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Thursday Sports in Brief

Thursday Sports in Brief

Thursday Sports in Brief

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Sports

Thursday Sports in Brief

NFL The Kansas City Chiefs will open defense of their Super Bowl championship by hosting Houston on Sept. 10 in the NFL’s annual kickoff game — pending developments in the coronavirus pandemic, of course. The Texans won a regular-season game at Arrowhead Stadium in 2019, then blew a 24-0 lead in the divisional round of…

Thursday Sports in Brief

NFL

The Kansas City Chiefs will open defense of their Super Bowl championship by hosting Houston on Sept. 10 in the NFL’s annual kickoff game — pending developments in the coronavirus pandemic, of course.

The Texans won a regular-season game at Arrowhead Stadium in 2019, then blew a 24-0 lead in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Another highlight of the opening weekend will have Tom Brady’s regular-season debut with Tampa Bay against Drew Brees at New Orleans on Sept. 13 — the first matchup of 40-plus quarterbacks in NFL history.

The opening of SoFi Stadium in the Los Angeles area that Sunday night has the Rams hosting the Cowboys.

Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will debut on the Monday night, Sept. 21, with the Raiders facing Brees and the Saints.

All of the 32 teams released their schedules Thursday.

NBA

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo’s social media accounts were hacked on Thursday afternoon and several bizarre and offensive tweets were posted, according to the Milwaukee Bucks, Antetokounmpo’s brother and the player’s representatives.

More than a dozen tweets popped up in Antetokounmpo’s feed in the span of about five minutes, and they appeared to clearly be the work of someone other than the reigning MVP. The tweets included racial slurs, profane attacks on other players and a claim that Antetokounmpo had the coronavirus.

The tweets weren’t up for long before disappearing from Giannis Antetokounmpo’s account.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The NCAA struck back at the University of Kansas and its men’s basketball program Thursday, calling five Level I violations that are alleged to have occurred “egregious” and arguing that they undermine and threaten” college athletics.

In the latest in a series of back-and-forth filings, the NCAA reiterated in a 92-page response its claim that Adidas representatives were acting as boosters when two of them — T.J. Gassnolo and Jim Gatto — helped to arrange payments to prospective recruits. Those transactions became a central point in a wide-ranging FBI probe into college basketball that has ensnared Kansas, Louisville and several other high-profile programs.

Officials from Kansas have said they agree with the NCAA that Gassnola made payments to family members and handlers of two players, Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa. But coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend said they were unaware of the transactions, backing up a statement Gassnola made during sworn testimony.

GOLF

HOBE SOUND, Fla. (AP) — The next match involving Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson involves a $10 million donation for COVID-19 relief efforts, along with plenty of bragging rights in a star-powered foursome May 24 at Medalist Golf Club.

Turner Sports announced more details Thursday for “The Match: Champions for Charity,” a televised match between Woods and Peyton Manning against Mickelson and Tom Brady.

Medalist is where Woods plays when he’s at home. Manning and Brady said they have played there before — Manning running out of golf balls before reaching the 18th, Brady posting a 106.

The format will be better ball for the front nine and modified alternate shot on the back nine, meaning both players hit tee shots and they take turns from there.

It will be simulcast on May 24 at 3 p.m. EDT on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN, along with pre-match coverage available on the Bleacher Report app.

AUTO RACING

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — IndyCar has gotten the green flag to finally start its season in Texas next month with a night race without spectators.

The June 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway was the next on the series schedule that hadn’t been postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. IndyCar and track officials announced the race Thursday.

IndyCar President Jay Frye said IndyCar worked closely with TMS President Eddie Gossage, his track and public health officials.

Texas has hosted IndyCar races since the 1 1/2-mile track opened in 1997. The June season opener will run a condensed schedule with practice, qualifying and the race taking place on the same day.

OLYMPICS

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — More than 30 workers at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have accepted voluntary severance packages as part of the federation’s attempt to trim up to 20% of its expenses in response to shortfalls caused by COVID-19.

Furloughs and involuntary layoffs are expected to begin as soon as next week.

