Wednesday, February 12, 2020   
Rotary Classic Rodeo biggest ever
A Starkville staple for 14 years, the Rotary Class Rodeo came and went last weekend, bringing people and dollars to the area. The Starkville Rotary Club estimates the annual event generates about $24,000, which the club then puts back into the community through service and support, and creates approximately $750,000 in economic impact for local businesses affected by travelers. Grant Arinder, vice president of the Starkville Rotary Club, said he was unsure of the exact attendance of this year's rodeo but having himself attended the event Friday and Saturday, expected the numbers to potentially be the strongest ever. Mississippi Horse Park Facility Director Bricklee Miller said last weekend's Rotary Classic Rodeo was "standing room only."
Heavy rain spurs flooding across area as situation worsens at Oktibbeha County Lake
A sustained system of heavy rain is raising new concerns as the water level at the Oktibbeha County Lake continues to rise and threaten the lake's strained dam. Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Director Kristen Campanella said she was informed by County Engineer Clyde Pritchard on Tuesday that the lake level has exceeded the level at which the initial landslide occurred, rising over eight and a half feet from the lowest elevations during the county's efforts to drain the lake. Over the last three weeks, emergency officials used multiple pumps running around the clock to lower the lake, but with intermittent bouts of heavy rain, the process has proven challenging. She did say following an inspection Tuesday morning, no new signatures of distress had been detected at the dam. However, Pritchard and other county officials remain concerned for the dam's structural integrity and the area remains under a watch status.
Starkville collects rainfall data in light of last year's rain events
Starkville's engineering department recently started collecting data on the intensity of the rainfall the area has been receiving in order to better calculate runoff and understand how rain events affect city infrastructure, city engineer Edward Kemp said. 2019 was "the wettest year on record" in Starkville, state meteorologist Mike Brown said. The city has seen more rain at the beginning of a year than it has in 2020, but this year's volume of rain seems greater when added to the saturation of last year, he said. "The ground can only absorb so much water at any given time, and right now we're probably near or over capacity in most places," said Brown, also a professor of meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University. "Almost anything that falls now is going to be runoff." The city will measure rainfall in inches per hour, not just inches per day, Kemp said.
Storms causing traveling woes across Central Mississippi
This week's storms are causing traveling woes across Central Mississippi. Highways and roads are being temporarily shut down due to flooding problems. One of those highways is Highway 16 east of Carthage, which serves as a main road for drivers traveling east. "I just think it is bad, it is really bad. I haven't seen it this bad since 1979," said a Leake County resident. The weather disrupting travel in Leake County and residents are not happy about it. More than ten county roads are now closed. Highway 16, the main thoroughfare from Carthage to Philadelphia, was also temporarily shut down. EMA Director Tommy Malone says heavy rain is overflowing a nearby creek and causing the highway to flood. "It was about four to six inches at one time. Anytime, especially with a smaller vehicle, when you get this type of water and everything, you can drown out and we didn't want to have people's lives at stake out here," said EMA Director Tommy Malone.
Pearl River is at flood stage already, and more rain is coming
Metro Jackson is under an elevated threat for flash flooding through Thursday, which will likely continue through to early next week as more rain inundates the area. Officials fear already saturated ground could lead to more flooding, even with moderate rainfall. They're also monitoring the Pearl River, which is expected to again rise to near-historic levels from prolonged rainfall. The river is expected to crest at 35.5 feet on Saturday, or just 7 inches below a major flood stage, according to the National Weather Service. The normal flood stage of the Pearl is 28 feet. It was at 28.21 feet Tuesday afternoon. The central Mississippi region is expected to see between 4 to 6 inches of rainfall by early Thursday morning, said Alan Campbell with the National Weather Service. Another 1 to 3 inches is expected to fall on the region Sunday and Monday, NWS Senior System Hydrologist Marty Pope said. That amount of rain could lead to more flash flooding, especially if it comes down in heavy bursts.
