; Boston College; Brown, Columbia, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford, Villanova, and Yale Universities; Rutgers University at New Brunswick; and the Universities of California at Berkeley, Chicago, Michigan at Ann Arbor, and North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Nine baccalaureate institutions have also been top producers of Fulbright U.S. students every year for the past 10 years. They are Amherst, Hamilton, Oberlin, Pitzer, Pomona, Smith, Swarthmore, Vassar, and Williams Colleges.
Pedro Mago named new dean of WVU Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Pedro J. Mago, a distinguished higher education leader and expert in energy systems and sustainability, has been selected as the next leader of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. He most recently has served as department head and PACCAR Chair Professor at Mississippi State University. His WVU appointment will begin July 1. Mago is currently a tenured professor and head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at MSU, the largest department in the Bagley College of Engineering and the third-largest department at the university. He has served in that role as well as the PACCAR Chair Professor since 2014. His research area has been on energy systems and is currently focused on combined heat and power systems, building energy simulation and waste heat recovery technologies.
Speaker Philip Gunn should stick to his guns regarding retirees
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: Speaker of the House Philip Gunn is right to bow up about state retirees serving in the Legislature. ... Gunn's legal argument may not hold, but he should stick to his guns for now. Everything related to legislators and retirement should be reformed first. And with retirees already dominating the PERS board, they don't need more influence in the Legislature until PERS' severe financial problems are fixed. A sensible reform would legally define legislators as part-time employees earning less than half a full-time salary. That would allow retirees to serve with full benefits while reducing taxpayers' cost since unretired legislators currently accrue PERS benefits at full-time rates plus have their own supplemental plan (SLRP).
Teacher groups, education advocates feeling good about new 'public education friendly' Legislature
Bobby Harrison writes for Mississippi Today: On the day that the Senate recently passed a $76.9 million proposal to give teachers an annual $1,000 pay raise, members rose to ask to be added as co-authors -- not an uncommon practice on popular bills. As new Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann tried to list all the requests for co-authors so the Senate staff could have a record, he finally gave up and asked for a show of hands of anyone who did not want to be a co-author. No hands were raised. Hosemann then praised the Senate for the passage of the bill -- one of the few taken up this session. At that point, senators rose to give a round of applause -- perhaps to Hosemann for leading on the issue or perhaps to themselves for the passage of the bipartisan bill that originally was authored by Senate Education Chair Dennis DeBar Jr., R-Leakesville, and by Vice Chair David Blount, D-Jackson. ... Not lost in the accolades was the fact that the 2019 session ended with many education groups upset with the $1,500 increase provided that session. Many argued it was not enough. What gives?
Reeves squarely facing some big issues out of the gate
Frank Corder writes for Y'all Politics: January was a tough year, but we made it. That sums up Tate Reeves' first few weeks in office as Governor of Mississippi. ... February isn't looking much easier. ... The first three weeks of his tenure as Governor are probably not going as he had drawn it up. Large logistical issues like naming agency heads and making personnel decisions that affect thousands of government employees still loom large on the calendar. But from taking decisive actions on Corrections to the most recent corruption scandal at DHS, Reeves appears capable of handling complex executive decisions and hitting issues head on.

No. 8 Mississippi State erases big deficit, beats No. 16 A&M
No. 8 Mississippi State was struggling to produce on both ends of the court for the better part of three quarters against No. 16 Texas A&M and needed a good shot in the arm. That's when Myah Taylor came alive. The sophomore point guard picked the pocket of A&M's Shambria Washington with 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter and sparked an 11-2 run into the fourth quarter. That turned a 10-point deficit into an eventual 69-57 win that gave Bulldogs coach Vic Schaefer one of the sweetest victories of the year. "Myah Taylor was the best player in the gym (Sunday). I am so proud of her," Schaefer said. "You'd have to know Myah's path and how hard it is to play point guard for me. It's just not easy, but lately she's played so well. I thought she took over the game. Both ends of the floor."
