Tuesday, September 24, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
U.S. agriculture secretary coming to Mississippi State
Mississippi State University says U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will visit on Wednesday. The university says Vilsack will tour the campus and will be briefed on research projects funded by his agency. MSU was involved in nearly $97 million in agriculture research during the 2011 fiscal year. The research Vilsack will get an update on will include a bioenergy pilot plant, water conservation, catfish and beef cattle health.
 
Mississippi State, EMCC receive $250K each
Mississippi State University and East Mississippi Community College are receiving gifts of $250,000 each from Yokohama Tire Corporation, announced at a Sunday press conference in West Point the night before Yokohama's groundbreaking ceremony for its new Clay County plant. Yokohama spokesperson Theresa Palang said the company routinely invested in the communities where it operated, and it planned to continue seeking avenues for such investments in Clay County and the surrounding region. These investments often prove mutually beneficial for the recipients and Yokohama, she said, and company officials hoped for these gifts to be no different. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Fake reports compromise Maroon Alert functionality, campus safety
On Sept. 11, Mississippi State University students and faculty received a Maroon Alert reporting an attempted abduction was reported behind Sessums Hall. A few days later, the MSU Police Department determined it was a hoax. On Feb. 29, 2012, another on-campus abduction was also ruled a hoax. On this occasion, a Maroon Alert was also dispatched to notify the public of the alleged abduction. Brad Massey, MSU chief detective, said he investigated both reports and he does not know why the people made false reports. "Sometimes I think it might be for attention," Massey said. Because of campus detectives like Massey, false reports are recognized and prosecuted. Ann Bailey, director of Housing and Residence Life, said if a story is not matching up, the detectives will figure it out.
 
Hog farmers continue to see obstacles, but market improving
Swine producers are discovering the only constant in their industry is change. John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a variety of challenges have kept the state's swine producers adjusting their strategies to avoid financial losses in recent decades. Just when producers adjust to overcome one hurdle, another one develops to drive prices down and the cost of production up. "Hog numbers declined nationally following last year's drought when feed prices skyrocketed," he said. "All livestock species were under pressure, including hogs, and the bottom line wasn't looking pretty." Riley said the market has improved this year, with recent prices posting significant gains. August averages were about 13 percent above a year ago.
 
Treatment considerations for angular limb deformities in foals
At CVC in Kansas City this year, Robert L. Linford, DVM, PhD, DACVS, a professor of equine surgery at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, discussed angular limb deformities and reviewed treatment options and prognoses for this common orthopedic condition.
 
MSU scientists develop new undercutter for sweet potatoes
A machine designed by a group of Mississippi State University researchers could help sweet potato farmers reduce skinning injury to potatoes and speed up harvest. The undercutter prototype, made from off-the-shelf components, shows early potential to help lower harvest and post-harvest losses caused by skinning, said Jason Ward, assistant Extension professor in MSU's Agriculture and Biological Engineering Department. Problems stemming from skin abrasions that happen during digging and handling account for 20 to 25 percent of storage losses, he said.
 
Yokohama treads quickly into Mississippi
In about two years, Yokohama Tire Corp. will roll out the first tire from its $300 million manufacturing plant. It will be Yokohama's first ground-up facility in the U.S., and it also represents the fastest construction time of any Yokohama plant to date. "Yes, we are moving quickly," said Tadaharu Yamamoto, president of Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi. And speed has been key to the project all along. Brent Christensen, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, said talks with Yokohama went quickly over a relatively compressed time period for a project of this magnitude. Discussions with fellow Japanese companies already doing business in the state -- Nissan and Toyota -- also propelled Yokohama's decision to choose Mississippi.
 
Yokohama breaks ground in West Point
Yokohama Tire Corp. officials and state leaders gathered Monday to break ground for a manufacturing facility expected to create hundreds of jobs. Gov. Phil Bryant, company executives and others gathered for the ceremony in West Point, where the company will manufacture commercial truck tires. Alan Easome, senior director of new plant development for the company, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday that major site work will start soon, with tire production expected to begin in 2015.
 
