The Wire

  • ‘I could not in good conscience’ vote for spending bill — Gary Palmer

  • Bill passes House to allow terminally ill patients access to experimental drugs — Mo Brooks

    Excerpt from a news release issued by U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks:

    “I’m proud the House passed Right to Try, and I was honored to co-sponsor of the Right to Try Act in the memory of Steve Mayfield, who died from ALS after being denied experimental treatments that could have prolonged his life and alleviated his pain. No American should have to suffer when their government holds the keys to lifesaving drugs. These terminally ill patients are already in the fight of their lives—they don’t need to fight their government, as well.

    Congressman Brooks was inspired to co-sponsor the Right to Try Act by the story of Steve Mayfield, a respected high school football coach at Central High School in Lauderdale County, Alabama, who in March 2017, died after a lengthy fight with both Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and a federal bureaucracy that denied him the right to try potentially life-saving experimental treatments.

  • Mayor Battle asks Gov. Ivey to appear with him at Huntsville and Birmingham area debates

    Excerpt from Battle for Governor advisory:

    Top Republican gubernatorial challenger Tommy Battle, emailed a letter addressed to Governor Ivey on Tuesday. The letter invited Ivey to appear with Battle at events throughout Alabama to discuss the qualifications of each candidate.

    Tommy Battle has committed to attend all of the following:
    — April 12 – 7 a.m. – A debate hosted by the Birmingham Business Journal
    — April 12 – 7 p.m. – A debate hosted by NBC 13 in Birmingham
    — April 14 – 8 a.m. – A candidate forum hosted by the Mid Alabama Republican Club in Birmingham
    — May 9 – 2 p.m. – A candidate forum hosted by the Association of Builders and Contractors in Huntsville
    — May 10 – 11:30 a.m. – A candidate forum hosted by the Moody Area Chamber of Commerce

4 months ago

Alabama universities provide new business incubators to launch young entrepreneurs

The Tiger Cage Accelerator and Incubator celebrated its official ribbon cutting in October. (Image: Auburn University)



Alabama universities are providing new launch pads for entrepreneurs and their innovative business ideas across the state.

Several new incubators have opened or are in the works, and all of the projects have the potential to help spin out new jobs and investment for local communities.

At the University of Alabama, the Technology Villages program has kicked off with two partner cities – Cullman and Fairhope – and the goal of creating entrepreneurial hubs that will fuel tech business growth.

The program is a “unique bend on economic development” that will be especially useful in small and rural communities that don’t have a lot of money to spend on business recruiting efforts, said Dr. Rick Swatloski, director of UA’s Office for Technology Transfer.

“Successful communities are required to continue to aggressively recruit new companies, but also diversify to support vital new small company growth that represents over half of new jobs created in the United States today,” he said. “We look forward to communities, private companies, federal agencies, individuals and Alabama corporations joining the University in this critical job creation mission.”

The Technology Villages program assists communities in building and operating storefront technology-focused incubators. In Cullman, the city has renovated a 2,200-square-foot space for its Village in the downtown business district, and in Fairhope, BBVA Compass has pledged space for the Village, also downtown.

The goal of the centers is not to be traditional incubators; rather, they will function as start-up resource hubs for distance learning and consultant support. The university also will provide business development services, including help with research, patents and contract manufacturing strategy.

“Both communities have secured initial funding for the program, and identified the location,” Swatloski said. “The next critical step for both will be the hiring of a director to oversee the day-to-day operations. Additionally, the communities are continuing to identify additional key partnerships to help ensure the sustained success of the program.”

Technology Villages is based on a five-year pilot program conducted by Clemson University in five South Carolina cities. In the first 18 months of that initiative, programs in Bluffton and Rock Hill created more than a dozen companies and nearly 70 new jobs.


Meanwhile, Auburn University recently opened the Tiger Cage Accelerator and Incubator, a 2,700-square-foot space at the Auburn Research Park that provides student-led startups with office and meeting space, along with access to mentors.The facility is a collaborative effort between the Harbert College of Business’ Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship and the Auburn University Research and Technology Foundation.

Harrison Evola is a recent Auburn graduate and founder of FetchMe, a concierge delivery service that has experienced significant growth over the past year.

Evola has been using the incubator space for his business operations, and he has also participated in Auburn’s Tiger Cage student business pitch competition.

“The Tiger Cage center is so helpful,” he said. “I have a place to meet with employees, keep my work stuff, work 24/7 and I’m surrounded by other kids who have ambition like me as well.”

The idea for FetchMe was born when Evola was a teenager working for Papa John’s Pizza, where he did everything from making and delivering pizzas to washing dishes and helping customers.

“I liked interacting with people, and I thought it would be cool to own my own business. I took that thought and applied it to FetchMe,” he said.

The startup, which delivers restaurant food, groceries, snacks, coffee and more, made its first delivery a year ago. Today, the firm does 1,500 orders per month and has partnered with more than 25 restaurants in the Auburn area, with plans to expand further. A complete list of partners and services can be found at


At the University of Alabama in Huntsville, construction is underway on the D.S. Davidson Invention to Innovation Center (I²C), which will serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs and new business development in the region.

The three-story, 46,650-square-foot building is expected to be complete by early 2019, and it features easy access to UAH’s College of Business, as well as the university’s library, engineering, and science and technology facilities.The facility’s mission is three-fold: stimulating growth of new and existing science and engineering high-tech companies; catalyzing formation of a resilient entrepreneurial ecosystem in the northern Alabama and south central Tennessee regions; and building partnerships with various entrepreneurial ecosystems and hubs to create pathways that empower, ignite, and motivate the community to make ideas happen.

“I²C facility and programs will support entrepreneurs on building scalable, investable, high-growth, technology-focused businesses that will serve as catalysts for economic development and regional innovation,” said Rigved Joshi, who oversees strategy, programming, partnerships and daily operations at the center.

