Friday, February 14, 2020   
MGCCC, Mississippi State sign new academic pathways for applied science and culinary students
An academic career path just got better for more than 2,200 students at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. MGCCC has formalized an agreement with Mississippi State University to allow a way for applied science and culinary students to get a full four-year degree. The culinary program at MGCCC is tough, but a newly expanded program is about to send it to a whole new level. "Up until now, it's been kind of what you can do inside a restaurant," said instructor chef Todd Reilly. "But this is growing outside of that and growing into food science, into production, into making things shelf stable." The agreement signed on Thursday by MGCCC President Mary Graham and MSU President Mark Keenum also includes a four-year path for all 2,000 applied science students as well. Both new academic pathways will begin in the fall.
MSU Freshman Edge students complete Valentine's service project at Emerson
A group of Mississippi State University freshmen hosted a Valentine's Day activity this week benefiting both young and old members of the community. Students from the MSU Freshman Edge group spent Tuesday evening making Valentine's cards with children in the Emerson Family School's after school programs. The Valentines will be delivered to the Carrington Nursing Home today. "Our event is called 'Love From All Ages' and our idea was to get preschoolers to write some Valentine's Day cards and be with them, and after that, give the Valentine's Day cards to the nursing home on Valentine's Day so we can spread love from young kids to older adults, and be with everyone just to express love," said Freshman Edge student Meghan Thompson. "It's just a day of love." Thompson said the approximately 10 Freshman Edge students that participated had fun making the Valentine's Day cards with the children.
Mississippi State University Hosting Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival
Mississippi State University will host the 14th annual Charles H. Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival at the Mitchell Memorial Library from Thursday, Feb. 27, to Saturday, Feb. 29. The university will open the festivities on Thursday with the seventh annual Gatsby Gala at 6 p.m. in the library's main lobby. The event includes a fashion show with 1920s apparel that MSU School of Human Sciences fashion design and merchandising students designed, and that MSU Fashion Board members will model. The theme of this year's festival is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The event will feature daytime museum tours, talks, silent films, educational seminars and "meet the artists" segments in the Charles H. Templeton Sr. Music Museum at Mitchell Memorial Library on Friday and Saturday. Musicians will also perform ragtime, jazz, blues, folk and country music at 7:30 p.m. in the main-stage theater at McComas Hall on both days
Amazon ranked #1 company for 'brand intimacy'
Video: According to marketing agency MBLM, Amazon is the most "intimate" brand of 2020, beating out Disney and Apple. The agency said Amazon's "dominance and breadth of portfolio" helped create emotional bonds with its customers. Mike Breazeale, associate professor of marketing at Mississippi State University, joins CBS News with more on the study.
Grant Peterson, Trisha Pate named SHS STAR student, teacher
After being announced as Starkville High School's Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Student for his 34 ACT score, senior Grant Peterson made the unconventional move of selecting an elective teacher as his STAR Teacher. Peterson was named the STAR Student for SHS for having the highest ACT score in the school. The Mississippi Economic Council Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Foundation gives the award to students across the state. The students then select a teacher from their school as their STAR teacher. On April 23, Peterson and Starkville High School Theatre teacher Trisha Pate will attend the STAR 2020 Education Celebration in Jackson, where they will be recognized along with other STAR students and teachers. He discussed his relationship with Pate over the years, saying he actually met her before he was at SHS when she was teaching theatre in the Mississippi State University Summer Scholars program.
Pearl River projected to crest 10 feet above flood stage in metro Jackson
Streets in northeast Jackson have already taken on water and the city of Jackson, under a state of emergency issued Thursday, has ordered evacuations as the Pearl River continues to rise. "Residents who need assistance (evacuating their homes) should call 311," Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said during a news conference Thursday. Residents living in upper northeast Jackson towards the reservoir were told to leave and make plans to be away from their homes for three to four days. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's interactive map on its website shows what areas will be affected as the river rises. The city of Jackson is also under a boil water notice. More than 2,400 homes and structures in the tri-county area -- Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties -- could be affected by flooding, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
Lottery exceeding expectations in Mississippi, thus far
Through a little more than two months of operation, Mississippi's lottery has generated about $16 million in revenue for work on the state's roads and bridges. Thomas Shaheen, president of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, speaking at a legislative hearing, recently estimated that during its first full fiscal year the lottery would generate $81 million in revenue for the state. "We are very pleased with these early results," Shaheen said recently. "Retailer and player support have been fantastic in our collective efforts to raise money for roads, bridges and education needs for the state of Mississippi." Shaheen told legislators that lottery sales are exceeding expectations. The lottery began on Nov. 25 with four scratch-off games. Now there are 16 scratch-off games. Powerball and Mega Millions -- national drawing games -- began Jan. 30. The state is averaging about $10 million weekly in sales -- making Mississippi sixth in the nation per capita in scratch-off sales.
