Friday, August 21, 2020   
MSU Outstanding Economic Impact Award
The Mississippi Main Street Association presented its Outstanding Economic Impact Award to Mississippi State University and the City of Starkville for their "Orientation Dine Around Downtown" project during the MMSA's virtual recognition program this month. "Orientation Dine Around Downtown" is a collaboration between MSU's Office of Admissions and Scholarships and its Office of Orientation and Events, and the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Starkville Main Street Association. The program, which MSU developed and implemented as part of its summer 2018 orientation program, aims to introduce incoming freshmen and transfer students and their families to local dine-in restaurants in the Starkville community. MMSA also gave its Outstanding Entrepreneurial Endeavor Award to the MSU Idea Shop, a 2,000-square-foot downtown makerspace and retail storefront that MSU opened in March 2019. The Idea Shop, which is part of the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach, features design workstations, 3D printers, electronics, workbenches and advanced woodworking tools. MSU's College of Business and the School of Human Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences operate the shop.
Starkville schools prep for students to return Monday
During a typical school year, teachers teach, coaches coach, and custodians clean, but when it comes to stopping the spread of COVID-19, it's all hands on deck. Classes start Monday for Starkville students and the staff at Sudduth Elementary has spent the last few days preparing for students to arrive. They said they're eager to get the ball rolling, but they want to provide a safe environment for everyone. Work will begin more than an hour before students arrive. Each employee is tasked with cleaning a certain area. "Everyone's responsibility this year is to keep the school clean," said first-grade teacher Ashlea Sheorn. "Each day our custodians will go through and sanitize the common areas, and then before the students arrive into the classrooms, the teachers will sanitize the classrooms in the morning before the students arrive," said Sudduth Elementary Principal Morgan Abraham. This school year may be different than before, but faculty and staff members are staying positive.
Starkville movie theater prepares for opening
There are a lot of opinions concerning COVID-19; however, one thing most everyone agrees on is the immense impact it has had on the economy and business in general. Particularly speaking, movie theaters nationwide have taken a hit, closing their doors as early as March. The Starkville and Columbus theaters both closed in March due to the pandemic. In Starkville UEC Hollywood Premier Cinema is scheduled to reopen Friday. The movie theater will premier new movies at regular price and "catalog" movies at the bargain price of $5. After nearly five months of closure, the theater will finally reopen its doors. Moviegoers will be required to wear masks in the lobby, restrooms and hallways but can remove them while eating and drinking in the auditorium. Guests will also be asked to "appropriately distance" their groups from other guests. New movie releases will be "Unhinged" and "Words on Bathroom Walls," while older titles such as "Sonic the Hedgehog," "Jurassic Park," "Trolls World Tour," "Inception," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Back to the Future" will also be airing.
Airbus builds first of 16 helicopters for Customs and Border Protection
The first H125 helicopter assembled at Airbus' Lowndes County facility for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has already been delivered to Detroit, Michigan, for CBP agents to use during operations. Over the next 14 months, local Airbus employees will build and deliver 15 more as part of a long-term fleet upgrade initiative for CBP. "Customs and Border Protection ordered 16 helicopters to start replacing their aging fleet of helicopters, some of which are 30 years old," Airbus CEO Romain Trapp told The Dispatch on Wednesday. "So what we are celebrating here today is the beginning of the delivery of these 16 helicopters." Legislators including Rep. Trent Kelly, Sen. Roger Wicker and state Sen. Chuck Younger, along with CBP officials visited Airbus in Columbus Wednesday to tour the facility and meet with employees. U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith was also on the program but had to cancel at the last minute due to a family emergency. Legislators said it is Mississippi and the Golden Triangle area's skilled workforce that makes the production of such high-tech equipment possible. Both Kelly and Wicker said there are pockets of high-tech industry all over the state, but especially in the Golden Triangle.
Mississippi, lagging in high speed internet, uses pandemic relief funds to expand access
Mississippi, a rural state that has long lagged behind most in high speed internet access, is leading the nation in expanding that access with recent investments from the federal and state government, officials say. "Right now in Mississippi, by most estimates we have the largest expansion of fiber to the home, broadband in America when you look at the number of customers who will be served," Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, a four-term public service commissioner, said recently during a lengthy interview in his office in the Woolfolk state office building in Jackson. By the end of 2020, 2,765 miles of fiber optic cable passing by 28,447 homes and businesses are slated to be installed. And in 2021, another 1,980 miles of fiber are scheduled to be installed, passing by 17,309 homes and businesses. "Every household may not be hooked up, but it will be available in those areas," Presley said. This rapid expansion in Mississippi is needed since the state is at or near the bottom in internet access, according to several studies.
