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Friday’s Sports in Brief

Friday’s Sports in Brief

Friday’s Sports in Brief

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Sports

Friday’s Sports in Brief

NFL NEW YORK (AP) — NFL teams can begin reopening their facilities on Tuesday if state and local governments will allow it. In a memo sent to the 32 teams by Commissioner Roger Goodell and obtained by The Associated Press, he stressed that the clubs must be “in compliance with any additional public health requirements…

Friday’s Sports in Brief

NFL

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL teams can begin reopening their facilities on Tuesday if state and local governments will allow it.

In a memo sent to the 32 teams by Commissioner Roger Goodell and obtained by The Associated Press, he stressed that the clubs must be “in compliance with any additional public health requirements in their jurisdiction, and have implemented the protocols that were developed by (league medical officer) Dr. (Allen) Sills and distributed to all clubs on May 6.”

Facilities have been closed since late March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Each team was required to submit a plan to the league for reopening its training/practice facility this week.

Sills will conduct a training program for club infection control officers (ICO) on Monday night that is required.

MIAMI (AP) — The attorney for Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar says he has five signed affidavits from witnesses that exonerate his client in an armed robbery.

Attorney Michael Grieco told The Associated Press that the five witnesses attested that Dunbar was not involved in the robbery earlier this week. Grieco said the affidavits were presented to prosecutors in Broward County but authorities still want Dunbar to turn himself in.

Greico has been in contact with authorities regarding Dunbar’s surrender but declined to say when that would happen.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Packers star Aaron Rodgers acknowledges Green Bay drafting a quarterback in the first round surprised him and complicated his hopes of playing his entire career with the same team.

The Packers traded up four spots in the first round last month to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick. The move has raised speculation about Rodgers’ long-term future in Green Bay, no matter how much team officials emphasized afterward that the two-time MVP remains the clear-cut starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.

The 36-year-old Rodgers has been with the Packers since they selected him with the 24th overall selection in 2005. Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre predicted on “The Rich Eisen Show” earlier this month that Rodgers would finish his career somewhere other than Green Bay.

Rodgers, who owns the best career passer rating in NFL history, has four years remaining on his contract after signing a four-year, $134 million extension in August 2018 that included more than $100 million in guaranteed money.

KOBE BRYANT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The pilot flying Kobe Bryant and seven others to a youth basketball tournament did not have alcohol or drugs in his system, and all nine sustained immediately fatal injuries when their helicopter slammed into a hillside outside Los Angeles in January, according to autopsies released.

The reports by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office provide a clinical but unvarnished look at the brutality of the crash.

One of the most popular sports figures in Los Angeles and a celebrity around the globe, Bryant was broken beyond recognition when his body was found outside the wreckage of the chopper, His remains had to be identified by his fingerprints.

The report made it clear: Bryant and the passengers almost certainly were dead in an instant due to blunt trauma.

The crash that killed the 41-year-old retired Los Angeles Lakers star, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna — clad in the jersey she would have worn to play that morning, with the word “Mamba” on the front and her last name on the back — pilot Ara Zobayan and the others is considered accidental.

Zobayan, an experienced pilot who often flew Bryant, climbed sharply and had nearly succeeded breaking through the clouds when the craft took an abrupt left turn and plunged into the grassy, oak studded hills below.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Taulia Tagovailoa, a backup quarterback at Alabama behind star brother Tua Tagovailoa, is transferring to Maryland.

He announced the decision on Twitter.

The 5-foot-11 quarterback will need a waiver to be eligible this season. He played five games last season as a freshman, completing 9 of 12 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.

Maryland head coach Mike Locksley coached Tua, selected fifth overall in the NFL draft by Miami, as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. In 2018, the Locksley-Tua Tagovailoa combination helped Alabama set school records for points scored (623), single-season total offense (6,859 yards) and passing yards (4,231) in a season.

Entering his second season as coach of the Terrapins, Locksley is delighted to have the younger Tagovailoa in the mix at quarterback.

HORSE RACING

WASHINGTON (AP) — Instead of the Preakness running Saturday in Baltimore with perhaps another heralded Kentucky Derby winner looking to capture the second jewel of the Triple Crown, horse racing is in the midst of transition.

And lower and middle class owners are in the cross hairs.

Owner Maggi Moss was concerned about the fate of the little guys before the coronavirus derailed the sport. Now, she worries her fears have become a reality.

Though all is not lost. Not yet.

While a vast majority of North American thoroughbred tracks remain dark, Churchill Downs and Santa Anita Park are set to resume racing without fans and others are set to follow in what could be a lifeline for owners and trainers with smaller barns who have been suffering without steady income.

TENNIS

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 40 top-level professional tennis tournaments are off the sport’s 2020 calendar because of the coronavirus pandemic as of Friday, when the men’s and women’s tours extended their breaks and the sport’s Hall of Fame canceled its induction ceremony.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement that his tour, which now has ruled out any competition before August, is assessing the “feasibility of rescheduling events later in the season.”