Too early to project Medicaid savings, panel told
A Senate panel was told Monday it is too early to determine whether a new method of reimbursing many health care providers for treating Medicaid recipients will cut costs for the state. But Medicaid Executive Director David Dzielak told a Medicaid subcommittee the goal for the change in the reimbursement methodology is not necessarily to save money, but to have more predictability in costs. Funding Medicaid, a federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled, has been a constant sore spot for the Legislature and the governor. Costs often spiral upward at a much higher rate than projected. Currently, there are about 645,000 Mississippians in the Medicaid program.
 
Mississippi lawmakers face long budget-writing process
Now that budget hearings are over, Mississippi lawmakers face a long process of deciding how to spend tax dollars for fiscal 2015, which begins July 1. The 14 members of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee held four days of public hearings last week and quizzed agency leaders about how money is already being spent on programs large and small. In December, the committee will release a budget blueprint, and Republican Gov. Phil Bryant will release his own separate set of spending recommendations. All 122 House members and 52 senators will vote on a final budget by late March or early April, if they stay on schedule. Mississippi's current budget is about $5.8 billion. State economist Darrin Webb predicts Mississippi will continue to see modest growth, and lawmakers say the 2015 budget will be slightly larger.
 
Election Day (again): DOJ to monitor polls in Hattiesburg
After all the legal drama, Hattiesburg voters will finally decide their next mayor in today's special election. How important is it? Click Boutique owners Adam Myrick and Jason LeViere are shutting down their downtown business today to remind folks to cast their ballots. "We want people to understand the importance of what this election means for Hattiesburg," said co-owner Adam Myrick, a Dave Ware supporter. "Essentially, we have to cross this bridge." Polls at 14 city-wide precincts are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. as voters choose among candidates Johnny DuPree, Ware and Shawn O'Hara. This election is also important enough that representatives of the Justice Department will be there, upon the request of state Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole.
 
Neshoba County Fair seeking design for 125th flag
The board of the Neshoba County Fair is gearing up for next year with a 125th anniversary flag contest. Andy King, a member of the celebration committee, tells the Neshoba Democrat that the Fair Association is asking for 57 by 32 inch flag entries that are colorful, festive and feature the Neshoba County Fair logo. The 125th Neshoba County Fair can also be incorporated. The current flag, designed by Pam Posey Sharp, has a circle with a fair cabin with three colors, red, blue and green. "The colors were neat. The red dirt, blue sky and green grass," said Philadelphia artist Jane Kynerd, who working on her own entry. In addition to the contest, King and others are looking at a number of other events to commemorate the anniversary.
 
'Family glitch' in health law could be painful
A "family glitch" in the 2010 health care law threatens to cost some families thousands of dollars in health insurance costs and leave up to 500,000 children without coverage, insurance and health care analysts say. That's unless Congress fixes the problem, which seems unlikely given the House's latest move Friday to strip funding from the Affordable Care Act. The issue has recently received attention, especially after former president Bill Clinton highlighted it in a recent speech.
 
State reliance on federal dollars near all-time high
After years of declining tax revenues and federal stimulus payments, states find themselves relying more on the federal government for cash infusions than ever before. But thanks to the budget sequester, much of that money is about to vanish. Federal grants accounted for more than one-third of state budget revenues in fiscal year 2011, according to data compiled by the Pew Charitable Trust's Fiscal Federalism Initiative. That's down slightly from the percentage of federal dollars that flowed into state coffers in fiscal year 2010, but it's far above historical precedent.
 
