Monday, July 27, 2015  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State ranked nation's 12th-safest college campus
BestColleges.com recently ranked Mississippi State University the No. 12 safest college campus in the country on its list of the 50 safest college campuses. The website compiled the list using the latest information from the IPEDS and College Navigator databases, which are sources maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics. MSU has a full-service police department on campus, "Bully Patrol" services that patrol on golf carts across campus at night, controlled access to all dormitories via key or key cards, emergency blue light telephones across campus and two K-9 teams, among other programs.
 
Going 'Green' Pays Off for Maroon
Six months after completing a massive energy savings program, Mississippi State administrators say going green is paying dividends for the maroon. Much of the work focused on replacing old lighting with new LED systems that use less energy, last longer and provide better lighting. J.D. Hardy, associate director of engineering services, said the university in January finished a two-phase, multi-million dollar effort to replace T12 fluorescent lighting with more efficient light-emitting diode (LED) technology in 22 central-campus buildings. The new LED lighting infrastructure is expected to last more than 15 years, Hardy said, providing energy savings on a continuing basis.
 
Mississippi State graduate Craven takes over campus radio station
Mississippi State University junior Blake Stacy stumbled upon one of the true passions in his life. "When I was a senior in high school (at Biggersville High School), I led the prayer on the opening day of the (Future Farmers of America) convention," Stacy said. "Later in the week, a lady told me I should look into working at the campus radio station. She said I had a voice for it." Stacy is a junior civil engineering major. By his admission, his major has "nothing to do at all with the radio station." However, he calls his two years of radio work "a blessing" and a "phenomenal experience." Stacy represents the diversity of the dozen or so students who work at WMSV-FM, the 14,000-watt station located in the heart of the MSU campus. Helping these students reach their full radio potential is the task of station general manager Anthony Craven. A 2001 MSU graduate, Craven took charge of the station in June following the retirement of Steve Ellis, who worked more than three decades on campus.
 
Starkville's Cunetto honored with Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education award
The Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education honored Stephen Cunetto of Starkville July 14 with its 2015 Thad Cochran Distinguished Arts Educator Award for theater. The presentation was made during the Mississippi Theatre Association's Whole Schools Institute awards ceremony at the MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts in Meridian. Cunetto has been the executive director of the Mississippi Theatre Association since 2003. He is also the administrator of systems at Mississippi State University Libraries. The honoree's commitment to theater arts continues the legacy of his late father, Dr. Dominic Cunetto, who helped pioneer theater at Mississippi State and the Starkville Community Theatre.
 
OCH Regional Medical Center betting on improved financial position
OCH Regional Medical Center's tentative Fiscal Year 2015-2016 budget shows officials are more optimistic about the hospital's short-term financial future. The preliminary budget, as delivered to supervisors last week, plans for $2.77 million in excess of revenues over expenses, a significant increase from FY 2014-2015's sub-$900,000 projection. OCH CFO Susan Russell said increases in overall in-patient services and more-profitable surgery types have helped improve the hospital's revenue. Adding services remains a priority for administrators, she said, and the hospital is expected to open a new wound care center this fall. Administrators previously tightened OCH's financial belt in 2013 when they implemented reductions some employees' pay and work hours.
 
Votes building against Wynn's flag-removing resolution
Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn's upcoming resolution to remove the state flag from flying on city property will pass or fail by a razor-thin margin. Three Starkville aldermen -- Ward 1's Ben Carver, Ward 3's David Little and Ward 5's Scott Maynard -- told The Dispatch they oppose Tuesday's pending motion and would rather state lawmakers handle the issue outright for Mississippi as a whole. Little and Maynard both said they understand how the flag is viewed as a racially divisive symbol, and Carver said Wynn's motion "jumps the gun" before state lawmakers tackle the issue in Jackson. With the early 1-3 margin, Wynn's resolution is now in the hands of Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker, Ward 6 Alderman and Vice Mayor Roy A. Perkins and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn.
 
Neshoba County Fair activities ramping up
Opening ceremonies for "Mississippi's Giant Houseparty," the Neshoba County Fair will kick-off Monday night prior to the Miss Neshoba County Beauty Pageant. Fair President Gilbert Donald said a good turnout is expected this year. "This is the fourth year, which is the political year in Mississippi, and it is always a big year at the Neshoba County Fair because of the politics," Donald said. "It is important that people who are running for office, especially for state office, appear at the Neshoba County Fair, and it is just as important that people know that politics is politics, and it all happens at the Neshoba County Fair." Expectations are that up to 20,000 seasonal tickets and 20,000 day tickets for the fair will be sold. That number does not include those who get in free, such as children age 10 or younger.
 