Mississippi to apply for jobless aid, won't pay extra $100
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said Thursday that Mississippi will apply for a federal program to expand unemployment for residents who lost work because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, he said the state is not opting to pay an additional $100 per person, per week to bolster checks, meaning the maximum extra money residents can expect is $300 a week. The option recently provided by the White House involves less than the $600 a week in federal aid that unemployment recipients received until the assistance expired on Aug 1. Congress has been unable to agree on an extension amid an impasse on a new round of coronavirus aid. Trump's executive memorandum, issued Aug. 8, gave states the option to apply to the federal government to expand unemployment benefits by up to $400 per week if state governments shoulder 25% of the financial burden -- $100 a week. Reeves said Mississippi will not be able to afford the 25% match. He said that, if approved for the program, the state chose a second option offered by the federal government, which allows states to accept $300 a week per person and use the amount already being paid to jobless residents per week to meet the $100 requirement for states.
Gov. Tate Reeves says unemployed Mississippians will likely receive $300 per week
Mississippians unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to soon receive an extra $300 a week in federal unemployment aid from a Trump administration order, but the payments probably won't last for long, Gov. Tate Reeves said Thursday. "If you get an offer to go back to your old job, or to get a new job, please do so," Reeves said on Thursday. "We don't know when this will run out, but there is a set amount of money ... and it's highly likely the money will run out soon." If the state is approved for the program, those eligible -- people unemployed by the pandemic and receiving at least $100 a week currently in state unemployment -- would receive payments of $300 more a week, back-dated to Aug. 1. Reeves estimated it would take the state 1-3 weeks before it can begin sending payments to people. Reeves announced that Mississippi is joining 19 other states that had applied for the unemployment money as of Thursday.
Choctaw Chief Cyrus Ben details tribe's struggle with COVID-19
While the entire state continues to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has been hit particularly hard. The tribe, which consists of over 11,000 members, has seen 1,067 positive cases -- including Chief Cyrus Ben. While the majority of those individuals have recovered, Chief Ben stated that they've lost 77 members of their tribe due to COVID-19. "What has hurt us so bad as a tribe is the mortality rate. Unfortunately, the mortality rate was higher than anyone in the US, even higher than what was experienced in the state of New York," he said Thursday morning. As for what could be a driving force behind the high mortality rate, Chief Ben explained that diabetes, an underlying health condition, remains prevalent in the Native American community. Living on 35,000 acres across Central Mississippi, the Band of Choctaw Indians is a tight-knit community, which presents problems in a pandemic. "As a people, we're very tightly-knit and also very social. We live such a social lifestyle and when a pandemic hits, it's hard for people to comprehend and adapt so quickly," the Chief said.
Delaware's Joe Biden accepts nomination, sets sights on Trump
Every night before bed, the boy from Claymont stared into the mirror and recited the words of Irish poets, trying to shake the stutter he was teased for. He would grow into a confident football player and eventually a gregarious U.S. senator, whose ambitions eyed the country's highest office. After two failed attempts at the White House, he vaulted to greater prominence as vice president to Barack Obama. His life has been defined by tragedy and loss, all in the public view. In 1972, the state mourned the death of his 30-year-old wife and baby daughter. Decades later, the nation grieved with him as he buried his oldest son. On Thursday night, a few miles from his childhood home, a few miles from the burger joint he's frequented since he was a teen and a few miles from his alma mater, Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for president. Biden is the first Delawarean to be a major political party's presidential nominee. In a commanding speech, he painted his candidacy as one that can unite the Democratic Party and a country in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, an economic downturn, a dooming threat of climate change and a national reckoning on racial injustice.
