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Friday Sports in Brief

Friday Sports in Brief

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Sports

Friday Sports in Brief

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said it remains impossible for the NBA to make any decisions about whether to resume this season and that it is unclear when that will change. But in a sign that at least some of the 259 remaining regular-season games that were not played because of the coronavirus pandemic will not…

Friday Sports in Brief

NBA

Commissioner Adam Silver said it remains impossible for the NBA to make any decisions about whether to resume this season and that it is unclear when that will change.

But in a sign that at least some of the 259 remaining regular-season games that were not played because of the coronavirus pandemic will not be rescheduled, the league announced Friday it will withhold 25% of player pay starting with their May 15 checks.

Silver, speaking after the league’s regularly scheduled April board of governors meeting said all options remain on the table for trying to resume play and eventually crowning a champion.

The salary decision was made in concert with the National Basketball Players Association, the league saying it would “provide players with a more gradual salary reduction schedule” if games are officially canceled or the rest of the season is totally lost.

NEW YORK (AP) — Isaiah Todd has become the second player to jump from high school to the G League this week, signing with the league with the intent of joining its new elite program.

Todd’s signing was announced Friday, one day after Jalen Green became the first in the program.

Todd was a highly recruiting forward at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was a McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic selection this year.

The G League is still working on many details of the new program and says players like Todd and Green will have “a chance to begin their professional careers while receiving mentorship and life skills training.”

WNBA

NEW YORK (AP) — Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, as expected.

When she’ll play for the New York Liberty is unclear.

With sports on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was a draft Friday night like no other with players in their own homes instead of a central location, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced selections from her home in New Jersey, holding up the jersey of the player being chosen.

Ionescu set the NCAA record for triple-doubles and was the first college player to have over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in her career. Ionescu was one of three first round picks for New York, which also had Nos. 9 and 12.

“I’ve been working for this for my entire basketball career and super excited to see that come to fruition,” Ionescu said. “I’m very humbled and excited for the opportunity.”

Ducks teammate Satou Sabally went second to Dallas. Lauren Cox went third to Indiana, and Chennedy Carter was the fourth pick by Atlanta. Dallas took Bella Alarie with the fifth pick. The Princeton star was only the second Ivy League player to be drafted that high.

BASEBALL

TOKYO (AP) — Nippon Professional Baseball’s season openers will not take place in May due to the new coronavirus pandemic, with no firm date set for the start.

Representatives of the 12 teams decided Friday to also scrap interleague play. The removal of 18 interleague games from each team’s calendar would make for a 125-game regular season.

Although no specific date had been set to start the season, the representatives agreed in an online meeting to not start before the end of May. The interleague games between the Central and Pacific leagues have started in May since the format was established in 2005.

HOCKEY

Dustin Byfuglien and the Winnipeg Jets agreed to mutually terminate his contract Friday, potentially marking the end of a playing career for “Big Buff.”

The agreement ended a lengthy dispute between Byfuglien and the organization over his absence this season. Because there was no financial settlement as part of the termination, the defenseman walked away from the $14 million remaining on his contract with no guarantee he’ll play again.

The episode ended seven months after Byfuglien told the Jets he’d lost the desire to play and following surgery in October to repair an ankle injury, which prompted a grievance filed through the NHL Players’ Association and settled Friday.

COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Guard Malachi Flynn, a consensus All-American and the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, will forgo his senior season at San Diego State and enter the NBA draft.

Flynn became the most decorated player in Aztecs history in his one season at SDSU after transferring from Washington State and sitting out a year. He led SDSU to a 30-2 record, the regular-season MWC title and a No. 6 ranking.

Flynn transferred to SDSU because he wanted to be part of a winning program. He never got a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. The Aztecs were projected as a No. 1 or 2 seed before this year’s tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NASCAR

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — NASCAR has suspended its May 9 race at Martinsville Speedway and did not give an indication on when the season will resume.

When NASCAR suspended racing four events into the season, it listed the event in Virginia as its return date. But Virginia is under a stay-at-home order until June 10.

NASCAR in a statement said it is considering restarting the season without fans in May. It has privately told teams that NASCAR is hopeful to race May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the Coca-Cola 600.

GOLF

Marion Hollins financed and developed a golf course for women in New York and was the brains behind two fabled golf courses in California. And with one determined swing, she set in motion plans for the famous par-3 16th at Cypress Point.

A visionary in golf course architecture, a confidante of Alister Mackenzie and a U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, Hollins now takes her place among the greats in the game.