BlackBerry Never Had a Chance: Mobile Innovation Is Over
The BlackBerry is all but dead. On Monday, the Canadian smartphone maker told the world it will finally take itself private, which barely registers as news. The most surprising thing is that the company held on so long. Most people will tell you that, through a mix of corporate dysfunction and sheer lack of inspiration, BlackBerry failed to hold its own in the smartphone wars of the last half-decade. And so, the voices proclaim, the one-time giant was crushed under the feet of new, more innovative competitors -- the quintessential Silicon Valley tale of creative destruction. But in the smartphone game, that won't happen. Even a hypothetically better-run BlackBerry never stood a chance against Apple. Once Apple introduced the iPhone, the paradigm was set -- there wasn't anything especially new the Blackberry could do.
 
Struggling, San Jose Tests a Way to Cut Benefits for Retirees
San Jose, a metropolis of nearly a million residents, is the third-largest city in California, home to tens of thousands of technology industry workers, as well as many thousands more struggling to get by. Yet even here, in the city that bills itself as the capital of Silicon Valley, the economic tidal wave that has swamped Detroit and other cities is lapping at the sea walls. San Jose now spends one-fifth of its $1.1 billion general fund on pensions and retiree health care, and the amount keeps rising. Government officials and municipal bankruptcy experts across the country are watching San Jose closely because of a plan to reduce benefits. The outcome of the case is expected to have a major impact on municipal budgets around the state and, perhaps, the country. If a state court rules later this year or early next year that the referendum allows San Jose to alter pension plans for existing workers, and it survives appeals, similar measures are expected to pop up elsewhere.
 
Warming to make U.S. conditions more ripe for tornado-making storms, study says
Conditions that spawn severe thunderstorms -- including tornado-makers -- across the U.S. are expected to appear more frequently by the end of the century, according to new research. The new research confirms the general pattern of weaker shear over the US, on average, in a warmer world. But when the scientists conducting the modeling study burrowed into the numbers behind the average, they found that as the climate warmed, shear tended to strengthen on days when the other ingredients also were abundant. These other ingredients determine the potential energy available to form a thunderstorm.
 
Skipping college for Wyoming oil fields can be a boom-bust trap
These are boom times in the resource-rich Cowboy State, courtesy of an oil explosion whose ripples can be felt across the land. Good-paying blue-collar jobs in Wyoming's petroleum and natural gas fields are as plentiful as pickups here, and the unemployment rate -- 4.6% in July -- remains far below the 7.4% national average. But critics worry that the prodigious oil output includes a potential byproduct. Many fear the day when Wyoming's oil market fails, as it last did in the mid-1980s, exposing a fundamental flaw in the state's job picture: The lure of the oil dollar has prompted teenagers to skip college, or abandon high school, for the petroleum fields -- many without a Plan B if things go bust.
 
Man sentenced for crash that killed Ole Miss siblings
A man pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in the crash that killed two Ole Miss siblings in October 2012. On Monday afternoon in Lafayette County Circuit Court, John Howard Strickland Jr. was sentenced to serve 12 years in jail with 13 years suspended for one count of aggravated DUI. Siblings John and Sarah Wheat died after the vehicle Strickland was driving crossed the median and hit their car head on. Strickland was under the influence of marijuana and had been huffing air dust canisters before the accident, according to investigators.
 
DUI driver gets 12 years in sibling deaths
Judge Andrew Howorth sentenced John Howard "J.R." Strickland Jr. to 25 years, with 13 suspended and 12 to serve, on Monday in Lafayette County Circuit Court for causing the wreck that killed two University of Mississippi students. Strickland pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated DUI for the death of John Wheat. The death of Wheat's sister, Sarah, was not prosecuted. Strickland's sentence includes substance abuse rehabilitation, restitution of funeral and medical costs and five years of post-release supervision. A 21-year-old Ole Miss student from San Antonio, Texas, at the time of the crash, Strickland was under the influence of marijuana and canned air propellant difluoroethane when he crossed the median of Highway 6/278 and slammed his Chevy Tahoe head-on into the Wheats' small sedan. He had another DUI charge the previous year.
 