State looks into COVID outbreak at MUW
Four positive COVID-19 coronavirus cases in a nursing class at Mississippi University for Women this week prompted an investigation from Mississippi State Department of Health, MUW President Nora Miller confirmed Wednesday. Two students tested positive on Tuesday, the day after classes started, and the university soon identified others who had been in close contact with the students, Miller said. Two more students have since tested positive, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday, according to MUW's online COVID-19 tracker. All four positive cases are asymptomatic, and they and the other 71 students in the nursing class are all quarantining for 14 days while the class will be taught online, according to a Wednesday press release from MUW. "Our normal procedures would have been instructing those close contacts to quarantine, but (MSDH) said that because these cases were all within a certain cohort, three or four cases trigger treating it as an outbreak, and that requires quarantine of everyone," Miller said. Contract tracing has shown that the spread of the virus "apparently did not occur on our campus," let alone in the nursing classroom, she said.
Relocated rebel statue causes athlete concerns at Ole Miss
The University of Mississippi has put up a barrier to partially obstruct a Confederate monument after football players said they didn't want to see the rebel soldier statue while they practice. The university moved the statue in mid-July from a central spot on the Oxford campus to a Civil War cemetery. Although the cemetery is in a remote part of campus, it's on a hill that's easily visible from a practice field outside the football stadium. "Over the summer, Chancellor (Glenn) Boyce met with several student-athletes who expressed concern regarding the statue's new location at the cemetery on campus in relation to the vantage point from the football practice field," university spokesman Rod Guajardo said in a statement. "In response, the university is installing a temporary screen around the monument." The mesh covering over a chain link fence will remain "until permanent, limited landscaping can be planted later this fall, the optimal time of year for the plantings to take root," Guajardo said in the statement sent to The Associated Press on Thursday and to other news organizations this week.
MAPE to honor The Phil Hardin Foundation at virtual Oct. 20 tribute
The Phil Hardin Foundation is being presented the 2020 Winter-Reed Partnership Award during a virtual tribute event on Oct. 20. Phil Hardin, known as a visionary businessman of humble beginnings, valued education as the most important ingredient for his success and recognized better educational opportunities for all would also make Mississippi's communities stronger and more prosperous, according to a news release from the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education. MAPE launched the Winter-Reed Partnership Award in 2007 to honor former Gov. William Winter and the late Tupelo businessman Jack Reed Sr. for their lifelong contributions to public education and to provide ongoing recognition for Mississippi's outstanding education leaders, according to the news release. "The Phil Hardin Foundation over the years has supported programs and organizations that improve educational opportunities for children and lift up communities," MAPE President Sandi Beason said in a statement. "The Foundation truly exhibits the spirit of the Winter-Reed Award."
Alabama updates COVID-19 testing results for college students
Two days into classes at University of Alabama System campuses in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville, the reentry testing numbers are coming into focus as other schools across the nation struggle with outbreaks. To date, more than 75,000 students attending colleges in Alabama have been tested through the GuideSafe program. Those tests have yielded a 0.75 percent rate of positivity or approximately 563 students, GuideSafe officials announced Thursday afternoon. reported Aug. 12 that the first 30,000 tests included 0.83 percent positive results. Reentry testing ends Aug. 26 with the UAB campus officially beginning classes Monday. Those numbers include only the tests done at the 14 locations instate or the mail-in kits sent to those out of state. It doesn't include students who went to their personal doctor or other testing locations outside the GuideSafe umbrella. And these numbers come in the backdrop of well-publicized outbreaks at other campuses like North Carolina and Notre Dame. Both suspended in-person learning after a week of classes after positive tests mounted.
Louisiana colleges and universities will start reporting positive COVID-19 cases on campus
Louisiana's college and university campuses have decided to start publicly reporting positive COVID-19 cases by campus each week, after working with Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration on how to best disclose infection numbers to try to track outbreaks. Initially, the higher education system leaders had refused to tell how many students and faculty were testing positive, arguing that such information could be misleading. LSU reversed itself Wednesday and started a running tally of students testing positive on its reopening website. Leaders from the college systems, the Louisiana Department of Health, and the Board of Regents, which sets policy for all public higher education institutions, met Wednesday night and decided to release the test results data by campus each week, Meg Sunstrom, deputy commissioner for strategic communication at the Regents, said Thursday. LSU is not mandating students be tested upon returning to campus for the fall semester, like some universities including Tulane have done. But on Thursday, the school announced it was making free testing available for any student who wants one. The testing will be done at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and in front of the LSU Student Union.
