Thursday, September 19, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
MSU may be partner in consolidated school district
Oktibbeha County consolidation efforts could yield a long-discussed partnership with Mississippi State University to establish a demonstration school, or at least a more-rigorous partnership, which will help the university engage in rural renewal efforts on an educational level. David Shaw, MSU's vice president for research and economic development, told fellow consolidation committee members Wednesday that the university is interested in a partnership which could allow its students to take teaching theorem out of the classroom and into a real-world setting: Oktibbeha County's own schools. "There are a number of universities that have focused a lot of attention on urban renewal from an educational standpoint. We have the opportunity to ask, 'What does it take to do that from a rural standpoint?'" he added. "We see this as a golden moment to take what we were already discussing and planning and use this to kick start the conversation."
 
Autopsy: MSU student was thrown from, run over by truck
Eighteen-year-old Mississippi State University freshman Kaleb Dwayne Barker, of Lucedale, was killed as a result of multiple blunt crush injuries Tuesday after he was thrown from the bed of a pickup truck and then struck by the vehicle, according to the Starkville Police Department. Investigators, including the state chief medical examiner, ended their investigation Wednesday after an autopsy was completed in Jackson. The driver of the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado, Sawyer Tomas Steede, 18, of Lucedale, was arrested Tuesday and charged with aggravated DUI. He was released on a $50,000 bond.
 
MSU student Kaleb Barker's cause of death identified
The Starkville Police Department has released more information regarding the death of a Mississippi State University student. Kaleb D. Barker, 18, of Lucedale died early Tuesday from injuries suffered in a one-vehicle accident near campus. The state chief medical examiner identified his cause of death as multiple blunt crush injury from being ejected from the vehicle and subsequently run over, according to a release. The investigation revealed five individuals were in the truck with three passengers in the cab and two in the rear bed. The release said the five occupants of the truck were friends and acquaintances and the death was the result of an accident.
 
Police report findings on cause of MSU student's death
Police have determined the Mississippi State University student killed in a motor vehicle accident early Tuesday morning died as a result of multiple blunt trauma and being struck by the motor vehicle he was riding in. The Starkville Police Department reported their investigation revealed five individuals were en route to McDonald's on Highway 12 in Starkville with three passengers in the truck and two in the bed of the truck. The driver, while backing up in the McDonald's parking lot, hit a curb, throwing Kaleb Barker, 18, Lucedale from the bed of the truck. Barker was then run over by the truck as it jumped the curb.
 
MSU student run over after falling out of truck
Starkville police say an investigation shows an MSU student killed in a car accident had fallen out of the bed of the pickup before being runover. Investigators say Kaleb Dwayne Barker, 18, of Lucedale was riding in the bed of the pickup when it struck a curb and he was thrown out of the vehicle in the parking lot of a local restaurant. The truck continued to roll over the curb, rolling over Barker before stopping in the parking lot of a nearby business.
 
Q&A with Jerome Gilbert, first USA presidential candidate to visit campus
After five months of work, the University of South Alabama's presidential search committee is ready to present its three finalists to the campus community. The finalists are Sheri Noren Everts, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Illinois State University; Jerome A. Gilbert, provost and executive vice president, Mississippi State University; and Dr. Arthur J. Ross III, dean of the School of Medicine, West Virginia University. Gilbert will be the first to visit the campus. On Thursday, he will meet with the Board of Trustees at 2 p.m., then answer questions at a public forum at 4 p.m. at USA's Mitchell Center. "I'm sincerely honored to be a candidate for president at a university like South Alabama," Gilbert said. "...I'm excited about the possibility of taking the University of South Alabama to the next level."
 
MSU launches speaker series to help students find 'A-Game'
At one point during his lecture for Mississippi State University students, University of Mississippi psychology professor and neuroscientist Kenneth J. Sufka asked students to pick out an accurately drawn picture of a penny from amid 14 other inaccurate penny pictures on a projector slide. The trouble was that all of the pennies had the same color, the same size, and the same picture of Abraham Lincoln. Some had Abraham Lincoln facing left. Others had him facing right. Many of them had the year of printing and the phrases "In God We Trust" and "The United States of America" in different positions. Only one picture had all the elements of a penny in the right places. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
A big day for Clay County: Yokohama groundbreaking set for Monday
As Yokohama officials prepare to break ground on a Clay County tire manufacturing plant next Monday, behind-the-scenes work has been taking place to get the project started on the right foot, Golden Triangle Development Link and West Point officials said. During the Link's quarterly luncheon Wednesday, Yokohama Mississippi President Tadaharu Yamamoto was on hand to introduce himself to guests as Link CEO Joe Max Higgins explained the progress made on and off the project site. Yokohama management have located at the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park at Mississippi State University while the first phase of construction takes place.
 
