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Wednesday Bulldog Update - 9/25/13

Courtesy: hailstate.com  
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Just as the off week is a good chance for Coach Mullen’s team to make improvements and get things done, it has provided a timely opportunity for me, as well.

Yesterday I returned from the Athletic Directors’ Association annual meeting in Dallas, always a fun and productive gathering of those from across college athletics. As conversations continue, it feels we are on the precipice of potential change in the structure of the NCAA and its governance, not to mention important issues likes concussions, student-athlete stipends and the new college football playoff structure.

It’s an interesting time in college athletics and the months ahead should prove to be meaningful as our future unfolds.

I was lucky enough while there to have dinner with Jay Bilas from ESPN, a bright and outspoken supporter of paying student-athletes in some manner. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jay, though I think the pay-for-play argument sometimes misses the point that a scholarship is far more than just classes, potentially exceeding half a million dollars in worth over four years. For those on full scholarship, the education itself is paid for, of course, while complete medical coverage, food, room and board, academic support and a long list of other benefits are often forgotten in the conversations and debates.

The demand for those scholarships is certainly high, and those receiving them understand the value. The average student today graduates with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, some more and some less, of course. The value of a student-athlete graduating with no debt as they begin their life after college should not be overlooked.

We certainly stand behind our conference’s stance of a stipend to cover the true cost of attendance, which isn’t necessarily covered in traditional scholarships. This is another key issue that should be addressed, hopefully in the near future.

* * *

KENT HULL HONORED

I got back from Dallas last night just in time to be a part of the tribute dinner for Bulldog great and NFL star center Kent Hull. Hull was a tremendous ambassador for MSU and one of the more respected players of his time. Two of his former quarterbacks joined us for the evening, former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly and former MSU quarterback John Bond.

As it turns out, Bond and Hull’s Bulldogs played Kelly and his Hurricanes three times when they were all in college, with MSU taking two out of three from some talented Miami teams led by Kelly.

A big thank you goes to Rick Cleveland and the entire Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame staff both for honoring Hull and for starting the Kent Hull Award to be given annually to the top collegiate offensive lineman in the state every year, paired with the Conerly Trophy.

And I do think it’s neat that three out of the five trophies given are named after MSU legends, with the Howell and Ferriss Trophies also bearing the names of Bulldog heroes past.

* * *

BASEBALL WELCOMES NO. 2 SIGNING CLASS

Congratulations go out to Coach Cohen and the entire baseball staff, whose most recent signing class was named the second best in the country by Collegiate Insider. They’ve done a tremendous job of not only upholding the great tradition of Mississippi State baseball, but improving on it consistently, as we’ve all seen. Perhaps what’s most impressive about the honor is the fact that this particular class signed long before our Bulldogs played in the College World Series Championship. I look forward to watching our baseball program’s continued success.

* * *

VOLLEYBALL BEGINS SEC PLAY

As the season winds on, Coach Hazelwood’s volleyball team opens SEC play at home this weekend with big matchups against No. 3 Florida on Friday at 7 and against Arkansas on Sunday at 1:30. Our student section has been active this year, and I imagine it will become even more so, as Friday our marketing team will debut a competition where students can win $10,000 just by serving a volleyball.

There are certain stipulations, of course, but it should be fun, and other prizes will be given, too, I’m told.

* * *

BASKETBALL SEASON TICKET TIME

A sure sign we’re moving into fall, our men’s and women’s basketball seasons are not far from beginning, so now seemed like a good time to remind you of where to find season tickets. Both www.hailstate.com/tickets and 1-888-GO-DAWGS are easy ways to secure your seats for our basketball Bulldogs and year two of both Coach Ray and Coach Schaefer at MSU.

And for those of you lucky enough to live near the waters of the Gulf, Coach Schaefer’s Bulldogs will be participating in the inaugural Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida, November 29-December 1. Ticket packages are available at www.gulfcoastshowcase.com.

I hope you’re able to join us in Starkville both this weekend for volleyball and next weekend as Coach Mullen’s team hosts LSU. We’ve been tracking feedback from our first two games and are continually making every effort to enhance the fan experience for game days. On that note, I enjoyed the chat with many of you last week on HailState.com pertaining to football and a few others topics (click here to replay the chat).

While on the subject, I should remind our fans in Bulldog Suites that every person, regardless of age, is required to have a cricket to enter suites or club level.

One last thing I’d like to pass along is “Dawgs for Dogs,” a PSA of sorts featuring our coaches and their pets (see the video to the right or click here). It’s entertaining and informative, quite the combination.

* * *

And don’t forget to wear Maroon on Friday! Some habits are best unbroken.

Hail State!

* * *

We appreciate what you do for Mississippi State Athletics and want to encourage you to get others involved.  There are three things you can do to help the athletic department at Mississippi State reach its desired goals –

1.  Buy Season Tickets

2.  Financially Support the Bulldog Club

3.  Get Others To Do The Same

Thanks for taking the time to read this Update.   

Hail State!

Scott Stricklin

 



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