Lawyer: Mississippi can't ignore feds' prison investigation
Mississippi lawmakers need to act in the next couple of months to improve conditions inside state prisons that are crowded, shabby and violent, a human rights lawyer told legislators Thursday. Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi law school, said one quick step would be to reduce the prison population by emulating the mass commutation of some prison sentences in Oklahoma -- another Republican-led state with a high incarceration rate. More than 450 Oklahoma inmates were released in a single day in November after the retroactive reduction of sentences for simple drug possession and low-level property crimes. Speaking of the federal investigators, Johnson told lawmakers: "We have to take it seriously, because I promise you they do." He appeared before two Mississippi House committees -- Corrections and Judiciary B.
Despite legislative resistance, Michael Watson vows to keep working on DMV policy proposal
Secretary of State Michael Watson said he will continue to advocate for one of his core policy proposals from the campaign trail, despite resistance from a legislative leader. Watson, a Republican, has proposed that the office he leads should take over the state's driver's license services from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety because of a lack of quality customer service and efficiency. According to Mississippi Today, House Speaker Philip Gunn, a Republican from Clinton, opposes the idea. "While the Speaker is committed to seeing improvements at the state's driver's license bureaus, he does not support moving oversight of the services to the Secretary of State's office," Emily Simmons, Gunn's spokeswoman, told Mississippi Today. Watson told the Daily Journal on Thursday during a tour of the Lee County Circuit Clerk's Office that it was "unfortunate" that his efforts were being stalled in the House, but he's hopeful to continue his efforts in the Senate.
Special election set for a south Mississippi House seat
Gov. Tate Reeves has set a nonpartisan special election to fill a seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives. The race will be in District 88 in parts of Jasper and Jones counties. Republican Rep. Ramona Blackledge of Laurel resigned Jan. 31, less than a month after the start of the four-year term. The freshman lawmaker said she had to choose between serving in the House and collecting her state retirement pay. She said she could not afford to relinquish the pension that she earned during 40 years of working for county government. Candidates' qualifying deadline for the House election is March 2.
Lawsuit Over Jackson City Ordinance To Be Fought In State Court
The City of Jackson passed an ordinance in 2019 "Prohibiting Certain Activities Near Health Care Facilities." Most notably, it created a 15-foot buffer zone restricting protests outside of the Jackson Women's Health Organization, which serves as the state's only abortion clinic. A lawsuit filed by the Mississippi Justice Institute challenges the ordinance, saying it violates their right to free speech under Mississippi's Constitution. The City of Jackson attempted to have the case heard in Federal court, but it was struck down. Aaron Rice, Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute, says the City likely tried to fight in federal court due to more flexible freedom of speech laws. Defenders of the ordinance say it protects businesses and pedestrians around the clinic -- who endure large and noisy protests on city streets and sidewalks. Diane Derzis is the owner of the Jackson Women's Health Organization. She says there can be hundreds of protesters in front of the clinic, blocking traffic and causing a disturbance.
Area lawmaker Cheikh Taylor endorses Mike Bloomberg
As the race for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential race heats up, one high-profile candidate is receiving some support from an area lawmaker. On Thursday, the campaign to elect former New York City mayor and media mogul Mike Bloomberg announced state Rep. Cheikh Taylor, a Starkville Democrat, had given his endorsement to the candidate. Taylor represents House District 38, which covers parts of Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties. Following the announcement, Taylor told the Starkville Daily News that he wanted to encourage all voters left or right to take a closer look at Bloomberg. "For me, he is the only candidate with an unapologetic agenda to support African-Americans through homeownership and small business creation," Taylor said.