Yokohama names president for Mississippi
The Golden Triangle Development Link hosted executives from the Yokohama Tire Company Wednesday at its quarterly luncheon on East Mississippi Community College's West Point Campus, as well as some much anticipated news. The company tapped long-time company management Tadaharu Yamamoto to serve as the President of Yokohama Mississippi LLC. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Education leaders push for full MAEP funding
Interim state Superintendent Lynn House and others told legislative leaders that with an improving economy a plan needs to be developed to fully fund education. House and state board chair Wayne Gann of Corinth told the Legislative Budget Committee on Wednesday that education is suffering because of underfunding since 2008 when the recession hit, negatively impacting state revenue for several years. The 14-member committee is hearing from key state agency heads this week as it prepares to develop a budget recommendation for the 2014 legislative session.
 
Education officials: Fully fund budget next year
Mississippi education officials are making their legally mandated push to support the state's school funding formula, but it's not clear they'll be any more successful next fiscal year than in other recent years. State Department of Education officials made their pitch to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee Wednesday. Lawmakers would have to add $264.5 million to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program in the budget year beginning July 1 to provide what the formula calls an adequate amount of aid to local school districts. According to preliminary estimates, the gap would be down from $293 million in the current budget.
 
Lawmakers skeptical of Public Safety's budget request
he Mississippi Department of Public Safety is seeking 45 percent more money from the state general fund for the coming year, a far-larger increase than any other agency has requested during this week's state budget hearings. "That's just not realistic to me," Sen. Terry Brown told Public Safety Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz during a contentious hearing Wednesday. "I understand that you've got needs," Brown said. "Everyone that comes before us has got needs." Santa Cruz gave the 14-member Joint Legislative Budget Committee few documents to support his budget presentation, although DPS provided documents later to lawmakers and reporters.
 
Mississippi Department of Public Safety budget hearing contentious
Key lawmakers grew frustrated Wednesday while questioning the Department of Public Safety on how it's been spending money and why it's requesting a $32 million, or 46 percent, state budget increase for next year. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said it appears extra money the Legislature gave the agency this year didn't make it to the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol troopers they thought they were helping but instead went to pay raises and other "diversions." Both Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn were critical of the agency after the DPS hearing. For many of the lawmakers’ questions, DPS officials said they’d have to get back to them later.
 
Marine Resources seeks more money
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, which has been under state and federal investigation for its spending practices, is seeking a 4 percent budget increase for the coming year. And DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller told lawmakers Wednesday the agency will cut costs rather than request more money to get through the current budget year. Fiscal 2014 ends June 30, and fiscal 2015 begins July 1. Sen. Terry Brown Brown, R-Columbus, wondered aloud Wednesday why the DMR should have a board composed only of south Mississippi members while the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has members from all parts of the state, including the Coast.
 
Mississippi Coal Plant Overruns Show Risks of Carbon Rule
Coal's future is being built in rural Mississippi, and so far this is what it looks like: a $1 billion cost overrun, a stew of legal battles, a revolt by ratepayers and a credit downgrade for the local utility. With all those challenges, Southern Co.'s $4.7 billion project in Kemper County may still be coal's best hope to survive President Barack Obama's limits on greenhouse-gas emissions. Clean coal has been a pursuit of industry and government scientists for decades, and its finally bearing fruit in the plant being built about 100 miles east of the state capital, Jackson. Its importance will be highlighted when the Environmental Protection Agency proposes regulations to curb greenhouse gases from new power plants this week.
 
Weak state parties weigh down Senate Democrats in South
Weak state parties in the South risk hurting Democrats' chances of holding -- or gaining -- critical Senate seats in 2014. Struggles in Louisiana, Georgia and North Carolina could force national Democrats, and the candidates themselves, to step in with big-dollar investments to build get-out-the-vote programs that are often left to the party's state-level operations. "There's a lot of drama in all of those places," said one national Democratic strategist. "That means a lot more responsibility for coordinated campaigns in those states and really elevates the importance of field programs, things that are traditionally done by those state parties." The consequences could be significant.
 
