Wednesday, February 19, 2020   
MSU's Men of Excellence hosts State of Black Men Symposium
In celebration of Black History Month, MSU's Men of Excellence hosted a State of Black Men Symposium. Over 300 men gathered to talk about topics male minorities face in today's world. Guest speakers from the Golden Triangle led different sessions on how to dress, overcoming stereotypes and networking. The purpose of the symposium was to promote round-table discussions on a number of issues from the view of college students leading them into adulthood. "We are working towards figuring out those challenges that impact black males' success. Studies have shown that African American degree attainment numbers are low, so we are working to encourage those young gentlemen towards degree attainment as well as achievement. As a college student, I had those mentors that were there for me and were able to grow and develop me," said Timothy Hopkins, Men of Excellence advisor.
Aldermen delay choosing contractor for Highway 182 project
A last-minute addition to the Board of Aldermen's agenda was tabled Tuesday night as officials decided they needed more time to consider their options. The addition was a consideration to name a prime contractor for the Highway 182 BUILD Grant project. The city was awarded the $12.6 million grant in November after applying for a project that would dramatically improve the Highway 182 corridor. Mayor Lynn Spruill apologized for the late addition of the item, noting the city's closure on Monday made the necessary preparations impossible. Aldermen were presented with four possible candidates for the project contract scored by committee made up City Engineer Edward Kemp, Cody Burnett of the city engineering department, Starkville Utilities General Manager Terry Kemp and Spruill. The group considered submitted proposals based on the company's experience with large scale projects, the quality of their designs, their proximity to Starkville and other factors. Kemp said the projects all scored very well, with local company Neel-Schaffer and Kimley-Horn, which has offices in Memphis and Birmingham, leading the group.
Oktibbeha supes allow review of insurance policy to find funding for potential dam project
Supervisors gave unanimous permission Monday for a Jackson-based insurance adjuster to review the county's insurance policy for any clauses that might cover the cost of replacing the Oktibbeha County Lake Dam. Warren Bowen, executive director of Triage Facility Consultants, came to the supervisors' meeting at District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard's request and said he will review the policy for free. If the county can prove the dam's structural problems have a specific non-natural cause, it might be eligible for insurance coverage regardless of the specific provisions on the county's insurance policy, Bowen said. The supervisors have debated at several meetings in a row, to no consensus, how to fund the $8 million project of completely replacing the existing dam with a new one with larger valves to control the water level and building a new emergency spillway and a temporary detour road below the levee.
Reeves, Trump talk Jackson flooding assistance as water begins to recede
Gov. Tate Reeves and President Donald Trump discussed the flooding Monday and the White House said Trump was receiving updates on the situation Tuesday as the water begins to recede. "The president continues to monitor and receive updates on the flooding in Mississippi," a White House statement said. "The federal government stands ready to support Gov. Tate Reeves if state and local resources cannot address the impacts of the flooding." Reeves tweeted Monday that Trump had called him and expressed "his concern about our flooding and offering his help in our relief efforts. Mississippi has a true friend in President Trump. Grateful to have a strong relationship with the President who cares about our great state." Beyond the president, the Pearl River flooding that began inundating hundreds of homes in the Jackson area over the weekend has garnered national media attention. It was featured on the "Today Show" and "NPR," and Reeves said he talked about the situation with Fox News hosts on Tuesday morning.
Pearl River Flooding: Residents begin 'very long, long and enduring process' toward recovery
Josh Fairchild looks out at the flood water surrounding the Jackson business that he manages. The near record flooding has left him out of work and forced his company to permanently relocate to Pearl, Mississippi. "We are devastated it's kept us out of work and it has a lot of other people out of work," Fairchild said on Monday. "It's not a very fun day here in Jackson." Fairchild has been a manager at Mississippi Iron Works, located on State Street, for eight years. The business is currently about 3 feet underwater due to flooding of the Pearl River, which crested at 36.7 feet on Monday. Col. Gregory S. Michel, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, says that the state's next steps are to move toward recovery while the level is at a pause. "We will start our efforts toward the recovery, and we know that it's going to be a very long, long and enduring process," Michel said.