The incubator is named for Huntsville businesswoman and philanthropist Dorothy S. Davidson, who made a $5 million gift to UAH in support of the project. Other funding came from the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Innovation Fund, Madison County Commission, City of Huntsville, UAH Foundation and U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

Davidson, who is chief executive and board chairman of Huntsville’s Davidson Technologies Inc., said she knows how hard it is to start a business when you don’t have the support you need. Most people fail, she added, not because they don’t have the technological expertise but because they lack business skills.

In the new incubator, small business owners will benefit from the university’s expertise and the close proximity of peers at Cummings Research Park.

“They won’t necessarily compete with the businesses in Huntsville, but they will be coming out with innovative ideas to improve what’s already here with help from the university,” Davidson said. “That will make the incubator an open door to creating small businesses, giving those with innovative ideas a place to go, get set up, and develop more technology.”

(By Dawn Azok, courtesy of Made in Alabama)

5 months ago

Auburn Student Develops Algorithm that Detects #FakeNews

Photo courtesy of Auburn University
Photo courtesy of Auburn University

According to Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business, a doctoral candidate in business analytics is a part of a research team that has developed an algorithm that can detect fake news. Ross Gruetzemacher and the Auburn research team will present their findings before judges at the Teradata University Network Analytics Challenge in Anaheim, Ca. on Oct. 22-23.

According to the college’s press release, social media platforms have recently launched offensives against bots and individuals that deliberately push false news stories, misinformation, and hoaxes into the public sphere. While politicians have stressed the possibility of this “fake news” swaying elections, there is also evidence that it can sway financial markets.

Recently, a false headline suggesting that Google was planning on purchasing Apple for $9 billion began to circulate around the internet. While the headline was simply a hoax, Apple’s stock made a minor jump as the article made its rounds. JPMorgan Chase has suggested that this could be due to the fact that only 10 percent of daily stock trades are performed by humans. The rest are conducted by computer algorithms that can scan news headlines for trading tidbits. When fake news is spread, that artificial intelligence could be lead to make a bad decision.

“We have been collecting Twitter data nonstop since about March,” said Gruetzemacher on training the algorithm. “We generate topic clusters from real and fake news and use it to classify news stories as either real or fake.”

“Specifically, the study of fake news is significant to ensure the integrity of political and civil discourse in this country and throughout the world,” he said. “It’s significant to provide everyone with true information and to not confuse people with the dissemination of fake news as, or portrayed as, a legitimate news article.”

The algorithm could be a huge asset for social media platforms in the near future, as more and more people being to rely on social media and the internet as their main news source.

5 months ago

Suspended Auburn Assistant Basketball Coach Released On 100K Bond

Photo from
Photo from

Suspended Auburn Associate Head Basketball Coach Chuck Person has been released from federal custody on a $100,000 bond.

As we reported earlier, Person was arrested by federal officers after the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged himself and four other collegiate basketball coaches with fraud and corruption. Federal officials claim that Person’s accepted payments from a sports agent in exchange for access to Auburn players.

As part of an extensive investigation, four coaches from different organizations were arrested. Speaking to the serious nature of their crimes, Joon H. Kim, acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said, “Coaches at some of the nation’s top programs were taking cash bribes, managers and advisers were circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes, and employees of a global sportswear company were funneling cash to families of high school recruits.”

Person is currently suspended without pay from his role at Auburn University. As part of his bond, he has surrendered his passport and is only allowed to travel to New York for court appearances.

5 months ago

Auburn Students Recognized for Smartphone Vital Sign Monitoring Technology

Original photo courtesy of Auburn University. Alterations (Auburn logo) made by Yellowhammer
Original photo courtesy of Auburn University. Alterations (Auburn logo) made by Yellowhammer

Two graduate students and their faculty advisor from Auburn University have been recognized for their demonstration of the “SonarBeat” vital sign monitoring system. Xuyu Wang, Runze Huang, and Shiwen Mao, from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, developed the groundbreaking technology, which uses wireless signals to monitor respiration and heart rates. They were awarded the Best Demo award at an international conference hosted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

“We have been working on this system for over a year,” said Shiwen Mao, engineering professor and director of the Wireless Engineering Research and Education Center. “We use a Wi-Fi signal and acoustic signal to detect respiration and heart rates of a patient. Rather than using sensors that attach to the chest or clip to your fingertips, the technology is contact-free, low-cost, easy to deploy, and suitable for long-term monitoring of a patient’s conditions.”

“The signal hits on the chest of the patient—there is a chest movement induced by breathing and the movements of the heart—and the wireless signal changes,” he said. “Those chest movements change the feature characteristics of the signal, and we have a wireless receiver which picks up the reflected signal to detect the small variations induced by the movements. We are then able to make accurate estimates of respiration and heart rates.”

According to the university, the app has been tested in a living room, office space, and crowded theater. The next step is to pursue partnerships with researchers in medical schools to test the full medical potential of the technology.

Mao said the technology could be used in the home to assist those who are living alone. The monitored data can be used to detect anomalies and send an alert to the doctor or patient. The app could also be used to warn a drowsy driver if they are about to fall asleep. Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of this new technology is its ability to penetrate obstacles. Theoretically, the technology could be used in disaster situations to detect survivors trapped under rubble.

6 months ago

Small Town, Big Style in Alabama

Newbern Fire Station and Town Hall by Rural Studio (Facebook)
Newbern Fire Station and Town Hall by Rural Studio (Facebook)

Once the epitome of the crushing poverty so characteristic of the rural south, this town in Hale County has since become a hotbed for design and innovation. According to Architecture Design Magazine, students in Auburn University’s architecture program, Rural Studio, have been transforming the small town of Newbern into an architectural haven since 1993.