U. of Florida law students fight denial of professor's request to teach racial justice online
University of Florida law students are demanding college officials grant a professor's appeal to teach her racial justice courses online this semester, a request that was denied by the school, effectively canceling the classes. Early this week, UF Levin College of Law students were informed that two classes offered this fall -- Critical Race Theory and Criminal Procedure: Police and Police Practices -- taught by longtime UF law professor Michelle Jacobs, had been canceled. The courses were set to begin next Monday. Jacobs, a criminal law expert, emailed her students that the law school had denied her request to teach online, which resulted in the cancellation. More than 150 students enrolled in both classes are now demanding for Jacobs' ability to teach remotely, and for the courses to continue as planned. Roughly a dozen students and local community leaders gathered outside the law school at noon Thursday to rally for the classes to continue and Jacobs' remote teaching.
Street honoring Confederate icon renamed for New Orleans HBCU president
A New Orleans thoroughfare named for the former president of the Confederacy will be renamed next year to honor a local civil rights icon and longtime president of a historically Black university, the City Council decided Thursday. Jefferson Davis Parkway will become Norman C. Francis Parkway in January. Francis was the first Black graduate of the law school at Loyola University of New Orleans. The street being named for him runs by Xavier University of Louisiana, a historically Black university that was founded by Catholic nuns. Francis served as Xavier's president from 1968 until 2015. The vote to rename the street was 7-0, with council members, meeting online, expressing their happiness that the honor was being bestowed on Francis, 89, while he is alive to see it. Members also made clear they will be looking at other streets and memorials that honor Confederates.
Colleges point fingers at students for partying, spreading COVID-19
They signed pledges to keep the community safe. They received emails about social distancing and wearing masks. But some college students are still doing what college students tend to do: socialize and party. In some cases, the repercussions have been dramatic. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill moved its fall semester online after a rash of positive COVID-19 cases and national scrutiny. At other universities, administrators are wagging fingers at students through letters and tweets. Some are suspending students for attending parties or evicting those who held gatherings in student housing. Some are making veiled threats about taking legal action. But is it fair to lay the blame solely at the feet of students? All students shouldn't be scolded when just some have engaged in risky behavior, said Sherry Pagoto, a professor and director of the UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media at the University of Connecticut. "I do not think messages to the student body that take a scolding tone to all students are useful and may be counterproductive to the many who are doing the right thing," she said. But Pagoto believes evicting students for taking risky behavior is necessary given the risk to public safety.
Swab, Spit Or Stay Home? A Wide Variety Of Plans To Keep Coronavirus Off Campus
Yousuf El-Jayyousi, a junior engineering student at the University of Missouri, wanted guidance and reassurance it would be safe to go back to school for the fall semester. He tuned into a pair of online town halls organized by the university hoping to find that. He did not. What he got instead from those town halls last month was encouragement to return to class at the institution affectionately known as "Mizzou." The university in Columbia would only be testing people with symptoms. In addition, university officials were saying that people who tested positive off campus were under no obligation to inform the school. "It feels like the university doesn't really care whether we get sick or not," says El-Jayyousi, who is scheduled for two in-person classes and lives at home with his parents and 90-year-old grandmother. In keeping with the uncoordinated national response to the COVID-19 pandemic in other sectors, institutions of higher education have received little guidance, such as a set of suggested standards, from the federal government or anywhere else. They've essentially been left to make their own decisions, so the policies for reopening campuses that abruptly shut in March are all over the map.
COVID-19 testing strategies vary widely across institutions
Different colleges are planning a wide range of COVID-19 testing approaches this fall. Some are planning on twice-weekly testing of students or employees, while others have no plans to offer COVID testing on the campus at all. Such variations can be seen in microcosm across the University System of Georgia. Georgia Institute of Technology, a major STEM-focused research university, is offering free diagnostic testing for symptomatic faculty, students and staff and planning for surveillance testing that will allow it to test up to 1,500 asymptomatic students, staff and faculty a day. Meanwhile, Georgia Gwinnett College, a regional public baccalaureate-level university, does not offer testing on campus but advises students that it is available for free through the Georgia Department of Public Health and may also be available through their primary care physician or pharmacy. The CDC's interim guidance to colleges on testing recommends testing of symptomatic students and employees and those who have known or suspected contact with an infected individual. The CDC does not recommend testing upon students' re-entry to campus, which many universities are doing.