Computer science education bill introduced in Mississippi Senate
A bill that would require Mississippi public schools to offer computer science to all elementary and high school students has been introduced in the Mississippi Senate. Senate Bill 2284, championed by C Spire, was introduced by Sen. Scott DeLano and seven co-sponsors. The bill comes after a campaign aimed at encouraging educators and public policy leaders to promote a computer science in the state. "We need more rigorous computer science standards in all our schools so that students have the knowledge, skills and abilities to compete for the best jobs in the new 21st century economy," DeLano said in a news release. The legislation is expected to be considered by the Senate Education and Appropriations committees. "The goal is to get more emphasis on this critical core subject in the classroom," said C Spire CEO Hu Meena. Under the bill, schools would begin phasing in computer science in the 2021-2022 school year, allowing teachers time to receive training.
Sen. Chad McMahan focused on Medicaid assistance for disabled children
Local legislator Sen. Chad McMahan said he remains in talks with state government leaders about the best way to help families with children who require intensive medical care and are facing the loss of Medicaid coverage. McMahan, a Republican from Guntown, filed a bill attempting to help families facing a denial of eligibility for the Disabled Children Living at Home category of Medicaid. However, McMahan now says his bill will likely not move forward, but he expects other avenues of assistance will be explored. "It's my understanding working with the chairman in the House and the chairman in the Senate, they are not going to take up my bill," McMahan said. Monday was the deadline to file new legislation, and McMahan said he expects some other now pending legislation will be pursued to address the DCLH denial issues, but he did not immediately have any details on any other relevant bills.
Rep. Michael Guest speaks at Covington County Chamber meeting
Mississippi's Third District congressman spoke to a meeting of Covington County business leaders Tuesday night. Republican Rep. Michael Guest addressed a general membership meeting of the Covington County Chamber of Commerce. He spoke about economic opportunities in the state and nation. He also talked about economic challenges that face us. "Nationally, our economy is the best that we've seen in our lifetime, 3.6 percent unemployment, we've added 635,000 new jobs, just over the last three months alone, recent trade deals, the USMCA, the China trade agreement, the trade deal with Taiwan," Guest said. "We're going to see increased demand for American products and American production." Guest says he's concerned, however, about the nation's budget deficit and wants that issue to be addressed soon. "I hope that after we get through the 2020 election cycle that this is something the administration will choose to tackle," Guest said. "We should be working to lower that deficit, that we should be looking at ways to cut spending, ways that we can increase the economy, bring in more tax revenue, not by raising taxes, but by having more economic activity."
Mike Bloomberg builds 'massive' Mississippi campaign as other 2020 Democrats focus elsewhere
Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is mightily outspending his Democratic opponents in Mississippi, building an operation of historic dimensions as the campaign with the most recognizable presence in Mississippi. Bloomberg's multi-million dollar investment in Mississippi, the state with the highest percentage of African American voters, comes amid increased focus on his previous support of the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic, which disproportionately affected people of color. Bloomberg, a former New York City mayor and a billionaire with virtually unlimited capital to spend this cycle, has hired 22 full-time staffers in Mississippi, giving his campaign what several veteran political operatives say is the largest full-time staff of any presidential candidate in the state's history. It is also one that would rival or exceed the largest statewide campaigns in the state's history.
Attorney General Wiliam Barr considering resigning if the president keeps tweeting
Attorney General William P. Barr has told people close to President Trump -- both inside and outside the White House -- that he is considering quitting over Trump's tweets about Justice Department investigations, three administration officials said, foreshadowing a possible confrontation between the president and his attorney general over the independence of the Justice Department. So far, Trump has defied Barr's requests, both public and private, to keep quiet on matters of federal law enforcement. It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether Barr had made his posture known directly to Trump. The administration officials said Barr seemed to be sharing his position with advisers in hopes the president would get the message that he should stop weighing in publicly on the Justice Department's ongoing criminal investigations. "He has his limits," said one person familiar with Barr's thinking, speaking on the condition of anonymity, like others, to discuss internal deliberations.