'You could not kill our will': Mississippi State women survive slugfest with No. 16 Texas A&M
Vic Schaefer lost it. Racing off the sideline with the thunderous thump of his dress shoes crashing into the hardwood floor beneath him, Schaefer threw high fives that mimicked haymakers as Mississippi State celebrated a three-point fourth quarter lead over Texas A&M Sunday. In unison, the 8,400 fans in attendance collectively exploded in approval as the fiery eighth-year head coach and his youthful No. 8-ranked MSU squad (22-3, 10-1 SEC) downed the visiting No. 16 Aggies (18-5, 6-3 SEC) 69-57. "We believed in these days, like today," Schaefer said of his mindset when he left Texas A&M for Starkville in 2012. With a collection of pink pom poms enveloping Humphrey Coliseum as MSU celebrated breast cancer awareness day, the wiry plastic was left mostly at bay through the game's opening 20 minutes as the Bulldogs slogged through the first half Sunday. On a day in which the Bulldogs were, in Schaefer's words, "taken to the woodshed," MSU added another line to its NCAA Tournament resume and reminded onlookers of their place amongst the SEC's elite. "I thought you could not kill our will tonight," Schaefer said, choking up with each ensuing word.
How Mississippi State erased a 12-point deficit to beat Texas A&M
Vic Schaefer was searching for an answer. Andra Espinoza-Hunter? Aliyah Matharu? Mississippi State trailed Texas A&M late in the first half at Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday afternoon, and Schaefer put that duo on the floor. The first is a junior who has played fewer than 10 minutes in four of the last six games. The second is a true freshman whose minutes have dwindled as conference play has progressed. They were joined by three other bench players. Neither Espinoza-hunter nor Matharu scored. They were unable to provide what Schaefer desperately wanted them to. The Bulldogs subsequently trailed by 11 at the break. "It was really bad, in my mind," Schaefer said. "We just weren't good." Schaefer still searched in the second half when he trotted out freshman guard Jayla Hemingway. Mississippi State continued to trail by double digits, so it seemed perplexing to turn the player who is dead last on the roster in minutes played per game. His players had to answer the bell to mount a comeback. And they did.
'My team': Why Vic Schaefer was so fired up during Mississippi State's win over Texas A&M
Fists flying, feet kicking, screams spewing. Vic Schaefer, as animated as he can be throughout the course of a game, usually doesn't get that fired up. "I can't do it all night or I'll die," he said. "I can't do it. My heart rate won't make it, as good of shape as I'm in." But he did it Sunday against Texas A&M. And he did a whole lot of it. "Yeah, I got a little juiced," he said. "I was excited." Schaefer couldn't hide emotions as his Mississippi State Bulldogs erased a 12-point deficit to beat the Aggies by the same margin in front of a home crowd of 8,400 at Humphrey Coliseum. He didn't want to hide them either. He let them fly. The height of his emotional display was when freshman forward Rickea Jackson grabbed an offensive rebound and banked a bunny off the board to force an Aggie timeout. Schaefer cranked his right arm back, bent at the knees and released a fist pump Tiger Woods would be proud of. "I think my emotion tonight is more about my team and my university," said Schaefer.
Bulldogs rally at home to beat Vandy
Mississippi State has developed a habit of falling behind in the first half only to rally back in the second. Saturday night was no different for the Bulldogs. Vanderbilt went into halftime up by four only to watch MSU surge back for an 80-70 win, the Bulldogs' fifth comeback victory in the second half this season. "It's getting old, I don't like having to come from behind like that," said MSU guard Nick Weatherspoon. "It does make us come out harder. We really need to try to start avoiding that. That's something that we talk about before the game but that's just how things have gone. We're trying to get better at that though." State (15-8, 6-4 SEC) was actually up eight with nine minutes remaining in the first half. But the Commodores were able to close on a 12-2 run and went into intermission up 35-31. MSU returns to action at Ole Miss on Tuesday at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.
Reggie Perry lifts Mississippi State in home win over Vanderbilt
A few days after playing one of his worst games of the season, Mississippi State's Reggie Perry put the Bulldogs on his back. The sophomore forward lifted MSU (15-8, 6-4 SEC) out of yet another halftime deficit with a quick 12 points five minutes into the second half and finished with a game-high 25 points and 11 rebounds in his team's 80-70 win over Vanderbilt (9-14, 1-9) Saturday at Humphrey Coliseum. Perry, a 6-foot-10 SEC Player of the Year candidate, is also morphing into a big man whom the Bulldogs trust to take technical foul free throws, as he shot a dependable 8 of 9 from the line. "Coach Howland wanted us to keep the ball moving and getting the ball to the high post," Perry said. "Early in the game, we made good back cuts, and I think I did a decent job delivering the ball. I just have to cut down on the turnovers." Perry finished 7 of 10 from the floor and 3 of 5 from 3-point range while chipping in six assists and four blocks.