Sales tax holiday weekend arrives Friday
Consumers will hit Mississippi stores soon to take advantage of the annual state sales tax holiday. Shoppers won't pay the 7 percent tax on shoes and clothing priced under $100 per item. Tax will still be charged on many items, including jewelry, backpacks and specialized sports shoes such as soccer cleats. The leader of the sales tax holiday movement, former state Sen. Walter Michel of Jackson, said he's pleased that many retailers have gotten into the spirit. Many are offering 50 percent to 70 percent off covered items as they compete for shoppers. Describing it as a back-to-school tax holiday prompts confusion among shoppers, Michel said. "School supplies were never in the legislation," he said. "The idea was to provide something so all shoppers would benefit and not limit it."
 
Legislative primaries prelude to November battle
While control of the Mississippi House will not be decided until the November general election, the first salvo in that political battle will be waged soon in the Aug. 4 party primary elections. While neither Republican or Democratic leaders would dare state publicly who they will support or oppose in the August elections, rest assured both sides are eying primaries where the outcomes could strengthen or weaken their position for the all-important November elections. "We feel very good about the elections this year," House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, said recently in an e-mail response. "The Republicans in the House have a great record to run on, and I believe that will show at the ballot boxes." Not surprisingly, Rep. Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto, the House Democratic leader, provides an alternative view.
 
Pickering's wife: RV 'second home' at Disney
State Auditor Stacey Pickering said he purchased a recreational vehicle for his campaign in part so his family "could spend as much time together as we campaigned across the state" and because it saved his campaign money on hotel rooms. But his wife, as a columnist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, wrote that after the family purchased an RV, "We now consider Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & campground our second home," raising further questions about whether the RV is mainly for campaign or personal use. Multiple sources have confirmed to The Clarion-Ledger that federal investigators are looking into the Pickering campaign.
 
Education stands divide candidates for Mississippi Legislature
With a statehouse divided over school funding, and public schools in general, the road to the Legislature this year passes through the schoolhouse. Democrats rarely missed a spending bill vote without wondering aloud on the House or Senate floor why the money couldn't go to fully fund the education system. The state for years has had a formula, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, to fund education but the Legislature rarely has lived up to it. And, after a petition drive landed Initiative 42, an amendment that would force lawmakers' hands on school spending, on the ballot, the Legislature voted along party lines to add its own amendment. Initiative 42 supporters said that was just an attempt to confuse voters. Republicans say if Initiative 42 passes, it will take money from other agencies, including higher education. Democrats call that a scare tactic.
 
Chaney seeks third term as insurance commissioner
Mike Chaney was elected the Mississippi Commissioner of Insurance in 2007, and the Tupelo native hopes voters give him a third term. But Chaney faces an opponent in the Republican primary, John Mosley of Clinton, who says Chaney hasn't done enough to help the state's consumers. The winner of the Aug. 4 primary likely will get the job as State Insurance Commissioner. He will face Reform Party candidate Johnny McLeod in the November general election.
 
Holland discharged from hospital
State Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, who has been undergoing treatments at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo for more than a week for an infection of the abdominal cavity, was discharged late Friday. He said the "task looming" is to determine the source of the infection that also was a factor in his missing a substantial portion of the 2014 legislative session. But Holland added, he was "grateful once again for good doctors, nurses and support staff and interceding prayers." Holland, 59, has represented District 16 in Lee County since 1984. He is running unopposed for re-election.
 
Governor: Mississippi might not comply with climate rule
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has told the Environmental Protection Agency his state might not comply with a forthcoming Obama administration rule on carbon emissions from power plants. "We do not see how it will be possible to reasonably develop a State Implementation Plan [SIP] given the burdensome requirements of EPA's proposal in its current form," Bryant wrote in a Thursday letter to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. Bryant said the EPA's Clean Power Plan is an "unfunded mandate" that would require the state to build new energy infrastructure in order to bring down its carbon emissions. He complained that the proposed plan set more stringent emissions goals for Mississippi than other states and that it does not credit the state for reducing its emissions in previous years.
 
