For the talent portion of Tuesday night’s Rangers game, Miss Texas showed her versatility. Shannon Sanderford threw out the first pitch, and later in the game laid down her emcee skills—which included a rapped proposal for a date with golfer Jordan Spieth. As USA Today notes, it was a rather (base)ballsy move, considering Spieth’s girlfriend was, like, sitting right next to him at the game.
Guilty — “Sam Ukwuachu, a former freshman All-American at Boise State University before transferring to play football at Baylor University, was convicted Thursday of sexually assaulting a former Baylor soccer player in 2013,” writes the Waco Herald-Tribune. “Jurors in Waco’s 54th State District Court deliberated about 5 1/2 hours before finding the 22-year-old defensive end from Pearland guilty of one count of sexual assault.” Ukwuachu now faces up to twenty years in prison. The news would simply be another depressing example of sexual assault on a college campus if it didn’t seem as if athletic officials and others tried to keep the highly anticipated transfer’s crimes under wraps, or at least away from public scrutiny. As Dan Solomon and Jessica Luther demonstrated in their rather shocking and extensive story in Texas Monthly Thursday: “Baylor officials either knew, or should have known, that Ukwuachu had a history of violent incidents at Boise State,” but chose to pretend like everything was OK. In addition, “detectives suspended the [original] case after taking a report and investigating. But it wasn’t until months later that the details made their way to a prosecutor’s desk.” The whole piece is definitely worth a read, and likely only the first chapter in an ongoing story.
An Admission — The University of Texas would never dream of admitting a student just because their mommy and daddy have influence. But just in case any nosey regent like Wallace Hall ever wants throw that accusation around, the university is making some changes. The Board of Regents “approved a new admissions policy Thursday that aims to severely limit – but not completely eliminate – the power of its school presidents to admit a student because he or she has powerful connections,” reports the Texas Tribune. “Under the policy, inappropriate outside attempts to get students into the school would be ignored, and letters of recommendation would be considered under strict guidelines.” The “not completely eliminate” part means that in “very rare circumstances” the president personally intercedes but only if the student’s acceptance “is of the ‘highest institutional importance.'” In addition, the president would be required to “notify the UT System chancellor about the decision. It would be up to the chancellor to decide whether the president’s decision is reasonable.” The big question now is whether Hall would need to go through that process to get a justly deserved Honorary Degree in Transparency.
Food for Felons — Following legislation approved earlier this year, “Texas soon will allow tens of thousands of residents convicted of drug crimes to receive food assistance from the federal government,” according to the Houston Chronicle. This is not a particularly unique situation, since Texas is one of the few states that still continued the ban set in place by a 1996 federal welfare reform. The new policy begins at the start of next month and “first-time drug felons will be able to get food stamps as long as they comply with the conditions of their parole and do not commit a second offense while receiving assistance. They still will be ineligible for cash help through welfare.” Although offering support for the felons hasn’t generally been popular, the program is being “hailed … as a landmark reform” that could “help many of the 56,860 Texas residents currently on Community Supervision for drug offenses.”
All The Presidential Men — Here’s some election-related news, because Lord knows there isn’t enough of that! Trying to salvage his low-polling candidacy in Iowa, Rick Perry offered support for embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton. Well, sorta. Answering questions about Paxton, Perry said he doesn’t believe Paxton should step down. “It’s that simple. I was hoping that guys in the media would respect the Constitution, as well — that you’re innocent until proven guilty. I think that’s the case,” reports the Dallas Morning News. The line is hotter, by a degree or two, than the previous lukewarm support from state officials. While Perry continues to make his case in other states, Ted Cruz will finally have his homecoming. It was earlier this month that the candidate did an “SEC” tour, but he skipped Texas entirely. But his campaign recently announced a visit in early September, calling the trip the “Texas is Cruz Country” tour. It appears, however, to be more of a day trip than anything else. As of now, there are only three stops, all on September 3. Regardless of how long the tour lasts, it’s probably needed. “A new poll released Thursday puts Trump in the lead at 24 percent support among registered Republicans in Texas,” writes the San Antonio Express-News. Cruz comes in a distant second, with 16 percent. Cruz previously “enjoyed a commanding lead with 20 percent in the June Texas Politics Project poll.” Meanwhile, Perry is now down from 12 percent to 4 percent.