CEO Sarah Hirshland told the staff of plans to make all the cuts by the end of May. In an offer presented to them last week, employees were offered severance packages that gave two weeks’ pay for every year of service, along with a cash payment to cover health insurance over the span of the severance period.

TRACK AND FIELD

Distance runner Dathan Ritzenhein announced his retirement Thursday, closing a career during which he made three Olympic appearances and also was one of the first to question the methods being used by his coach, Alberto Salazar, who is serving a four-year doping suspension.

In a farewell post on his social media accounts, the 37-year-old Ritzenhein wrote: “I won’t be on the start line, but I’ll never be far away. I won’t be in a rocking chair or out on the golf course. You’ll probably find me behind a stopwatch or cheering on the side of the road.”

Ritzenhein leaves the sport as the fourth-fastest American marathoner in history; he clocked a time of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 47 seconds in Chicago in 2012. He qualified for the 2004 and ’12 Olympics in the 10,000 meters, and also earned a spot in the 2008 Olympics marathon.

COURTS

BALTIMORE (AP) — The lawyer for the wife of Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas said she is being subjected to an “unfounded ongoing investigation” by Texas police after she allegedly pointed a loaded gun at her husband’s head upon finding him in bed with another woman last month.

According to a police affidavit, Nina Thomas tracked down her husband at a short-term rental home in Austin in the early morning hours of April 13 and found him and his brother, Seth, in bed with two women.

The affidavit says Nina Thomas admitted to pointing the pistol at Earl Thomas’ head “with the intent to scare him.” She had taken the magazine out of the gun and disengaged the safety, but police noted “she was unaware the gun had a round in the chamber.”

Nina Thomas struck Earl Thomas repeatedly with her free hand before her husband eventually wrestled the 9 mm Beretta from her grasp, the affidavit said. At that point, he told the woman with whom he was romantically linked to call the police.

Nina Thomas was arrested on a felony charge of burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The incident was first reported by TMZ.

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

OTTAWA (AP) — Canadian Football League Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the most likely scenario is to cancel the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambrosie made the admission for the first time while testifying Thursday to a House of Commons standing committee on finance.

Ambrosie appeared via video during a panel on arts, culture, sports and charitable organizations after news broke last week that the CFL had requested up to $150 million Canadian in assistance from the federal government.

During his testimony, Ambrosie said the league’s future is “very much in jeopardy.”

OBITUARY

Mike Storen, a former ABA commissioner and multisport marketing whiz and the father of ESPN broadcaster Hannah Storm, died Thursday. He was 84.

Storm said her father died at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta of complications from cancer.

Storen was general manager of the Indiana Pacers and Kentucky Colonels and president of the Atlanta Hawks. He owned the ABA’s Memphis Sounds with musician Isaac Hayes, worked for the Cincinnati Royals of the NBA and the Houston Astros, and was commissioner of the Continental Basketball Association.

With the Memphis Grizzlies of the World Football League, he brought in the likes of Paul Warfield and Larry Csonka on the field and Elvis Presley into the seats.

Storen promoted the Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston and major indoor tennis tournaments featuring Bjorn Borg in Memphis. His last sports job was with the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League is 2002.

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Sports

Thursday Sports in Brief

NFL AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller has the coronavirus and the NFL star wanted to come forward with his diagnosis to show people how serious the disease is. “Von wants to let everyone out there know it’s serious; it doesn’t just happen to old people in nursing homes,” agent Joby Branion told The Associated…

Thursday Sports in Brief

NFL

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller has the coronavirus and the NFL star wanted to come forward with his diagnosis to show people how serious the disease is.

“Von wants to let everyone out there know it’s serious; it doesn’t just happen to old people in nursing homes,” agent Joby Branion told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Miller told KUSA-TV in Denver that he developed a cough a couple of days ago and when his nebulizer for his asthma didn’t clear things up, he decided to get tested for the coronavirus and the test came back positive Thursday.

“I’m in good spirits,” Miller told the TV station. “I’m not feeling sick or hurting or anything like that.”

The Broncos released a statement, saying Miller “elected to share his diagnosis publicly to emphasize that anyone can be afflicted with coronavirus.”