Ole Miss rated in the top 10 safest college campuses
The University-Oxford community recently scored high marks in polls concerned with a matter more critical than mere beauty: safety. However, although Collegesafe.com recently ranked Ole Miss as the ninth safest campus in the nation, recent reports of violent crimes conflict with this perception. Numbers of robberies and burglaries reported on campus have increased since 2009, when 28 burglaries and no robberies were reported. From Aug. 26 to Sept. 19 this year, UPD has received 32 reports of larceny, of which seven were for more than $500, 15 reports of drugs, seven reports of assault and one report of weapons.
 
Former governor Musgrove establishes scholarship endowment
Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and wife Melody have donated $25,000 to the University of Mississippi School of Education to provide scholarships to its exceptional junior and senior students. Dean of Education David Rock said the university is honored to have the Musgrove family's generous support, and he has high hopes for the difference this endowment can make in the lives of students at both the university and K-12 levels.
 
5th Annual Charity Fitness Party Held at MUW
The "W" teamed up with local businesses once again to raise money for a worthy cause, the 5th Annual Charity Fitness Party. This is no ordinary fundraiser. For as little as $5, community members worked up a sweat doing aerobic exercises like Zumba and kickboxing, all while supporting Father's Child Ministry in Columbus. "It feels really good to give back because I've been blessed throughout my life to be able to have a family there for me. I just want to help other people who haven't had that opportunity in life," says supporter, Katlyn Bryant.
 
Taking steps in higher education; colleges see silver lining in decreased enrollment
Officials at Northwest Mississippi Community College are taking steps to attract more students to the Senatobia-based college. NWCC has used aggressive marketing of adult education and course offerings for veterans in minimizing a decline in enrollment, a trend that has been seen at nearly all of Mississippi's 15 community colleges. Northwest saw an enrollment decline of 2.7 percent for the fall semester, according to figures released from the school. That was the third-lowest decline among the state's two-year schools. "We were actually thrilled," said Director of Communications Sarah Sapp. "The school took the time and effort to get out the message about Northwest."
 
Meridian Community College Enrollment
Local community colleges are following a national trend. For the third straight year all 15 community colleges in Mississippi are reporting a decrease in enrollment. However, officials at Meridian Community College say there is no need for alarm. With 3,717 students, fall enrollment at Meridian Community College is down by 7%. That's higher than the 4.3% drop at community colleges statewide. "For a college like Meridian that statistically has one half of one county as its district, we have a pretty healthy community college here," says MCC President, Dr. Scott Elliott. Meridian Community College has the smallest two year college district in Mississippi. With record high enrollment three years ago, Dr. Elliott says the decrease in enrollment reflects both good and bad news.
 
Itawamba Community College mobile lab touts manufacturing
Itawamba Community College is riding in style in its new mobile career unit unveiled at ICC's Belden Center on Monday. The semi-truck's 53-foot trailer holds six demonstration stations that exhibit the cutting-edge technology common to modern manufacturing jobs. "The two biggest industries in this area are health care and manufacturing," said James Williams, vice president of economics and community services at ICC. "In the past, manufacturing jobs caught a reputation for being dangerous, but now they are much safer and more technical." The unit is aimed at making junior high and high school students aware of careers available in manufacturing.
 
Another suit filed against JSU athletic director
Another lawsuit has been filed against Jackson State University and its athletics director. The latest lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Jackson by former JSU athletics ticket manager Annie S. Jackson. Jackson says she was fired in May 2012 in retaliation for her friendship with another former employee, Lolita Ward. Ward previously sued the school and Athletic Director Vivian Fuller based on allegations of sexual harassment. JSU spokesman Eric Stringfellow has said the school denies the allegations "and will vigorously defend the university's good name."
 