NC State to move undergraduate classes online after COVID-19 cases, clusters increase
N.C. State will move to online-only classes for the remainder of the fall semester after seeing a spike in cases and a rapid increase in the number of students in quarantine and isolation, the university announced Thursday. University chancellor Randy Woodson announced the decision in a school-wide email. The chancellor said the recent spike in case within the N.C. State community led to the move to remote classes for undergraduates. "This week we've seen a rapidly increasing trend in COVID-19 infections in the NC State community, including the clusters (in off-campus and Greek Village housing," Woodson said in a statement. "As of today, through our aggressive contact tracing program we have more than 500 students in quarantine and isolation, mostly off campus, who have either tested positive or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. We are also investigating other potential off-campus clusters." Unlike UNC-Chapel Hill, the N.C. State campus will not be closed and students living in residence halls can stay if they wish, according to a news release.
N.C. State's Chancellor Explains Why He Jettisoned an In-Person Semester
Early on Thursday afternoon at North Carolina State University, students were waiting for the other shoe to drop. Their rival sibling , the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, had announced the end of in-person classes on Monday. To students like Karsh Agbayani, a freshman majoring in electrical engineering, it seemed only a matter of time before N.C. State would follow. "A few days ago, I was kind of thinking maybe N.C. State was doing a good job," he said. To clarify, when he says "N.C. State," he means the "Wolfpack" student community on campus. "Well, right now," he said, "it seems like the Greek villages are having the biggest issues, because they're having these big parties and not being responsible." To prove his point as he sat in a quiet corner of campus in a hammock, interviewed by a Chronicle reporter, Agbayani read an email from Randy Woodson, the chancellor: Because of a cluster of 500 coronavirus cases, mostly among the Greek houses, the university would cease in-person classes on August 24. Students who choose to move out would get a prorated portion of their room-and-board money back. Classes would continue online, and tuition would not be returned. A question hung in the air for the most plugged-in students here: Who's responsible?
After George Floyd's killing brought calls to act, U. of Minnesota leaders weighed how far they could go
The young people Jael Kerandi saw at the protest may one day be University of Minnesota students. They deserve better than what I had, she thought. It was one day after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd's neck, killing him. The intersection where that happened was mere miles from the campus that Kerandi, the student-body president, called home. Something had to change, and she had a platform to make a demand. Kerandi returned home to her apartment. Soon after, she sent a letter to the university administration demanding that it halt any partnerships with the Minneapolis Police Department. Respond in 24 hours, she wrote, and signed the letter, "Jael Kerandi, A black woman. The Undergraduate Student Body President." Students make demands of their colleges all the time and sometimes don't hear a peep in response. This was different. The day after Kerandi's demand landed in the hands of administrators, campus leaders took action. Behind the scenes, the process was far less straightforward. Records obtained by The Chronicle show administrators unsure of how exactly to respond and what words to use.
New U.S. ethics board rejects most human fetal tissue research proposals
An ethics board convened by the Trump administration today recommended that the United States refuse to fund all but one in a group of applications to do medical research using human fetal tissue donated after elective abortions. The applications, made to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, had already been recommended for funding by scientific reviewers and had met existing legal requirements for ethical use of the tissue. The Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board, appointed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, reviewed the 14 proposals last month. Its recommendations that 13 of them be rejected, delivered to Azar and Congress this week, were the first under a new regime implemented last year by the Trump administration, in which projects by extramural, NIH-funded scientists using human fetal tissue need to pass an extra layer of ethics review. At least 10 of the board's 15 members have publicly opposed abortion, fetal tissue research, human embryonic stem cell research, contraception, or a combination of these.
How China Targets Scientists via Global Network of Recruiting Stations
China is targeting top scientific and technological expertise in the U.S. and other advanced nations through an expanding network of 600 talent-recruitment stations world-wide, a new report partly funded by the U.S. State Department has found. U.S. officials have long warned that China uses recruitment programs to improperly obtain advanced technology. However, the research conducted by an Australian think tank details the little-known but elaborate infrastructure the Chinese Communist Party uses to recruit scientists from organizations such as Tesla Inc. and Harvard University through such programs. Beijing has denied attempting any systematic effort to steal U.S. scientific research, and Chinese state media have said the U.S. is using allegations of intellectual-property theft as a political tool. The Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The talent programs, such as the Thousand Talents Plan, are supported by 600 recruitment stations in countries around the world.

