WASHINGTON (AP) — The Power Five conferences spent $350,000 on lobbying in the first three months of 2020, more than they had previously spent in any full year, as part of a coordinated effort to influence Congress on legislation affecting the ability of college athletes to earn endorsement money.
The Southeastern Conference was the biggest spender, hiring three lobbying firms and paying them a total of $140,000, according to lobbying disclosure forms reviewed by The Associated Press. Before this year, the SEC did not employ Washington lobbyists, instead leaving the work of influencing Congress to individual universities and the NCAA.
In a statement to AP, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference hired lobbyists so it could be part of the discussion as Congress gets more serious about reforming college sports.
The NCAA announced last month it was moving forward with a plan to allow college athletes to earn money for endorsements and other activities including personal appearances and social media content. California and other states have passed laws that would that would guarantee that right to athletes with few of the restrictions the NCAA is seeking. Florida could be the first to have its law take effect, starting next year.
The NCAA is pushing Congress for a federal law that would render those state laws moot and perhaps stave off future legal challenges.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Furman University is shutting down the men’s varsity lacrosse team and the varsity baseball team in response to financial hardships caused by the cornavirus pandemic.
The South Carolina school announced the sports cuts Monday along with other budget reductions including salary cuts and staff furloughs, news outlets reported.
Furman is a private school of about 2,700 students and a member of the Southern Conference. The school said it’s expecting a decrease in enrollment and has already seen a drop in endowment by more than $100 million.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jeremy Kipp is the new head coach of Southern California’s men’s and women’s swimming teams, replacing Dave Salo, who is retiring after 14 years.
Kipp spent the last two years in a similar job at Northwestern, where his teams were among the best in program history. He previously coached for three years at Boise State and at UC Santa Barbara.
Kipp returns to USC, where he was on staff from 2008 to 2015, the first three years as an assistant and the last five as head assistant under Salo.
Changes designed to enhance opportunities for minorities to get executive, head coaching and coordinator positions were passed Tuesday by NFL owners.
They include addendums to the Rooney Rule, which has fallen short in its goal of increasing diversity in the league.
“We feel the package of steps and initiatives the owners fully supported today all will contribute to making progress in this area,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Most importantly, our work is not done. We continue to focus on a number of other initiatives and will continue to until we have greater success in this area.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a conference call among the 32 teams owners replaced the planned spring meeting in Marina del Rey, California. The league’s annual meeting in March in Florida was canceled.
NEW YORK (AP) — A limited number of NFL teams reopened their training facilities Tuesday, while many are prohibited by government restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Commissioner Roger Goodell gave the 32 clubs the go-ahead for limited reopenings as long as state and local municipalities allow them. Coaching staffs and all players except those undergoing injury rehabilitation are barred from the facilities in the first phase of the league’s plan.
With such states as California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts and Virginia still under heavy restrictions, that immediately leaves 12 franchises unable to use their facilities. The Raiders, headed for Las Vegas for the upcoming season, still have their training complex in Alameda, California.
The Packers, Ravens, Dolphins, Vikings, Titans, Buccaneers, Browns, Panthers, Saints, Eagles and Packers have chosen not to reopen Tuesday. Cincinnati expects to reopen on Wednesday. Jacksonville has set May 26 for its reopening, and Denver also is targeting next week.
The Belmont Stakes will be run June 20 without fans and serve as the opening leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown for the first time in the sport’s history.
The New York Racing Association on Tuesday unveiled the rescheduled date for the Belmont, which will also be contested at a shorter distance than usual. The 2020 Belmont will be 1 1/8 miles instead of the 1 1/2-mile “test of the champion” that has been the race’s trademark for almost a century.
This is the first time the Belmont will lead off the Triple Crown ahead of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The Kentucky Derby was moved from May 2 to Sept. 5 and the Preakness from May 16 to Oct. 3 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals will unveil their World Series championship rings during a “virtual” ceremony shown on television and online Sunday — an unprecedented approach brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
With the start of the Major League Baseball season on hold because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Nationals owner Mark Lerner said Tuesday night he hopes the plan to show off the team’s hardware would provide “a moment of joy in these uncertain times.”
Teams typically unveil their title rings at a home stadium packed with fans.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels will implement furloughs across their organization starting June 1, becoming the latest team to take steps against the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey issued a statement on the decision Tuesday.
The Angels’ furloughs will impact employees across the front office, scouting department, player development department and minor league system. They had already pledged to pay their employees through May.
NEW YORK (AP) — WNBA teams will have to get their rosters down to 12 by May 26 so players can get paid starting June 1, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the roster deadline had not been officially announced.