Fed Stays the Course on Easy Money
Seeing a more uneven economic climate than they expected and the potential for fiscal discord in Washington, Federal Reserve officials got cold feet Wednesday and decided to keep their signature easy-money program in place for the time being. The move, coming after Fed officials spent months alerting the public that they might begin to pare their $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program at the September policy meeting, marks the latest in a string of striking turnabouts from Washington policy makers that have whipsawed markets in recent days. The Fed says it will carry on with a program investors had nervously been anticipating for months could gradually disappear. More economic policy twists could come in the weeks ahead.
 
Mementos of a turbulent time: MLK trove to be auctioned
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s personal secretary is selling a collection from the early civil rights movement, including handwritten notes by King and a page from his "I Have a Dream" speech, what the auction house calls an unprecedented historical trove. Maude Ballou worked as King's secretary from 1955 to 1960, when King led the Montgomery Improvement Association and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Ballou, who turned 88 Friday, is selling the items Oct. 17 in New York through Texas-based Heritage Auctions. In an exclusive interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Ballou recalled times both rewarding and frightening in those turbulent years, including an especially poignant moment with King in the mid-1950s.
 
UM announces plans for parking garage on campus
More than 800 parking spaces will be added to the University of Mississippi campus by August 2014 in the form of a new parking garage, with additional plans for developing the university's parking infrastructure also underway. The university and the athletics department combined forces in the new Forward Together campaign to assemble the plans to erect the parking structure while still keeping the aesthetics of the building similar to those of the whole campus. The added parking will be located on what is now the top football practice field closest to the Rebel Shop.
 
Parents of Ole Miss student assaulted in Austin speak
It's a phone call Greg Otter never wanted to get. "The phone call I received early Saturday morning was the second worst phone call a parent could ever receive. It totally changed my world," said Otter in an exclusive conversation with KVUE. Just after 2 a.m. paramedics rushed his son, 21-year-old Carson Otter, to University Medical Center Brackenridge with life-threatening injuries. Police say a passenger in a silver sedan got out of the car near the intersection of East 7th and Trinity streets and punched Otter, knocking him to the ground. His mother focuses on all the good that's come from the tragedy. "God has such a big hand in this. He's watching over our baby, and he is listening. We'd just like to ask for prayer, just to cover him as he goes on his road to recovery," said Candy Otter.
 
'Visit Oxford' adopts new focus
With a new tourism headquarters and a new brand, the Oxford Tourism Council adopted a new strategic plan Wednesday to guide its outreach efforts. Building on a year-long study, two overarching goals are to "acknowledge the impact of travel on the local economy and the opportunity to grow" and to "drive increased visitation during slow periods." Plans are in place to increase advertising and social media presence, do ongoing research and tracking of visitor responses and develop closer relationships with the University of Mississippi, whose events drive much of the city's tourism.
 
U. of Alabama students gather with hopes of ending institutional racism within school's Greek system
A few hundred students and faculty gathered Wednesday morning at Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library on the University of Alabama campus before marching to the Rose Administration Building to rally in support of ending institutionalized racism within the school's Greek System. The group, which is urging the administration to take decisive action, gathered before a banner proclaiming: "The final stand in the Schoolhouse Door." Many Wednesday morning expressed admiration for the sorority members who spoke out after alumnae allegedly interfered with the recruitment process to deny bids to the black women.
 
At Alabama, a Renewed Stand for Integration
For this rendition of Stand in the Schoolhouse Door, there were no National Guard troops or presidential edicts. But on Wednesday, several hundred University of Alabama students and faculty members invoked Gov. George Wallace's 1963 attempt to block the enrollment of black students here as they demanded an end to segregation in the university's fraternities and sororities. Together, the mostly white group marched within sight of the President's Mansion, one of the only structures on the campus dating to before the Civil War.
 