Mississippi could verify income of people getting public aid
Mississippi senators clashed Tuesday before passing a bill to let the state auditor see tax returns to verify the income of people enrolled in Medicaid or other public assistance programs. Supporters said the plan is designed to ensure people are not receiving benefits if they earn too much money. But critics questioned the timing and said Mississippi is looking for waste in the wrong place. The debate happened days after Auditor Shad White announced that the former director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services and five other people had been indicted on charges tied to misspending of millions of public dollars that should have been spent to help poor people. "The timing is awful," said Republican Sen. Josh Harkins of Flowood, sponsor of the bill that passed Tuesday. Harkins said he had been working with White since last month on the proposal to verify the income of people receiving Medicaid or aid from two programs administered by the Department of Human Services.
Lawmakers open to full Department of Human Services audit
A proposal to subject the finances of the Mississippi Department of Human Services to strenuous examination has attracted some initial support among local legislators, but details remain fragmentary. Auditor Shad White has called on state officials to authorize a more extensive audit of DHS, something White said would fall outside the capacities of his office. "I am also calling on the Legislature to immediately require a full forensic audit of DHS by a competent private CPA firm," White wrote on Twitter early this week. "My office cannot do an audit of that magnitude any time soon and still handle our normal duties." This follows the announcement last week of criminal charges of embezzlement and fraud against John Davis, who was DHS director from 2016 to 2019. State Rep. Randy Boyd, R-Mantachie, said he has already discussed the idea with the auditor. "He said something to me about it, about sponsoring a bill in the House," said Boyd. "I feel we'll sit down and talk about it." Other Northeast Mississippi lawmakers are supportive of the idea of taking a closer look at the DHS books, even if additional spending will be needed to contract with a private accounting firm.
Legislation coming to move DMV from Public Safety to Secretary of State's office
Secretary of State Michael Watson has announced upcoming legislation regarding a proposal to transfer functions of the Department of Motor Vehicles to the Secretary of State's Office. The "SIP Plan", which stands for Service, Information and Professionalism, provides a roadmap to improve the way Mississippians get or renew their driver's licenses. The SIP Plan includes a list of proposals aimed to increase DMV efficiency, accessibility and the use of technology. Key changes include an opt-in renewal notification system, a digital license option, an updated user-friendly website, and an increase in the number of locations and functions of kiosks. Currently, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) is responsible for all driver's license services. Secretary Watson, Senator David Parker, and Representative Lee Yancey are in the final stages of drafting the bill that will encourage the Legislature to transfer the DMV to the Secretary of State's Office.
Local lawmaker files bill requiring health insurance agencies to cover costs of hearing-impaired child care
A local lawmaker has filed a bill in the Mississippi Senate that would require health insurance agencies to help cover health care costs for hearing-impaired children. Newly-elected State Sen. Kathy Chism, who represents Benton, Pontotoc and Union Counties in District 3, submitted Senate Bill 2268 in the Legislature recently. The bill requires certain health insurance policies and contracts to provide coverage and benefits to children under the age of 21 who are covered under a policy or contract of insurance. Such coverage is to be provided when the prescribing physician has issued a written order stating the dependent child is deaf or hearing impaired and treatment is medically cleared. Under the bill, coverage and benefits would cover treatment costs, including the price of hearing aids. Sen. Chism said she submitted the bill in part because she has family members who were deaf.
Gulfport to get 2nd bridge over U.S. 90 as millions announced for Coast projects
Another bridge over U.S. 90 is coming to downtown Gulfport, this time to the port, Mississippi's congressional delegation announced Tuesday. U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and Rep. Steven Palazzo said in a press release the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $15.76 million grant to improve highway access at the Port of Gulfport. That includes improvements to 1.2 miles of 30th Avenue and a grade-separated bridge over Beach Boulevard. The access will help military, commercial and freight tenants, the press release said. "The Port of Gulfport is critically important to the Mississippi Gulf Coast economy, as well as the economy of the Southeastern United States," Wicker said. "This grant will improve access to the port, making it a more attractive option for commerce and trade and improving safety for employees and visitors to the Coast." The total cost is expected to be $19.7 million, with a local match of $3.94 million by the Mississippi State Port Authority, which was awarded the grant as part of the DOT's Port Infrastructure Development Program.