Senate Votes to Revive Ex-Im Bank, Keep Obamacare
In a pair of losses for conservatives, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Sunday to revive the Export-Import Bank while failing to overcome a filibuster of an attempt to repeal Obamacare -- with more fireworks to come. The rare Sunday votes set the stage for the Senate to send a long-term highway bill tied to the Ex-Im Bank to the House later this week, but not before facing other gambits by conservatives, including a procedural vote forced by Sen. Ted Cruz regarding the Iran deal and an effort to deploy a maneuver akin to the "nuclear option." The Senate quickly adjourned for the night after holding the series of votes.
 
Proof of a 'Gig Economy' Revolution Is Hard to Find
Politicians and Silicon Valley prospectuses are all atwitter over the perils and promise of the next big thing, the gig economy. Hillary Clinton warned of the downsides of this informal workforce in a recent economic speech, including the potential erosion of workplace protections. Eyeing an opening, Jeb Bush used the ride-hailing app Uber to get to a meeting with Thumbtack, a company that helps people hire everyone from handymen to DJs. Companies like these have been portrayed as the "race-to-the-bottom economy" and "the industrial revolution of our time." Harder to find so far is proof of the revolution. Far from turning into a nation of gig workers, Americans are becoming slightly less likely to be self-employed, and less prone to hold multiple jobs.
 
Defense Revenues Down, but Industry Prevailing
Lagging defense spending and the large-scale drawdown of US troops in the Middle East spelled another year of decreased revenues for defense contractors. But industry has largely avoided the dramatic upheavals of previous industrial downturns, with mergers and acquisitions being driven more by opportunistic business decisions than panic over a dwindling pot of money. Analysts suggested that while 2014 is close to the bottom of the defense market, defense spending may continue to go down for another year or two. And when it stops declining, it may not recover as quickly as it did following the large downturn in the 1990s.
 
DOE will re-compete Oak Ridge Associated Universities' contract
Oak Ridge Associated Universities, which has been a government contractor in Oak Ridge since the 1940s, may have to fight to keep its existing role with the U.S. Department of Energy. The current contract for managing DOE's Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education is due to expire at the end of 2015, and DOE spokeswoman Claire Sinclair confirmed that the federal agency intends to put contract up for bids. Oak Ridge Associated Universities spokeswoman Pam Bonee said ORAU "most definitely" will submit a proposal to keep the Oak Ridge management contract. ORAU is a consortium of 114 universities and a long-time institution in Oak Ridge.
 
East Mississippi Community College president speaks to power of community colleges
The new president of East Mississippi Community College earned his doctorate degree in speech communication. Those skills were on full display Thursday afternoon. Dr. Thomas Huebner addressed the Columbus Exchange Club at Lion Hills Golf Club and Center in part of his ongoing efforts to introduce himself to the community. His talk took Exchange Club members on a roller coaster ride of funny and touching moments to explain why he is passionate about community colleges and why EMCC is his dream job. He said that everyone in education nationwide knows EMCC's reputation for workforce development and that the new Communiversity project is the envy of his colleagues everywhere.
 
Bane hired as Meridian Community College workforce project manager
Darren Bane, a native of Louisville, recently joined Meridian Community College's Department of Community and Business Development as Workforce Project Manager. In his new role, he will be responsible for determining the need for workforce projects, monitoring and evaluating workforce projects, identifying and/or developing training opportunities, coordinating workforce training events that will improve workforce skills for incumbent workers and for individuals in the general public. Bane received his bachelor of business administration in marketing from Mississippi State University.
 
Georgia Green Industry Association helps beautify UGA's Hoke Smith Building
It's been 80 years since the front landscape of the Hoke Smith Building at the University of Georgia -- once home to the state administration for UGA Cooperative Extension -- was first installed, and it's time for a facelift. Georgia Green Industry Association members are donating their time, skills and plants in order to renovate the somewhat-sparse front lawn and planting beds outside the of the Hoke Smith Building in Athens, Georgia. The $100,000 facelift will begin today. The GGIA is donating the work as part of its community service efforts, said Chris Butts, executive director of the Georgia Green Industry Association. While no longer home to top administrators, it still houses many College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension personnel. The building also serves as a public face for the agency.
 