Barr blasts Trump's tweets on Stone case: 'Impossible for me to do my job'
In an exclusive interview, Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News on Thursday that President Donald Trump "has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case" but should stop tweeting about the Justice Department because his tweets "make it impossible for me to do my job." Barr's comments are a rare break with a president who the attorney general has aligned himself with and fiercely defended. But it also puts Barr in line with many of Trump's supporters on Capitol Hill who say they support the president but wish he'd cut back on his tweets. "I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases," Barr told ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas. When asked if he was prepared for the consequences of criticizing the president -- his boss -- Barr said "of course" because his job is to run the Justice Department and make decisions on "what I think is the right thing to do."
Young Republicans push party to act on climate change
Young Republicans, facing a future with more extreme weather events, wildfires, rising sea levels, famine and other repercussions of a warmer planet, have been knocking on their lawmakers' doors with a message that many in the party have preferred to ignore: It's time to get serious about fighting climate change. The party leadership, aware of polling that shows the GOP out of step with its young voters, is taking heed. On Wednesday at a news conference led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Republicans released the first few in what is expected to be a series of modest climate-related bills that they hope will demonstrate the party can acknowledge and act on climate change. The measures include three bills to bolster research and use of carbon capture technology and to codify President Donald Trump's decision to have the U.S. join the United Nation's Trillion Trees Initiative. The Republicans say their proposals are rooted in innovation and would counter Democrats' plans, which they cast as "hysterical alarmism" and damaging to industry and consumers.
Proposed Executive Order Would Mandate Classical Architecture For Federal Buildings
The architectural world is reeling over President Trump's call for traditional designs for new Federal buildings. His proposed executive order is called "Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again," it takes an out-with-the-new, in-with-the-old approach to architecture, calling modern federal buildings constructed over the last five decades "undistinguished," "uninspiring" and "just plain ugly." It's true that modernism abounds in D.C. Standing on a street corner near the National Mall, there's actually a mishmash of architectural styles. Let's talk about three of them: In the distance, the gleaming white pillars of the U.S. Capitol dome, the kind of classical architecture the president's order favors. Closer in, there's a towering, steel-mesh scrim that's part of the Eisenhower Memorial, a contemporary design by Frank Gehry which is under construction. Right behind the scrim, there's the beige, boxy, concrete-heavy Department of Education, a Brutalist building -- the style a lot of people love to hate.
In labs across U.S., scientists aim to understand coronavirus, develop drugs to combat it
The novel coronavirus at the center of a widening global public health emergency arrived here last Friday in two thumb-size vials, nested in dry ice and multiple layers of protective packaging. The samples, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, remained in deep freeze until Monday afternoon, when virologist Matthew Frieman at the University of Maryland School of Medicine got clearance from an internal biosafety committee to open the tubes in his secure laboratory and begin experiments. While the number of cases of the coronavirus continues to grow -- to more than 60,000 cases, nearly all in China -- the virus is also beginning to multiply in laboratories around the world. A select group of U.S. researchers have now received samples of the virus derived from the first U.S. case, a 35-year-old man in Snohomish County, Wash., who recovered. Others have ordered the virus and are waiting. As the virus rages in China and infectious-disease experts nervously monitor infections that could seed other outbreaks in at least two dozen other countries, it's the scientific work in these laboratories that may lead the way to a therapy or vaccine that could help save lives and fight this outbreak -- or the next one.
Acting JSU president addresses faculty, staff after William Bynum Jr.'s arrest, resignation
Acting president Thomas Hudson spoke to Jackson State University faculty and staff on campus Thursday three days after the arrest of the former president, William Bynum Jr., on prostitution and drug charges. Hudson touched briefly on what he planned to do as acting president of the historically black college, citing plummeting enrollment and corresponding budgetary concern as priorities. Hudson first responded to the news of Bynum's arrest and the fallout it has had on the university. "This is a very tough moment for me. It's a very tough moment for all of us," Hudson said. "We got to work Monday morning, we all planned our week, and we didn't count on any of this, so here we are," he continued. "The circumstances surrounding why we are here is unfortunate for the JSU family but nonetheless this is the situation we are in," said state Commissioner for Higher Education Alfred Rankins Jr., who attended the meeting.
John T. Edge and Wright Thompson talk about the true South
John T. Edge knows good Southern food. In fact, he thinks that the food people eat and where they eat it tells a story. This is the premise behind his and Wright Thompson's documentary series, "TrueSouth," which recently concluded its second season. Edge, three-time James Beard Award winner and the director of the university's Southern Foodways Alliance, signed with ESPN to host the series on its channel. On Wednesday, he and Thompson, the executive producer and an Oxford resident, hosted a viewing of the episode about Memphis in the Barnard Observatory. "I think a lot of TV gets the South wrong, especially TV that aims to tell a story of food in the South," Edge said, "We try to come close to getting it right." Each "TrueSouth" episode explores a new city by picking two restaurants that explain the community's personality and history. While Edge said his goal was to tell individual aspects of each city's story, he faced expected challenges because of his difference in background from the people he spoke with in Memphis.