Mississippi Senators promote U.S.-grown rice in U.K. trade talks
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today encouraged the Trump Administration to promote increased market access for U.S.-grown rice in trade agreement negotiations with the United Kingdom. The Mississippi Senators are among a group of Senators from rice-producing states who have signed a letter that encourages U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer "to take advantage of the rice demand in the U.K. to achieve increased market access for U.S.-grown rice through your upcoming negotiations." "Given market demand and existing relationships with Britain's importers, the U.S. rice industry stands ready to regain significant market share through these negotiations. Restoring this important export market would have a remarkably positive economic impact throughout rice country, which, like the rest of the agricultural economy, has been struggling in recent years," the Senators wrote in the letter. The Mississippi Delta is a key rice-producing region.
Senate GOP blocks three election security bills
Senate Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to unanimously pass three election security-related bills Tuesday, marking the latest attempt to clear legislation ahead of the November elections. Democrats tried to get consent to pass two bills that require campaigns to alert the FBI and Federal Election Commission (FEC) about foreign offers of assistance, as well as legislation to provide more election funding and ban voting machines from being connected to the internet. But Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) opposed each of the requests. Under the Senate's rules, any one senator can ask for unanimous consent to pass a bill, but any one senator can object and block their requests. Blackburn accused Democrats of trying to move the bills knowing that GOP lawmakers would block them and giving them fodder for fundraising efforts. Election security has become a point of contention during the Trump era. House Democrats have passed several election-related bills, including a sweeping ethics and election reform measure, but they've hit a wall in the GOP-controlled Senate.
New Hampshire primary: Bernie crashes the gates, Buttigieg cuts the line
For much of the past generation, American presidential politics has been dominated by gate-crashers and line-cutters -- leaders who didn't wait their turn, show deference to the established order, follow the traditional rules. Now, in the wake of the New Hampshire primary, the Democratic contest is about to become very interesting with a new experiment: These gate-crashers and line-cutters for the first time will be running against each other, rather than using a conventional politician as foil. The winner in New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders, is, like the man he wants to overthrow, President Donald Trump, a gate-crasher who knows the only way he will be accepted by establishment power in the party or elsewhere in American life is not by persuasion or reassurance but by beating them head-on with the votes of people who share his grievances. The runner-up, former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, is a line-cutter just like the last Democratic president, Barack Obama -- perfectly comfortable with establishment power, just not willing to wait his turn and indifferent to those who say he's promising but needs more experience.
Mike Bloomberg opens campaign office in Oxford
The first 2020 presidential campaign office in Mississippi opened this week --- and it's in Oxford. Mike Bloomberg posters outlining the Democratic presidential candidate's message, "We Like Mike" are pasted across the walls that were formerly the Merle Norman and Hallmark store on Jackson Ave. Jarrius Adams, director for Bloomberg's Mississippi campaign and a recent Ole Miss alumnus, chose Oxford as a campaign office location. "Oxford is key because of the university and community involvement. Mississippi is in its political prime with Bloomberg's attention to it. This is the largest ground gain by a presidential candidate in the state since 1976 with Jimmy Carter," Adams said. With the focus on community involvement and the people of Oxford, the campaign is hoping to utilize the local college demographic.
South Carolina mayor Stephen Benjamin stumps for Bloomberg in Southaven
While New Hampshire residents were going to the polls for the first-in-the-nation primary vote on Tuesday, Presidential politics arrived in DeSoto County for likely the first time in this election cycle, ahead of the Mississippi primary date of March 10. Supporters of Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg came to the Southern Elegance event center in Southaven to hear from one of Bloomberg's first endorsers in Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin. Benjamin, who was the city's first African-American mayor when he was initially elected in 2010, said what listeners wanted to hear: Bloomberg can beat President Donald Trump in November if the Democratic Party gives him the nomination later this year. Bloomberg, while not personally in Mississippi, has been active on the political scene in the Magnolia State. The businessman, and former mayor of New York City, has been seen frequently in television advertisements. Bloomberg also has publicly injected himself into a DeSoto County legislative race with his support of state Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray (D-Horn Lake).
White supremacist propaganda spreading, anti-bias group says
Incidents of white supremacist propaganda distributed across the nation jumped by more than 120% between 2018 and last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, making 2019 the second straight year that the circulation of propaganda material has more than doubled. The Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism reported 2,713 cases of circulated propaganda by white supremacist groups, including fliers, posters and banners, compared with 1,214 cases in 2018. The printed propaganda distributed by white supremacist organizations includes material that directly spreads messages of discrimination against Jews, LGBTQ people and other minority communities -- but also items with their prejudice obscured by a focus on gauzier pro-America imagery. The propaganda incidents tracked for the Anti-Defamation League’s report, set for release on Wednesday, encompass 49 states and occurred most often in 10 states: California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Washington and Florida.