The students have been building and designing structures that not only improve the lives of residents, but add a modern edge to a town filled with mobile homes and antebellum houses. The students have produced a shimmering polycarbonate firehouse, constructed a town hall out of cypress timbers, and renovated an unoccupied bank into a public library. Newbern’s former librarian, Alfreda Howard, says that visitors “marvel at the creativity inside.”

The Rural Studio program was the brain child of Samuel Mockbee, a Mississippi-born architect who set out with a goal of rallying students to build for the poor. Affectionately known as “Sambo,” Mockbee set out to create houses for lower-income families in the community. However, these houses were not just normal houses. Mockbee and his students used all kinds of materials from carpet tiles to tires to construct their contemporary housing.

The lack of building-code enforcement in Hale County allows students to experiment and test the limits of their creativity. They work in teams to create drawings and physical mock-ups of their designs, which are then rigorously tested by faculty and architecture critics. “You have to show that you deserve to build,” says Xavier Vendrell, an architect from Barcelona who joined the faculty in 2013.

Andrew Freear has carried on Mockbee’s legacy since his death in 2001. When the community requested that the program’s focus shift toward public buildings, Freear did just that. Students now design everything from schools, to senior centers, to animal shelters. “We tend to be suckers for scrappy underdogs,” Freear  explained.

One of the biggest triumphs of the program is the renovation of the 600-acre Perry Lakes Park. Once closed for decades, the students have turned the park into a must-see attraction. Throughout the park, students constructed an elegant bridge, a pavilion for events a performances, and a perch made from the armature of an old fire tower.

Along with the program’s architectural ambitions, Rural Studio hopes to redevelop the community’s local agriculture. The area has become barren in terms of produce, and students believe that fresh fruits and vegetables would benefit everyone in Newbern.

The students and the program remain a central piece in the culture of Hale County. Unlike many architects who take on a project from afar, Rural Studio has invested into the community from day one. “We don’t fly in and fly out,” Freear says. “We’ve dug ourselves in here, and we live surrounded by our projects.”

6 months ago

Two Auburn University Bus Drivers Charged with Rape

Auburn Police have arrested two employees of First Transit, the operator of Auburn University’s Tiger Transit bus system, on charges of rape and sodomy. Tony Martin Patillo (51) and James Don Johnson, Jr. (32) were arrested in relation to a sexual assault that occurred late Friday night on a Tiger Transit bus operated by the two men.

According to The Plainsman, the Auburn Police Division responded to a report of a male exposing himself while standing over a female at approximately 11:50 p.m. Friday. Police found Patillo near the side of the roadway and detained him, but were unable to locate the victim at the time. Patillo was arrested on four counts of public lewdness and taken to the Lee County Jail.

After further investigation, it was determined that the victim, who was incapacitated at the time, boarded a Tiger Transit bus late Friday night. She was then allegedly sexually assaulted in the back of the bus by Patillo, while Johnson drove the bus and engaged in actions to perpetuate the crime. Both were subsequently charged with first-degree rape and first degree sodomy. Johnson was arrested at his Auburn residence on Saturday.

According to Auburn University Campus Safety and Security, the assault occurred on a Tiger Ten bus that runs from downtown Auburn to several off-campus housing locations from 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. The service is provided as a safe way for students to get home after a night out.

“Our top concern is the well-being of the victim, and we cannot stress in strong enough terms our shock and distress over this despicable act,” Campus Safety said in their statement. “We immediately provided support and all available resources to the victim and continue to do so.”

The Tiger Transit buses are not operated directly by the university. Rather, First Transit is contracted to employ drivers and provide transit services for Auburn students. According to their website, First Transit performs background checks, drug screenings, and requires licenses for all its drivers. In fact, part of its agreement with Auburn University requires it to perform background checks on all drivers.

On Monday, the university released a statement regarding the incident, saying that it was evaluating its relationship with the transit operator.

“Two arrests have been made resulting from a sexual assault that occurred early Saturday morning.

Auburn University is working with the City of Auburn Police Division in their investigation. Our top concern is the well-being of the victim, and we cannot stress in strong enough terms our shock and distress over this despicable act. We immediately provided support and all available resources to the victim and continue to do so.

The suspects were employees of First Transit, the contractor hired by Auburn to provide late night transportation service for students. The contractor is required to conduct thorough background checks on its employees and has terminated the employment of both suspects. We are evaluating the future of the University’s relationship with First Transit. As this is the subject of an ongoing investigation, further questions should be directed to the Auburn Police Division.”

Patillo is being held on a $127,000 bond, while Johnson is held on a $125,000 bond. Auburn Police say the investigation is still ongoing.

7 months ago

Auburn University Awarded $4.7 Million Cybersecurity Grant

Auburn University has been awarded a $4.7 million grant by the National Science Foundation to address the shortage of public sector cybersecurity professionals, according to a news release put out by the university. The grant is an extension of NSF’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) program that funds a student’s education in the cybersecurity field in return for service to a government agency after graduation.

Auburn plans to use the grant to recruit more students from underrepresented populations and raise cybersecurity awareness throughout Alabama communities. Christopher Roberts, Dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering stressed the impact of the grant on Auburn’s program:

“In recent years, there have been many high-profile cyberattacks on our nation’s institutions, underlining the importance of Auburn’s education and research initiatives in this area. This funding from NSF will support our work in preparing the next generation of cybersecurity professionals so they are capable of addressing this ever-evolving threat.”

Auburn offers its Scholarship for Service program to students studying computer science, software engineering, computing engineering, wireless engineering, and electrical engineering. David Umphress, director of the Auburn Cyber Research Center, said that the university strives to provide students with “real world, hands on experience” both inside and outside of the classroom. “Every summer, they have to participate in an internship at some type of public employment, such as the Department of Homeland Security, NSA, CIA, FBI or places like that,” Umphress said.