Rod Blagojevich's rise and fall and presidential commutation, a Chicago story
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was on the witness stand testifying in his own defense in federal court, chattering on in typical form and telling jurors about a 2002 fundraiser that was held for him at Yankee Stadium. "First time I met Donald Trump," Blagojevich proudly recalled of the occasion in New York City, "he walked in with Regis Philbin and made a contribution at that event." He would see the real estate tycoon again years later, of course, when the indicted and impeached Blagojevich was a hapless contestant on "The Celebrity Apprentice" reality TV show and Trump "fired" him in his role as its bombastic host. Maybe they should stop meeting like this. But now the former governor has Trump to thank for an unlikely new twist in The Blago Show. The Chicago political jester who rose from life as a scrappy city kid to the state's highest office -- then secretly taped by the FBI in a corruption probe, arrested at home before dawn, tried (twice), convicted and sentenced -- was sprung from federal prison Tuesday more than four years early when Trump commuted his sentence.
Poll: Bernie Sanders Rises, But Socialism Isn't Popular With Most Americans
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is rising in the polls among Democrats, but questions about his electability against President Trump persist because he self-identifies as a democratic socialist. A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll backs up the idea that the label could hurt him. Asked about their impression of socialism, only about a quarter of Americans (28%) said they have a favorable view, while almost 6-in-10 (58%) said they had an unfavorable impression. If socialism is so unpopular with Americans, how can Sanders be on the rise in the Democratic primary? Because Democrats and, more specifically, progressives view socialism favorably. Half of Democrats said so, while more than two-thirds of progressives did. Just 23% of independents, though, and 7% of Republicans viewed socialism favorably. Views of socialism grow more unfavorably the older the generation, but even 50% of Gen Z and Millennials had an unfavorable view of it, as opposed to just 38%, who had a favorable one. Suburban voters, who have been trending with Democrats since Trump's election, are overwhelmingly against it by a 27%-to-61% margin.
Inn at Ole Miss expected to open renovated McCormick's this spring
The Ole Miss Alumni Association announced in December that the Inn at Ole Miss would be receiving a brand-new restaurant and bar in a familiar space, and it is anticipated to open this spring. McCormick's, a new restaurant and bar, is coming to the on-campus hotel and turning what is now a breakfast-only area by the same name into a new nightlife destination. Located on the east side of the hotel's tower, the 2,000 square-foot space is getting completely renovated and once completed, should be unrecognizable compared to what the space looks like currently. "I think this idea had been going around for quite a while," said Kirk Purdom, executive director of the Ole Miss Alumni Association. Construction begins this week and is anticipated to be completed sometime mid-May, around graduation weekend. While the restaurant and bar are located on a college campus, Purdom said he does not expect it to become a regular hangout for students. Students' identification will be checked upon entering the space, he said.
Chancellor gives monument update, condolences for John Neff
Chancellor Glenn Boyce addressed the university community again on Monday in an email regarding the relocation of the Confederate monument. This statement echoes Boyce's previous email that was sent after the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees (IHL) struck the monument relocation from its January meeting agenda. "We're committed to working with the board to accomplish our goal of relocating the monument," Boyce said in both the January 16 and February 17 statements. Boyce said the university is working on the progress report the IHL requested regarding the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on History and Contextualization (CACHC) recommendations. The chancellor also expressed his sadness about the recent death of John Neff, associate professor of history and member of the CACHC. Two members of the CACHC have died in the past year, Neff on January 30 and David Sansing, professor emeritus of history, on July 6, 2019. Boyce offered his condolences and said that Neff's death will have an impact on the progress of the report.