Harvey Updyke absent from restitution hearing to determine how much he owes Auburn University
Harvey Updyke Jr. was absent Wednesday from a restitution hearing to determine how much he'll owe Auburn University for poisoning the school's iconic oak tress that once stood at Toomer's Corner in Auburn. Elmore Country Judge Jacob A. Walter III gave Updyke's court-appointed attorneys and prosecuting district attorneys 30 days to file briefs arguing their cases following testimony from four prosecution witnesses. The DA's office is seeking $1.35 million from Updyke, who pleaded guilty on March 22 to one count of unlawful damage of an animal or crop facility as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
 
Gators urged to expand horizons through overseas study
Iris Moon spent a year studying in Osaka, Japan, thanks to a study abroad program at the University of Florida. It was an experience that exposed Moon to people from all over the world and gave her a chance to immerse herself in Japanese culture. Dressed in a kimono Wednesday, Moon shared her experiences with fellow students at the UF Study Abroad Fair to promote the student exchange program that UF has with Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka. Moon was among the 70 or so representatives of overseas programs under two huge tents on the Plaza of the Americas who were touting their programs and giving out flyers, free pencils and other trinkets to the hundreds of students exploring overseas options.
 
U. of Florida crop research center to close
The University of Florida will close a vegetable and citrus crop research center in Immokalee and transfer its seven faculty members to research centers in Lake Alfred and Fort Pierce. The Lakeland Ledger reports that the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center's building will not close, but will be put to other uses, possibly a demonstration site that is similar to facilities in Live Oak and Hastings. A task force to be appointed by the end of the year will decide its future.
 
U. of South Carolina offers 3-year tuition freeze in exchange for more state money
Key S.C. lawmakers said they want more details before agreeing to the University of South Carolina's offer Wednesday to freeze tuition and requests for state money for special projects for three years in exchange for more money from the General Assembly. USC president Harris Pastides, who proposed the trade during his annual state of the university address Wednesday, also repeated his request that the Legislature adopt a performance-based funding formula for S.C. public colleges that could bring more state dollars to the state's flagship university.
 
'Walking Dead' producer subject of U. of Georgia interview, visit
"The Walking Dead" executive producer Gale Anne Hurd will speak at the University of Georgia on Tuesday. "A Conversation with Gale Anne Hurd" will be presented by the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at 2 p.m. in Room 271 of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. Grady professor Nate Kohn will interview Hurd for the free and public event. "The Walking Dead" is the most watched scripted show in the country.
 
LSU law student booked on rape count
Baton Rouge police officers arrested a third-year LSU law student on campus Wednesday morning accused of raping a woman at his home over the weekend. Abdellatif De Vol, 25, 2232 Terrace St., was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count of forcible rape. Officers took him into custody at the law center before the beginning of an intellectual property class. Second-year law student Matt Deville, who sits two rows behind De Vol in the course, said De Vol was not in class at the beginning of the lecture but his bag was. He said he noticed officers outside the room on his way into class. "Everyone was just curious," Deville said of the students. "No one exactly knew what was going on."
 
Louisiana colleges seeing increased enrollment
LSU enrolled one of its largest freshman classes in history this fall, admitting 5,501 first-year students, making this year's the third-largest incoming freshman group since the university instituted admission standards in 1988. This year's freshman class ranks below the 5,725 new freshmen who enrolled last year and the 5,700 first-year students admitted to campus in 2004, according to a university news release. LSU's overall enrollment for the fall semester stands at 29,865 students, a 1 percent increase over last year's enrollment.
 
LSU loses money on Edwards interview
LSU's Student Union Theater lost more than $45,000 recently when the pairing of former Gov. Edwin Edwards with retired broadcaster Larry King for an onstage interview didn't draw enough interest to cover expenses. LSU Student Union Theater Director Michael Derr refused Wednesday to go into detail about how well tickets for other shows sell or how often the venue typically sells out. "We put on a whole series of shows and we subsidize every one of them," Derr said before referring all other questions to LSU's public relations team. LSU put out a statement late Wednesday as a reminder that no public funds were used to bring King and Edwards to campus. Union Theater performances are paid for through student fees and ticket sales.
 
Eagle gets copy of contract Motorola signed with Texas A&M and other universities
When the Texas A&M University System landed a potentially lucrative research contract with Google subsidiary Motorola this summer, top administrators said the agreement could funnel millions of private research dollars to College Station. But neither Motorola nor Texas A&M was forthcoming with the actual agreement signed by the public university, and the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion this month that the contract should remain confidential. Still, The Eagle has obtained a copy of the contract, and a law professor specializing in intellectual property said there is nothing unusual about the document. The 16-page research agreement was signed by eight universities in June -- Texas A&M, the California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and Virginia Tech.
 