Gov. Tate Reeves limits stadium capacity to 25 percent ahead of football season
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has joined the debate regarding college football this fall. After previously voicing his support for players to return to the gridiron in recent weeks, Reeves announced an executive order on Thursday that will limit football stadium capacities to 25 percent and ban tailgating throughout the state. Locally, venues such as Davis Wade Stadium will also be allowed to hold 50 percent capacity in its club levels, which would put total attendance numbers somewhere in the 15,000 fan range on game day. Other pertinent information from Reeves' press conference included households must maintain a six foot distance from others while masks will be required for entering and exiting one's seats. As for field access, only essential personnel will be allowed on the playing surface. MSU's first home game against Arkansas is scheduled for Oct. 3.
Gov. Tate Reeves limits seating, bans tailgating at college football
There will be college football in Mississippi this fall, but with some strict limits on the number of people who will be allowed to attend. Gov. Tate Reeves signed Executive Order No. 1519 on Thursday, limiting seating in Mississippi college football stadiums to 25% of "bowl seating" in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. "Bowl seating" is the main seating area within a stadium. The order also prohibits tailgating or other fan gatherings outside stadiums. "I know this will not be popular. It's no fun, and I will miss them terribly myself, but it's better than other states prohibiting football altogether. I'd still rather be in the SEC with no tailgates than the Pac-12 or the Big 10," Reeves said. The order will expire on Aug. 31, days before the first scheduled game in Mississippi when Southern Miss faces South Alabama in Hattiesburg on Sept. 3. However, Reeves seemed intent on laying the groundwork this week for an order that will likely be extended, based on COVID-19 numbers at the time. The governor said he believes the new regulations, while undoubtedly disappointing to some football fans, should help prevent the spread of the virus.
Gov. Tate Reeves limits college football game attendance, bans tailgates
Gov. Tate Reeves announced his plan to sign an executive order on how college football games can be attended this year, and he's already aware it won't be popular. Reeves says games will be limited to 25% capacity this season and social distancing of at least six feet will be required between all people who do not share a household. Additionally, Reeves announced that all pregame gatherings including tailgates, parties and rallies will be prohibited this season. "I know this will not be popular," Reeves said. "It's no fun. I'll miss them terribly myself. But it's better than other states prohibiting football altogether. I'd still rather be in the SEC with no tailgates than in the PAC-12 of Big 10 with no football." Club and suite areas will be governed by the same regulations as restaurants during the pandemic. With regards to his ban on tailgating, Reeves said he is concerned this will lead to an increase in congregating in downtown areas off campus. The governor said it will be up to local law enforcement to ensure such congregation doesn't get out of hand.
Gov. Tate Reeves bans tailgating, limits crowds at college football games to 25%
No tailgating and other social gatherings will be allowed before or after college football games, and stadiums will be limited to 25% capacity under an executive order Gov. Tate Reeves announced Thursday. Reeves acknowledged the ban on tailgating during the COVID-19 pandemic will be unpopular. In Mississippi, tailgating is often considered more popular than the game itself. But on Thursday, Reeves touted the fact that Mississippi is scheduled to have football. Some conferences, such as the Pac-12 and Big Ten, have cancelled their fall seasons. "This is an effort, which we worked closely with the universities on, to set the floor," he said in a statement. "...This the minimum that each school is required to do this fall to keep players and spectators safe while allowing college football to occur." "I have made clear to the universities that they have to work hard to make sure these guidelines are strictly enforced," Reeves said.
Thanks COVID, now tailgating is canceled
The Grove and Junction promise to be quiet this fall, thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak. On August 20, Gov. Tate Reeves signed an executive order implementing new restrictions on college game day activities. The measure includes bans on tailgating, major traditions at Ole Miss and Mississippi State University. "I know it's a topic that we constantly get questions about. It's something that's been polarizing around the country -- some conferences have opted not to make any effort to play. Some states have not yet put out their plans," said Reeves. "This is an effort, which we worked closely with the universities on, to set a floor. We took their joint recommendations, and with a little work we put this plan together. This is the minimum that each school is required to do this fall, to keep players and spectators safe while allowing college football to occur. Reeves made the announcement at Thursday's COVID press briefing.