Mississippi State's Reggie Perry continues SEC Player of the Year case
Jerry Stackhouse sensed it unraveling. Mississippi State sophomore forward Reggie Perry popped a three from the right wing and looked over his left shoulder at Stackhouse, who was causing a ruckus near the Vanderbilt bench. The Commodores' coached received a technical foul for his uncontrolled ranting. That sent Perry to the line for two free throws. He buried both to increase the MSU lead to eight points. The spurt of five points in a row came in the middle of a string of 12 consecutive points for Perry. It was that kind of night for the SEC Player of the Year candidate. Perry's second-half surge had Stackhouse up in arms, and it gave Mississippi State a 80-70 win over visiting Vandy. While Perry's play agonized Stackhouse, it greatly pleased MSU head coach Ben Howland of course. Howland praised Perry for much more than his 25 points and 11 rebounds, marking an SEC-leading 13th double-double.
Reggie Perry lifts Mississippi State over Vanderbilt 80-70
Reggie Perry had 25 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high six assists to lead Mississippi State to an 80-70 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Perry was 7 of 10 from the floor and 8 of 9 at the free throw line. He also notched his SEC-high 12th double-double of the season and has 22 career double-doubles. Nick Weatherspoon added a season-high 21 points for the Bulldogs (15-8 overall, 6-4 in the SEC) while Tyson Carter had 16. "Coach (Ben) Howland told us to keep the ball moving and get the ball in the high post," said Perry. "We wanted to stretch the defense and we made some shots to help get them out of their zone. I felt some lanes were open early in the game, too, and I tried to deliver the ball on our backcuts." The Bulldogs return to the road and travel to rival Ole Miss on Tuesday.
Mississippi State softball run-rules NC State, wins NFCA Leadoff Classic
Chloe Malau'ulu got things started, Candace Denis ended them, and Grace Fagan excelled in between to give the Mississippi State softball team a 9-0 win over North Carolina State on Sunday at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Florida. Denis' three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth put the Bulldogs (4-0) over the eight-run threshold for the mercy rule, summarily ending the game. That gave Mississippi State its fourth straight victory to start the season and earned the Bulldogs the championship trophy for the NFCA Leadoff Classic, based on their plus-5.5 average run differential. "I saw a lot of really good things from our team this weekend," head coach Samantha Ricketts said in a news release from the school. "I really like what our pitching staff did. I thought Coach Josh [Johnson] and them have really been working hard. He called a great game, and they've really bought in and were mixing speeds and locations." The Bulldogs will host Alabama State at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Nusz Park in Starkville, the team's home opener for the 2020 season.
Mississippi State softball wins first three games at NFCA Leadoff Classic
The Mississippi State softball team missed its first chance to finish off Louisville in Saturday afternoon's game at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Florida. The Bulldogs didn't miss their second. Mississippi State took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, but a single and an error put runners on first and second with none out. After junior pitcher Emily Williams, who entered in relief of Troy transfer Annie Willis, induced a pop-up and recorded a strikeout, Williams allowed a single to load the bases and walked in the tying run, sending the game to extra innings. Using the international tiebreaker in which a runner is automatically placed on second base to start each extra inning, the Bulldogs scratched across a run in their half of the eighth. Louisville landed runners on the corners, but Williams bore down and retired the next three hitters to clinch a hard-earned 3-2 win for Mississippi State (3-0) over Louisville (1-3). The win preserved a perfect start to the weekend tournament for the Bulldogs with the exception of Friday night's 4-0 loss to Team USA in an exhibition game. Fortunately for Mississippi State, that one won't count in the standings.
A first in Alabama: Tiger fans can now get LSU license plates in enemy territory
People ask Kenny Haynes all the time: What's it like being an LSU fan in Alabama? "It keeps you sharp," Haynes said. "You keep an ear out for like-minded folk." The Webster Parish native and LSU alumnus has lived in Birmingham since 1998, putting him on the turf of two schools -- the University of Alabama and Auburn University --- that take college football as seriously as his alma mater. "Over here, you're looking for a way to stick your chest out a little bit," Haynes said. One day, Haynes saw an Alabama license plate with Mississippi State regalia. He thought, "Why don't we have a tag?" Haynes, the vice president of the Greater Birmingham LSU Alumni Chapter, decided to launch a campaign to get an LSU license plate behind enemy lines. And, after getting the needed 250 commitments to buy the plates, that campaign is now officially a success. The law allowing the school-themed plates took effect in 2014, said Frank Miles, public information manager with the Alabama Department of Revenue. Mississippi State was the first school to win approval.
