Sideline View by Dale McKee

Published: Mar. 16, 2020 at 12:05 AM CDT
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Most Mississippians who enjoy sports and outside outings were stunned late last week when our normal activities were put on hold for a while. All this was due to COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the entire United States and most of the world. This is the largest medical crisis in my lifetime. Sports will definitely take a back seat for a while. Sports brought us together after 9-11 in 2001, but I understand and support the cancellations until further notice. Health officials say they believe the virus spreads from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes and having close personal contact with an infected person. It is the reason many large events around the world are being cancelled, postponed or otherwise altered. So as we miss March Madness and The Masters and experience the delay of high school, college and Major League baseball, we will just have to find other activities to keep busy.

In wrapping up the college basketball season in Mississippi, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame announced the C-Spire awards for the best male and female college basketball players this past season. MSU’s Reggie Perry, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, took the Howell Award over Breein Tyree of Ole Miss and Ledarius Woods of Tougaloo. Perry, who led State to their third straight 20-win season, was also named the Co-SEC Player of the Year. This was the third straight year an MSU Bulldog has won the award. The Gillom Award went to MSU freshman Rickea Jackson as she helped lead the Lady Bulldogs to their third straight SEC championship game. She bested teammate Jessika Carter and Delta State star Quantesha Patterson. It was also the sixth year in a row that a Lady Bulldog has won the award.

The Mississippi High School All-Stars fell to Alabama in the 30thAll-Star clash between the bordering states. The guys lost, 118-97, while the girls fell, 70-63, in games played at Mississippi College and sponsored by the Mississippi Coaches Association. Alabama leads both series, 16-14.

The Jones College Lady Bobcats (24-4) will be the No. 8 seed in the National Junior College basketball tournament that will be played in Lubbock, Texas, in late April. Pearl River Community College (28-0) is the only undefeated men’s JUCO basketball team in the country. The Wildcats will be the No. 1 seed at the national championship next month in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Odds & Ends

William Carey’s men’s track won the NAIA National Championship last week.

The Seattle Seahawks named former USM football quarterback Austin Davis as their quarterback coach.

I am saddened to report that Jamie McDowell passed away last week. “Mississippi Red,” as he was affectionately called, was one of the earliest sportswriters in our state. He helped create the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, was on the board of the National Football Federation and was instrumental in beginning the College Football Hall of Fame.

Former Alcorn football star Steve McNair, who was third in the 1994 Heisman Trophy race, will be posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in New York in December.

The National Football League Players Association voted by a very narrow margin to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement. The vote was 1,019 to 959. This new agreement will run through the 2030 season with no possibility for a work stoppage. In 2021 the NFL will have 17 regular season games and only three preseason games. The playoffs for 2020 will include seven teams from each conference, and only one team will have a bye. Minimum salaries will increase this year to $610,000.

Stay safe, and remember that watching a lot of “The Three Stooges” and “Gunsmoke” on TV is good for your health.

Dale is a Waynesboro native who has been writing sports since 1973.

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