Auburn hopes to ensure that at least half of its SFS recipients are from underrepresented populations. The program plans to work with the Alabama Power Academic Excellence Program, 100+ Women Strong within the College of Engineering, Auburn’s Office of Accessibility, and Auburn’s Veterans Resource Center.

Auburn also hopes to carry its work outside of the classroom and into Alabama communities. “We’re distinguishing ourselves from other SFS schools by embracing our land-grant heritage,” Umphress said. “For the next five years, we’re going to be partnering with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to try to work with the citizens of Alabama to better understand cybersecurity.”

Auburn and its research programs are one of only 19 National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations designated by the National Security Agency. To learn more about Auburn’s SFS programs, click here.

RELATED: Montgomery Hosts Air Force Cyber Security Conference

7 months ago

Recapping Auburn’s Softball Allegations

Courtesy of Auburn Athletics
Courtesy of Auburn Athletics

According to ESPN, Auburn University President Steven Leath confirmed that the school has launched a “comprehensive review” of its softball program following allegations of inappropriate conduct under former coach Clint Myers and his son, former assistant coach Corey Myers.

Corey Myers resigned March 30, following allegations from five players who provided administrators with text messages from a teammate’s phone that they believed to be in an inappropriate relationship with the assistant coach. All of the five players who brought the allegations have since left the team.

Perhaps most troubling in these events is that the five players told ESPN that “Auburn officials responded to the presence of the texts by imposing a three-hour ‘quarantine,’ in which members of the team were kept in a room and told to delete the messages.”

This “quarantine” was prompted by the team’s refusal to board a bus with the player who they felt was engaged in “intimate” text messages with Corey Myers. One of the players told ESPN, “We said that if she gets on, we’re staying off…It was a team decision.”

The five players told ESPN that the school’s Executive Associate Athletic Director, Meredith Jenkins, told them they could be arrested for taking the text messages from the other player’s phone and they and ordered them to delete the messages.

The investigation has been ongoing for close to a year but it has received renewed attention following a Title IX complaint by former player Alexa Nemeth that read, in part: “Coach Clint Myers knowingly let his son Corey Myers have relations and pursue relations with multiple members of the team.” In July, Nemeth’s attorney also said in a letter to Auburn and Governor Ivey that Auburn’s softball program was “toxic” and “lacked any kind of institutional control.”

At the beginning of the week, Governor Kay Ivey issued a statement to ESPN and to Auburn’s general counsel that read: “Governor Ivey fully supports President Leath, and is sure that Auburn University will fully protect all its student-athletes.”

Following his son’s departure last spring, head coach Clint Myers retired on Aug. 24, saying he did so in hopes of “spending quality time with my wife, my children and my grandchildren.” A previous article by noted that Myers had been offered a contract extension but Leath said that was “totally false.”

This week, reported that it received a statement from Auburn University that read, in part:

“ESPN has written an important story about our softball team. It’s a serious matter. As a university that cares deeply about our student-athletes, we have taken this seriously since the first concerns were raised. An investigation was promptly launched when allegations were made. While we don’t by policy or law comment on personnel issues or issues related to students, any suggestion that Auburn Athletics or university administration didn’t take it seriously or didn’t act in the best interest of student-athletes is simply false.

“While the law requires us to protect the privacy of our students, tying our hands about what can be said publicly, there is a reason changes took place with the coaching staff. As much as we may want to give more details, we have been approached by some of the student-athletes involved, directly asking us to protect them because they don’t want their names made public. Once the facts were established, changes to the staff quickly followed. Honoring the student-athletes requests for privacy while taking necessary disciplinary action is not an easy line to walk when the media asks legitimate questions, but we did the right things at the right time for the right reasons.

“At all times, Auburn University will protect its students, obey privacy laws, and deal with anyone on staff who violates our high standards.”

8 months ago

Saban and Malzahn Appointed to SEC Committee to Address Recruiting Issues

Auburn football coach Gus Malzhan and Alabama football coach Nick Saban
Auburn football coach Gus Malzhan and Alabama football coach Nick Saban

HOOVER, Ala. — Auburn Tigers Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn and Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban will serve alongside two other SEC coaches and two athletic directors on a committee that will help the conference deal with numerous recruiting issues. Specifically, they will deal with the fallout of the NCAA’s latest rule changes.

“Really it’s saying that we have concerns about the new recruiting package that was adopted and you’ve probably read and heard of those concerns by our football coaches,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said at SEC Media Days this week.

Other committee members include Missouri coach Barry Odom, Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason, Florida AD Scott Stricklin, and Arkansas AD Jeff Long. Some of the NCAA rule changes the committee will address include new dates for national signing day, heightened summer camp regulations, and the restrictions on schools hiring “people close to a prospective student-athlete” for two years before and after that student’s enrollment at the school.

The latter rule change has struck coaches as unfair to future colleagues working to make it into the college ranks. “It’s a death sentence to any high school coach wanting to coach college (football),” Malzahn told the Montgomery Advertiser. “It’s not fair.”

Saban has been equally critical of the new rules and stated that they make it tough on student athletes who typically relied on having coaches help them out with summer camps. He also feels that NCAA is working to “close loopholes” that have helped his teams over the years.

Both Alabama and Auburn have big matchups at the beginning of the season. The Crimson Tide takes on Florida State in Atlanta in the opening weekend’s marquee matchup, while Auburn takes on reigning national champion Clemson in week two.

9 months ago

Auburn, UAB Working to Schedule a Non-Conference Football Game

AUBURN, Ala. — With UAB’s football program returning this season, the athletic department has a big-time future opponent on its mind: the Auburn Tigers. According to reports, both UAB and Auburn have a shared interest in playing a non-conference game in the future. However, the parties have yet to find a date that works for both teams.