U. of Alabama Faculty Senate continues sorority discussion
The University of Alabama Faculty Senate is scheduled to resume discussion today of a statement urging action by the UA administration following recent allegations of voter fraud by Greek organizations during the recent Tuscaloosa municipal election and racial discrimination during sorority recruitment. The senate began discussing the content of the statement during its regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 17. It voted to table the matter to allow time to incorporate comments from last week's meeting into the statement. The body agreed to meet again this week for a work session to continue the discussion.
 
Auburn lacrosse player arrested after bizarre, real life 'Grand Theft Auto' case
It's 'game over' for an Auburn University student who admitted to police he wanted to act out the world's hottest video games in real life along the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Baton Rouge police arrested the lacrosse player over the weekend after they say he tried to steal a car with a passenger still inside, then claimed to investigators he did so to play out a video game in real life. Zachary Burgess, 20, of Hoover, Ala. was cuffed and charged after the incident early Saturday morning outside an area bar called Tigerland.
 
U. of Florida students join bid for early voting site on campus
In the final days before the 2012 November election, about 2,000 University of Florida students piled into strangers' cars. Their destination? An early-voting site. Nearly a year later, Christina Ford, who helped coordinate those rides, joined about 20 other students on another political initiative: Creating at least two more locations for early voting in Gainesville, particularly one on the UF campus. The 21-year-old political science and economics junior was at a Gainesville city committee on Aug. 29 to support a motion by City Commissioner Randy Wells, who had been approached by several UF students requesting a site.
 
U. of Florida survey finds support for Endangered Species Act
Floridians may not rank the state's endangered species among their top 10 concerns, but they still feel strongly about protecting the vulnerable critters of the Sunshine State, according to a recent survey from the University of Florida. The Center for Public Issues Education at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences surveyed 499 residents last month to sound out their attitudes in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the federal Endangered Species Act. The survey found overwhelming support for the act and for strengthening it, even though protecting endangered animals was far less important than the economy, health care and food safety.
 
Public University Enrollment in Arkansas Down 2 Percent
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education said Monday that average enrollment at the state's 33 public colleges and universities was down 2 percent from last fall, driven by a 6 percent drop in two-year college enrollment. The numbers are based on a snapshot of enrollment the department takes on the 11th day of classes. Final enrollment numbers aren't available until after the semester ends, according to ADHE Interim Director Shane Broadway. "We'll be able to further analyze enrollment trends when final data is collected at the end of the semester," he said. In all, the number of students enrolled in higher education in Arkansas was 170,056. The four-year universities reported an average enrollment increase of 0.4 percent and a full-time equivalent enrollment increase of 3.6 percent.
 
After armed robbery, U. of Georgia police issue student safety advisory
In the wake of a weekend armed robbery report, the University of Georgia police are urging students to use caution went venturing out. Among other things, students should be aware of their surroundings, travel in groups and refuse rides from strangers. "One of the reasons we put these (advisories) out is we're hoping that when young people are made aware of these circumstances they will alter their lifestyle so that might limit their exposure to the criminal element," UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said Monday. The police chief spoke a day after a student reported he was robbed at gunpoint as he was returning to the UGA campus from downtown.
 
Louisiana colleges are party to federal transportation grants
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded more than $5.4 million in grants to aid schools including LSU and Southern University in Baton Rouge as well as Louisiana Tech University in Ruston and the University of New Orleans. The University Transportation Consortium grants money won't go directly to Louisiana colleges, but instead, to consortiums they are part of. A $1,414,100 grant for the University of Arkansas consortium, which includes LSU and UNO, will be used to build sustainable maritime and multimodal transportation systems.
 
LSU wins $4 million grant for supercomputer
The National Science Foundation has awarded LSU's Center for Computation and Technology a $4 million grant to acquire a new supercomputer cluster capable of making one quadrillion calculations per second. The NSF grant is the largest such award LSU has ever received as part of the Major Research Instrumentation program. The supercomputer, known as SuperMic, will be used for a variety of research projects including the discovery of new drugs, modeling coastal processes and forecasting hurricane-generated waves and storm surges. According to an LSU news release, SuperMic will be the first of its kind in Louisiana and has the potential to turn LSU "into a significant player on the national scene."
 