U. of South Carolina's journalism school moves to renovated Horseshoe building from Coliseum
University of South Carolina journalism students and faculty will return to classrooms in August that have state-of-the art technology. But the journalism school's new home, in a renovated three-story building on the Horseshoe, will have an antiquated feature that students and professors likely will value as much as the new flatscreen TVs and iMAC computers -- windows. The school's new home will be a boon for recruiting students and faculty, predicts Charles Bierbauer, dean of the College of Information and Communications. The move is estimated to cost $25 million, including $18 million from the university for renovations and technology costs. The additional $7 million, which the journalism school is raising, includes $1.5 million for a studio in a greenhouse and other technology.
 
Police: No injuries after shots fired at U. of Florida
University of Florida police have taken one person into custody after shots were fired outside a student residence building near the football stadium. School officials sent a safety alert at 3:21 a.m. Monday stating that shots had been fired in the Murphree Hall lot. Twenty minutes later, the school issued a second alert saying a person with a firearm had been taken into custody. No one was injured in the shooting.
 
Undocumented students in Tennessee rally after tuition defeat
Despite a bruising defeat this spring, Tennessee's undocumented students and their allies are more confident than ever that they can rally the support needed to win more affordable college tuition. Under state law, undocumented students who want to go to public colleges must pay out-of-state rates that are often two or three times higher than those offered to Tennessee citizens. This year, a bill that would have given some undocumented students in-state tuition won the support of Gov. Bill Haslam and dozens of lawmakers, including some who had been vocal opponents in the past.
 
Texas A&M striving to stand out by attracting more National Merit Scholars
While recent success stories from Texas A&M athletics have boosted the university's national reputation, officials are working hard to continue to make certain the school is known just as well for research and academics. According to a recent National Merit Scholar report, Texas A&M is attracting an increasing number of the program's students, placing second among public universities and 10th overall for the number of students during the 2014-2015 school year. "Enrolling more of those students who are in the National Merit competition is a goal that allows us to showcase the university to a pretty broad group of students from all over the United States," said Lynn Barnes, director of recruitment at Texas A&M. "I think that really exposing them to Texas A&M University and getting Texas A&M's name and brand out across the U.S. is really important."
 
Texas A&M buildings in competition to reduce energy, water usage
Aggies historically have never backed down from a fight, so their first fray in the Environmental Protection Agency's sixth annual Energy Star Battle of the Buildings competition will be approached the same way. Sixteen Texas A&M University buildings will compete against 125 teams and more than 6,500 other buildings nationwide to see who can reduce their energy and water use the most. The competition, which supports President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan to challenge businesses to become 20 percent more energy efficient by the year 2020, seemed like the ideal fit for A&M, according to Utilities and Energy Services Data Analyst Joannie Maldonado. "We're competitors," Maldonado said. "We have a lot of good buildings that have made a lot of good changes over the past year and we already have even more buildings that we're looking at entering next year."
 
Curators approve policy change for U. of Missouri System employees seeking office
University of Missouri System employees who choose to run for a full-time public office in the future will have to resign or take a leave of absence sooner. The UM System Board of Curators voted Friday to amend the UM System's political activities policy, effective April 1, 2016. The revision requires employees seeking full-time public office to resign or request an unpaid leave of absence upon filing for the primary election, registering a candidate committee or registering an exploratory committee -- whichever occurs first. his policy change comes one day after MU Associate Professor Josh Hawley made his candidacy for state attorney general official. Hawley is taking an unpaid leave of absence for the 2015-16 school year, MU School of Law Dean Gary Myers said.
 
White House pivots to accountability, outcomes, and away from debt-free, in major Duncan speech
American higher education is failing "far too many of our students," Education Secretary Arne Duncan was scheduled to say Monday, as he calls for colleges to be held more accountable for graduating students with high-quality degrees that lead to good jobs. In a speech outlining the higher education priorities of the Obama administration as it enters its final 18 months in office, Duncan will say it is time to "go further" than discussions about rising levels of student loan debt. He will urge a shift toward focusing on degree completion and educational quality. Describing the current system of higher education as broken and inefficient, Duncan will call for fundamental changes to how colleges are held accountable. He will say policymakers "must shift incentives at every level to focus on student success, not just access."
 
Campus Suicide and the Pressure of Perfection
Anxiety and depression, in that order, are now the most common mental health diagnoses among college students, according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State. The existential question "Why am I here?" is usually followed by the equally confounding "How am I doing?" In 1954, the social psychologist Leon Festinger put forward the social comparison theory, which posits that we try to determine our worth based on how we stack up against others. In the era of social media, such comparisons take place on a screen with carefully curated depictions that don't provide the full picture. Mobile devices escalate the comparisons from occasional to nearly constant.
 