The Tigers and Blazers last faced off in a 29-0 Auburn rout back in 1996. Jay Jacobs, Atheltic Director for Auburn University, told that he would like to see another matchup between the in-state schools. “We’ve had conversations with them,” Jacobs said. “We’d love to play them again if we can work it out on the schedule, but finding a common date is often difficult to do sometimes.”

Auburn has some prominent non-conference opponents in the upcoming years, including PAC-12 powerhouses Washington and Oregon. Add in the contracts the school has with Southern Miss, Kent State, Tulane, and Liberty and it is not tough to see why scheduling UAB any earlier than 2020 is a difficult task.

Even without Auburn, the Blazers have plenty of top-notch SEC competition coming down the pike. Over the next three seasons, UAB will travel to play the Florida Gators, Texas A&M Aggies, and the Tennessee Volunteers.

The UAB Football Team was controversially eliminated back in December of 2014 as one of the several programs cut within the Athletic Department. Officials from the University announced in 2015 that the program would return for the 2017 season following community outrage and increased financial support for the team.

10 months ago

What lies ahead for the Alabama and Auburn softball teams after winning their regionals

Alabama wrapped up regional play on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Minnesota. That was after the Tide had beaten the Gophers the day before by the same score. They now prepare to face number one overall seed Florida in the Super Regional round of the NCAA Softball Tournament. This will be the first matchup between the Gators and Tide this season.

Auburn is the seventh overall seed in the tournament. The Tigers went 3-0 in their region to get to Super Regional action. After opening with an 11-0 thumping of East Tennessee State on Friday, Auburn beat California on Saturday (4-3) and again on Sunday (8-2) to claim their regional. Because they are one of the top eight seeds in the tournament, the Tigers will have the opportunity to host their Super Regional series. Their opponent will be Oklahoma, and it will be a rematch of last year’s Women’s College World Series finals in which the Sooners came away victorious. Auburn beat Oklahoma 3-2 in this year’s season-opener on February 9th.

The Tide and Tigers weren’t the only SEC teams to make the Super Regional round. Altogether, eight teams from the league made it, which is half of the Super Regional field. This is the second time the SEC has sent eight teams, and it is the only conference in history to accomplish that. Texas A&M travels to Tennessee; Ole Miss heads to UCLA; LSU is playing Florida State; and Kentucky will face Oregon.

The Super Regional round consists of eight separate best-of-three series. These will take place Thursday through Sunday. Then, the eight winners of the NCAA Super Regionals will advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.

10 months ago

From Cadillac to Kevin Turner: Here are the individuals about to be members of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame class of 2017 is set to be inducted this weekend in Birmingham. The names of those going into the hall this year include Kevin Turner, Takeo Spikes, Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, Todd Jones, Lee DeFore, Ken Donahue, Jeff Herrod and Jim Goostree. This will mark the 49th induction ceremony for the ASHOF.

Kevin Turner was a captain on Alabama’s 1991 team before becoming a third-round selection in the 1992 NFL Draft. He played in the NFL for eight seasons. He passed away last March after a six-year battle with ALS. Once he was diagnosed, Turner took an active role in the research and development of data on the relationship between football injuries and CTE. His story was recently featured on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

Takeo Spikes played linebacker at Auburn in the mid-90s. He helped the Tigers win the SEC West in 1997 with his team-high 137 tackles that season. He was taken 13th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1998 NFL Draft, and he went on to play for 15 years. He was twice selected to the Pro-Bowl and twice named an All-Pro in the league. There was only one season in which he had less than 70 tackles.

If you have been a football fan in the state of Alabama for over a decade, you are probably familiar with Auburn announcer Rod Bramblett’s call of “Go Crazy, Cadillac!” during the scoring of an early touchdown in the 2003 Iron Bowl. Carnell “Cadillac” Williams played at Etowah High School before signing with Auburn. While in Auburn, he was an All-American, an All-SEC running back, and an All-SEC return specialist. He was part of the Tigers’ 2004 team that went undefeated and won the SEC Championship. Williams broke the all-time Auburn career records in two categories for most rushing attempts (with 741) and most touchdowns (with 45). He went on to play seven seasons in the NFL and as a rookie, became the first player in NFL history to have three consecutive 100-yard games.

Todd Jones led Jacksonville State to back-to-back College World Series appearances in 1988 and 1989. As a pitcher, he struck out 171 batters during those two seasons. He then went on to play for 16 seasons in Major League Baseball and for eight different teams. In May 2006, he became the Detroit Tigers’ all-time leader in saves with 235. He was the 21st member of the 300-Save Club and finished his career with 319 total saves. In 2006, he helped lead the Tigers as they won the American League Pennant.

Lee DeFore played college basketball at Auburn before heading toward a career in the NBA. He currently sits at fifth in all-time scoring average at Auburn, with an average 19.0 points per game. He led the SEC in scoring during his senior year at Auburn with an average of 23.7 points per game, as well as setting nine Auburn school records during his career and scoring over 30 points in seven games. In 21 of the 26 games, he led the team in scoring.

After playing defensive lineman at Tennessee, Ken Donahue went on to be a college football assistant coach for 38 years. He assisted at Alabama for 21 years, from 1964 through 1984, and he was named Working SEC Coach of the Year twice.

Jeff Herrod played college football at Ole Miss before pursuing a career in the NFL. He holds the Ole Miss records for tackles in a single game with 28 and tackles in a single season with 168. He completed his Ole Miss career with 528 tackles, which is the most in school history. He sits second all-time in the most tackles in SEC history. During his 11-year NFL career, he was named Defensive Player of the Year three times.

Jim Goostree worked as an athletic trainer at Alabama for 27 years. After he was promoted to assistant athletic director in 1984, Goostree supervised the renovation of Bryant-Denny Stadium, among other projects. He passed away in 1999.

