Road trip helps top ’Dogs work on master plan

STARKVILLE – Greg Byrne took a three-day trip earlier this week to get a glimpse of Mississippi State’s future.
The athletics director, along with football coach Dan Mullen, baseball coach John Cohen, and university president Mark Keenum, visited six Division I universities to view their facilities and gain insight as MSU formulates its master facilities plan.
The group visited Baylor on Tuesday; Oregon and Oregon State on Wednesday; Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas on Thursday.
Why those schools? Their budgets and rural settings are comparable to Mississippi State’s.
MSU’s master plan for its facilities is one of Byrne’s top priorities, perhaps the biggest. The school is in negotiations with a company to help solidify the plan, and once the partnership is finalized, it will be about a year before the master plan is set.
Byrne said he wants MSU to establish a unique identity, much like Oregon, a place he used to work.
“Part of the thing we’re going to be working on is what we want to represent, and how we’re going to go about getting there,” he said.
MSU already has a basketball practice facility in the works. The school is negotiating with a contractor for the project, which will cost upwards of $12 million.

NCAA, Jackson point fingers
– The NCAA has said it’s not the reason for the possible holdup in MSU basketball signee Renardo Sidney’s amateurism evaluation process – Sidney’s attorney is.
Donald Jackson, who’s representing the Sidney family as the NCAA looks into eligibility issues surrounding the 6-foot-10 McDonald’s All-American, claimed Thursday that the NCAA was trying to delay its meeting with the Sidneys. The two sides were set to meet next week at Jackson’s Montgomery, Ala., office.
In an e-mail statement, NCAA media relations director Bob Williams said, “Mr. Jackson has mischaracterized the facts related to the Renardo Sydney [sic] case. The NCAA postponed the meeting with Mr. Jackson and Mississippi State officials next week due to Mr. Jackson’s failure to provide all requested documents. The request was made on May 7, 2009 with the stipulation that the documents be received in ample time to review prior to any meeting.”
Jackson said he mailed the documents requested by the NCAA on Friday afternoon, and he believes there is ample time for investigators to study the information by Wednesday or Thursday.
“It’s a complete and thorough response to every single issue that’s arisen here,” said Jackson, who added that he did not receive a mailing address from the NCAA until Friday.

Bailey back at it
– Elgin Bailey, a key reserve for MSU’s basketball team, is back to rehabbing his dislocated ankle.
The 6-foot-8 Bailey, who will be a junior, suffered the injury late in the season. His rehab was going along fine until an ear infection forced him to slow down for about a month.
On Friday, doctors cleared him to return to full-time rehab, which will include running in a pool and lifting weights.
Bailey averaged 3.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 27 games last season.

Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal