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Mississippi State, Ole Miss ready for Aggie invasion

August 11th, 2011 Comments off

An image released by the University of Mississippi shows a proposed expansion to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss. The university has announced plans to raise $150 million to build a new on-campus basketball arena and upgrade the football stadium. The first phase of the program would build a 10,000-seat basketball arena to replace Tad Smith Coliseum, a cramped facility that was built in 1966 and holds slightly more than 9,000 fans. It would also include renovating the concourse and premium seating in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

On the eve of college football taking center stage across the South, folks here in Mississippi appear on the verge of having a new team (maybe two) to pay attention to on a regular basis.
In a story that flamed up quickly last week, Ole Miss and Mississippi State could add Texas A&M to its Southeastern Conference Western Division permanent schedule as soon as next season.
The Aggies to the SEC, according to reports in multiple newspapers, appears to be picking up steam less than a month before the new, restructured Big 12 plays its first season.
Having said that, don’t expect the SEC to add the Aggies without throwing in one more to make scheduling easier. An SEC with 13 teams isn’t as tidy as one with 14. So, if A&M is brought into the fold, look for a school like Missouri to make the move, too.
I think a 16-team SEC is where the league is headed with Florida State and Clemson likely contenders to come into the league.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss look like they have been gearing up  for any potential moves.
Just last week, Ole Miss officials announced a $150 million fund raising campaign, along with plans to replace the university’s basketball facility and improve Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The University said $100 million from premium seating charges in both venues and $50 million from philanthropic donations.
In addition to the new basketball facility and football stadium improvements, plans call for creation of a Hall of Fame to showcase Ole Miss Athletics history.
Meanwhile, MSU has been working on a plan, raising funds, for expansion of Davis-Wade Stadium by 5,000 to 7,000 seats at a potential cost of $100 million.

A rendering of what Davis-Wade Stadium at Mississippi State will look like when expansion is complete.on.

A football-specific facility, which would house offices and more, would be part of the deals as would upgrades to MSU’s outdoor practice fields.
Completion could be ready in the next couple of years.
For now, it appears Mississippi’s two SEC schools are finanacially prepared to take on the added challenge of  Texas A&M and whoever else comes calling in a new-look super league.
The question left is how quickly all of this could happen.
Some reports show a deal between A&M and the SEC as imminent with the Aggies coming on board for the 2012 football season. Other reports show the deal making A&M ready for 2013.
Either way, money talks and the SEC is rarely on the short end of the stick. Landing A&M would mean millions in TV money for the league and ultimately billions if it lures the likes of FSU and Clemson down the road.
I’d be willing to bet my lunch money Georgia Tech and Tulane wish they had never left the league way back when.

Party on dude … Ole Miss No. 3 on list of top party schools … State still among bottom five for education

August 1st, 2011 Comments off

Ohio University, set in an Appalachian town known for its rowdy Halloween bashes, has been named the nation’s No. 1 party school, pushing the University of Georgia down a slot in the 2011 Princeton Review survey released Monday.

Ohio was No. 2 in last year’s survey of students nationwide. The campus in Athens, about 65 miles southeast of Columbus, has made the party school list 12 times since 1997, but has never before reached the top.

Top party, sober schools from Princeton Review The Associated Press The nation's top party schools and top stone-cold sober schools, according to Princeton Review's survey of 122,000 students: Party schools 1. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 2. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 3. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss. 4. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 5. University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif. 6. West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va. 7. Penn State University, University Park, Pa. 8. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla. 9. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla. 10. University of Texas, Austin, Texas 11. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 12. Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y. 13. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La. 14. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis. 15. DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind. 16. Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind. 17. Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. 18. University of Maryland, College Park, Md. 19. University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt. 20. University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C. ___ Stone-cold sober schools 1. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 2. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill. 3. Wesleyan College, Macon, Ga. 4. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn. 5. U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. 6. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. 7. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich. 8. Grove City College, Grove City, Pa. 9. Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif. 10. City University of New York — Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, N.Y. 12. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y. 13. U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. 14. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Mass. 15. City University of New York — Queens College, Flushing, N.Y. 16. Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, Calif. 17. University of Dallas, Irving, Texas 18. Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Ga. 19. College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Mo. 20. Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, Minn.

Rounding out the top five this year were No. 3 University of Mississippi, No. 4 University of Iowa and No. 5 University of California Santa Barbara.

The Princeton Review survey is part of its 2012 edition of “The Best 376 Colleges,” which includes 61 other rankings in categories such as best professors (Wellesley College in Massachusetts), most beautiful campus (Florida Southern College) best campus food (Wheaton College in Illinois) and highest financial aid satisfaction (Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania).

Brigham Young University in Utah tops the list of stone-cold sober schools for the 14th straight year.

Ohio University’s party reputation has long vexed administrators at the riverside school of about 20,000 students, and policies have been beefed up over the years in an attempt to reduce student drinking.

Among efforts are strong anti-drinking messages at freshmen orientations, tougher penalties on students for alcohol violations and added surveillance during the Halloween street party, which is not sanctioned by the university.

“We take seriously our responsibility to help our students succeed in all facets of their experience, including addressing high-risk behavior,” Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi said in a statement Monday. “We are disappointed in the party school ranking as it is not indicative of the overall experience of Ohio students and does not match the data we have collected.”

In formal complaints regarding violations of Ohio’s student code of conduct, about 60 percent are listed as alcohol-related in recent academic years, according to statistics posted online by the University Judiciaries, the school’s disciplinary division. In 2010-2011, 1,213 complaints, making up 59 percent of the total, involved alcohol, the numbers show.

The Halloween revelry dates to the 1970s and typically attracts at least 20,000 people to downtown Athens streets. Arrests and citations during the party, mostly for alcohol and disorderly conduct violations, have at times reached more than 200 in recent years.

The event spun out of control in 2003, when then-Athens Police Chief Rick Mayer called the bash “the worst event to date” after rioting partiers lit couches on fire, started fights and threw bottles at officers and firefighters.

Besides the party list, Ohio also lands in the top 20 in several other Princeton Review categories this year, including lots of beer and lots of hard liquor, as well as best athletic facilities, most beautiful campus and major fraternity and sorority scene.

The guide’s rankings are based on email surveys voluntarily filled out by 122,000 students at more than 370 colleges across the country. On average, about 325 students from each campus respond, and university administrators often call the rankings unscientific and say they glorify dangerous behavior.

The Princeton Review, not affiliated with Princeton University, is a Massachusetts-based company known for its test preparation courses educational services and books.

It has put out its best colleges guide since 1992.