Virginia Legislature Votes To Allow Cities To Remove Confederate Statues
Localities in Virginia are closer to having the power to remove some 220 Confederate statues and monuments in public spaces. Democrats, who took control of the House and Senate in November, passed two similar bills on near party-line votes on Tuesday. The bills generally allow cities to "remove, relocate, contextualize, cover or alter" monuments in public spaces. The House version says localities must offer the monument to museums, historical societies, governments or military battlefields for 30 days before removal. The Senate version does the same, but also has stricter provisions: a historic review, a public comment period and a requirement that the locality's governing body must have at least a two-thirds vote to authorize the change. The differences between the two will still need to be worked out. But Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, said earlier this year that he supports the idea. He says the monuments "tell a particular version of history that doesn't include everyone" and "that version of history has been given prominence and authority for far too long."
IHL trustee contributes $26M STEM donation to UM after tabling relocation vote
Last week, Institutions of Higher Learning trustee Thomas Duff and his brother Jim donated $26 million to the university toward the construction of a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics building. The 202,000-square-foot building, which is set to cost $160 million total, was originally scheduled to break ground in 2018 and open in 2020, but it has been continually delayed. Construction is now slated to begin later this year. The Duffs committed the money prior to the IHL Board of Trustees's January meeting in which the board voted to name the STEM building as the Jim and Thomas Duff Center for Science and Technology Innovation. In that same meeting, Thomas Duff motioned to delay the vote to relocate the Confederate monument on campus from the Circle to the Confederate cemetery. The vote was originally scheduled to take place during that Jan. 16 meeting. "There is no relationship at all between the STEM building gift and the decision to pull the relocation of the monument from the IHL agenda at its January meeting," university spokesperson Rod Guajardo said. "
Ole Miss is getting a new website. Here's what it will take.
The University of Mississippi's website will undergo its first major redesign in seven years, according to an unexpected announcement from Chancellor Glenn Boyce last week. After years of discussion, the redesign will have many steps to complete before the final rollout. Robby Seitz, the university's webmaster, confirmed that the university -- the marketing and communications and information technology departments, specifically -- is working on completely rebuilding the 20,000-page website, and he said that he's pleased that the chancellor has this on his agenda. Seitz said that the new website's primary focus will be to recruit prospective students. Enrollment at the university has decreased 3.5% over the past year, according to a press release from the Institutions of Higher Learning from last fall, and this is the third consecutive year that enrollment fell. "It seems like (recruiting) is really important," Seitz said.
A conversation with Millsaps' Nathan Shrader on State of the State survey
Millsaps College and Chism Strategies recently released the results of their quarterly State of the State survey. The report outlines what issues are important to Mississippians, as well as voters' thoughts on the direction of the state. To help break down that information and what it means, the Sun recently spoke with Nathan Shrader, chair of the Department of Government and Politics at Millsaps. The survey states that healthcare is the top concern of Mississippians. That being the case, why did the one candidate who opposed healthcare expansion, Tate Reeves, win as governor? "That's a fantastic question. We've seen the public take a position in polling that is very much out of alignment with the position of the majority of the state legislature, former Gov. Phil Bryant and now Gov. Reeves. That begs the question, what causes this incongruence of sorts?"
Tougaloo College visits Laurel High School
For some high school juniors and seniors, figuring out what college to attend is limited to the schools they can visit. Fortunately for some Laurel High School students, Tougaloo College came to them. Members from the Tougaloo Jazz Band and the Tougaloo Choral Group were on hand in the auditorium of the school showcasing the music offered at Tougaloo. Meanwhile, other representatives from the college met with students in the library where they were encouraged to keep their grade averages up and to consider attending Tougaloo when they graduate. Enrollment Officer for Tougaloo College, James Louis, says high school students are valuable to any community. "Students who aren't able to come to Tougaloo need to understand that they're valuable in the community," said Louis. "So Tougaloo College has to reach out to the students and help them to understand how important it is to come to Tougaloo College so they can go back and serve the community, which is one of the missions of Tougaloo College."