Two regents included on search team for new Texas A&M president
The search for a new president of Texas A&M University kicked off over the weekend, but those connected with the process can't talk about it. The nine-member presidential search advisory committee met for the first time Saturday. The group is composed of Texas A&M University System regents, alumni, faculty and a non-voting staff and student members. Members of the committee declined to elaborate on the first meeting when contacted by The Eagle on Monday, citing a confidentiality agreement signed at the kickoff meeting. Similar agreements have been used in previous A&M searches and are not uncommon at other universities. The Eagle has filed an open records request with the A&M system to obtain the agreement.
 
U. of Missouri's Office of Student Conduct handles few sex offense cases
One University of Missouri student was expelled for a sex offense in 2012. Another was suspended. Although dozens of sex offenses were reported to campus counselors and police last year, only those two students faced punishment from the Office of Student Conduct. Assistant Director of Student Life and Student Conduct Director Donell Young said the office received two reports of "non-consensual sexual behavior" last year and both ended in penalties for the offenders. He declined to specify what the behaviors were but said they violated a university code of conduct prohibiting acts ranging from sexual harassment to rape. Media accounts, statistics and police reports show there were far more than two sex offenses at MU last year. The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center, a campus resource office known as the RSVP Center, received 92 such reports last year. MU Police received 14.
 
New U. of Missouri program to help students prepare for Peace Corps
The University of Missouri will launch a new program to prepare students for Peace Corps service. Students taking part in the Peace Corps Prep program, which will be part of the Office of Service-Learning, will earn a minor in public service and a multicultural certificate. The program won't guarantee admission to the Peace Corps, but it will make students more competitive applicants, said Michael Burden, the project coordinator at the Office of Service-Learning, who completed his service in Mongolia. "We believe we can produce really strong candidates for Peace Corps service," Burden said. "They'll have had service experience already, and they will have been thinking critically about who they are and why they want to join the Peace Corps."
 
Vanderbilt University Medical Center accused of patient dumping
Patrick Miller, a Robertson County resident, was 33 years old when the motorcycle he was riding collided head-on with a pickup truck. His injuries were so severe he was airlifted directly from the scene to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where surgeons would try to save his mangled legs. Two weeks and three surgeries later, on Nov. 5, 2010, Miller, who had no health insurance, was discharged and sent home. But only two days after that, he was rushed back to Vanderbilt with an infection so severe his right leg had to be amputated above the knee. In a suit now working its way through circuit court in Nashville, attorneys for Miller have charged that their client was discharged prematurely. And they say it's part of a broader pattern at Vanderbilt that happens to people who aren't able to pay for the care they need.
 
Worried About Message, Colleges Scrutinize Social Media
When any member of a department or program can with a few clicks create an online presence, how many semi-institutional Facebook pages, blogs, Twitter streams, and YouTube channels are springing up? How watchful an eye should a college keep on them? As their institutions test the possibilities of social-media sites, university administrators -- among them public-relations and communications staff members and risk managers -- are trying to figure out how to balance the rewards and risks of social engagement.
 
Judging college by graduates' paychecks
To determine if a college degree is worth the money, states, private companies and the federal government are looking less to diplomas and more to pay stubs. The Obama administration and a growing number of states have embraced the idea that graduates' earnings in the years after graduation can measure the quality of a college or major. Systems to display wages by college and program are gaining steam and growing in sophistication. They could transform how Americans evaluate the value of a college education -- and, eventually, whether state and federal governments will pay for it. The salary data, though, are riddled with holes.
 
CHARLIE MITCHELL: Robert Khayat: 'No pain, no gain' not limited to fitness
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "A charmed life. That's what the evidence says about Robert Khayat. High school athlete recruited to Ole Miss from Moss Point. "Big man on campus" drafted into the pros. Happy home and family. Two degrees in law, the second from Yale. A 14-year tenure as the 15th chancellor of the University of Mississippi capped by welcoming Barack Obama and John McCain for their first debate. Seven bowl games with six wins. His name in granite across the front of the majestic Robert C. Khayat Law Center. ...Now contrast that life with another..."


