Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

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The Greenwood Commonwealth on the NCAA's decision to give spring sports athletes an extra year of eligibility:

American sports fans have resigned themselves for now to watching reruns of athletic contests, thanks to a pandemic that has delayed or cancelled nearly every competition in this country and in most of the rest of the world at least until this summer.

The NCAA, the governing body for college athletics, had been saddled with trying to decide between what’s fair and what’s economical in considering the eligibility of athletes who had their spring season ended even before it got very far.

Already knowing that the colleges and universities were going to be out about $400 million from the cancellation of the March Madness basketball tournaments, it would have been tempting for the NCAA to shaft the athletes in the lesser revenue-producing sports, such as baseball, softball and tennis.

To its credit, the NCAA did no so thing.

It gave the athletes who play spring sports an extra year of eligibility, if they want to invoke it, while letting each college and university decide whether to continue, reduce or eliminate the athletes’ scholarships for that extra year.

This isn’t a perfect solution, but it struck the right balance. It acknowledged that this health crisis was out of the athletes’ control and it would be unfair to penalize them for it. But at the same time, by leaving it up to the individual institutions whether to give another year’s worth of scholarship money to its seniors, it acknowledged that some of the less prosperous schools would have a hard time footing that cost.

Adjusting next year to these bloated rosters is going to be tough for some of the athletes and their coaches. Another year of playing time for a senior means less playing time for an underclassman. Even though the NCAA says that roster limits will be expanded for one year so that commitments to next year’s freshmen will be honored, there still are only so many players on a team who will get to play. Somebody is going to have to sit more than he or she expected.

Since most of these spring sports, unlike college football and basketball, are not a springboard to professional riches, many of these seniors probably will opt to graduate and get on with their lives.

But those who want their one last shot at a senior season can have it.

They or their parents might not liking having to pick up a large share of the cost of another year in the classroom. If the student-athletes, though, don’t squander that year on advanced basketweaving and similar courses, they should be able to recoup their investment in future earnings from a year of graduate study

Online: https://www.gwcommonwealth.com

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April 7

The Columbus Dispatch on Gov. Tate Reeves' decision to declare April “Confederate Heritage Month”:

On April 3, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed two official documents.

One, an executive order declaring a two-week “shelter in place” throughout the state, was signed with much fanfare during a Facebook Live broadcast and can be found on the state’s official website.

The other, a proclamation declaring April as “Confederate Heritage Month” in Mississippi, was done quietly. Reeves has made no mention of the proclamation and it is not to be found on the state’s website, even though it is an official state document the public should be able to access.

We do not suggest that these two documents carry equal weight. The shelter order has a direct and immediate effect on the lives of every Mississippian. By contrast, the Confederate Heritage Month proclamation can be embraced or ignored and requires nothing of us.

Yet we believe continuing to set aside a month to honor Confederate heritage damages the reputation of a state that struggles to create a new narrative of a Mississippi that is inclusive and fair-minded. In a state that still displays Confederate imagery in its state flag, the state’s stubborn devotion to the Confederacy is more than just a little contradictory.

That the Governor’s proclamation was made as quietly as possible is revealing.

Reeves, in his first term as Governor, is continuing the tradition of his predecessor, Phil Bryant, who proclaimed April as Confederate Heritage Month in each of his eight years as governor.

Bryant’s claims in the proclamation were dubious in their own right. Reeves’ is even more so. Unlike Bryant’s proclamation, Reeves’ version assigns no blame to the Confederacy for the war. It says we should remember the “successes and failures” of the Confederacy.

It is unclear what possible success could have come from what Reeves’ proclamation said is “reportedly” the costliest and deadliest war every fought on American soil.

The use of the word “reportedly” is no accident. Reeves apparently believes there may be some question of just how costly and deadly the Civil War actually was. Fake News? Reeves leaves it an open question. It’s yet another absurd attempt to rationalize Mississippi’s culpability in fighting a war to preserve and sustain slavery.

There is a reason that Germany does not celebrate “Nazi Heritage Month,” even though, in respect to “successes” Germany has a better argument than Mississippi. Germany’s war-time innovations in engineering and architecture and sciences are well documented.

What contributions to humanity did the Confederacy make? We cannot recall a single example.

Germany does not celebrate its Nazi heritage because it was abhorrent and inhumane. There is no effort among decent Germans to rehabilitate that heritage or change the narrative to cast it in a more charitable light.

Mississippians should not celebrate its Confederate heritage for precisely the same reasons.

There are few arguments that could be made in defense of Confederate “heritage” that could not be made of Nazi “heritage.”

Did our Confederate ancestors fight with great skill and courage, often against formidable odds? Did they fight for their homeland? Certainly. Cannot the same can be said of the soldiers of the Third Reich?

Were all Confederate soldiers slave-owners? No. Were all German soldiers Nazis? Same answer.

That this need be debated is discouraging.

Confederate Heritage Month continues to be a stain on our state’s image and an insult to all decent Mississippians.

Online: https://www.cdispatch.com

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April 5

The Tupelo Daily Journal on local businesses stepping up to aid in the fight against the coronavirus:

We recently requested to hear stories of the good things people are doing during this trying time. While we know this news cycle is exhausting, we know that this is also a time where so many us are looking for ways we can to help one another.

From making masks and hand sanitizer to organizing bear hunts in our communities and holding virtual reading groups for children, we see how our region is coming together despite the daily reports of how this virus is spreading and affecting the area.

Business reporter Dennis Seid recently profiled Blue Delta Blue Jean Co. and its efforts to make protective masks. Production started in late March, and with each person expected to make 500 masks per day, Blue Delta hopes to produce between 30,000 to 50,000 masks each week. At a time when this product is low in supply and with the CDC now recommending Americans wear some type of face covering when in public, this is a vital product.

And with the shortage of personal protective equipment in hospitals, Mississippi Polymers in Corinth has stepped up to produce PPE gowns by the thousands, which are being distributed throughout the country.

Another Tupelo company we will profile this week is Queen’s Reward Meadery. The business announced on April 3 that they will temporarily stop producing mead and start producing hand sanitizer. With permits and equipment in place, the hope is Queen’s Reward will begin selling the sanitizer this week.

These are just a few of the companies stepping up and helping not only Mississippians, but people throughout the country. Thank you for your efforts, and please continue to share stories like this with us, and we will help spread the good news coming out of our region.

Online: https://www.djournal.com