In addition to the eight inductees, Pete Derzis and Dr. Gaylon McCollough will be recognized as the 2017 Distinguished Sportsmen of Alabama. Derzis is a Sr. Vice President for ESPN and has contributed to creating a number of sporting events in the state. He also served as associate athletic director at UAB in the 1970s. Dr.McCollough is a renowned facial plastic surgeon, and he was an Academic All-American center at Alabama under Bear Bryant. McCollough was on the 1964 Tide team that won the national championship.

Ron Ingram, a longtime high school reporter and the current director of communications for the Alabama High School Athletic Association, will receive the Mel Allen Media Award. This award goes to media members who have made lifetime contributions to sports in the state.

The Frank “Pig” House Award, which is awarded to someone who has performed outstanding service to sports in Alabama, will go to Emmanuel “Tubb” Bell IV. He has served as the head women’s basketball coach at Wenonah High School in Birmingham for the past 20 years.

11 months ago

EPIC: Auburn fan uses music playlist to troll Alabama fans

One Auburn fan decided to get creative with his Spotify playlist.

As you may be able to tell, he cleverly uses the titles of various songs to create an order reflecting Auburn Network announcer Rod Bramblett’s call of the “Kick Six” play that won the Iron Bowl for the Tigers in 2013. His title of the list, “Davis is gonna run it all the way back,” alludes to former Auburn player Chris Davis, who ran the kick back.

The playlist is an almost identical replication of the transcript of his description of the play on November 30th, 2013.

Bramblett’s original call reads, “Davis is going to run it all the way back. Auburn’s going to win the football game. Auburn’s going to win the football game. He ran the missed field goal back. He ran it back 109 yards. They’re not going to keep them off the field tonight. Holy Cow. Oh, my God. Auburn wins.”

11 months ago

‘I still want to coach’: Tommy Tuberville discusses future after deciding not to run for governor

Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville has decided not to run for governor of Alabama. This was first reported by before Tuberville himself confirmed it on satellite radio.

While a guest on “The Playbook” on SiriusXM, Tuberville said, “It’s been a long process and I was doing it for the right purpose. At the end of the day, I decided not to run.”

Tuberville had been hinting about a potential run since February. Earlier this month, he met with several power players in Montgomery. The former college football coach also filed the preliminary paperwork to run for governor last month and reportedly loaned himself $100,000.

One of the obstacles that Tuberville would have had to overcome would be Alabama fans opposing a former Auburn coach. His lighthearted appeal to Crimson Tide fans was that they should remember that he was the coach who gave them Nick Saban.

As for what he may do next, Tuberville told SiriusXM, “I still want to coach. It’s what I’ve done all my life. This game has given me a lot.”

Tuberville was the head football coach at Auburn for 10 seasons from 1999 through 2008. He was 85-40 in his time there, including an undefeated season in 2004. In 2015, he served as president of the American Football Coaches Association.

11 months ago

Dem Rep. who called for Trump’s impeachment and then denied it to speak at a university in Alabama

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is going to deliver a speech Friday evening to college Democrats at Auburn University. She has made headlines recently for openly calling for the impeachment of President Trump, and then she denied it.

Hours after Waters tweeted that she was going to “fight everyday until he’s impeached,” she told MSNBC that she never called for his impeachment. Even Politifact said she was lying about saying she didn’t call for Trump’s impeachment.

This comes a month after she released a cryptic tweet that simply said, “Get ready for impeachment.”

Waters, elected to the U.S. House in 1991 and the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in the late 1990s, has clearly made some irresponsible and unsubstantiated claims about the president and the future of his administration. That whole Russian narrative that Waters and many other Democrats peddled now looks pretty laughable.

Waters is scheduled to be at Pebble Hill (home of Auburn’s College of Liberal Arts) in Auburn on Friday. She will reportedly be joined by state representatives Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) and Elaine Beech (D-Chatom).

It’s difficult to imagine what this Rep., who is either an outright liar or is suffering from serious memory loss, will have to say to young students. Some friendly advice to her would be not to speak too harshly about the man who won this state last November by 27 points.

11 months ago

The NCAA just created a rule bad enough that Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn BOTH strongly oppose it

Auburn football coach Gus Malzhan and Alabama football coach Nick Saban
Auburn football coach Gus Malzhan and Alabama football coach Nick Saban

Following Alabama’s second scrimmage of its 2017 spring football camp, Alabama head coach Nick Saban answered questions from reporters on a variety of topics. One question concerned a rule that was just passed by the NCAA about programs being allowed to hire a 10th assistant coach. Heretofore, nine has been the limit for on-field assistants at Division I college football programs.

In typical Saban fashion, he decided to redirect the conversation to address some who have commented on the size of coaching staffs in college football.

After affirming that he supports the decision to allow a 10th assistant, he said, “All these people who complain about staff sizes, we pay interns a very small amount of money. You would be shocked at how cheap the labor really is. Almost, like, criminal. And we have administrators complaining about how many cheap labor people you have trying to promote the profession and develop the game. How else do you develop guys?”

Saban went on to draw attention to a new rule restricting the hiring of high school coaches by Division I programs. He also brought up a rule that requires former players to be no more than seven years removed from graduating to be eligible for graduate assistant positions.

The basic point Saban is making is that without these positions, which are clearly not well compensated, many young coaches would not find opportunities to break into the profession. He decries the rule about not hiring high school coaches as being against the growth and development of the game of football.

He finished with this shot at other head coaches, “I guess it’s the paranoia that we all have that someone else is doing something. Everybody else is allowed to do it, but you choose not to do it. Just like when I used to go on the road in the spring. Everybody could have gone on the road in the spring. Urban Meyer (Ohio State’s head coach) and I were the only two that went out every day. Everybody else complained about it, but they could’ve done it. It wasn’t against the rules. So, they just don’t want to work?”