The ATP said the post-Wimbledon grass-court Hall of Fame Open in Newport, Rhode Island, and a hard-court U.S. Open tuneup in Atlanta were among the events that “will not take place as scheduled.” Others added to the tour’s suspension of play are in Hamburg, Germany; Bastad, Sweden; Los Cabos, Mexico; Gstaad, Switzerland; Umag, Croatia; and Kitzbühel, Austria.

In addition to the cancellation of its July 11-18 tournament, the International Tennis Hall of Fame said its 2020 class of Goran Ivanisevic and Conchita Martinez will be honored alongside any Class of 2021 inductees next year.

The WTA added tournaments in Bastad; Lausanne, Switzerland; Bucharest, Romania; and Jurmala, Latvia, to its list of cancellations. The women’s tour also said “a decision regarding the dates in which” events in Palermo, Sicily (scheduled for July 20-26), and Karlsruhe, Germany (July 28 to Aug. 2), “may be played” will be made in June.

Further changes to the sport’s season could be revealed in about a month.

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Friday’s Sports in Brief

NFL While only one quarterback, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, was taken on the second day of the NFL draft, the guys who haul in passes were everywhere. Starting with the top two selections on Day 2 — Clemson’s Tee Higgins to Cincinnati and Southern California’s Michael Pittman to Indianapolis — seven wideouts were drafted in the…

Friday’s Sports in Brief

NFL

While only one quarterback, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, was taken on the second day of the NFL draft, the guys who haul in passes were everywhere.

Starting with the top two selections on Day 2 — Clemson’s Tee Higgins to Cincinnati and Southern California’s Michael Pittman to Indianapolis — seven wideouts were drafted in the second round. Add that to the six who went in the opening session, and it set an NFL record through two rounds.

Three more receivers were selected in the third round — were teams running out of prospects? The NFL these days is built on passing offenses. This draft is loaded with outstanding pass catchers. Many teams had both Higgins and Pittman rated as top-32 talent.

So Cincinnati held firm atop the second round by grabbing Higgins to catch Joe Burrow’s passes. The pair worked out together heading toward the draft. And Higgins idolizes Bengals star receiver A.J. Green.

Pittman takes his 6-foot-4, 224-pound frame to Indianapolis. The Colts had no first-rounder, and they quickly gave new quarterback Philip Rivers a target in Pittman, whose father also played in the NFL.

BASEBALL

NEW TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan (AP) — When Wang Wei-chen had a base hit for the Chinatrust Brothers, no one booed or cheered from the stands at the suburban Taipei ballpark.

No one hurled insults at the umpires. And no one yelled the Chinese-language line of encouragement “add oil” to either team.

The 12,150 blue plastic seats were devoid of fans Friday night for the game between Chinatrust Brothers and Fubon Guardians, down from the average crowd of 6,000 at professional baseball games in Taiwan. No fans have come to any games here since play started on April 11.

Taiwan’s five-team Chinese Professional Baseball League is barring spectators over concerns of spreading the coronavirus in a crowded space. But Taiwan has relatively few cases of COVID-19, so the league decided it was safe to let in players, coaches, cheerleaders, costumed mascots, face mask-wearing batboys and the media.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — Steve Dalkowski, a hard-throwing, wild left-hander whose minor league career inspired the creation of Nuke LaLoosh in the movie “Bull Durham,” has died. He was 80.

He died Sunday at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. His sister, Patricia Cain, said Friday he had several pre-existing conditions that were complicated when he became infected with the new coronavirus. Dalkowski had been in assisted living for 26 years because of alcoholic dementia.

Dalkowski never reached the major leagues but was said to have thrown well over 100 mph. Long before velocity was tracked with precision, he spawned legends that estimated he approached 110 mph or 115 mph — some said even 125 mph.

NCAA

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The NCAA Division I Council denied a request to temporarily waive the minimum number of sports required to be a Division I member and delayed a decision on allowing all college athletes to be immediately eligible one time after transferring.

The NCAA announced that a request made recently by five FBS conference commissioners to waive numerous Division I requirements for up to four years would be considered in the coming weeks. But a blanket waiver permitting schools to drop below the minimum 16 sports would only be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The request was made with schools bracing for tough times as the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic begins to take a toll athletic departments.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA is giving teams new scheduling options for the 2020-21 season.

The NCAA’s Division I Council approved a proposal to give men’s basketball programs choices with 28- and 29-game schedules.

The council vote still must be reviewed by the NCAA Board of Directors and won’t be considered final until the conclusion of its board meeting on Wednesday.

The proposal will allow schools that schedule 28 regular-season game to participate in one multiple-team event of up to three games. Programs with 29-game regular-season schedules can participate in a multiple-team event with up to two games.

A team that does not participate in a multiple-team event can have up to 29 regular-season games. Three-day multiple-team events must by completed within 10 days and two-day events must conclude within five days, under the proposal.

Non-Division I programs may participate only if they are the event host.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas landed top basketball recruit Greg Brown III when he decided to attend the college where his father played football instead of following other elite players to the NBA’s developmental G League.