The league and the players’ union are still working out many details of how often players will get paid and how much. Those negotiations largely depend on the length and start date of the season.
Players who are waived over the next week won’t get paid, but they will receive benefits through June 30, the person told The AP. The WNBA offered rookies health benefits starting May 1. Veteran players receive year-round benefits.
—By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg.
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PHOENIX (AP) — Former men’s basketball coach Dan Majerle has filed a lawsuit for breach of contract after being fired by Grand Canyon earlier this year.
In the lawsuit filed in Superior Court on Monday, Majerle seeks the full amount of a contract that ran through 2022-23 before he was fired after seven seasons on March 12.
The lawsuit claims GCU breached the employment agreement with Majerle by not honoring the contract’s severance provision after firing him without written grounds for dismissal.
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Longtime Colorado women’s basketball coach-turned-administrator Ceal Barry will retire in July after spending 37 years in Boulder, the school said Tuesday.
Barry helped put the Buffaloes on the women’s basketball map after taking over the program on April 12, 1983. She went 427-242 over 22 seasons in Boulder that included 12 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Her squads had 13 20-win seasons and captured four conference titles. She stepped down April 2005 as Colorado’s winningest coach in all sports.
Barry was named the school’s associate athletic director for student services. She added the title of senior woman’s administrator a year later. Barry has served as the department’s deputy athletic director since August 2018.
DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Heavy rain postponed the Xfinity Series’ return to racing at Darlington.
The race was called off Tuesday night after waiting about two hours of sometimes heavy rain.
Officials moved the event to Thursday at noon. The race will be the series’ first event since March, when the coronavirus pandemic shut down NASCAR and all other major sports.
Air Titan dryers were sent out three times to clear up some of the water before they were parked as the rain intensified. One of the busiest weeks in Darlington history will continue Wednesday night with another Cup Series race, the second in four days.
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Soccer’s All-Star Game has been canceled for the first time in its quarter-century history because of the coronavirus pandemic.
MLS All-Stars had been scheduled to play counterparts from Mexico’s Liga MX on July 29 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. MLS said Tuesday that the 2021 game will take place at Banc of California Stadium, most likely against All-Stars from Liga MX.
The third Campeones Cup between the MLS and Liga MX champions also was canceled, along with the second edition of the Leagues Cup between teams from those two leagues.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — A player and two staff members from Watford were among six people who tested positive for the coronavirus in the Premier League’s first wave of mass testing ahead of a planned return to partial training during the pandemic.
Burnley said assistant manager Ian Woan was also among the six positive COVID-19 tests announced on Tuesday by the Premier League, which did not identify any individuals. The other two cases were found at a single undisclosed club.
Tests on 748 people were conducted across 19 clubs on Sunday and Monday. The 20th club, also not identified, started testing on Tuesday.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former World Wrestling Entertainment pro Shad Gaspard was still missing Tuesday after he was swept out to sea in Southern California last weekend while swimming with his young son.
Gaspard’s 10-year-old son, Aryeh, was rescued and several other swimmers made it out of the water safely after they were caught in a rip current Sunday afternoon at Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
“When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea,” Los Angeles police said in a statement Monday.
Gaspard, 39, was about 50 yards (46 meters) from shore when he was last spotted, police said.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic runner Bralon Taplin lost his appeal against a four-year ban for dodging a doping test and will miss next year’s Tokyo Games and the next two track world championships.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Tuesday it found Taplin’s explanation “to be implausible” that he was never approached or chaperoned to give a sample after winning an April 2019 race in Grenada.
The CAS judge “was comfortably satisfied that the athlete was guilty of the offense of evading sample collection,” the court said in a statement.
The 28-year-old Taplin, a former NCAA relay champion for Texas A&M who competes for Grenada, has been banned until Sept. 24, 2023.
CHICAGO (AP) — Ken Burmeister, a college basketball coach for 21 seasons who took Texas-San Antonio to the NCAA Tournament and later guided Loyola of Chicago, died Tuesday. He was 72.
Loyola said Burmeister died following a fight with cancer.
Burmeister posted 72 wins at Texas-San Antonio from 1986-90. He led the Roadrunners to their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Illinois in 1988.
Burmeister took over at Loyola in 1994 after working as an assistant at nearby DePaul and went 40-71 over four seasons. He was the Ramblers’ coach when they moved into Gentile Arena on campus in 1996.
Following his time at Loyola, he went on to coach for a season at Trinity University in San Antonio and at Incarnate Word for 12 years.
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