USM receives approval to lease an aircraft

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - The University of Southern Mississippi

has received approval from the state College Board to lease a

Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft for five years from the USM

Foundation for a total of $1.89 million.

No agreement has been signed.

USM spokeswoman Jana Bryant says the plane would be used by

university personnel for official business.

USM President Martha Saunders says the plane would save the

school money on trips.

Richard Giannini, USM athletic director, says the plane could be

used for recruiting trips.

In 2005, the Southern Miss Athletic Foundation partnered with

two unidentified lawyers to buy an airplane that was used to

recruit players. The plane was sold last year.

The University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University

both have airplanes.