Second top U. of Missouri academic official announces retirement
University of Missouri Provost Brian Foster announced Wednesday he will retire effective Jan. 1. Foster, who spearheaded the effort to create Mizzou Advantage, an initiative to promote interdisciplinary research and boost MU's strengths, has been provost since August 2005. "We are extremely grateful for Brian Foster's leadership that has significantly advanced the worldwide academic reputation of the University of Missouri," MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said in a statement. Deaton said Ken Dean, deputy provost and a member of the law faculty, will serve as interim provost. The announcement by Foster, the second-highest academic officer on the Columbia campus, follows the June announcement that Deaton will retire Nov. 15.
 
U. of Missouri police offer advice in case of campus threat
The University of Missouri Police Department would like people to remember an acronym when they are confronted with a threat, such as a shooter, on campus: TIGER. Yesterday, as part of Safe Mizzou week, MUPD Officer James Young broke down the acronym for the nearly 30 participants in the class about how to respond to an active threat. "TIGER stands for: Tell police, Inform, Get secure, Evacuate and Resist," Young said. He said when talking to police, it's important to be very specific about what's happening. "The example we use here is, 'Gunman in 219 Jesse Hall.' That tells us everything," he said.
 
At U. of Missouri, Vatican expert says new pope offers same message but in different manner
You might have seen him consulting on "ABC News" as a Vatican expert during the papal conclave in March. Or maybe you saw him interviewed about the Catholic organization Opus Dei and "The Da Vinci Code." Father John Wauck spoke Wednesday at the Missouri School of Journalism about Pope Francis' immediate popularity and rapport with people and its effect on communications. Wauck posed a question at the beginning of the discussion: What is it about the new pope that is hitting home for people, that is getting him good press?
 
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan to speak at U. of Kentucky
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will speak Thursday at the Singletary Center Recital Hall, at 405 Rose Street on the University of Kentucky campus. Kagan's speech is part of the Roy R. and Virginia F. Ray Lecture Series at the UK College of Law. The free public event, which starts at 6:30 p.m., is now full. Kagan, 53, a New York City native, was appointed to the nation's highest court in 2010 by President Barack Obama. Before that, she was U.S. solicitor general, dean of Harvard Law School and deputy assistant for domestic policy to President Bill Clinton. Kagan is the fourth female Supreme Court justice.
 
Hackers Unite: Student Cybersecurity Teams Get a Governing Body
Student athletes have long had high-school sports associations and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Now student hackers are getting their own governing body. The newly created Cybersecurity Competition Federation will link existing but disparate cybersecurity competitions under shared rules, scoring metrics, and ethics. It will cover the secondary and postsecondary competitions, centralizing contests that are an increasingly important tool for the training and recruiting of the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. Armed with a two-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the federation held its first workshop last month. Cybersecurity events, like the academic and professional programs behind them, have proliferated during the last decade.
 
Lawmakers Question Education Research's Usefulness
Federal education research has gotten more scientifically rigorous, but in a time of shrinking agency budgets, Congress is debating whether it is practically useful. The first reauthorization of the Education Sciences Reform Act---six years overdue and counting---gained some Hill traction last week, as the latest attempt to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act limps in the Senate. The House Education and the Workforce Committee heard testimony Sept. 10 from top researchers on ways to improve the U.S. Department of Education's research agency, the Institute of Education Sciences. The House panel is expected to draft language to reauthorize the education research law in the next several weeks, and the Senate seems to be letting the House take the lead; it has no plans to hold its own hearings on education research this session.
 
Online courses don't live up to hype
Massive open online courses were supposed to revolutionize -- and democratize -- higher education. But two years since their debut, the initial buzz seems like nothing but hype. Millions have signed up for online courses sponsored by elite colleges, yet they report high dropout rates and disappointing student performance among those who stick it out. A quietly released report last week on a partnership between San Jose State University and major course provider Udacity found that at-risk kids performed particularly poorly and students found the courses confusing. Collective statistics aren't available, but by one tracker's account, most MOOCs have completion rates of less than 10 percent. And the courses have yet to figure out a sustainable business model.
 