She was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame through through the contributor’s category, joining a 2021 class that so far includes Tiger Woods.

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The Hall of Fame announced her election Friday. The induction is planned for March in Florida.

NEW YORK (AP) — Women’s golf has lost another senior major because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senior LPGA Championship has been canceled. It was scheduled to be played July 30-Aug. 1 at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

The USGA previously canceled the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

The Senior LPGA will stay at French Lick in 2021. The new dates will be determined later.

SURREY, England (AP) — The BMW International Open in Germany and the Open de France golf tournaments were canceled on Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Scottish Open was postponed.

Both the BMW International Open, which was to be played in Munich from June 25-28, and the Open de France, which was scheduled to take place a week later, fell victim to bans on major events in their countries.

The Scottish Open was scheduled to be played from July 9-12.

All European Tour tournaments up to the end of July have been canceled or postponed because of the virus outbreak.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer is pushing back restarting the season to at least June 8 and says it is also discussing possible salary cuts with the players’ union.

Teams had played two matches before the season was suspended on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic and the league had been looking at possibly resuming play in mid-May. The league would still like to play a full season.

MLS also said it is exploring possible “changes to player compensation” because of the financial hit the league and teams are facing.

LONDON (AP) — English Premier League clubs on Friday discussed the coronavirus testing required and scenarios that could allow the season to resume from June at the earliest, with the aim of completing all fixtures.

Executives from the 20 clubs held a conference call a day after Britain’s lockdown was extended by the government for another three weeks to May 7.

The aspiration of the league is restarting after a three-month absence on June 8, presenting an optimistically tight timeframe for players to regain match fitness if social distancing is relaxed.

Clubs in the three professional leagues below the Premier League have been told by the English Football League that May 16 is the earliest training sessions are recommended to start.

Premier League teams have up to nine games remaining, including Liverpool, which has a 25-point lead in its quest to end a 30-year title drought.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican league soccer owners voted Friday to suspend relegation and promotion between the country’s top two divisions for five years, citing economic problems for the second division that have been aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Liga MX President Enrique Bonilla, making his first public appearance since announcing March 20 he had tested positive for COVID-19, also said during the online news conference that the current season of the second division, known as Ascenso MX, would be canceled. The two divisions were suspended March 15.

The owners of the 18 Liga MX franchises voted remotely, days after the second-division Ascenso MX clubs approved the suspension. Each Ascenso MX team will receive $845,000 a year for the five seasons.

It will be the first time since the 1951-52 season that no teams will be move between the divisions.

TRACK AND FIELD

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — USA Track and Field has laid off seven people from its 65-person staff and CEO Max Siegel is taking a 20% pay cut to offset lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization that runs the country’s largest summer sport has been forced to cancel dozens of events, including the Olympic trials, which were scheduled for June. In 2016, trials produced around $5 million in revenue. They will be rescheduled to mesh with the Olympics, which have been pushed into 2021.

Sports Business Daily reported that all the cuts came in divisions that support the 8,000 live events the USATF sanctions each year.

OBITUARY

LADUE, Mo. (AP) — Bob Hermann, the soccer executive who launched the Hermann Trophy given annually to the top college soccer players in the United States, has died at age 97.

His family said he died Monday at his home in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue.

A key figure in the rise of the professional sport in the U.S. in the 1960s, Hermann was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2001.

LEEDS, England (AP) — Norman Hunter, a former Leeds defender who was part of England’s World Cup-winning squad in 1966, died Friday with COVID-19. He was 76.

Hunter, who earned the nickname “Bites Yer Legs” because of his tough tackling, was admitted to the hospital last week and died early Friday, Leeds said.

Hunter made 726 appearances for Leeds and won two league titles and the FA Cup. He also played 28 times for England.

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Sports

Friday Sports in Brief

OLYMPICS TOKYO (AP) — As the coronavirus spreads in Japan, the chief executive of the Tokyo Games said Friday he can’t guarantee the postponed Olympics will be staged next year — even with a 16-month delay. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued an emergency declaration this week to battle the virus, putting the country under…

Friday Sports in Brief

OLYMPICS

TOKYO (AP) — As the coronavirus spreads in Japan, the chief executive of the Tokyo Games said Friday he can’t guarantee the postponed Olympics will be staged next year — even with a 16-month delay.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued an emergency declaration this week to battle the virus, putting the country under restrictions after it seemed it had avoided the spread.