Cheating investigation underway at Auburn's pharmacy school
An investigation into cheating among students at Auburn's Harrison School of Pharmacy is underway, the university said Thursday. "Once we became aware of an issue within a contained group of students, we acted in accordance with university and school policy and took immediate action to investigate and take all appropriate steps," Harrison School of Pharmacy Dean Richard Hansen said in a statement to "We hold academic integrity very seriously and are working diligently to address the situation as quickly as possible." Hansen reportedly sent out an email to faculty and staff at the school saying the school learned last week that there may be "widespread cheating" among first- through third-year pharmacy school students, according to a copy of the email obtained by WRBL. The dean went on to say that he "offered leniency" to students who come forward and urged staff not to discuss the potential cheating with students.
Vice President Mike Pence at The Citadel makes the case for Trump's re-election
Vice President Mike Pence spent Thursday in South Carolina where he ate barbecue, raised more than $1.5 million for President Donald Trump and made a promise to cadets at The Citadel meant to inspire confidence in the commander-in-chief. The purpose of all of it, Pence said, was to ensure Trump is re-elected for another four years. "President Donald Trump loves South Carolina and South Carolina loves President Donald Trump," Pence told a cheering room of people who attended The Citadel Republican Society's Patriot Dinner. He also took aim at Democratic presidential candidates along the way who will be descending on the state ahead of the Feb. 29 Democratic presidential primary. The comments came immediately after Pence spoke to The Citadel's Corps of Cadets, where his focus was less about politics and more about leadership and military tradition.
STEM's ongoing sex-difference debate
A 2018 study finding a "gender-equality paradox" in science, technology, engineering and math was controversial for obvious reasons: if there is an inverse relationship between how egalitarian a society is and how many of its women pursue STEM degrees, as the paper suggested, then maybe efforts to push girls and women into these fields are pointless. Two years later, the study is still in dispute. And a pair of commentaries published this week in Psychological Science doesn't seem likely to settle this particular sex-difference question. "Women in science have been pushing back the tide of claims about women's lack of interest and ability in STEM for decades," reads a write-up of one of those commentaries by two of its co-authors, published in Slate. The authors, Meredith Reiches, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and Sarah S. Richardson, professor of the history of science and studies of women, gender and sexuality at Harvard University, added, "The work continues today. As we see it, the so-called gender equality paradox is a new entry in an old playbook of arguing that biological sex differences, not social inequalities, drive the gender disparities we see in areas such as STEM."
How Congress could reverse cuts in Trump's budget request for NSF
On its face, the proposed 2021 budget unveiled this week for the U.S. National Science Foundation looks like a disaster: An overall reduction of 6.5%, including a 7.8% cut in its research programs. But a closer look suggests outgoing NSF Director France Cordova has made it as easy as possible for Congress, the final arbiter of federal spending, to lessen the sting. She has crafted her last budget to appeal to both Democratic and Republican lawmakers -- and left holes that those legislators will likely want to fill. Cordova steps down next month at the end of her 6-year term, so she won't be around when the final decisions are made, probably after the November elections. But she's staking her agency's prospects on the bipartisan support NSF has traditionally enjoyed. Despite a bottom line that is $537 million below its current level of $8.28 billion, NSF's proposed 2021 budget gives a big boost to two White House priorities -- artificial intelligence and quantum information science. Those increases, a near doubling over 2019, should appeal to lawmakers who have already shown that they see these two disciplines as key drivers of U.S. economic growth and national security. For example, a bill introduced last month by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), the chairman of the Senate commerce and science committee, calls for a 2-year doubling of research funding in these areas, dubbed "industries of the future."
U. of Virginia clarifies all students allowed in multicultural center
The University of Virginia took to Twitter Wednesday to clarify: the university's newly relocated and expanded Multicultural Student Center is open to everyone at the university. Only a few hours earlier, a video posted on Twitter by the conservative group Young America's Foundation and others had gone viral. In the video, a young black woman stands up in what many identified as the university's Multicultural Student Center. "Frankly, there are just too many white people in here, and this is a space for people of color, so just be really cognizant of the space that you're taking up, because it does make some of us POCs uncomfortable when we see too many white people in here," she says to the room. "There's the whole university for a lot of y'all to be at, and there's very few spaces for us, so keep that in mind." The university swiftly posted a statement on Twitter.