GEORGE WILL: Football: Academe's money tree
Columnist George Will writes: "Like baby birds with yawning beaks, college football fans clamor to be fed. So fasten the chin strap on your helmet -- ignore the warning label on it ('No helmet system can protect you from serious brain and/or neck injuries including paralysis or death. To avoid these risks, do not engage in the sport of football.') and enjoy the seasonal festival of physical carnage, institutional derangement and moral seaminess."
 
BOBBY HARRISON: Budget hearings provide pre-session theater in Capitol | Bobby Harrison (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "This week's hearings of the Legislative Budget Committee could be viewed as the first public event in the development of a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1. It obviously will be a long, bumpy road before the Legislature adopts a final budget and the governor signs it into law, presumably in April 2014."


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State learning from last season's mistakes against Troy
Mississippi State was looking for its third straight win by three scores or more heading into last season's matchup in Troy, Ala. But things didn't go as planned. Instead, MSU allowed Corey Robinson and Troy to rack up more than 570 yards of offense in a game that was in jeopardy in the fourth quarter. Even with Mississippi State on high alert with first-hand knowledge of Troy's potential, the Bulldogs could have problems with the Sun Belt opponent Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Davis Wade Stadium.
 
Kicker Bell searching for confidence with the Bulldogs
Devon Bell's attitude isn't like most kickers and that might just be his problem. The Mississippi State sophomore kicker isn't always calm and doesn't have a casual view of life and his job on the football field. He wants badly to be a incredibly reliable field goal kicker and that burning desire is what his coach feels like is his hurdle to becoming a signature weapon for MSU in 2013. "Devon is a big effort guy and kicking is a skill," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. "That's something we constantly talk about: Is the skill related to the effort? Sometimes he starts trying harder and harder."
 
Mississippi State DE Brown learning as he goes
Just as they did last year, zeros lined Ryan Brown's stat column against Auburn. But this time felt different. Brown took something from the game that held more value than a tackle or tipped pass. "It was a great experience for me," the defensive end said of his first career Southeastern Conference start. "I loved it." Brown rotated with the first team defense through last week's practice but didn't find out about the start until Friday.
 
Skinner blossoms into dominant linebacker for Bulldogs
Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins can't mention senior linebacker Deontae Skinner without getting emotional. It's that human emotion that makes Skinner not only of the favorite players of Collins and the MSU staff but has allowed him to transform into one of the more dominant three-down linebackers in the Southeastern Conference. "Deontae Skinner is the heart and soul of what he we do here at Mississippi State," Collins said. "He is the most favorite player that I've ever coached in my entire career."
 
LOGAN LOWERY: Another twist in saga of Steele | Logan Lowery (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "At first the news of Mississippi State guard Jalen Steele choosing not to play this season came as a surprise. But the more I've thought about it, nothing of this nature shocks me any more -- especially after covering recruiting for the past five years."
 
U. of Alabama suspends block seating for Colorado State game in light of sorority discrimination allegations
Traditional student block seating is suspended for Alabama's first home game this Saturday, University of Alabama SGA president Jimmy Taylor informed students Wednesday afternoon. "I feel it is my duty as SGA president to foster togetherness and represent all students," Taylor said in an email. "With this in mind, I feel it is appropriate to suspend Student Organization Seating for this Saturday's football game against Colorado State. As a university, we have seen significant growth in recent years; however, as we continue to grow bigger, we must also grow better." Block seating, also known as student organization seating, in Bryant Denny Stadium has been a point of contention on UA's campus for years, as traditionally white fraternities were nearly exclusively granted the coveted end zone seats for several years.
 
Here's Bret Bielema's Employment Contract With the U. of Arkansas
As has been reported, the University of Arkansas is releasing its six-year, $2.95 million per year employment agreement with Razorbacks football coach Bret Bielema. Arkansas Business has already reported many of the contract details as they were outlined in a letter of agreement Bielema and the UA signed in December. Note that the full amount Bielema is getting is $3.2 million per year for six years. That figure is made up of the $2.95 million Bielema receives from the UA, covered under the contract released today, and an additional $250,000 per year covered under a separate agreement with the Razorback Foundation. That agreement covers speaking engagements "on behalf of the Razorback Foundation," according to Kevin Trainor at the UA.



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