UCSD wins key round in legal fight with USC over huge research project
A California judge said Friday that she was issuing a temporary injunction to restore control over a massive database of research on Alzheimer's disease to the University of California at San Diego. UCSD sought the injunction after the scholar who has led the project announced he would move to the University of Southern California and take the research with him. While research universities compete against one another for faculty stars and the research projects they lead, the fights rarely end in court battles with the sort of name-calling this one features. The dispute comes at a time that USC and UCSD are both pushing for greater research prominence in general, and in UCSD's home territory of San Diego. USC has been raising huge sums of money and spending much of those funds to build up research teams.
 
BILL CRAWFORD (OPINION): Frierson a rare straight shooter on Mississippi budget
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "You've got to admire Herb Frierson. There aren't many straight shooters in Mississippi politics anymore. ...Despite what proponents say, Initiative 42 makes no provisions to phase-in funding. Given the state's unsettled revenue status, Frierson has directed agency heads to provide his committee information about how they would cut their budgets or raise fees to cover cuts of up to 7.8 percent in fiscal year 2017. The Department of Education and Medicaid were excluded. While most politicians are campaigning on big tax cuts or big new spending on education, Frierson has taken a more sober approach. No doubt the Poplarville Republican is taking arrows from both sides for his hard looks at tax breaks and Initiative 42, but it's refreshing to see at least one state leader takes the funding of state government seriously."
 
SAM R. HALL (OPINION): Pickering needs to lay everything on the table
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "Two things are abundantly clear with the recent revelation that the FBI is looking at questionable campaign finance expenditures and state no-bid contracts to campaign operatives by Auditor Stacey Pickering: 1. Pickering has not clearly explained the expenditures, and he needs to do so immediately. 2. State campaign finance laws need a major overhaul that makes it illegal for campaign funds to be transferred to personal use of any kind. It's the second point that will be the ultimate takeaway from this entire ordeal. ...Pickering is clearly the most qualified of the three people seeking the auditor's office, and he's done a good job thus far. However, Pickering faces serious questions."
 
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): Regional battle over BP money could be ameliorated
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "The first check is not in the mail, yet the fight over how and where -- mostly where -- the Legislature should spend $750 million in BP oil disaster money has begun. ...But can't we all get along? Can't we figure out a way to use this money and make people happy from the sparkling brown waters of the Coast to the mountains of Iuka? I propose setting up a program that would, eventually, help all cities across the state with dire infrastructure needs. I say use some or most or all of the BP settlement money to create a revolving capital loan program for municipalities. ...I spoke to House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson last week about the BP settlement. To show great minds think alike -- my words, not his -- Frierson said he's been blue-skying an idea similar to my revolving cap loan one."
 
SID SALTER (OPINION): State term limits still poor public policy
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Mississippi voters have rejected term limits each time the question has come before them, but the United Conservative Fund group led by state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, wants to offer state voters another bite at the apple. ...In 1995 and again in 1999, state voters rejected two separate term limits initiatives each by a margin of about 55 percent to 45 percent. Why? Mississippi voters weren't willing to give up their right to return competent, familiar public servants to office from their local supervisor and justice court judge to their congressman and U.S. senators. ...Term limits is poor public policy that offers the voter this political nanny solution to all his or her problems: 'Stop me before I vote for the same public official again!'"


SPORTS
 
SEC dealing with how to handle off-the-field issues
The SEC's senior head coach has always kept a simple rule around his program. "I've always had a rule as a coach that, if you ever hit a girl, you're finished," South Carolina's Steve Spurrier said at SEC Media Days in Hoover. But around the country, other coaches haven't been so fortunate. The incidents have drawn attention to some of the nation's top programs in the offseason. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced in Hoover that the conference plans to appoint a working group on student-athlete conduct issues and policies. "There's responsibility that comes with the work in which our programs engage," Sankey said. That responsibility doesn't stop with the league office, or even coaches offices. Players have also recognized their roles in the issues facing college football. "We're grown men in this," Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott said. "I don't think another grown man or somebody should have to tell you not to put your hands on a woman."
 