Could LSU have separate president, chancellor? Chair says they're considering multiple options
Baton Rouge businessman and LSU donor Richard Lipsey doesn't want the LSU Board of Supervisors to split the leadership job between chancellor and president. "Combining the jobs makes the position much more important and ensures that we can attract a truly high caliber person," Lipsey said Tuesday. A former member of the Board Regents, Lipsey was a member of the Flagship Coalition that several years ago pushed hard to make the president of the LSU System and the chancellor of the LSU Baton Rouge flagship one in the same person. The board agreed and F. King Alexander was hired in 2013 after a series of closed-door meetings. With the departure of Alexander after nearly seven years at the helm, LSU Board of Supervisors Chair Mary Werner acknowledged that some supervisors were musing about whether to uncouple and hire two people -- a president and a chancellor -- rather than one. Gov. John Bel Edwards weighed in, saying he was open to either strategy.
Arkansas Scholarship Lottery's haul for January hits $40.8 million
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery's scratch-off ticket revenue in January dropped slightly from what was collected in the same month a year ago, but draw-game ticket revenue increased, leading to total revenue of $40.8 million. Total revenue was about $225,000 higher than what was collected in the same month a year ago. Net proceeds, the amount raised for college scholarships, last month increased by about $390,000 over year-ago figures to $8.2 million, the lottery said in its monthly report to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Legislative Council's lottery oversight subcommittee. Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said that last month produced the third-largest revenue total for a January. Net proceeds tied for third place with two other months in the lottery's history. The lottery started selling tickets on Sept. 28, 2009, and helped finance Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships for more than 30,000 students in each of the past nine fiscal years. The division projects it will distribute $94.6 million to 33,315 students in fiscal 2020, which started July 1.
International applications and first-time international enrollments increase at U.S. grad schools
First-time enrollments of international students at U.S. graduate schools increased by 4 percent in fall 2019 compared to the previous fall, according to new survey results from the Council of Graduate Schools. Applications from prospective international graduate students also increased by 3 percent. While trends varied across institution types and fields of study, the overall results are good news for U.S. graduate schools, which reported declining international applications and stagnating new international enrollments over the prior two admission cycles. But the release of the data comes against a context of big changes in the climate for international recruiting, including a U.S. government ban on travel of foreign nationals from China in response to the global spread of the coronavirus. The most research-intensive doctoral universities (known as R-1 institutions) reported increases both in new international master's (5 percent) and doctoral (3 percent) students, and master's-level universities reported a 7 percent increase in new international master's students.
Sarah Lawrence College dad arrested for running sex cult out of daughter's dorm room, police say
The father of a former student at Sarah Lawrence College in New York was arrested Tuesday after he was accused of running a sex cult out of his daughter's dorm room. Lawrence Ray, 60, an ex-convict whose was the best man at the wedding of former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, was charged with nine counts of sex trafficking, extortion, forced labor and money laundering, authorities said. He was arrested at his home in Piscataway, New Jersey. He would face life behind bars if convicted. Investigators said at a morning news conference that Ray drained $1 million from the bank accounts of college kids, while subjecting them to psychological torture. The cult included forced labor, prostitution, and mentally and physically abusing his male and female victims, prosecutors said. The investigation that led to the latest charges against Ray was prompted by an article in New York magazine called "The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence." College officials said they had conducted an internal investigation following the allegations in the New York magazine article, but "the investigation did not substantiate those specific claims."
Billion dollar flooding lawsuit gets off the ground
Mississippi newspaper publisher and columnist Wyatt Emmerich writes: Five hundred Mississippi landowners scored a big victory in Natchez recently in their quest to be reimbursed a billion dollars by the federal government for flooding their land. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers was asking federal claims court judge Elaine Kaplan to dismiss the suit. After an hour of hearing both sides, Kaplan ruled that the suit could go forward. Kaplan made the ruling directly from the bench that day -- a most unusual action. Typically, judges wait weeks or months to review the arguments and then issue a written ruling. Kaplan's immediate bench ruling bodes well for the ultimate success of the lawsuit. The 100 or so plaintiffs and their attorneys who attended the hearing were almost giddy with excitement.
