Tuesday, June 11, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
MSU Institute Puts Unique Focus on Writing
Instead of encouraging students to learn about writing, a diverse team of Mississippi State faculty members is beginning a process to encourage their undergraduate majors to write to learn. Launching a writing-focused culture at the university is the primary focus of the "Maroon & Write" quality enhancement plan -- QEP, for short. Ten selected faculty representatives of the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Forest Resources make up the founding Maroon Institute for Writing Excellence, a month-long intensive workshop.
 
PCHS senior to represent state; Burks selected while a delegate at Boys State
When Jonathan Burks made the decision to attend the 2013 American Legion Boys State session, he had no idea that choice would eventually take him to Washington, D.C. While at the week-long Boys State session, Burks was elected by his peers as one of two young men to represent the state of Mississippi at American Legion Boys Nation scheduled for July 19-27. About 370 high school juniors from all across the state attended Boys State this year, which was held May 26-June 1 at Mississippi State University in Starkville.
 
Democrat committee member urges disciplinary meeting
At least one sitting Oktibbeha County Democratic Executive Committee member is asking the group's chairman to schedule a meeting this month and take action against high-ranking party officials who were spotted at a May Republican fund-raiser. After the June 4 election, local Democratic Party Chairman Chris Taylor said party meetings are not scheduled until late September, but executive committee member Patti Drapala is petitioning to discuss the party rift this month. The OCDP meets on the last Tuesday of each month. Photos surfaced on social media last month linking three Democratic aldermen-elects -- Roy A. Perkins, Henry Vaughn and Lisa Wynn -- and executive committee member Dorothy Isaac at Republican mayoral candidate Dan Moreland's May 29 fund-raiser.
 
Mississippi's Medicaid plan may fail
A partisan feud over Obamacare's Medicaid expansion is threatening health care for thousands of low-income and elderly Mississippians whose coverage could be in jeopardy at the end of the month if lawmakers don't come to a consensus. Both Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and Democratic state lawmakers face pressure to resolve their staring contest. If they don't, the whole state Medicaid program -- never mind any proposed expansion -- would expire July 1. Numerous states have battled over expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. But in Mississippi, it's playing out in a way that threatens the entire program, not just the 300,000 who could get covered if the state expanded but the 700,000 people who are currently enrolled.
 
Snowden on Medicaid
It appears that it will come down to the last minute, but state Rep. Greg Snowden says he believes Mississippi's Medicaid program will be re-authorized. The governor is expected to call a special session before the end of June. Snowden, who is the president pro tem in the House, told the Lauderdale County Council of Governments Monday that he believes renewal, not expansion, will happen then. "In my opinion, if we do not do it, the people voting against it are crazy," said Snowden.
 
Contractors, agencies in Miss. tight-lipped about security
Since a whistleblower made public the fact the National Security Agency is collecting telephone and Internet data on hundreds of millions of Americans, many have worried about their privacy. But some also worry about the ramifications on national security of the release of top-secret information. Mississippi's workforce is rich with defense contractors, especially in the growing field of aerospace technology. Each person who works for those contractors, though, is submitted to a rigorous background check. "We do take the protection of information very seriously, but we don't comment on it or any procedures or measures that we take," said Northrup Grumman spokesman Jim Hart. "We don't discuss it publicly."
 
Groundbreaking set for Grammy Museum Mississippi
The Grammy Museum Mississippi expected to open in 2015 will showcase the state's role in developing blues, country and genres that shaped American music. Officials prepared to break ground Tuesday at the planned museum site, located at the south end of the Delta State University golf course, off of Mississippi Highway 8 in Cleveland. Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves are among the speakers scheduled for the groundbreaking ceremony.
 
Senate passes Farm Bill; Cochran touts $4B in savings
The U.S. Senate has passed a new farm bill. The Senate yesterday approved the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (S.954), major legislation that reforms and extends programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through 2018. The bill was approved on a bipartisan 66-27 vote. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, said, "American agriculture producers deserve the certainty that comes with a strong five-year farm bill. I'm pleased that we've come up with a bill that will meet that need."
 