2 Alcorn State students killed, 2 injured; suspect arrested
One suspect is in custody in connection with the shooting of four Alcorn State University students at an off-campus bonfire Monday night. Claiborne County Sheriff's Investigator Troy Kimble said Tuesday the suspect's name has not been released since the investigation remains ongoing. Kimble said the man, who is not an Alcorn student, was arrested on an aggravated assault warrant in Adams County. Adams County Sheriff's deputies assisted with the arrest and transported the suspect to Claiborne County. Two of the four Alcorn students were killed and another injured in a shooting late Monday at a place called "The Ark," about seven miles south of Port Gibson. "Overnight on Monday, Feb. 17, Alcorn State University was notified by local authorities that four of our students were involved in a shooting that occurred at a non-university event venue 13 miles north of campus off Highway 61 in Claiborne County," Alcorn officials said in a news release Tuesday morning.
Kroger donates $15,000 to Jackson State in order to help fight food insecurity on campus
Kroger has donated $15,000 in gift cards to Jackson State University. The money is to support the college's food pantries in order to help fight food insecurity on campus. Acting JSU President Thomas Hudson said the partnership with Kroger is just the beginning. "The Tiger Food Pantry serves an important purpose here. We really appreciate Kroger for stepping up to the plate," said Hudson. Hudson said Mississippi has many food deserts and cited food insecurity throughout Jackson, saying, "There is food insecurity on our campus and most people don't even realize this. So, this effort with Kroger really helps us out a lot." Teresa Dickerson, corporate affairs manager for the Kroger Delta Division, said the gift cards are "very convenient" and that "food can be purchased seamlessly just by handing over the gift cards to the store leader."
Jackson State University's Sonic Boom of the South marching band makes history
Jackson State University's marching band, the Sonic Boom of the South, made history. The Boom's halftime field show performance during the New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons was selected for showing at the College Band Directors National Association Southern Conference. This will be JSU's first time participating in the conference, being the only HBCU to be selected this year. The conference will be held February 20-22 at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
East Mississippi Community College hires Regan McFerrin as recruiting coordinator
Regan McFerrin of Starkville has been hired as a recruiting coordinator for East Mississippi Community College. Among other things, McFerrin will organize student orientation sessions, meet with prospective students and conduct tours of EMCC campuses. She will also coordinate events such as JourneyEAST, during which incoming freshmen are introduced to college life and culture. McFerrin will also visit area high schools and attend community events to talk with students about EMCC programs, scholarship opportunities and student organizations. Although her office is located on the college's Golden Triangle campus, she will attend events throughout the college's district. McFerrin attended Itawamba Community College and transferred to Mississippi State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and a Master of Arts degree in Teaching Community College Education.
Panel set to back statewide expansion of Louisiana's dual enrollment, 'A game changer'
A state task is expected to approve recommendations Wednesday aimed at launching a statewide system that eventually ensures all high school students have access to classes for college credit. The first goal, Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed said, is to build capacity to support classes that are now plagued by huge differences in who takes the courses and what they pay. The classes are called dual enrollment. A 12-member gubernatorial task force, including Reed as co-chair, has been working since July to come up with its initial recommendations after Gov. John Bel Edwards' initial plan died in 2019. "Universal access to dual enrollment will be a game changer in our state," Reed said in a statement. Research shows that students who take dual enrollment classes are more likely to enter and finish college, and that those who took at least one such course are 10% more likely to earn a bachelor's degree, according to a report that accompanied the recommendations.
Texas A&M's Rudder Theatre to host sold-out drag show Wednesday
A sold-out drag show will be on the Texas A&M University campus tonight at Rudder Theatre. Co-hosted by MSC Town Hall and the LGBTQ+ Pride Center, the show features Monique Heart from the television reality show RuPaul's Drag Race, according to the DRAGgieland Facebook event page. Self-proclaimed drag queens were invited to audition Jan. 30, according to reporting from The Battalion. A participant application reads as follows: "This event will be a performance of queens competing against one another to be crowned the title 'Queen of DRAGgieland 2020.'" The drag show, which sold out last week, has elicited a heavy volume of social media posts, as well as two petitions. First, a petition to "Stop Draggieland" drew 1,825 signatures, and a counter-petition, "Stop Stopping Draggieland," drew 613 signatures. A small group of students also held a banner protesting the event. Those in support of the show have expressed solidarity with the local LGBTQ+ community and a connection to the A&M core values of respect and integrity, while the opposition petition said the event disrespects women and "foster[s] a climate of degradation."