U. of Minnesota aims to think bold about tuition costs, enrollment
The University of Minnesota is setting what officials describe as modest goals on tuition for the coming year: limit any increases in undergraduate tuition for Minnesotans and graduate tuition to under the level of inflation, with steeper cost hikes for nonresidents that keep the U in the middle of the Big Ten. The U's greater Minnesota campuses would see flat tuition or slight increases. But as President Joan Gabel works on a hotly anticipated systemwide strategic plan, U leaders are also engaged in intense soul-searching about ways to navigate a near future of continuing financial pressures and decreasing public appetite for even modest tuition increases. The university's governing board has signaled to Gabel that members want her to explore bold approaches to enrollment and pricing as well as new sources of other revenue, such as more aggressive efforts to commercialize campus inventions.
Public universities in several states are required to buy from prison industries
Office furniture at the University of Virginia is made in prisons. So is some of the furniture at George Mason University and the University of Mary Washington. That's because public universities in Virginia are required to buy from Virginia Correctional Enterprises, a state-owned company that employs inmates in state prisons. About 1,300 inmates participate in the work in Virginia, and other state agencies are also required to get their furniture from VCE. Every U.S. state except Alaska features some sort of correctional enterprise, where inmates make goods like license plates and desk chairs. And in several states, public universities are required to buy from those entities. Supporters of correctional industries say holding a job in prison gives inmates stimulation, wages and skills for re-entry. Some activists call the process exploitative. In a handful of states, including Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas, inmates may be paid nothing at all.
Student feedback helps teachers improve
Angela Farmer, an assistant clinical professor in Mississippi State University's Shackouls Honors College, writes: While everyone loves praise and accolades, few enjoy hearing less than stellar feedback. Ironically, much of the best, most honest feedback is available from some of the youngest consumers. While seven-year-olds may not necessarily understand the specifics of curricular standards, they definitely recognize good teaching. They also understand alternative teaching strategies and genuine concern for students and their learning. As children grow and mature, they begin to adapt their responses to fit various social standards. Many times these responses stop being shared with educators as they don't expect them to be well received. Other times they lash out when their frustrations exceed their tolerance. Ideally, educators need honest feedback from all students at all ages. Some of the best feedback I ever received as an administrator was from elementary students.

How Roy Oswalt groomed JT Ginn for second season at Mississippi State
This isn't the JT Ginn of old. Not the one who mashed 28 home runs and hit .415 during his career at Brandon High School. Not the one who took those statistics into his first season at Mississippi State last year hoping he'd have a chance to record similar ones in a maroon and white uniform. This is the one who returns for his sophomore season as the reigning SEC Freshman of the Year. The one who didn't earn that honor for what he did at the plate but rather for what he did preventing opposing players from having success there. Ginn is a pure pitcher now. And though it might have seemed that way when he shimmied his shoulders off the mound after many of his 105 strikeouts last year, the transformation truly wasn't complete until this past offseason. "He's a pitcher, and he wants to be," MSU pitching coach Scott Foxhall said. "You're never going to get (wanting to hit) out of competitive people. Even the big league pitchers still think they can hit and want to hit. But there comes a point in time in your career when you're practical and say, 'Hey, this is what I need to focus on to be the best version of a pitcher I can be.'"
Justin Foscue, JT Ginn named to Golden Spikes watch list
Mississippi State opens the 2020 season on Friday and will do so with two players on the preseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award. Junior second baseman Justin Foscue and sophomore pitcher JT Ginn were both among the 55 players selected to the list that was announced on Thursday by USA Baseball. Foscue is a consensus All-American and hit .331 last year with 22 doubles, 60 RBIs a team-best 14 home runs. Ginn posted an 8-4 record in 17 starts last season with a 3.13 ERA, 105 strikeouts and 19 walks in 86 1/3 innings. He was named the 2019 National and SEC Freshman of the Year. Will Clark is the only Diamond Dog to win the Golden Spikes Award in 1985. Rafael Palmeiro (1984) and Brent Rooker (2017) were both finalists for the honor and Dakota Hudson (2016) was a semifinalist. Oregon State's Adley Rutschman won the Golden Spikes Award last season.