“I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said. ”We’re certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer.”

The Olympics were postponed last month with a new opening set for July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24.

MOSCOW (AP) — International authorities should “turn a new page” and forget Russia’s Olympic doping ban because of the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s sports minister said Friday.

The World Anti-Doping Agency barred Russia from the Olympics for four years after ruling last year that doping data from a Moscow laboratory had been manipulated. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is to rule on whether the ban is valid, but hearings have been delayed because of the health crisis.

Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said the virus outbreak means the parties in the legal proceedings should avoid a ruling against Russia because it would fracture the Olympic movement.

XFL

The XFL suspended operations and laid off its employees.

XFL workers were told of the layoffs during an in-house conference call Friday.

After canceling the remainder of its season last month because of the coronavirus pandemic, but promising to be back in 2021, the upstart league backed by WWE has left its future in doubt.

League executives said they expected to be back next year soon after canceling their games. The XFL has eight franchises and played five games out of a planned 10-game schedule. It drew decent TV ratings early on and had deals with ESPN and Fox.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke freshman Vernon Carey Jr. is entering the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-10, 270-pound Carey announced his decision Friday following a season in which he was The Associated Press player of the year and newcomer of the year for the Atlantic Coast Conference. He was also a second-team AP All-American while being named national freshman of the year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Carey had been considered a likely one-and-done prospect and projected first-round pick. He averaged team highs of 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while shooting 57.7% as a physical inside presence.

SWIMMING

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The U.S. Olympic swimming trials have been rescheduled for June 13-20, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska

USA Swimming announced the new dates Friday.

The trials were initially scheduled for June 21-28 in a temporary pool at the CHI Health Center Omaha, the 17,560-seat downtown arena that will host the event for the fourth straight quadrennial.

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The trials are the sole qualifier for U.S. Olympic team, with the top two finishers in each event earning a trip to Tokyo. The original 15-session, eight-day schedule will remain for the rescheduled trials.

HORSE RACING

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A quarter horse trainer whose combined earnings over a decades-long career total nearly $13 million has been hit with a hefty fine and a 34-year suspension for several doping violations.

Documents obtained from the New Mexico Racing Commission show the violations involved horses that tested positive while at Ruidoso Downs in southern New Mexico. The out-of-competition testing occurred in July 2019.

The horses — all owned by Jose Fabian Hernandez of Jarrell, Texas — tested positive for the medication ostarine. The drug is not approved by the FDA, but sites that sell it bill it as an oral solution that promotes muscle growth.

Under the commission’s ruling, Bobby Martinez faces fines totaling $480,000 and he won’t be eligible to apply for a state license until 2054.

COURTS

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge denied a request by the former head of South American soccer to be given compassionate release from prison because of the new coronavirus pandemic but reserved judgment Friday on his request for to be let out on bail pending his appeal.

U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen in Brooklyn said Juan Ángel Napout had not exhausted his administrative remedies with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in seeking compassionate release.

Napout was convicted in December 2017 of accepting bribes, and his lawyers moved to reduce Napout’s sentence to time served or to let him to serve the next six months at his condominium in South Florida or for release until the appeal is decided.

Napout, who turns 62 on May 13, is serving a nine-year sentence and is scheduled for release on Aug. 9, 2025.

OBITUARY

Tom Webster, the former NHL and WHA forward who went on to coach the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings, died Friday. He was 71.

The Carolina Hurricanes announced Webster’s death. Webster scored 53 goals and helped the franchise — then the New England Whalers — win the World Hockey Association’s first title in 1972-73. He also was an assistant coach in Carolina.

Webster had 33 goals and 42 assists in 102 career NHL games with Boston, Detroit and California. Webster then jumped to the WHA, where he had 220 goals and 205 assists in 352 WHA games in six seasons with the Whalers.

Webster was hired in 1986 to coach the Rangers, but developed an inner-ear infection that left him unable to fly. He resigned in April 1987. He took over the Kings in 1989, and led them to their first division title. He was 115-94-31 in three seasons with the team.

TORONTO (AP) — Pat Stapleton, the former NHL defenseman who famously kept an air of mystery over whether he possessed the puck from the winning goal of the 1972 Summit Series, has died. He was 79.

The Strathroy Rockets, a Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League team with which Stapleton was involved, said on its website he died Wednesday night. No cause was given.

Stapleton was on Canada’s Summit Series team in 1972 and is alleged to have claimed the puck from Paul Henderson’s series-winning goal over the Soviet Union.

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