Coronavirus, exam cancellations may bring obstacles for higher ed
In an effort to contain the novel coronavirus, the Chinese government has canceled a number of exams this month. Many of these are used by U.S. higher education institutions when admitting international students. The canceled exams include the IELTS and TOEFL exams, both of which are English proficiency tests. Additionally, graduate-level exams such as the GRE and the GMAT have been canceled. This may mean American institutions will need to adjust their admissions strategies. For the University of Missouri, alternative testing options will be available for Chinese applicants who had their English proficiency tests canceled, spokesperson Liz McCune said. "Most undergraduate students coming from China already had submitted these exams, but we did identify 11 undergraduate applicants from China that either had not yet submitted a qualifying score or had indicated on their application that they intended to take one of the now canceled exams in February," McCune said in an email.
SAT for Chinese Students Scrapped, Dashing Dreams of Foreign Education
Chinese students' plans to study in foreign schools and universities are being dashed with key entrance exams scrapped amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The College Board, which organizes the standardized Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT, for admission to colleges in the U.S., canceled the March 14 test for all registered students traveling from China to other locations for the exam, according to an email sent to students and seen by Bloomberg. The test will be administered in cities like Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, but not in mainland China. Concerns around the virus and ongoing travel restrictions were the main reasons for the move, according to the email. With the ongoing cancellations, Chinese students may miss deadlines to apply to top universities across the world. A drop in the intake of Chinese students could deal a blow to educational institutions, especially those in the U.S., U.K. and Australia which have grown reliant on revenue from Chinese fee payers in recent years. Students from China, the largest source of foreign students in the U.S., had a $22 billion impact on the American economy last year, despite the two-year trade war.
John Bolton speaks at Duke about working under Trump, but dodges many specifics
John Bolton, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, sat for a public interview at Duke University on Monday night but dodged some questions about his time in the job before being ousted last year. In a sold-out event at Page Auditorium, Bolton was interviewed by Peter Feaver, director of the American Grand Strategy program and a professor of political science and public policy at Duke. Press questions and audio recordings of the event were not allowed. Still, Feaver said, prompting laughs from the audience, "I am pleased that Duke is going to do what neither the House or the Senate will do." Bolton took questions from Feaver and questions submitted by students that covered his time as national security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations under former president George W. Bush. The event prompted a student-led protest that took place outside of the Duke Chapel to counter the event, organized by Duke Students for Justice in Palestine.
Success slows for project seeking increased enrollment of Pell students at high-achieving colleges
An initiative aimed at enrolling more low-income students in top-tier colleges is on track to complete its goal. But the most recent data show a concerning slowdown of the project's results. The American Talent Initiative, managed by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, began in the 2016-17 academic year with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Its goal is to enroll 50,000 more low- and moderate-income students at institutions with graduation rates of 70 percent or higher by 2025. While the initiative tracks data from 320 U.S. institutions that meet this criteria, only 128 are official members. Between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 academic years, the 320 institutions with high graduation rates enrolled 20,696 more students who are eligible for federal Pell Grants, about 40 percent of the initiative's ultimate goal. However, data collected so far for the 2018-19 academic year showed that continued progress isn't a guarantee.
Gender Pronouns Can Be Tricky on Campus. Harvard Is Making Them Stick.