The 6-foot-9 forward from Austin is expected to play just one year in college before turning pro. He had long listed Texas among his top college choices but in the last few days had listed the G League as a possibility. The league recently signed elite recruits Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd.

Brown is just the latest standout recruit for Texas coach Shaka Smart, who has coached first-round NBA draft picks Jarrett Allen, Mo Bamba and Jaxson Hayes. Each of those players was at Texas for just one season and the program has yet to translate that recruiting prowess into NCAA Tournament success.

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Friday’s Sports in Brief

SOCCER A federal judge threw out the unequal pay claim by players on the U.S. women’s national soccer team in a surprising loss for the defending World Cup champions but allowed their allegation of discriminatory working conditions to go to trial. Players led by Alex Morgan sued in March 2019, claiming they have not been…

Friday’s Sports in Brief

SOCCER

A federal judge threw out the unequal pay claim by players on the U.S. women’s national soccer team in a surprising loss for the defending World Cup champions but allowed their allegation of discriminatory working conditions to go to trial.

Players led by Alex Morgan sued in March 2019, claiming they have not been paid equally under their collective bargaining agreement to what the men’s national team receives under its labor deal. They asked for more than $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In a 32-page decision, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner granted in part a motion for partial summary judgment by the U.S. Soccer Federation. He threw out the Equal Pay Act allegations but left intact the Civil Rights Act claims.

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Soccer is allowing players to return to outdoor team training fields for individual workouts starting next Wednesday. MLS suspended the season because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 12, closing all team facilities but asking players to remain in market with their teams.

The league-wide moratorium on group and team training remains in effect through May 15. MLS says individual workouts must follow certain detailed health and safety protocols. The workouts are voluntary and must also follow local public health and government policies

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball owners will discuss a length for the amateur draft next week and are likely to start the selections on the original date of June 10, a person familiar with the deliberations told The Associated Press.

Teams and the players’ association agreed March 26 to a deal that allowed MLB to cut the draft from 40 rounds to as few as five this year and 20 next year, part of a plan to deal with the new coronavirus pandemic that delayed the start of the season and slashed revenue.

As part of the agreement, the sides agreed to leave the assigned slot values of draft signing bonuses at the same level in 2020 and 2021 as they were last year. That left the total of slot values for a 10-round draft this year at $265.5 million, including $29.6 million for rounds six through 10.

NEW YORK (AP) — Replay reviews could vanish in Major League Baseball in 2020 as part of a deal with umpires that contemplates a possible “monastery setup” in which off-the-field movement is restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agreement, struck late Thursday night, covers how umpires would be paid for a season shortened or wiped out by the virus outbreak, two people told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.

Umps are guaranteed 50% of their salaries for May, but would be paid nothing else if no games are played in 2020. Umpires generally make between $150,000 and $450,000.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Widespread testing for coronavirus will be crucial to having college sports in the fall — especially contact sports such as football and basketball, the NCAA’s chief medical officer said.

Dr. Brian Hainline expressed cautious optimism that college sports could be played during the fall semester as long as leaders take a methodical approach.

The NCAA also released guidelines from its COVID-19 Advisory Panel for getting teams up and running on campuses. The guidelines start with students back at school, which has become a familiar refrain among college sports leaders in recent weeks.

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The NCAA’s recommendations incorporate a recent three-phase plan from the White House for restarting the economy that account for regional differences in the fight against COVID-19 and certain benchmarks being reached.

PRO BASKETBALL

The NBA is delaying the draft lottery and draft combine, events scheduled for Chicago later this month.

The league made the decision Friday, though it has been expected for some time. The lottery cannot occur until the regular season is completed or is declared over, because team records determine the odds that the 14 non-playoff teams will have of securing the right to pick No. 1 overall in the draft.

For now, the draft remains scheduled for June 25 — though that, too, will likely have to change in the coming weeks as the league continues reacting to the coronavirus pandemic.

The lottery was to have taken place May 19. The draft combine was to have run from May 21-24.

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls announced Marc Eversley as their new general manager.

Eversley agreed to take the job earlier in the week. He succeeds the fired Gar Forman and will work under new top executive Arturas Karnisovas. Eversley spent four years in Philadelphia’s front office — the past two as the 76ers’ senior vice president of player personnel.

The Bulls were 11th in the Eastern Conference at 22-43 and on the way to their third straight losing record when the league stopped play.

A Canadian, Eversley becomes the Bulls’ first black general manager.

PRO FOOTBALL

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars declined to pick up the fifth-year option in running back Leonard Fournette’s rookie contract.

The decision was no surprise because the team tried to trade Fournette over the last month. General manager Dave Caldwell had conversations with Tampa Bay and Miami, but neither made a worthwhile offer.

The deadline for teams to exercise the option is Monday. The Jaguars also signed veteran running back Chris Thompson to a one-year deal, reuniting him with former Washington coach Jay Gruden. Gruden is entering his first year as Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator.

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