Senate passes farm bill in 66-27 vote
The Senate on Monday approved a five-year farm bill in a 66-27 vote. More than 15 Republicans joined most Democrats in supporting the bill, which would cut $24 billion from farm spending over 10 years, including a $4 billion reduction to food stamps. Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Jack Reed (R.I.) were the only Democrats who voted against the bill. Before the Senate vote, Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) touted her bill as supporting U.S. jobs while also reducing the deficit. The House is working on a rival, $940 billion farm bill that cuts spending by $39.7 billion over 10 years, with $20.5 billion of the cuts coming food stamps. Democrats are firmly against the food stamp cuts in the House farm bill, and the differences between the two versions might be difficult to bridge in a conference committee.
 
Now, the Real Test for the Farm Bill
Senate backers of an updated farm bill are pushing the House to act following Senate passage Monday evening. The Senate passed the five-year farm program bill Monday evening on an anticlimactic 66-27 vote, just after Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, announced the next steps in that chamber, where the measure faces a more difficult battle. The only question in the Senate was what time the vote would be finished, as senators faced travel delays thanks to bad weather in the Washington area. The clear majority had supporters making the case to the House Republican majority.
 
Steven Palazzo talks flood insurance, right to refuse, RESTORE Act, shipbuilding at Preserve fundraiser
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Biloxi, hosted a group of supporters and community leaders Monday in his second annual Patriot Golf Classic fundraiser at The Preserve. Despite delays and interruptions from the day's thunderstorm activity, the Congressman and his staff were out and about schmoozing with their guests and making sure everyone enjoyed their day on the course and in the clubhouse. A reception was held Sunday night at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club as a prelude to the golf event.
 
Palazzo flood insurance measure heads to Senate
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo is hopeful his amendment to prevent flood insurance hikes from being implemented during the 2014 fiscal year will be adopted in the Senate after passing the House of Representatives last week. Palazzo, along with Reps. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., authored an amendment as part of the 2014 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. It delays the scheduled increases to flood insurance rates by blocking sections of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 from being implemented in the 2014 fiscal year. Palazzo believes the measure has good support in the Senate.
 
Willis sworn into new legislative seat
South Mississippi's newest member of the Mississippi House of Representatives was sworn in Monday. House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, announced Monday that Rep. Patricia Willis, of Diamondhead, was sworn in in Jackson at 10:30 a.m. Willis won a May 28 non-partisan special election to replace the late Rep. Jessica Upshaw, and will serve as a Republican, as Upshaw did. Willis, 60, is an attorney and also a Waveland city prosecutor. Upshaw was found dead March 24 at the Mendenhall home of her boyfriend, former State Rep. Clint Rotenberry. Law enforcement officials said she died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
 
BP ends oil spill cleanup in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi
The U.S. Coast Guard said Monday that BP has completed cleanup work in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi following the company's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The milestone comes three years after the April 20, 2010 catastrophe on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sent millions of gallons of oil spewing in the Gulf. BP said that the announcement "is the result of the extraordinary progress made cleaning the Gulf of Mexico shoreline." Coastal environmental leaders said local waterways continue to be affected by the disaster, and that cleanup efforts will likely continue for years to come.
 
Presidential cyberwar directive gives Pentagon long-awaited marching orders
The US Defense Department has been given a bright green light to draw up a global cyberattack target list at which it can deploy digital weapons with "little or no warning to the adversary or the target," according to a Top Secret policy document leaked to the press. The policy document, dubbed "Presidential Policy Directive 20" or PPD-20, is an 18-page cyberpolicy roadmap for the Pentagon that directs it to get on with the business of defending the US and its critical infrastructure, such as the power grid and financial sector, from foreign cyberattack. While the existence of the document and its broad outlines were revealed in news reports last fall, and a "fact sheet" on PPD-20 was released in January, the detailed policy document leaked at week's end shows the unleashing of a military juggernaught.
 