SEC Network, Greg Sankey react to analyst's 'inappropriate' gymnastics 'scantily clad girls' remark
The SEC commissioner and the SEC Network each made statements over the weekend in response to a comment made by the network basketball analyst Barry Booker. In the first half of Arkansas' game at Missouri on Saturday, the SEC Network was promoting coverage of an SEC gymnastics between No. 7 Alabama and No. 15 Arkansas set for Feb. 14. "Go hang out with the ladies," Booker said. "I want to go see some scantily clad girls." Announcer Richard Cross immediately said gymnastics is "one of the great family atmospheres in all of college athletics." Greg Sankey, the SEC commissioner, called the comments "inappropriate." "The comments related to the sport of women's gymnastics made by basketball analyst Barry Booker during yesterday's telecast of the Arkansas at Missouri men's basketball games are inappropriate and do not meet the expectations we have for the SEC Network," Sankey said in a statement.
Auburn board approves statues of Cliff Hare, Ralph 'Shug' Jordan, and Pat Dye
The Auburn Board of Trustees unanimously approved a request Friday from Auburn Athletics to commission statues of former Auburn greats Cliff Hare, Ralph "Shug" Jordan, and Pat Dye. The location and project schedule are not yet determined. "We are appreciative of the Board of Trustees' approval to recognize and honor the greatness of Cliff Hare, Shug Jordan and Pat Dye," Auburn Athletics Director Allen Greene said. "Each made immeasurable and endless contributions that have made Auburn such a special place and we look forward to honoring them." One of Dye's most important achievements as Auburn's Athletics Director was the permanent move of Auburn's home games against Alabama to Jordan-Hare Stadium. The first time Auburn hosted Alabama in Jordan-Hare Stadium was on December 2, 1989, the first time in 41 years that the Iron Bowl had not been played at Birmingham's Legion Field.
UGA to add season tickets for football
Georgia is cutting back on visiting team allotments in Sanford Stadium and turning them into football season tickets. Donors on Friday were being notified via email of the change. That means Auburn and Tennessee -- the two highest profile opponents on the Bulldogs 2020 home schedule -- will see their allotments decreased from 7,500 tickets to 6,000 after Georgia informed those schools of the changes. South Carolina and Kentucky returned a significant number of tickets last year. Some nonconference opponents have had allotments as low as 1,000. "It's really handicapped us in what we can do with season ticket sales because we've got this variable number on the visiting allotment," said Josh Brooks, Georgia senior deputy athletic director. "It will open up some more opportunities, a full package. This will allow us to create new season ticket inventory that we haven't had before."
Baylor to Suspend 14 Baseball Players Because of a Hazing Incident
Baylor University will suspend 14 baseball players during the upcoming season because of a hazing incident from last year, school officials announced Friday. The incident happened in February 2019, and officials said they became aware of it three months later. They said a full investigation took place, but did not offer details about the hazing incident, only saying alcohol and drugs were not involved. Baylor, the nation's largest Baptist university, has been under public scrutiny in recent years after it was accused of failing to properly investigate sexual assault allegations against members of the football team and other students. The scandal resulted in the firing of the football coach at the time, Art Briles, and the resignation of Athletic Director Ian McCaw. The university president, Ken Starr, was demoted and then resigned.
'A nightmare for college athletics': Congress may step in as dozens of states could allow NCAA athletes to be paid
College sports wants a new referee: Congress. Some 30 states, from New York to Nebraska, are weighing competing proposals on student athlete compensation, with their legislative sessions in full swing. California already passed a law that says NCAA players can make endorsements or pitch merchandise without risking their scholarships or eligibility. Those pushing Congress to move say such a mishmash of state laws would create an uneven landscape for recruiting athletes. A school in one state could offer a hot prospect better options than a cross-border rival. The result might be monumental opportunities for young athletes, or as some NCAA officials argue, an existential crisis for college sports. A Senate subcommittee hearing set for Tuesday will bring NCAA President Mark Emmert, Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod to Washington to lay out their views.

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