Saban is not alone in his criticism of the new ‘high school rule.’ Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, who began his career as a high school coach, said it could be a “death sentence” for some coaches. Georgia head coach (and former Alabama defensive coordinator under Saban) Kirby Smart also voiced his opposition to it, adding that he is the son of a high school coach.

Saban has been to the mountaintop of his profession on multiple occasions. He started as a graduate assistant at Kent State. With very few exceptions, coaches begin their careers as high school coaches, graduate assistants, analysts, interns, and other entry-level positions. Five-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick started as a special assistant for the Baltimore Colts in 1975.

If such staff rules are being implemented simply to stop the coaches at the top of the profession, such as Nick Saban and Urban Meyer, it is very shortsighted. At some point these coaches will retire. This rule could keep many quality high school coaches from breaking into the business at the college level, impacting the growth of the game for years to come. It truly is a rule that harms the grassroots of college football.

You know the rule must be a bad one to get Saban and Malzahn to line up in solidarity opposing it.

11 months ago

Alt-Right leader whose speech was shut down by Auburn University claims he will still show up

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn University has cancelled the planned speech by undisputed white nationalist Richard Spencer that was originally scheduled for Tuesday night. In a statement posted online, the University said the event was canceled “based on legitimate concerns and credible evidence that it will jeopardize the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

Spencer, none too happy about his cancellation, responded with a twitter video slamming the University for its censorship. “Everything was going so well,” he said. “We were above board on everything, we filled out all the forms, I had already paid for a substantial amount of security, and I was ready to pay the fee for the auditorium itself.”

Despite the cancellation, Spencer will attempt to show up at Auburn anyway as an act of protest. “If Auburn University thinks that I’m going to back down because they cancelled on me, that I just going to politely go away, then they don’t know me at all,” he said. “I will 100 percent be on Auburn University’s campus at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18.”

Spencer initially planned to hold his event in James E. Foy Hall. He was scheduled to discuss the topics of the Trump presidency, Syria, identity, and the Alt-Right.

RELATED: Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer to visit Auburn University

Speaker censorship based on vague, or even more concrete, safety concerns has historically failed to pass constitutional muster with the U.S. Supreme Court. In the case of Terminiello v. City of Chicago, an anti-Semitic priest’s speech was shut down and he was arrested for attracting a literal mob outside of the venue. But the court found that mobs and popular opinion do not govern who can and cannot speak in the United States of America.

Justice William O. Douglass wrote:

Accordingly a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea.”

If he does indeed show, Spencer would not be the first controversial Alt-Right figure to visit a state school. Former Breitbart Editor Milo Yiannopoulos visited both Auburn and The University of Alabama last fall at the invitation of both schools’ College Republican groups.

11 months ago

Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer to visit Auburn University

AUBURN, Ala. — Richard Spencer, an undisputed white nationalist, will be giving a speech at Auburn University’s James E. Foy Hall next Tuesday night on the topics of Trump, Syria, identity, and the Alt-Right. The speech is free and open to the public and will take place between 7 and 9 p.m.

Spencer made the announcement to the world in a Twitter video that can be seen below.

According to a report from, Spencer was neither invited by Auburn University nor an AU campus group. Rather, Spencer is paying an undisclosed amount to use the space for his event.

In an official statement, Auburn University said that it does not endorse Spencer’s views, but it understands that all Americans are protected from government censorship by the First Amendment. “We strongly deplore his views, which run counter to those of this institution. While his event isn’t affiliated with the university, Auburn supports the constitutional right to free speech,” the University said. “We encourage the campus community to respond to speech they find objectionable with their own views in civil discourse and to do so with respect and inclusion.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has established that even the most controversial and hateful speakers are protected by the Constitution. In Brandenburg v. Ohio, the court ruled that even the speech of the Ku Klux Klan can be protected as long as its speech is not “inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

Spencer will not be the first controversial Alt-Right figure to visit a state school. Former Breitbart Editor Milo Yiannopoulos visited both Auburn and The University of Alabama last fall at the invitation of both schools’ College Republican groups.

11 months ago

Auburn grad among top military commanders who dined with Trump at White House

Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers in Monterey, California January 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump held a working dinner at the White House last night with some of the nation’s top military leaders, including Auburn University graduate Admiral Michael S. Rogers. Rogers is currently the head of the National Security Agency, the Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, and Chief of the Central Security Service. He was appointed to all three positions by President Obama in 2014.

Prior to his work at the NSA, Rogers served as the commander of the Tenth Fleet and as the commander of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.

The Trump Administration is currently engaged in several critical foreign policy fronts following its attack on the Assad Government in Syria and increased nuclear aggression from North Korea.

Rogers, who is a graduate of Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, took over as director of the NSA in the midst of a trying period for the agency. Following Edward Snowden’s leak of information regarding the agency’s questionable domestic spying programs, the NSA came under fire from numerous politicians and citizens alike who are concerned about American’s constitutional rights.

Auburn University is one of four colleges that was selected in 2013 for the NSA’s National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations Program.

“Auburn has devoted significant resources and interdisciplinary rigor across campus to expand new cyber initiatives and extensive collaboration with external organizations,” said Retired Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, Jr., Auburn’s Senior Counsel for National Security Programs, Cyber Programs, and Military Affairs. “We are extremely pleased that NSA has recognized our efforts by selecting Auburn University for the program. It is important to the nation, and we want to be a part of the strategic way ahead and feel we can contribute to this national need.”

12 months ago

Cam Newton helping this youngster throw out a first pitch WILL make you smile

Former Auburn and current Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton helped a young child throw out the first pitch at a Charlotte Knights Triple-A baseball game.

Newton had surgery on his throwing shoulder last month, and this is his first public appearance since the operation. The event was orchestrated by Make-A-Wish. Check out the video, courtesy of the Charlotte Observer.