For generations of future diplomats and cabinet officials educated at Harvard's renowned John F. Kennedy School of Government, orientation day has come with a name placard that the students carry from class to class, so their professors can easily call on them. When Diego Garcia Blum, 30, got his placard last fall, the first-year graduate student immediately took a Sharpie to it, writing "He/Him" next to the big block letters of his name. Other students did the same thing, writing "She/Her" and "They/Them." "Yup! Day 1," Mr. Garcia Blum, recalled, adding, "That's when I thought, the students are ahead of the school." But despite its reputation as a bastion of the establishment, the Kennedy School followed the students' lead, agreeing to provide clear plastic stickers this semester with four pronoun options that students could apply to their name cards: "He/Him," "She/Her," "They/Them" and "Ze/Hir." As young people who have grown up with a more expansive concept of gender identity bring those ideas to college classrooms, universities have responded in varying ways, with some professors and schools quickly accommodating a wider range of gender pronouns, and others struggling over whether and how to institute new policies.
A Coding School Tuition Model Spreads to 4-Year Colleges
One day in 2017, Lauren Neuwirth sank into a chair in her university's financial aid office feeling out of options. She was finishing her second year at Purdue University in Indiana, a school she'd chosen for its top-ranked engineering program. Neuwirth, who grew up near Milwaukee, was working two jobs to cover her living expenses and quickly running through the money her mother had set aside for college. But then Purdue offered her another way to pay. Investors -- including wealthy alumni, a hedge fund, and the Purdue Research Foundation -- would front her $50,000 to cover two years of college. In exchange, she'd owe them 14.8 percent of whatever income she earned in the eight years after she graduated. Neuwirth agreed. Last fall, her fifth and final year as a double major in food science and biological engineering, she received a job offer from the agribusiness Cargill at a salary of $56,000. If all goes as planned, she'll eventually return a healthy profit for those investors. This kind of arrangement, known as an income share agreement, or ISA, has been used in a smattering of places, but hasn't gained much traction in the US -- until recently.
Syracuse students suspended for second sit-in
Syracuse University suspended more than 30 students Tuesday for occupying a campus building to protest administrators' slow response to a series of racial and anti-Semitic events that roiled the institution three months ago and made national headlines. The suspensions came after students began a sit-in at the administration building on Monday and refused to leave. The sit-in was the second such protest -- the first took place in November, when students occupied another building for seven straight days -- but unlike the last time, when the protesters were allowed to remain in the building while university administrators met and negotiated with them, the institution's leaders took a decidedly hard line after the students refused to move to a suggested different location on campus. The events have led to a stand-off between university leaders, who insist they understand the students' frustrations and are acting in good faith to address their concerns, and students, who believe they're being given lip service and have to continue to agitate for real change.
What liberals and conservatives get wrong about free expression on college campuses
When it comes to understanding disputes over free expression on college campuses, such as speakers getting disinvited or having their speeches interrupted, conservatives tend to blame liberal professors for indoctrinating students and ostracizing those who don't agree with liberal viewpoints. One prominent conservative organization, Turning Point USA, has gone so far as to create a database of faculty it says "discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom." Liberals, in contrast, argue that concerns about free speech on college campuses are overblown. They also accuse conservatives of co-opting the language of free speech proponents in an effort to falsely position themselves as victims. Our research indicates that each of these narratives is flawed. For the past year, we have been studying free expression issues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a campus that has had a number of flare-ups related to free expression in recent years. We wanted to look beyond single episodes and better understand the typical student's experience concerning free expression.

Mississippi State bracing for physical game against South Carolina
Mississippi State starting center Abdul Ado remembers all too well what playing South Carolina is like. Gamecocks coach Frank Martin is notorious for his team's physical play, meaning win or lose, Ado is going to have a date with an ice bath a day later. "It's going to be a no blood, no foul type of game," Ado said. But the Bulldogs (16-9, 7-5 SEC) have never backed down from a game centered around contact in the post. Wednesday's 8 p.m. contest at Humphrey Coliseum will feature MSU, the seventh-tallest team in the nation, against Martin's Gamecocks (the 26th tallest). "They're so big and strong with their bodies," MSU coach Ben Howland said. "I know Mike Leach would be jealous if he was sitting there watching our guys play our guys tomorrow. There would be some good safeties, tight ends and linebackers out there." South Carolina (16-9, 8-4) has had one the strangest seasons in college basketball, with upset wins against Kentucky and Virginia, yet losses to Stetson and Boston University. Nevertheless, the Gamecocks have won six of their last seven games, including three in a row.