Indulge, Mississippi State athletics partner for enhanced fan experience
Beginning with baseball season, Mississippi State University's athletics program wants fans to have more dining options than just concession stands, and food trucks will play the pivotal role. For at least four home game series at Dudy Noble Field, Indulge's Munch Box food truck will have a spot, and its owner, Mike Brummitt, hopes the new partnership is the beginning of more great opportunities to come. "MSU's mindset is they're trying to create a better fan experience by offering different food items," Brummitt said. "They have a waiting list of 100-plus vendors who want to get into the football area. I was told if this works out good for baseball, it's a no-brainer to carry through football season. I'm excited about the future and what this might morph into." The Indulge food truck will be set up inside the stadium even with the third baseline, and games committed so far include the Feb. 21-23 series against Oregon State, Arkansas March 13-15, Ole Miss April 9-11 for Super Bulldog Weekend and Missouri May 8-10.
Hogs' focus shifts to key home date with Bulldogs
One thing was evident in Arkansas coach Eric Musselman's opening statement at his Thursday press conference previewing the Razorbacks' noon game against Mississippi State on Saturday. He is happy to be home. Following a pair of subpar outings at Missouri and Tennessee earlier this week, focus has shifted to preparing for an important SEC showdown with the Bulldogs, which won the first teams' meeting 77-70 in Starkville, Miss. "Assuming we're going to have a great crowd," he said. "The last few home games certainly have been entertaining through 40 minutes, although we'd like a different outcome, for sure. Two teams both coming into the game hungry for a win. "I think we have a great homecourt advantage. I think it's one of the best in the country." The game has long been a sellout, and the return of former Arkansas commitment and Bulldogs standout forward Reggie Perry is sure to create a unique atmosphere in Bud Walton Arena. His message to the team between now and tipoff? "A lot of times it's kind of spur of the moment," he noted. "We'll watch film ... and we'll get right into Mississippi State and focus on trying to play better against them."
Southeastern Conference hires a lobbying firm in college athletics fight
The Southeastern Conference -- better known as the SEC -- has hired a lobbying firm as Congress considers whether to allow college athletes to make money using their "name, image and likeness." Hunter Bates, a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; Arshi Siddiqui, a former aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and three other Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld lobbyists started lobbying last month on legislation "promoting the welfare of student-athletes," according to a disclosure filing. The Senate Commerce Committee's manufacturing, trade and consumer protection subcommittee held a hearing on Tuesday on whether to allow college athletes to be paid. The National Collegiate Athletic Association and its allies have pressed Congress to weigh in on the issue to avoid a patchwork of laws passed by different states, with the help of several lobbying firms. The NCAA retains Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and also has two in-house lobbyists, according to disclosure filings.
LSU extends alcohol sales to Alex Box Stadium; here's how it'll work
LSU will offer beer and wine throughout Alex Box Stadium for the first time this season, and the university announced Thursday sales will conclude after the top of the seventh inning. After the Southeastern Conference lifted its ban on alcohol sales last May, letting schools decide if it wanted to offer alcohol at its athletic venues, LSU sold beer and wine inside Tiger Stadium during football season. LSU planned to allow alcohol sales at Alex Box Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, but at the time, the school focused on preparing Tiger Stadium for the then-upcoming football season. LSU athletics made more than $2.259 million in revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages in public areas of Tiger Stadium, senior associate athletic director Robert Munson said in December. During baseball games, Munson said LSU will offer the same alcoholic beverages for the same price as it did inside Tiger Stadium. Fans can purchase beer and wine at all the concession stands. LSU plays its first game at 7 p.m. Friday against Indiana.
Auburn announces 2020 homecoming game against Southern Miss
Auburn football announced Wednesday that its homecoming game for the 2020 season will be on Sept. 26. against Southern Miss. The game will be the 24th all-time meeting between the Tigers and Golden Eagles. Southern Miss was Auburn's homecoming game two seasons ago on Sept. 29, 2018. With 4:27 remaining in the second quarter, the game underwent a lightning delay that lasted two and a half hours. Auburn went on to win 24-13. The last time a Tiger team lost to Southern Miss was on Oct. 5, 1991, in a 10-9 defeat. The matchup will mark the first game back in Jordan-Hare Stadium for Auburn following a game against North Carolina in Atlanta in Week 2 and a road trip to Oxford to play Ole Miss in Week 3.