Remembering the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door on its 50th anniversary
The days leading up to the hot summer morning when George Wallace made his infamous "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" were expectant ones on the University of Alabama campus and in the Tuscaloosa community. It was well-known that the governor planned to block the door at Foster Auditorium to symbolically protest the admittance of black students to the university. It was also well-known that his actions wouldn't stop integration -- the question remained of whether it would happen peacefully without a deadly riot like the one at the University of Mississippi the previous fall.
 
Gov. Robert Bentley to attend Stand in the Schoolhouse Door anniversary
Gov. Robert Bentley will attend the commemorative program marking the 50th anniversary of the "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" Tuesday at the University of Alabama. Bentley was a UA student in 1963 and witnessed the June 11 stand off between then Gov. George Wallace and Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach as the first two black undergraduate students, James Hood and Vivian Malone Jones, attempted to register for classes at Foster Auditorium.
 
Alabama's most affordable colleges and universities ranked by return on investment
With the cost of a college education rising, students are finding it more difficult maximize their return on investment. But a new tool from The College Database may help them get the most bang for their buck. The free, non-commercial website -- dedicated to providing "students of the internet (sic) age" accurate information through an easy-to-use interface -- has listed 17 Alabama schools it considers to be good values. The schools, dubbed to be members of the "Alabama 20-30 Club," each have an annual tuition of less than $20,000 and boast graduates whose entry-level salaries average more than $30,000. The University of Alabama in Huntsville tops the list with the average starting salary for graduates hitting $47,800 and annual tuition running $8,094.
 
Louisiana legislative auditor questions GRAD Act data
The Louisiana legislative auditor found inconsistencies in the data used to calculate how well individual colleges did meeting the goals necessary for permission to raise their tuitions, according to an audit report released Monday. The Board of Regents, which oversees the state's public higher education institutions, uses calculations of various aspects of higher education to determine if the individual colleges have met their accountability goals under the GRAD Act. Colleges that meet the goals are allowed more flexibility to raise tuition and fees as well as to relax other operational restrictions. The 91-page review found that, in some instances, the data submitted did not properly classify students.
 
Louisiana colleges get surprise funding boost
Late last week, after all the haggling and the backroom bargaining that is part of every legislative session was over, Louisiana's colleges and universities came away with millions of dollars that didn't seem plausible when legislators first arrived at the State Capitol in early April. Under a budget compromise agreed upon in the waning hours of the session, legislators were able find more than $40 million in one-time funds to distribute among Louisiana's four college and university systems. While the money specially dedicated for higher education isn't unprecedented in Louisiana, it was somewhat of a surprise to institutions that have seen their share of state funding drop by nearly $650 million -- more than 80 percent -- over the past five years.
 
Ethical leadership required, says U. of Georgia VP candidate
A candidate for the University of Georgia's vacant student affairs vice presidency promised Monday to make ethics paramount if he's picked for the job. Recent controversies involving top administrators at Penn State University, Ohio State University and Eastern Michigan University showed a lack of ethical leadership, said David Parrott, executive associate vice president and chief of staff to the vice president for student affairs at Texas A&M University. He spoke to UGA workers and students in a public appearance Monday in UGA's Tate Student Center. Parrott was the first of four finalists for the UGA vice president for student affairs job who will make public presentations this month.
 
Board of Governors clears the U. of Florida, Florida State for pre-eminence
The University of Florida and Florida State University have been named as the state's pre-eminent public research universities. The Board of Governors voted unanimously without discussion Monday on the designation, which also comes with millions of dollars in additional financial support for the two universities to pursue top national rankings. The two universities earned the designation by meeting criteria set by the Legislature this past session establishing 12 academic and research criteria for a pre-eminent university designation. Those criteria include that freshmen have a GPA of 4.0 or better and SAT scores of 1800 or better, and that the universities have an endowment of $500 million or more and research grants totaling $350 million or more.
 
Media darling pig Chris P. Bacon hams it up before U. of Florida hernia operation
Chris P. Bacon, Florida's most famous potbellied pig, scooted around the grounds of the large-animal hospital at the University of Florida on Monday looking for palmetto berries to eat. Normally that wouldn't be a problem, but the pig was about to have a hernia operation and needed to have an empty stomach for the general anesthesia. "Fasting a pig is a challenge," said Dr. Len Lucero, the pig's owner, who gave Chris a couple of Cheerios -- one of the pig's favorite foods -- to keep him content.
 