Mississippi State's Jordan ready to have impact on young soccer team
Don't mess with Shelby Jordan. Despite the drops of water falling from her face, the intensity in Jordan's eyes speaks to the camera and keeps you glued to the screen for nine seconds. No, she isn't auditioning for the next big horror movie. Instead, Jordan's acting debut in the HailState Productions video is meant to convey a message that a storm -- the Mississippi State women's soccer team -- is coming in August 2015. Jordan and MSU will kick off the season at 10 a.m. Aug. 12 with an exhibition match at Tennessee-Martin. MSU will play host to Memphis at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 in another exhibition match. It will play host to South Alabama at 7 p.m. Aug. 21 in its regular-season opener.
 
Former LSU worker Bill Martin's viral email still tells emotional Katrina story
When first prompted, Cary Groth didn't recall the email she received 10 years ago from then-anonymous LSU sports information student worker Bill Martin. As athletic director at University of Nevada-Reno -- now retired -- she'd likely seen tens of thousands of electronic messages since. The words were another matter. Seeing them recently, re-reading the email, Groth found quickly they hadn't lost their emotional punch. "I got tears in my eyes all over again," she said in a phone interview last week. The unassuming Martin, now in his second year as sports information director at Mississippi State, was one of the early chroniclers of the severity of Hurricane Katrina.
 
NCAA: Southern Miss, Tyndall committed multiple violations
The NCAA has outlined serious rules violations committed at Southern Mississippi, finding multiple infractions by the men's basketball program during former coach Donnie Tyndall's tenure. The charges, which include arranging fraudulent academic credit, impermissible financial aid and obstructing the governing body's investigation, were outlined in a notice of allegations released by the university on Friday. There were seven alleged Level I violations -- which are judged the most serious by the NCAA -- in the 43-page notice. Though things could be worse for the Golden Eagles. The NCAA notably did not include the dreaded lack of institutional control charge, instead placing most of the blame on Tyndall and his staff during their two-year tenure.
 
Student-athletes at Alcorn State getting some financial help from the NCAA
The student-athletes at Alcorn State University are getting some financial help from the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The NCAA has awarded more than $4 million in grants to nine Division I schools -- including Alcorn State University and fellow SWAC member Texas Southern University -- to support academic programs that help student-athletes earn their degrees. Alcorn State is a recipient of the Accelerating Academic Success Program Comprehensive Grant (multi-year) worth $900,000. Schools eligible to apply for the program are non-FBS Division I schools in the bottom 10 percent of resources as determined by per capita institutional expenditures, athletics department funding and Pell Grant aid.
 
The Pursuit of Nick Saban: Alabama vs. Texas
In December 2012, as Nick Saban was preparing Alabama to face Notre Dame in college football's national championship game, a University of Texas regent named Wallace Hall received a phone call from a friend. "It was out of the blue," Hall says. "He is a U.T. alum, a very well-thought-of, very successful guy who really isn't a huge fan of football." The man, whom Hall has refused to name, also happened to be a good friend of Saban's agent, Jimmy Sexton. "My friend told me, 'I don't know how to put this any other way: Nick Saban wants to come to Texas,'" Hall says.
 
DAVID CLIMER (OPINION): U. of Tennessee should take hard look at Donnie Tyndall's tenure
The Tennessean's David Climer writes: "It's time to start turning over some rocks at Rocky Top. The NCAA investigation that alleges major rules violations at Southern Miss during Donnie Tyndall's two-year coaching tenure should put Tennessee officials on alert. UT should take a hard look and see if Tyndall was running the same kind of rogue program in his 11 months as Vols coach. The NCAA report, which became public last Friday, portrays Tyndall as a serial cheater who played loose and free with the rule book, sometimes using creative means in an attempt to conceal his actions. With that kind of past behavior, might he have left a few skeletons in the closet when he vacated Thompson-Boling Arena?"
 
Football conferences putting medical spotters in replay booths
When the University of Michigan let quarterback Shane Morris stay in a game in September despite his exhibiting symptoms of what would eventually prove to be a concussion, it rejuvenated a debate over whether college football is doing enough to prevent lasting damage from head injuries. The university later said the incident had been an oversight -- the result of coaches having a different perspective of the injury from down on the field than those watching the game from high above or with access to instant replay. Now, college conferences are hoping to provide medical officials with that bird's eye view, placing additional medical observers in the replay booth and allowing them to re-watch injuries with instant replay technology. The two systems speak to a larger debate taking place within the top conferences of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.



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