South Carolina-Mississippi State hoops: How, what to watch for as USC eyes key upset
South Carolina (16-9, 8-4 SEC) takes a visit to Mississippi State (16-9, 7-5) on Wednesday in Starkville. The first thing Gamecocks coach Frank Martin said about the Bulldogs: They're big and long. The MSU starting lineup features one player shorter than 6-foot-6. Of their core eight-man rotation, the four smallest players run 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-7. Much of that offense is built around Reggie Perry, a 6-foot-10, 250-pound workhorse who is one of the best rebounders and shot blockers in the SEC, plus one of the most efficient scorers. That length makes the MSU perimeter defense formidable, but it has been more vulnerable inside. Attrition has been a consistent theme for the Gamecocks in spots this season, and it's starting to hit the front court in a big way. Justin Minaya is out indefinitely. Freshman forward Jalyn McCreary is out at least this game with a concussion.
Where Mississippi State men's basketball NCAA Tournament hopes stand
Mississippi State's NCAA Tournament fate might be decided by what it hasn't done -- not what it can still do. The Bulldogs (16-9, 7-5 SEC) have six regular season games remaining, plus the SEC Tournament, to build a tournament-worthy resume. But a few losses earlier in the season could loom large when the selection committee has to make a decision. Mississippi State's losses against Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State represent stumbles that last year's team didn't have en route to the program's first NCAA Tournament berth in a decade. Last year's MSU team only lost once in non-conference play. The defeat came to Arizona State, an eventual NCAA Tournament team. This year's MSU team has lost four times to teams outside of the SEC, including, Villanova and Oklahoma. Both are in line to qualify for the tournament, according to ESPN analyst Joe Lundari.
'I know that I can get more': Mississippi State's freshman class hungry for more with Vic Schaefer's confidence in tow
Vic Schaefer took a deep breath and began to slowly bang his forehead against the microphone placed before him. Thrice knocking his noggin into the audio device, Schaefer's melodramatic act was in response to a question regarding how he's responded to his young team's lack of energy this season -- most notably in Sunday's 73-62 loss to Kentucky in Lexington. "It's really frustrating," he said. "You're over there trying to find something, a combination. I tried to give them some energy with myself on the sideline, but it's really frustrating to be honest with you and it doesn't happen very often. You lean on your experience of 35 years of coaching and you try everything -- which I did." For Schaefer, moments and questions like this have persisted throughout the 2020 campaign. Replacing three starters from last year's Elite Eight squad was a tall task in itself. Welcoming a four-player freshman class to expedite that process made it even tougher. Despite that, it was Schaefer's freshman that flanked him at Tuesday's mid-week media availability. "Proud of these kids and proud of this freshman class," Schaefer said in his opening statement.
What Mississippi State women's basketball learned from loss to Kentucky
Consider it a reminder. Mississippi State's four freshmen sat beside head coach Vic Schaefer, two to his right and two to his left, during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. They were a little less than 48 hours removed from their second loss of the SEC season, a 73-62 defeat to Kentucky. It was the first time this season the quartet concurrently held court at the microphones all year. Hence, the reminder. Bringing his freshman to the stage was a way for Schaefer to show that this season is different than prior ones. No. 9 Mississippi State (22-4, 10-2 SEC) already has more SEC losses than it did a season ago. The Bulldogs' next loss will mark as many overall losses during this season as MSU had in the previous two combined. The loss at Kentucky was simply unlike any Schaefer has experienced in the last few years. "We just didn't seem to have that edge that we've had," he said. "We talked about not being able to kill our will. Our will just wasn't very good."