GOLF

The PGA Tour laid out an ambitious plan Thursday to resume its season the second week of June and keep fans away for at least a month, conceding that any return to golf depends on whether it can be played safely amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, was pushed back to June 11-14. Assuming golf gets the green light from government and health officials, the tour then would have an official tournament every week through Dec. 6, except for a Thanksgiving break.

“Our hope is to play a role — responsibly — in the world’s return to enjoying the things we love,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Golf is the first sport to announce plans for a restart, although its arenas are far different from other sports because it is played over some 400 acres.

Even as it announced a truncated schedule, several key details were still being contemplated, such as testing for COVID-19 at tournaments.

BASKETBALL

Top recruit Jalen Green said Thursday that he is skipping college and has signed with the G League for next season, becoming the first player to take advantage of a new potential path to the NBA.

Green, a guard from Napa, California, who was considered by some as the No. 1 overall recruit in this year’s high school class, will be eligible for the 2021 NBA draft and seems a strong candidate to be among the top picks.

“This is the best route to prepare myself,” Green said, making the announcement on Instagram.

Green’s signing is different from the program that was expected to allow top players the chance to use the G League as a bridge between high school and the NBA.

Green will play for a still-being-developed program, but not for any G League team or with affiliation with an NBA franchise. He, and any others who follow, will play under the G League umbrella, focusing on draft preparation, basketball readiness and life skills.

A person with knowledge of the situation said Green’s salary will “be significantly more” than the $125,000 contracts that the G League began offering as an option to select players in 2018. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to the AP because the contract terms were not released publicly.

—By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds.

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA China is looking for a new CEO after the league announced Thursday that Derek Chang is leaving May 15.

Chang took the position in June 2018. He plans to return to his family in London.

His time on the job was marked by two difficult periods. One came last fall when the league and Chinese government clashed in response to a tweet by Houston general manager Daryl Morey backing anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. There was also the ongoing fallout and response to the coronavirus pandemic.

TENNIS

A decision on whether to postpone or cancel the U.S. Open because of the coronavirus pandemic is expected by June, the U.S. Tennis Association’s new CEO said Thursday, calling the prospect of holding the Grand Slam tournament without spectators “highly unlikely.”

“Obviously our ambition is to run the tournament. It’s the engine that drives our organization, our governing body. Having said that, that won’t be the driving factor,” Mike Dowse, who took over at the USTA on Jan. 1, said on a conference call with reporters. “The driving factor will be the health and well-being of the players, the fans and our staff.”

He said the USTA is being advised by a medical advisory group that includes at least five doctors.

The tournament scheduled for August in New York City would be the next major championship on the tennis calendar; the French Open’s start was postponed from May until September, and Wimbledon was canceled altogether.

The men’s and women’s tennis tours are on hold entirely until at least mid-July, and one tournament in August already has been scrapped.

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BASEBALL

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Oakland Athletics minor league manager Webster Garrison has resumed breathing completely on his own for the first time in more than three weeks and no longer requires a ventilator as he fights the coronavirus, his fiancee said Thursday.

Garrison, hospitalized in his home state of Louisiana, wasn’t yet speaking when Nikki Trudeaux posted her latest update Thursday.

“Webster Garrison is off the ventilator,” Trudeaux wrote, using a series of exclamation points.

Trudeaux has been asking for nightly prayers and using the hash tag “WebbyStrong” as the 54-year-old former major leaguer fights COVID-19.

HOCKEY

Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov retired from professional hockey Thursday.

The 41-year-old Markov played 990 regular-season games for the Canadiens between 2000 and 2017 before returning home to Russia to finish his career.

Markov spent his final three years in the Kontinental Hockey League, suiting up for the last time this season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

The two-time NHL All-Star had 119 goals and 572 for the Canadiens. Following the 2016-17 season Markov joined the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan for two campaigns, winning a league championship in 2017-18.

SOCCER

CHICAGO (AP) — Chief administrative officer Brian Remedi has been fired by the U.S. Soccer Federation as part of a staff shakeup in the transition to new CEO Will Wilson.