U. of Missouri athletics optimistic despite continued deficit
Missouri athletics narrowed its budget gap in fiscal 2019, but still worked from a deficit for the third straight year. That trend, however, is not huge cause for concern, according to a senior university official. Tim Hickman, Missouri deputy athletic director and chief financial officer, said Thursday during an interview that MU has covered its losses each year through a reserve fund. The last three fiscal years were reported to be at a deficit for the department. Those are the Tigers' only seasons as part of the Southeastern Conference in which Missouri did not turn a profit. The Tribune recently obtained Missouri's fiscal 2019 financial report, which it submitted to the NCAA, a via Sunshine Law request. The athletic department's spending outweighed revenue for the 2019 fiscal year -- July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019 -- by $1.788 million. That's compared to the 2018 fiscal year where the deficit was $1.806 million, trimmed from about $4.5 million in the 2017 fiscal year. Hickman said the athletic department missed its projection on ticket sales "by a little bit" during the 2018 fall sports season. Therefore, officials anticipated the overall budget forecast would take a hit.
South Carolina gets NCAA notice of allegations related to corruption probe
South Carolina became the sixth Division I men's basketball program to receive an NCAA notice of allegations related to the federal government's investigation into bribes and other corruption in the sport. South Carolina officials confirmed on Thursday that the university received a notice of allegations on Jan. 31 that charges the Gamecocks with one Level I violation (the most serious) related to former assistant coach Lamont Evans accepting at least $5,865 in bribes from agent runner Christian Dawkins in 2015-16. Dawkins allegedly paid Evans to help set up meetings with then-Gamecocks star PJ Dozier and his family. Dawkins was working for NBA agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports at the time. Evans admitted to federal prosecutors that he also accepted bribes while coaching at Oklahoma State in 2016-17. The Cowboys announced in November that they had received a notice of allegations related to Evans' misconduct.
Paul Finebaum reacts to 'sitcom' proposal buzz, future as ESPN contract nears end
Paul Finebaum doesn't have a SAG card. "But I have applied for one," quipped the ESPN personality on Thursday about the Screen Actor's Guild membership. Since the Sports Business Daily reported Tuesday the SEC Network analyst was weighing options, including a sitcom, as his three-year contract with ESPN ends in 2021, there have been more questions and speculation than answers and revelations. Finebaum, who joined Lee Shirvanian and me on "The Opening Kickoff" on WNSP-FM 105.5 in Mobile Thursday, spoke for the first time about the report. "Let me make it clear," he said, "I haven't talked about this since the article came out, but there's always misinformation and misunderstanding anytime something comes up in the media." Finebaum confirmed his representatives at CAA in California received inquiries roughly 18 months ago from two different producers. "One of them produced a mega-hit on network television."
Tom Mars drops Curtis Blackwell case over concerns about lawyer
Upon further review, the call has been overturned. High-profile attorney Tom Mars has left the legal team representing former Michigan State staffer Curtis Blackwell, citing a disagreement with one of Blackwell's lawyers over the "standards" of practicing law. One of Blackwell's lawyers, Drew Paterson, already has been sanctioned by a federal judge in this case, and now has to answer the defense team's motion to have him sanctioned again, as well as a move to have the case thrown out and Paterson disbarred. Mars, known for his work on NCAA transfer-waiver cases including the one that earned Michigan quarterback Shea Paterson immediate eligibility last season, confirmed his departure to The News, less than one week after news of him joining the case was made public. Mars said he stands by everything he told The News last week, when he confirmed joining Blackwell's legal team for his suits against MSU, then-football coach Mark Dantonio, former athletic director Mark Hollis and former president Lou Anna K. Simon for wrongful termination, and against MSU Police for wrongful arrest.
Hitting the links might reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases, research finds
Those 25 million Americans who take to the golf course each week just might outlive us all. New research suggests hitting the links at least once a month can lower the risk of death in older adults. "Our study is perhaps the first of its kind to evaluate the long-term health benefits of golf, particularly one of the most popular sports among older people in many countries," said Dr. Adnan Qureshi, lead author and executive director of the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institutes and professor of neurology at the University of Missouri in Columbia. The research was presented Thursday at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles. Playing golf can reduce stress and provide needed exercise. Because of its social nature and controlled pace, the researchers found, people continue to play golf even when they're older and even after suffering a stroke or heart attack.

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