Is corporal punishment really the greatest problem facing Noxubee County schools?
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: State Rep. Carl Mickens of Brooksville is from the northern part of Noxubee County. A former Noxubee County circuit clerk and justice court judge, Mickens is a second-term Democratic lawmaker who is apparently quite popular with his home county's voters. Rep. Mickens introduced House Bill 12 during the 2020 regular legislative session, a bill intended to ban corporal punishment or "paddling" in Mississippi public and charter schools and "provide that any (school) employee who violates the corporal punishment prohibition shall be held liable for civil damages suffered by a student as a result of the administration of corporal punishment." House Bill 12 is co-sponsored by State Rep. Oscar Denton of Vicksburg and State Rep. Daryl Porter Jr., of Summit, both Democrats. Corporal punishment is one of those issues that rarely engender ambivalence. People either vigorously support or passionately oppose it. There's little middle ground.
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Coach Chris Lemonis previews Mississippi State's season at Starkville Rotary Club
Stepping to the podium at Starkville Country Club for Monday's Rotary Club meeting, Mississippi State baseball coach Chris Lemonis took a few moments to reflect. With the Bulldogs' season opener against Wright State slated for Friday, the platform afforded Lemonis -- who was performing his final public speech ahead of the first game of the year -- one last chance to celebrate the 2019 Diamond Dawgs. "When you go to Omaha, the offseason is fun the next year because you've had a great year," Lemonis said through a smirk. "(But) we're starting 0-0 on Friday night." Zipping over to Starkville Country Club between meetings with staffers and players, Lemonis spent not quite 30 minutes regaling onlookers with tales of last season's triumphant run to the College World Series while offering nuggets about the 2020 roster. Reminiscing on last season's Super Regional win over Stanford, he walked through the magical ninth inning spurt in which senior centerfielder Jake Mangum recorded his final hit at Dudy Noble Field before classmate Elijah MacNamee sent the crowd into a frenzy with a home run over the right field wall.
Mississippi State baseball has the pieces for 'nice depth' at infield positions
A puzzle is prettier when the pieces are in place. For the Mississippi State infield, they were scattered all over the yard in the early stages of the 2019 season. In last year's season opener, Tanner Allen started at first base, Gunner Halter at second, Jordan Westburg at shortstop and Justin Foscue at third. Allen and Westburg stayed put all season, but Foscue and Halter found new homes. Foscue shifted to third and Halter became more of a designated hitter. Marshall Gilbert assumed the third base spot. It took a while, but head coach Chris Lemonis finally found the go-to lineup in the infield that helped him get to Omaha. It sounds like he won't have as much of an issue putting the pieces together in 2020. Here's what the Diamond Dawgs should look like on the diamond this season.
Mississippi State baseball position preview: Outfielders
Baseball season has arrived. Fresh off a run to the 2019 College World Series, Mississippi State begins its latest trek toward Omaha, Nebraska, with a three-game set against Horizon League foe Wright State beginning Friday at 4 p.m. Before I jump in, a quick programming note -- leading into Opening Day, we'll break down each position group on MSU's 2020 squad. Stay tuned throughout the week to get to know the newest Bulldogs who will take the field at The Dude this spring. With that, let's get things started with the outfielders. Opening the year with 26 newcomers on the roster, the MSU outfield endured plenty of attrition over the offseason -- though the replacements ought to be familiar faces to the Bulldog faithful. With centerfielder Jake Mangum and right fielder Elijah MacNamee off to the professional ranks, coach Chris Lemonis will call on juniors Rowdey Jordan and Tanner Allen to slide into their defensive spots.
Mississippi State's Jordan Danberry tabbed to Naismith Trophy midseason team
Mississippi State's Jordan Danberry continues to make the most of the additional season she was granted by the NCAA. Danberry was selected to the Naismith Trophy Player of the Year Midseason Team on Tuesday, one of only 30 players to earn that distinction. The graduate guard from Conway, Arkansas is averaging 12.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.7 steals per game for the Bulldogs. A list of 10 semifinalists will be selected on March 3 and a group of finalists picked on March 20. The Naismith Trophy Player of the Year will be named on April 4.