Tonya Wallach, chief talent and inclusion officer since 2018, also was fired Wednesday. The departures were first reported by Soccer America and confirmed by the USSF on Thursday. Additional staffers were let go, but the USSF would not confirm the total.

Wilson announced he was taking a 50% pay cut during the period of economic uncertainty caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.

HORSE RACING

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — A horse broke down after completing a workout at Santa Anita and was euthanized, making it the 11th fatality at the track since late December.

M C Hamster, a 4-year-old filly, suffered a fractured left front ankle after a three-furlong workout on the main dirt track Wednesday. It was just the second day training has been allowed since April 6 because of rain.

The track in Arcadia has been closed for racing since March 27 by order of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department as a result of the coronavirus. However, horses are allowed to train.

M C Hamster is the fourth horse to die on the main track since Dec. 26. Four others died on the turf course and three on the training track.

COURTS

DePaul ignored allegations that its former softball coach punched an assistant in the face and verbally abused his players and retaliated against the whisteblower by terminating her contract with the school, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The private school in Chicago also is accused of violating Title IX rules for failing to report complaints made against Eugene Lenti, who is alleged to have avoided punishment because his sister, Jean Lenti Ponsetto, serves as DePaul’s athletic director. Lenti is now an assistant at Auburn.

“We have not yet seen a copy of this complaint, but as a general matter the university does not comment on pending litigation,” Carol Hughes, a spokeswoman for DePaul, said in an email that the university had not yet seen a copy of the complaint and doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

OBITUARY

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Carmen Williamson, who in the 1940s and ’50s was a top U.S. amateur boxer and then in 1984 became the first black boxing referee and judge at the Olympic games, has died. He was 94.

Williamson died of COVID-19 complications on April 8 at a hospital in Toledo, one of his daughters said Thursday. He was just three weeks away from receiving his college degree from the University of Toledo — a pursuit he began nearly 20 years ago, she said.

In addition to refereeing, he traveled the world in the 1980s, teaching the sport to young people, using a training program he had developed, she said.

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Sports

Thursday Sports in Brief

NFL For all the uniqueness of this NFL draft, including the angst over a potential communications fiasco, things looked and sounded pretty normal Thursday night. Quarterbacks were in demand. Ohio State (the top three picks played there) and the Southeastern Conference (a record 15 picks) dominated. The Patriots traded out of the first round. The…

Thursday Sports in Brief

NFL

For all the uniqueness of this NFL draft, including the angst over a potential communications fiasco, things looked and sounded pretty normal Thursday night.

Quarterbacks were in demand. Ohio State (the top three picks played there) and the Southeastern Conference (a record 15 picks) dominated. The Patriots traded out of the first round.

The first round wasn’t all that remarkable for the picks. Beginning with Joe Burrow of national champion LSU, three quarterbacks went in the top six.

The second overall selection, Ohio State All-America edge rusher Chase Young, also was predictable. Washington fielded several offers for that spot.

The Detroit Lions selected cornerback Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State with the third pick, and the New York Giants picked offensive lineman Andrew Thomas out of Georgia. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went fifth to Miami and the Los Angeles Chargers selected Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert.

NCAA

The NCAA is moving closer to allowing Division I athletes to earn money from endorsements and sponsorship deals they can strike on their own as early as next year.

Recommended rule changes that would clear the way for athletes to earn money from their names, images and likeness are being reviewed by college sports administrators this week before being sent to the NCAA Board of Governors, which meets Monday and Tuesday.

If adopted, the rules would allow athletes to make sponsorship and endorsement deals with all kinds of companies and third parties, from car dealerships to concert promoters to pizza shops, according to a person who has reviewed the recommendations. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the details were still being discussed and debated.

The recommendations are expected to form the foundation for legislation the NCAA hopes to pass next January so it can take effect in 2021. Changes could still be made before January.

—By College Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Niele Ivey was introduced as the new coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team on Thursday, succeeding her mentor, Muffet McGraw, who retired a day earlier.