No tailgating? Gov. Tate Reeves announces COVID-19 rules for college football in Mississippi
Attendance at college football games in Mississippi will be limited to 25% of stadium capacity under a new executive order issued by Gov. Tate Reeves. The order is set to expire on Aug. 31, but Reeves expects to extend the order before it runs out. This limit on capacity will likely apply to the Sept. 3 game between South Alabama and Southern Miss at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg -- a facility that has an official capacity of 36,000. There will be a ban on social gatherings outside stadiums, including tailgating, picnics and fanfare areas. "I'll miss (tailgates) terribly myself, but it's better than some states prohibiting football altogether," Reeves said. When asked what priority students may given for attending games, Reeves said that it will be up to each individual university to determine who gets in the gate. Ole Miss is set to open the 2020 season with a home game against Florida on Sept. 26. Mississippi State, which opens Sept. 26 at LSU, will hold its first home game on Oct. 3 vs. Arkansas.
SEC creates group to assist, implement efforts around racial equity and social justice
The SEC on Thursday announced a new group that will assist efforts to implement and promote racial and social justice issues. The Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice will identify resources, outline strategies and assist with implementation of efforts that, when taken together, will promote racial equity and social justice, while also fostering diversity, helping overcome racism and pursuing non-discrimination in intercollegiate athletics. "An important movement has been ignited around the equitable treatment of all underrepresented minorities, and the SEC is determined to be a leader in the pursuit of meaningful and lasting change," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. University administrators and head coaches of the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice from Mississippi State are Angel Brutus, assistant director of athletics in counseling and sport psychology services, and Ginger Brown-Lemm, women's golf head coach.
Golf recovering from coronavirus handicap
Golf is making a comeback across the country after the initial impact of the coronavirus. The lure of fresh air and sunshine the smell of new-mown grass has people thinking about shots and scores again. (Ninety-eight percent of all courses -- public or private -- are now open, according to Golf Advisor.) And rankings. Mississippi has three of the of the top 100 private courses with public access, according to Golfweek magazine. Fallen Oak at Beau Rivage in Biloxi ranks 27th, followed by Mossy Oak, No. 39, and Old Waverly, No. 65, both at West Point. Mossy Oak dates to 2016 and has made a place for itself in the Golfweek Top 100 Courses You Can Play. Like all courses, it was struck with a storm of cancellations in March, when the pandemic was made public, according to Chris Jester, director of the club. By May, the panic had lifted, and, after a strong July, the course is slightly ahead of last year's pace as of July 31, he said. Things are looking up further for the Gil Hanse-designed course -- the opening of a clubhouse in September, he said. Mossy Oak made West Point a drive-to destination, as it is across the road, Old Magnolia Drive, from Old Waverly, a private course. "Not many people are wanting to fly," he said. Mossy Oak and Old Waverly are a pairing, of sorts. Within common bloodlines, they work together.
E-sports leveling up at Alcorn State
No longer the pastime of nerdy gamers, esports is exploding across college campuses and interest among Alcorn's students is flourishing. "Esports is the fastest growing sport in the world and we feel it would enhance the overall student experience and offer an exciting opportunity for our students," said Cyrus Russ, assistant vice president for athletic compliance and academic services at Alcorn State University. "We formed an esports advisory committee which is charged with developing an esports program that offers our students the opportunity to pursue their passion for gaming while learning the esports industry." "Nearly 100 high schools in Mississippi now offer esports," added Russ. "There is huge interest from students who are enthusiastic about gaming." The MHSAA (Mississippi High School Activities Association) has completed its second year of state-sanctioned esports and it is the fastest-growing school-sanctioned activity in the state. Other Mississippi universities also offer club esports, including Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Longtime Paul W. Bryant Museum curator arrested on multiple child porn charges; fired from position
The longtime curator of the Paul W. Bryant Museum has been arrested on multiple child porn charges and fired from his job. Hosea Taylor Watson III, 58, was taken into custody Wednesday by police officers from Northport, Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama who are assigned to the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force, said Assistant Northport Police Chief Keith Carpenter. Agents with the Joint Electronic Crimes Task Force and the Tuscaloosa Cyber Intelligent Unit also took part in carrying out the search warrant that led to Watson's arrest. The Paul W. Bryant Museum is located on UA's campus. Founded in 1985, the museum was opened in 1988 to showcase the history of Alabama football, with special emphasis on legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Watson had served as the curator for at least 20 years. University of Alabama spokesman Shane Dorrill said Thursday Watson had been terminated and issued a no-trespass order from the university following his arrest. "The University appreciates the work of local law enforcement teams and will cooperate with their investigations as needed,'' Dorrill said.

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