Texas A&M faculty considers expanding online courses
Texas A&M is close to deciding whether it plans to start offering what's called massive open online courses -- a controversial and growing trend in higher education that relies mainly on lecture videos and coursework evaluated by university faculty. Provost Karan Watson gave an update to the faculty senate at its Monday meeting, telling fellow professors that a committee of their peers and administrators -- which started discussions in October -- is close to finalizing a recommendation. She then will take their suggestion to President R. Bowen Loftin, most likely this summer. Watson said the courses could help share the work of renowned A&M professors to the public, while also helping to attract quality students. Still, she said, such a class could not provide the same level of education as the full student experience.
 
U. of Missouri Press Advisory Committee recommends strategic changes
On the brink of closing just more than a year ago, the UM Press is now re-evaluating its publishing strategies. University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe announced in May 2012 that the press would close because of budgetary constraints. The announcement spurred a backlash from MU faculty members and supporters of the press, causing Wolfe and system administrators to rescind their decision on Aug. 28. They also decided to shift the control of the press from the UM System to MU. It created the UM Press Advisory Committee in September to help the press with the transition. Craig Roberts, one of two faculty council representatives to the advisory committee, presented a report, prepared by him and fellow representative Rebecca Johnson, at Thursday's Faculty Council meeting. It outlined several recommendations for improving press operations. "We're advising the press to do some thinking about how they do business," Roberts said.
 
Arkansas Lawmakers to Look at Scholarship Programs
Arkansas lawmakers are studying the state's scholarship programs after a shortfall prompted Gov. Mike Beebe to tap into reserve funds to continue grants that help students pursue degrees in some medical fields. Members of the House and Senate Education Committee on Monday said they planned to look at the state's 24 scholarship programs. State higher education officials say they need an additional $5.5 million to restore about 4,800 scholarships for incoming students that will be cut because of a shortfall in its fund.
 
Mortality rankings improve at U. of Kentucky HealthCare
University of Kentucky HealthCare improved its patient mortality rankings during the past 10 months, moving up to 11th-best out of 100 peer institutions, according to new numbers from the University HealthSystem Consortium. During the previous fiscal year, UK HealthCare ranked 26th out of 101 university-based hospitals. The ranking is based on the mortality index of 26 medical units at UK, including cardiology, neurology and gastroenterology. UK's overall mortality index was 0.73 in the first quarter of 2013, which means that for every 100 people expected to die, only 73 actually did.
 
U. of Kentucky HealthCare using $30 million in cash to outfit 8th floor of new hospital
University of Kentucky HealthCare officials said Monday they would use $30 million in cash to outfit the eighth floor of Pavilion A at UK Chandler Hospital in coming months. The $592 million patient tower has been open since 2010, but half of its 12 floors remain empty, waiting for the money needed to equip the space. The eighth floor will hold 64 beds, including 24 intensive care beds for the cardiovascular program, which offers heart transplantation, artificial hearts and ventricular devices. "We are in critical need of more beds for our growing cardiovascular program," said Michael Karpf, UK's executive vice president for health affairs.
 
CBO estimates costs and savings of changes to loan programs
The interest rate for new, federally subsidized student loans will increase to 6.8 percent on July 1 if Congress does not act. A Congressional Budget Office report released Monday put more numbers behind the various plans calling for changes to the loan program, estimating that keeping the rate at 3.4 percent would cost the government $41 billion over 10 years but that other changes might generate significant savings. The report, prepared at the request of Senator Lamar Alexander's office, also examines a few options for changes to the loan program that haven't been legislatively proposed, including limiting eligibility for subsidized loans to students who are eligible for Pell Grants, or eliminating the subsidized loan program altogether.
 
Common Core needed in state
The Greenwood Commonwealth editorializes: "Conservatives can get worked up about the strangest things. Now, they are taking aim at the effort initiated years ago not by the federal government but the states themselves to standardize what's taught and what's expected of a public school education. The so-called Common Core standards have been adopted by Mississippi and 45 other states, and they are presently integrating these educational goals into curricula and state testing. ...The philosophy behind Common Core is imminently sensible and reflects the globalization of the economy."
 