What to expect from Mississippi State football's new defensive scheme
Out with the old, in with the new. Mississippi State hired Zach Arnett to replace former defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, which means the Bulldogs will bring a different defensive scheme into the 2020 football season. Shoop's base defense was a 4-2-5. Arnett has used a 3-3-5. That means Arnett likes to take a defensive lineman off the line of scrimmage in favor of another player lining up as a linebacker. While fans get excited because 3-3-5 base looks are not the norm in college football, Arnett said that eager anticipation should be tempered a bit. "All it is is simply an effort to get the best 11 guys on the field," he said. "Now, it's been the 3-3-5. If we go through spring ball and our best 11 guys are a 4-2-5, then you're a 4-2-5. You're going to play the best players." The key with Arnett's defense is to not get hung up on those numbers. If Mississippi State lines up in a 4-2-5, it doesn't necessarily mean a linebacker has been taken off the field and a defensive lineman has trotted onto it. Arnett is not scared to shift linebackers like Erroll Thompson to the line of scrimmage.
Coaches Express Concerns Over NCAA's One-Time Transfer Proposal
Mark Richt isn't your normal college football coach. He's one of the nice guys, according to those in the industry. He's genuine, forthright and authentic. Those who know say he's never really embraced the darker side of the game -- the sneaky politics and slimy tactics. He's not to be confused with the coaches who remind you of greasy car salesmen, those who bathe in the muck of an industry that can be downright dirty sometimes. But on Monday afternoon, Richt, now retired and serving as a TV analyst, did have something in common with his coaching brethren: He is against an NCAA proposal announced Tuesday to allow players once in their college career the chance to transfer and compete immediately at their new school. If the NCAA Division I Council approves the proposal in April, first-time transfers starting in the 2020 academic year would no longer have to endure the long-standing "year-in-residence" in their first season at their new school. The proposal is being fast-tracked.
Tennessee football hires Bill Martin as new director of communications
Bill Martin has spent the past 19 years working in athletics communications at three SEC schools. He will start his 20th year by joining a new SEC staff. Tennessee on Tuesday announced Martin as its assistant athletics director for football communications. Martin's tenure at Tennessee will begin Feb. 24. He will fill the role vacated by Zach Stipe, who worked at Tennessee for three seasons before departing to move to Ohio with his family. Martin, 37, oversaw the athletics communications department at Mississippi State for the past six years as the senior associate athletics director for communications. He was the lead contact for Bulldogs football and also managed the media relations department responsible for 16 varsity sports. He worked for six years at LSU, his alma mater, prior to his stint in Starkville. Martin was a post-graduate communication intern at Florida in 2008.
LSU football to play spring game at Southern University while replacing turf at Tiger Stadium
LSU football will not be playing its annual spring game at familiar Tiger Stadium this year. Instead, the game will be played at nearby Southern University, an athletic official confirmed Tuesday afternoon. The athletic department just received approval to relocate LSU's spring game off-campus, a decision that's being made since the school is replacing Tiger Stadium's field turf and will not have a playing surface on April 18, when the scrimmage is scheduled to be played. The school has not yet announced a start time for the scrimmage. A.W. Mumford Stadium, located on Southern's campus, seats 28,500. It opened in 1928. A synthetic turf was installed in the stadium in 2016.
Ross Bjork hires Maryland's Kristen Brown as deputy AD for student-athletes at A&M
Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork has hired Maryland's Kristen Brown as deputy athletics director for student-athlete experience. Brown will be the highest ranking female and senior women's administrator. Brown will deal with matters relating to student-athlete engagement, including academics, life skills and career development. She also will serve as a sports supervisor for women's basketball, soccer, volleyball, men's tennis and women's tennis. Brown was at Maryland since 2014, serving as associate athletic director for administration. She was director of sports administration for the Big East Conference from 2010-13. She was an intern with the Big Ten in 2003. She became associate director of championships in 2008.

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