Mississippi State softball moves up home opener against Alabama State
First pitch for the Mississippi State softball team's home opener Wednesday was moved up from 4 p.m. to 2 p.m. to beat bad weather forecast for the Starkville area, the team announced Tuesday. The Bulldogs are coming off a 4-0 weekend in Clearwater, Florida, where they captured the title at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Mississippi State will take on Alabama State at 2 p.m.
Mississippi State sets date, time for Maroon and White spring football game as part of Super Bulldog Weekend
Mississippi State announced a date and time for the 2020 Maroon and White spring football game on Tuesday. The contest will be played at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 11, in Davis Wade Stadium as part of the 35th annual "Super Bulldog Weekend" from April 9-11. Home contests in baseball, softball, women's tennis and volleyball are also on the schedule. The Mississippi State baseball team will host Ole Miss that weekend in Starkville with game times of 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs' softball team has a home series with Arkansas. Start times are 5 p.m. Thursday, 4 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Nusz Park. The women's tennis team will play Kentucky at 4 p.m. Thursday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
NCAA President Mark Emmert asks Senate for restriction on pay for play
NCAA President Mark Emmert urged Congress to step in and put restrictions on college athletes' ability to earn money from endorsements, telling a Senate committee Tuesday that federal action was needed to "maintain uniform standards in college sports" amid player-friendly laws approved in California and under consideration in other states. The NCAA last fall said it would allow players to "benefit" from the use of their name, image and likeness and is working on new rules that it plans to reveal in April. Under the NCAA's timeline, athletes would be able to take advantage of endorsement opportunities beginning next January. The NCAA's concern, echoed by Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who also testified Tuesday, is that endorsement deals for athletes would have a negative effect on recruiting, with schools and boosters in states with athlete-friendly laws using money to entice players to sign with certain schools.
NCAA: Mark Emmert turns to Senate committee for NIL guidance
For years, Mark Emmert has been a target for criticism from a wide swath of groups. Fans, media, players and even some school administrators have lambasted the NCAA president for the financial inequality that exists in college sports. Add to the list of critics United States senators. During a historic hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill, nearly a dozen lawmakers from the nation's most powerful legislative body grilled Emmert on a topic expected to cause seismic shifts in the landscape of college athletics -- the debate over player compensation, commonly referred to as name, image and likeness (NIL). Senators scolded Emmert for his organization's lethargic process in attacking NIL issues, strongly recommended "radical modifications" to a body that has failed and expressed concern with a host of inequalities in college sports that have existed for years.
Senators Tell N.C.A.A. to Stop Lagging and Change College Sports
It was only a few minutes into a congressional hearing on Tuesday morning when Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut did what people in college sports often like to do: He compared the past with the present. The senator, though, was not looking to flatter the National Collegiate Athletic Association. "A lot of the rhetoric and images that we hear about college sports are as antiquated as leather helmets," Senator Blumenthal, a Democrat, said. "And that makes me angry because I think the present state of college sports is exploitive." After months of threats and challenges from the country's statehouses, the N.C.A.A. faced skeptical senators on Tuesday. But for all the frustration the lawmakers projected -- over rules forbidding players from earning money from their fame, over how long it might take to change them -- Congress did not seem poised to act immediately in a debate that is central to the economy of college sports.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., has pointed exchange with NCAA president Mark Emmert
Several college athletic administrators testified before a Senate committee in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, and the most intense exchange took place between NCAA president Mark Emmert and Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee. Blackburn first focused on the NCAA's handling of sexual violence before focusing on the situation surrounding former Memphis freshman star James Wiseman and his eligibility. Wiseman was initially ruled eligible last summer, but the NCAA ruled him ineligible just before the regular season began over a $11,500 payment from then-Memphis East coach Penny Hardaway to the Wiseman family for moving expenses from Nashville to Memphis. Wiseman was suspended 12 games, and he left the university in December to prepare for the NBA Draft before his suspension ended. "I will tell you, there has been little if any transparency between James Wiseman, the University of Memphis and your organization," Blackburn said. "The way this went about, the way you arrived at your decision, when you talk about student academic success, well-being and fairness, this has been a failure for you all and the way that you have handled this."

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