Are municipal elections the place for partisan politics?
Marty Wiseman, the director of the Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at Mississippi State, writes: " The 2013 round of municipal elections is behind us and they provided some very interesting scenarios to be considered in greater detail. If there was a story of statewide interest in the elections it would have to be the vigorous and highly orchestrated effort of the Mississippi Republican Party to weigh in on some carefully targeted municipal campaigns. In the interest of full disclosure, it is appropriate to point out that although I am considered an expert on politics, I am also the father of the mayor of Starkville."
 
Remember Evers by understanding the goals that guided him
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "Here's something we can take away from all the speeches and ceremonies regarding the 50th anniversary of the murder of Medgar Wiley Evers: He didn't ask for anything extra. As a veteran and native Mississippian, he sought the same things available to others who fit the same description. He wanted to seek an education, he wanted to vote, he wanted employment open to him if he met the qualifications. He was denied those things for only one reason: His skin was dark; his ancestors came to the land of freedom from Africa, not from Europe. That's it. That's all."


SPORTS
 
On to Omaha: Mississippi State Bulldogs secure ninth College World Series berth
The Omaha tradition has returned to Mississippi State. The No. 14-ranked Bulldogs punched their ticket to the College World Series on Monday, defeating Virginia 6-5 to claim the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional series in two games. MSU won Saturday, 11-6. Monday's win -- in a game that was suspended by rain Sunday night -- sends MSU (48-18) to its ninth CWS appearance and first since 2007.
 
Hours of delay, nervous moments lead to victory for Bulldogs
John Cohen wasn't thrilled when Wes Rea took to Twitter last fall and told fans to go ahead and "book your rooms" for this year's College World Series. But Rea was proved prophetic on Monday when the baseball popped in his glove for the final out at Davenport Field. Cohen, Rea and the rest of the Mississippi State Bulldogs booked a trip to Omaha, Neb., with a 6-5 win over Virginia in Game 2 of this best-of-three Charlottesville Super Regional. It's MSU's ninth College World Series berth and first since 2007. Rea, a third-year sophomore first baseman, said he had good reason to send out that tweet so many months ago. "We got to school in August, and the guys just meshed immediately. We just felt like we had something special," Rea said.
 
Bulldogs didn't panic in ninth
Poise has been a defining character trait for Mississippi State this season, and it needed every ounce of composure Monday. In the ninth inning of Game 2 of the Charlottesville Super Regional, MSU was looking to get three more outs to secure victory and a trip to the College World Series. It didn't happen smoothly.
 
MSU advances to College World Series in Omaha
It took nearly 22 hours to complete, but Mississippi State succeeded. Mother Nature threw torrential downpours, thunder, lightning and even a tornado watch at the Bulldogs during the Charlottesville Super Regional. None of it stopped MSU from beating Virginia 6-5 to complete a two-game sweep and advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. It's MSU's ninth trip to the CWS and its first since 2007. The Bulldogs haven't won in Omaha since 1998. "We're really proud of these guys," Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. "I think the thing I'm most proud of these guys, they all wanted to be in Omaha, but that's not their goal. Their goal is to try and win the whole thing."
 
Mississippi State finishes off Virginia for first trip to CWS since 2007
In late September, Wes Rea issued a warning to Mississippi State baseball fans in fewer than 140 characters. "I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, book your rooms for June 15-27!" the Bulldogs' sophomore first baseman said on Twitter. Nearly nine months later at Davenport Field, Rea fulfilled his own prophecy when the final out of the Charlottesville Super Regional sailed into his mitt, sealing Monday's 6-5 win over Virginia. It sent Rea barreling toward MSU closer Jonathan Holder for a soon-to-be dog pile and his team to the College World Series. "If you don't say your goals you're not going to reach them," Rea said. "That was our goal so I made a statement and said that's our goal. We're going to do it. We're fortunate enough to make it happen." It didn't come easy.
 