SPORTS
 
Takeaways spur Mississippi State
Mississippi State worked itself back atop the Southeastern Conference in turnover margin after its performance against Troy. Since the second week of the season, the Bulldogs have created eight turnovers while giving up the ball once. Overall MSU is plus-5, which is first in the SEC and fifth in the nation. The Bulldogs ranked fifth in the country last year at plus-16. The total tied LSU for the conference lead. Mississippi State's three giveaways are tied with Alabama as the fewest in the SEC.
 
Bulldogs' left guard Jackson earns weekly SEC honor
Mississippi State senior left guard Gabe Jackson was named as the Offensive Lineman of the Week by the Southeastern Conference for his contributions in the Bulldogs 62-7 win over Troy. Jackson did not have a missed assignment and was credited with five pancake blocks in helping MSU's offense roll up 551 yards of offense. "It felt a lot better because last year we went down to the wire (against Troy)," Jackson said. "We came out with a better start and on a better foot and put the game out of reach much sooner than we did last year."
 
Former Long Beach, MSU ballplayer held on driveby shooting charge
Former Long Beach High and Mississippi State basketball player Marcus Bullard has been paroled on felony drug convictions and now faces a driveby shooting charge. Bullard, 38, once an NBA hopeful, was on parole for cocaine and ecstasy convictions Dec. 26 when he allegedly fired shots at an acquaintance in Gulfport. The alleged victim told Gulfport police he had just pulled up in his driveway on 31st Avenue when Bullard reportedly fired four shots at him. The man was not hurt. Police have released no motive for the shooting. Bullard helped get Mississippi State to the Final Four in 1996, but his brushes with the law fouled his chances for the 1998 NBA draft.
 
NCAA protest: How the NCPA became college football players' leading voice
The idea to protest against the NCAA was a subtle gesture. According to National College Players Association President Ramogi Huma, 28 college football players on three teams (Georgia, Georgia Tech and Northwestern) wrote the letters "APU" on their football gear last Saturday, such as wristbands or towels. The letters stand for All Players United. It's a movement by the NCPA in part to support five current college football players who recently joined the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit. It's also an organizational attempt to organize athletes' voice about issues such as player safety and compensation beyond the current value of an athletic scholarship. The low-key protest sparked wide-ranging discussion with different views across the country. Amid many unanswered questions of where college sports is headed, this much seems clear: The NCPA has become the players' most unifying voice.
 
U. of Alabama trustees and Paul W. Bryant Jr. in legal fight with Houndstooth Mafia
The University of Alabama and Paul W. Bryant Jr. are in a legal fight to keep Houndstooth Mafia merchandise off store shelves. The University of Alabama Board of Trustees and Bryant, the son of legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, have filed a federal trademark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against Houndstooth Mafia Enterprises, LLC. The company makes merchandise with the Houndstooth Mafia logo with a houndstooth pattern background. The lawsuit also asks a judge to overturn a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's ruling in July that allowed the Houndstooth Mafia's 2007 trademark registration application to go forward for caps and t-shirts. The suit also seeks to block a trademark application filed July 29 for use of the logo on bumper stickers, magnetic bumper stickers, stickers, stickers and transfers.
 
Colleges benefit financially but take hits to pride and bodies in overmatched football games
Smaller football programs have long scheduled top-25 teams to gain money and national exposure, but at the expense of the educational mission and athletes' well-being, critics say. College sports are supposed to be part of a university's mission -- a well-rounded education, the argument goes, includes lessons in wellness, leadership and teamwork. But these games are a prime example of the other form that athletics takes, said Charles T. Clotfelter, a public policy and economics professor at Duke University: a commercial business.



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