The 42-year-old, who got emotional at times during the news conference while sitting with her son, Jaden, has been preparing for this job for much of her adult life. She helped lead the Fighting Irish to a national championship as the point guard in 2001 and was an assistant coach on the Notre Dame team that won the title in 2018. She was on the Memphis Grizzlies staff last year after 17 seasons at Notre Dame.

“I am thrilled Niele will be the next leader of the Notre Dame basketball program,” said McGraw, who spent 33 years as the head coach of the Irish before retiring Wednesday.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said the succession plan was first discussed about two years ago and that no one else was considered for the job.

AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The governor of North Carolina said Thursday that NASCAR teams can work in their race shops if they maintain social distancing guidelines, clearing a potential hurdle to resuming the season in coming weeks.

Gov. Roy Cooper extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 8 on Thursday and said he would gradually open the state in three phases. He said he is still considering NASCAR’s request to run the Coca-Cola 600 as scheduled on May 24 without spectators.

The governors of both Florida and Texas have already said NASCAR is welcome to race in their states without fans, and South Carolina and Georgia are gradually easing restrictions.

For any racing to be done, the North Carolina-based teams need access to their shops to prep the cars.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Two South Dakota speedways reversed course Thursday and said they would hold their weekend races without spectators, after Gov. Kristi Noem warned fans against attending the sold-out events because of the coronavirus.

New Raceway Park said on Facebook that it came under “pressure” from the governor’s office, county and health officials, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Park Jefferson International said it made its decision after discussions with state and local officials.

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COLLEGE HOCKEY

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — Bob Gaudet is retiring as Dartmouth’s men’s hockey coach after 23 years, effective June 30.

A 1981 Dartmouth graduate and goaltender on the last Big Green team to play in the NCAA Tournament, Gaudet is the all-time leader in both coaching wins (331) and games coached (752) at his alma mater. He became Dartmouth coach in 1997 after a nine-year run at Brown, replacing Roger Demment.

Gaudet, 61, announced his retirement Wednesday in a news release.

Gaudet leaves the game with a coaching record of 424-482-112. He passed Eddie Jeremiah to become Dartmouth’s winningest coach with a 3-2 victory over Cornell on Nov. 30, 2018.

SOCCER

UEFA is keener on leagues adopting new formats to determine final league places for European qualification if suspended domestic competitions cannot be completed due to government restrictions or financial concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

With UEFA announcing a desire for qualification for the Champions League and Europa League being settled on “sporting merit,” the statement on Thursday opens the door to leagues temporarily implementing playoff systems.

UEFA referenced the use only of a “different format.” Averaging out points based on games already played is another potential option to determine final placings in an unprecedented situation.

UEFA cautioned that teams could be denied places in Europe if leagues are prematurely halted and “there is a public perception of unfairness.”

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — The Women’s European Championship in 2021 was postponed by one year on Thursday, moving out of a direct clash with the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.

UEFA’s executive committee agreed that the 16-nation tournament in England will now be played from July 6-31 in 2022.

The switch was inevitable after the IOC decided last month on a one-year postponement for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic. Women’s soccer games begin before the Tokyo opening ceremony on July 23 next year.

SPORTS BROADCASTING

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Retired Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully has been hospitalized after falling at his Los Angeles-area home.

The team says the 92-year-old fell Tuesday and was taken to the hospital for observation. Scully is resting comfortably and is expected to be released soon.

“I won’t be doing anymore head-first sliding,” he said in a quote posted on the team’s Twitter account. “I never liked it.”

Scully retired after the 2016 season, ending a career in which he called Dodgers games for 67 years. He began in 1950 when the team was located in Brooklyn. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

SPORTS GAMBLING

BOSTON (AP) — Sports daily fantasy and betting website DraftKings will debut as a publicly traded company Friday against a backdrop of a near-complete shutdown of athletic competition across the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic.

DraftKings’ move to Wall Street was sealed Thursday after shareholders of a blank-check company, Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp., approved a merger. Blank check companies typically are publicly traded but have no operations of their own and aim to acquire or merge with others.

The two are also combining with sports gambling platform supplier SBTech. The new company will have an initial market value of $3.3 billion.

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