Lightened mood in Mississippi State dugout aids run to CWS
Trevor Fitts makes a point to remind his teammates they are playing a kids' game. When kids grow up, some grow beards. Or, in the case of Mississippi State, they wanted to. "I started to think, having our players clean-shaven, is that for me, or is that for our players?" Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. The idea began when Fitts, a sophomore pitcher, entered Cohen's office in the fall with a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation. It detailed reasons why the MSU coach should lift his 22-year ban of facial hair. "I started thinking about the facial hair part. I started thinking about allowing them to have fun," Cohen said. "Have a good time on the bench; have a good time in our locker room. And I suddenly realized that's important too."
 
Omaha-Bound: Bulldogs whip Virginia, head to CWS
Wes Rea waited for the ball to get to first base with Derek Fisher chugging down the line. When it did, and in just enough time to get Fisher out by a step, his gutsy fall prediction had come true. "Book your rooms," he'd tweeted then, telling Bulldogs fans their season would end at the College World Series. And it will.
 
Oconee County alum Frazier boosts Mississippi State into College World Series
Mississippi State shortstop Adam Frazier, a former Oconee County standout, accounted for eight hits in the Bulldogs' two-game super regional sweep of Virginia. In Saturday's opener, Frazier was 6-for-6 with two runs, three RBIs, two doubles and a triple in Mississippi State's 11-6 victory. In Game 2, which was suspended due to rain Sunday and finished on Monday, Frazier was 2-for-5 with two RBIs as the Bulldogs won 6-5 to reach the College World Series in Omaha.
 
MLB draft's timing just one more headache for college baseball coaches | Kevin Scarbinsky (Opinion)
Columnist Kevin Scarbinsky writes: "Consider the three-tier postseason, which requires an LSU, a Mississippi State or a South Carolina to win a regional, a super regional and the College World Series to claim a national championship. The Tigers and the Bulldogs have punched their tickets for Omaha. The Gamecocks are one win away because their decisive Game 3 at North Carolina was postponed by rain until Tuesday. That SEC showing is impressive, especially when you think about what happens right in the middle of the baseball postseason. The Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft started Thursday night. The NCAA Baseball Super Regionals started Friday. What's wrong with this picture? Only everything."
 
SEC hires Bell as coordinator of hoops officials
The Southeastern Conference has hired Dr. Robert "Jake" Bell as coordinator of men's basketball officials. Commissioner Mike Slive announced the hiring of the veteran college basketball official and conference coordinator on Monday. A longtime SEC official, Bell has officiated in several conference tournaments, the NCAA tournament and the NIT. He had served as coordinator of basketball officials for the Atlantic Sun Conference starting in 2006 and held that role in the Southern Atlantic Association last year.
 
Harvey Updyke meets with Paul Finebaum a day before his release from Lee County jail
The day before Harvey Updyke Jr. was released from jail, the 64-year-old talked with sports radio show host Paul Finebaum in an informal meeting at the Lee County jail. Finebaum confirmed Monday he had met with Updyke for about 45 minutes Sunday, though he declined to discuss the specifics of the conversation. Updyke was released Monday morning after serving 76 days in the county jail. "At some point in the future, I will (discuss the contents of the conversation)," Finebaum said. "...I am not trying to be cute. I am just trying to adhere to my agreement with the sheriff."
 
Communications consultants say athletics controversies are more difficult to manage
Given E. Gordon Gee's far-reaching career and national profile, it was reasonable to expect that his retirement announcement Wednesday would make headlines not just in Ohio -- where he twice served as president of Ohio State University -- but also in places like Colorado, Rhode Island and Tennessee, where he also ran institutions. But ESPN? Sports Illustrated? CBS Sports? University presidents don't often find themselves in the sports pages. But Gee ended up there last month after a recording of a December university athletics council meeting leaked to the Associated Press. "Is this really an athletic controversy, if that's what we're calling it? In Gee's case, the answer is probably no, but in some ways the answer is also yes," said John Burness, who served as senior vice president for public affairs and government relations at Duke University from 1991 to 2007 and now teaches about higher education communications. "If he said this about a political science department, it just wouldn't be the same news."



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