Ronnie Musgrove
Former governor of Mississippi and Chairman of the Southern Progress Fund

Something Rotten in Oxford (Mississippi)

What do they have to do with Jones? Nothing. That’s the problem, if you’re Dan Jones.

Major state universities are more than just big football weekends, quirky traditions, Greek system public relations nightmares, and incubators for a states ‘best and brightest.’ They are huge revenue generators.

Hundreds of millions – if not billions – flow through their hallowed halls in legal fees for health care contracts, research grants, bond issuances, buildings contracting, the list is too long to count. Even in a poor state that chronically underfunds education, we’re talking a mountain of untapped billable hours for a firm like Butler Snow.

Dan Jones was standing at the gates of a gold mine, but he wasn’t a Butler Snow man. He wasn’t a Barbour or Bryant man. He was just a man who cared deeply about his state, felt passionately about education, and wanted to see his alma mater develop into a world-class institution. Or as he put it, he just “wanted to do the right thing.”

And for the Bryants and the Barbours and Butler Snow, caring more about the future of your state than the firm’s profits was absolutely unacceptable. So late on a Friday Afternoon, with everyone focused on NCAA’s March Madness, the Members of the Board of Higher Learning – all appointed by Barbour and Bryant – let Jones go….

….Ryan Brown, a regular contributor to the CottonMouthBlog, contributed to the writing of this column.

Huffington Post