How can you not smile at that?

12 months ago

Sweet Home Augusta: The 2017 Masters has plenty of Alabama flavor

Augusta National Golf Club, Hole 10
Augusta National Golf Club, Hole 10

This weekend will mark the 81st playing of the Masters tournament at Augusta National Country Club in Augusta, Ga. If you have never had the opportunity to attend, I can attest to the fact that it is an aesthetic pleasure unlike any other. Three golfers who have strong ties to our state will be competing in this major championship.

Defending champion Danny Willett attended college at Jacksonville State University. He was on All-Ohio Valley Conference player for the Gamecocks in 2006 and 2007. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Willett became only the second Englishman to win the Masters last year when he captured the title by an impressive three strokes.

This could be the week that Justin Thomas gets his first major. He played college golf at Alabama before turning professional in 2013. Thomas has quickly become one of the hottest young stars on the PGA Tour. In an amazing feat, he set the record for the lowest four rounds in PGA Tour history when he fired a 253 in January at the Sony Open. He has won four PGA Tour events and tied for 39th in last year’s Masters. During his time at Alabama, he was named National Player of the Year and National Freshman of the Year.

Former Auburn player Jason Dufner is also looking to break through and win this year’s Masters. He has played in six total Masters, including the previous five. His highest finish was in 2013, when he tied for 20th. If Dufner isn’t playing golf on a fall Saturday, there is a good chance you’ll find him at Jordan-Hare Stadium. He is a huge fan of his alma mater’s football team.

If you enjoy watching golf, this is the week for you. And if you want to root for a home state guy, those are three great candidates.

12 months ago

Exclusive: Teasing a run for governor, Tuberville meets with Montgomery power players

As buzz continues to grow over whether or not Tommy Tuberville will run for governor, Yellowhammer has learned that the former Auburn coach is spending the week meeting with influential associations and Alabama power brokers.

An insider close to Tuberville says that groups like the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA), the Alabama Realtors Association, and others have met with the potential candidate to discuss issues related to 2018.

Tuberville has not yet announced whether he will run for the state’s top office, though he appears to be getting close to making an announcement. He recently filed paperwork laying the groundwork for a campaign, indicating that he has loaned himself $100,000 and would run as a Republican.

“Coach Tuberville has been encouraged by the overwhelming support he has received to run for governor,” one source said. “His listening tour has taken him across the state to hear about the everyday challenges that Alabamians are facing. I anticipate that he will make a decision in the near future.”

Last week, Tuberville said his “listening tour” has opened his eyes to several issues important to Alabama voters.

“I’m going around the state talking to people, visiting with police chiefs, sheriffs. I’ve done a lot of research,” the coach told Birmingham’s WVTM in an interview. “I’m going to take a couple of weeks and talk to people and see what needs they have, what questions they have about the state, and what I would do if I happened to be the governor.”

“It’s been fun,” he added. “It’s still about competition. It’s about leading. It’s about doing things to make peoples’ lives better.”

While the former Auburn coach has faced questions about whether or not he could appeal to Alabama fans, he says that he views a possible run with seriousness. Tuberville stated that he would seek serve all Alabamians.

“Being the governor of a state’s not a game,” Tuberville said. “It’s real life. A governor makes a lot of decisions about whether people are going to have a better life or not as good a life.”

Tuberville coached Auburn’s football team from 1999 to 2008.

1 year ago

Auburn University brings in new president

Auburn University’s Samford Hall (Photo:
Robert S. Donovan)

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn University’s Board of Trustees has selected Steven Leath, president of Iowa State University, as the nineteenth president of the school. Leath’s selection concludes the University’s search process that began when president Jay Gogue announced that he would retire this summer after serving in his post since 2007.

“Dr. Leath is immensely qualified individual selected from a number of other qualified individuals,” Gogue said. “He was on the top, hands down. He cares about students, and he cares about faculty.”

Leath was excited to be selected. “War eagle!”I’m going to enjoy getting to say that on a regular basis,” he said. “I could not be more excited, or frankly more humbled, by this once in a lifetime opportunity. I promise to work tirelessly to turn this university over to my successor better than I’ve found it.”

During his four years at ISU, Leath achieved the school’s highest-ever graduation rate, lowered student debt, and set numerous records for financial funds raised for the school.

“This is a great day for Auburn,” said Raymond Harbert, a board member and chair of the search committee. “Dr. Leath is a strategic leader who will work alongside the campus community and alumni to elevate Auburn to the next level in instruction, research and outreach.”

(h/t WAFF)

1 year ago

Auburn students, faculty protest Trump’s immigration ban

AUBURN, Ala. — The widespread protests of President Donald J. Trump’s immigration ban have hit Alabama, where approximately 200 people marched in opposition to the restrictions at Auburn University last Thursday.

Students and teachers alike gathered to voice their displeasure with the president’s executive action up and down the University’s Haley Concourse. According to a report from oanow, the protest was organized by Auburn students on Facebook.

Two weeks ago, President Trump signed an executive order placing a ban refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, and a 120-day ban on other refugees. White House Counsel has since issued a clarification indicating the order does not apply to current U.S. Green Card holders.

Several of the state’s public universities, including Auburn and Alabama, have released official statements noting that Trump’s order directly affects their faculty and student bodies. Such issues have left those on campus concerned.

“That’s when I realized that this is really a problem that affects a lot of people that we know,” Christine Cameron, one Auburn protest organizer, told oanow. “The response has been overwhelming.”

On Friday, a Federal Judge from Washington placed a nationwide stay on Trump’s order, halting any further action. The Trump Administration plans to appeal that decision in the near future.

“We are scientists, and we are not terrorists,” Iranian Auburn Student Mohamad Menati told oanow. “We are over here because we thought the United States is great, and we just thought we could have our own contribution to the United States.”