First night of NFL draft draws record 15.6 million viewers
UNDATED (AP) — Housebound football fans gave the NFL a huge boost on Thursday.
The first night of this week’s NFL draft averaged 15.6 million viewers on television, easily shattering the record set six years ago.
The first round was aired on ABC, ESPN, the NFL Network and ESPN Deportes. Viewership peaked from 8:45-9 p.m. EDT when 19.6 million people tuned in, according to Nielsen. That is up 37% over last year's 11.4 million.
The previous high was 12.4 million in 2014, when the draft was held in early May.
The draft was the first live U.S. sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic. The draft originally was to be held in Las Vegas but is taking place virtually.
The draft resumed from with second- and third-round selections.
After having a record 15 of the 32 players in the first round of the draft come from the SEC, another 10 came off the board in Round 2.
Seven more wide receivers went in the second round, one more than in Day 1. The wideouts included Florida’s Van Jefferson to the Rams and Baylor’s Denzel Mims to the Jets. With 13 receivers taken in the first two rounds, it breaks the record of 12 set in 2014.
Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was selected by the in the second round with the 53rd overall pick. He was the fifth QB selected in the draft, and the first in the second round.
Round 2 was the running back round, with five high-profile players coming off the board. Green Bay used a second-round pick on running back A.J. Dillon, taking the Boston College workhorse with the 62nd overall selection.
Goff creates cap room for Rams to sign Floyd, Robinson
UNDATED (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams announced the signings of linebacker Leonard Floyd and defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson on Friday after quarterback Jared Goff restructured his contract to create salary cap room.
Floyd and Robinson agreed to join the Rams as free agents several weeks ago, but the announcements of their deals were delayed because they hadn't been able to complete their physical exams because of the pandemic.
Goff agreed last year to a four-year contract extension with an NFL-record $110 million guaranteed. The extension doesn't begin until the 2021 season, but Goff agreed to restructure the deal's money distribution to create breathing room for the Rams.
In other NFL news:
— The Texans have agreed to a three-year, $66 million contract extension with left tackle Laremy Tunsil, according to a person familiar with the situation. He had one year left on his current contract that will pay him more than $10 million this season. Tunsil was named to his first Pro Bowl last season after being acquiring from Miami in August.
— Patriots center David Andrews says he is ready to return after missing all of last season with blood clots in his lungs. He says he’s excited to have the opportunity to play again, whenever and however the NFL season begins. Andrews has played four seasons for New England. In 2018, he started every game and participated in 99% of the offensive snaps.
— Tua Tagovailoa (TOO'-ah tuhng-ah-vy-LOH'-ah) now knows where he’ll play next, but he still doesn’t know when. The Dolphins selected him with the fifth overall pick in Thursday’s draft and are willing to wait until 2021 while Tugavailoa continues to recover from a major hip injury. Tugavailoa says doctors have indicated he’s on schedule for a return this year. General manager Chris Grier said the Dolphins are comfortable about Tagovailoa's health, despite a long injury history.
— The older brother of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has died. Jace Prescott was 31. The Cowboys confirmed the older Prescott’s death yesterday in a brief statement. There was no information on how or where he died. Jace Prescott was an offensive lineman a decade ago at Northwestern State, where he played three years and started all 11 games in his final season.
Achiuwa turning pro
UNDATED (AP) — Memphis freshman Precious Achiuwa has announced he will enter the NBA draft, saying he has dreamed of “playing in the NBA since I picked up the game.” The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Nigerian-born star is projected as a likely first-rounder and possible lottery pick. Achiuwa became the first player in the American Athletic Conference named both player and freshman of the year, averaging 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game after arriving as one of the nation's top prospects.
In other college basketball news:
— Texas has landed top basketball recruit Greg Brown III, who had listed the G League as a possibility before decided to attend the college where his father played football. 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.
Nationals manager expects a 2020 season
UNDATED (AP) — Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo expects there will be a 2020 major league season. In a conference call Friday, Rizzo said: “I’m optimistic, as is the commissioner, that we’ll have baseball in 2020.”
The GM said the team’s owners have committed to giving Nationals employees full salary and benefits through the end of May. Baseball has been on hold since last month because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In other developments related to the pandemic:
— The Cape Cod League executive committee has announced the cancellation of the 2020 season, saying the unanimous vote was based on the health concerns and safety needs of all involved. The 10-team league is the top summer competition for college baseball players and was scheduled to run from mid-June until August. The league was founded in 1885 and had not missed a season since 1945, the last year of World War II.
— A Summer X Games stop in Minneapolis scheduled for July has been canceled due to the coronavirus. The action-sports event in Minneapolis was to be the fourth and final go-around in the city. The deal was originally for 2017 and ’18, but two more years were added after a successful first year. The X Games plans to bring regular and original programming through the World of X Games TV series and on digital and social channels. They will kick off an event called “Real Street” in May. It’s an all-video, all-street skateboarding competition shown on XGames.com.
— The rest of the Dutch soccer league has been canceled without a champion declared. Ajax was level on points with second-placed AZ Alkmaar but ahead on goal difference when the league was suspended on March 12. The Dutch soccer federation added it will allocate Champions League and Europa League spots by the current standings. The federation’s decision sparked instant complaints from clubs who felt they had lost out.
— Manchester United vice chairman Ed Woodward has told fans there will be reduced spending on players due to the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. English Premier League games have not been played for more than six weeks and stadiums are due to be closed to fans when the season resumes in June at the earliest.
— The U.S. Junior Amateur and the U.S. Girls’ Junior golf championships have been canceled. That makes six USGA championships that have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Junior Amateur was to be played July 20-25 at Hazeltine National outside Minneapolis. The U.S. Girls’ Junior was scheduled for July 13-18 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The USGA says it wouldn’t be able to hold qualifying for its two premier junior championships because of health guidelines. State associations were to hold 100 qualifying events in 41 states between May and July.
— Triathlon’s world series grand final in Edmonton, Alberta, in August has been canceled because of the pandemic. The decision was inevitable after the Canadian province’s chief medical officer extended the provincial ban on all gatherings of more than 15 people through summer. Edmonton’s triathlon was scheduled for Aug. 17-23.
— The International Olympic Committee is allocating more than $25 million to cover extra athlete and team costs related to the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Games. The IOC says an extra $15 million will go to a program helping 1,600 athletes from 185 less well-funded countries prepare for the games in 2021. More than $10 million is available for national Olympic bodies to cover additional operational costs such as travel and accommodation for officials.
— FIFA (FEE'-fuh) says advance payments of $500,000 are being sent to member associations to cover running costs during the coronavirus pandemic. Each of the 211 member associations is entitled to $6 million from FIFA spread over the four-year World Cup cycle. International soccer’s governing body says the next installment due in July will now be paid in the coming days along with other payments due from last year. FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the soccer body has a duty “to be there and support the ones that are facing acute needs.”
— The German Cup soccer final has been postponed indefinitely and will likely take place without fans. The German soccer federation says the final will no longer be played on May 23 in Berlin as planned but it’s still sticking to a June 30 deadline to finish the season. There are no dates for the postponed semifinals, which were originally scheduled to be played this week.
— Some overnight rain couldn’t prevent Vanuatu from producing a rarity in these coronavirus-restricted times: a live sporting event. The tropical island in the South Pacific was likely the only venue in the world hosting a competitive sports final, as most international sport remains shuttered around the globe. Vanuatu Cricket Association chief executive Shane Deitz invited anyone missing live action to tune in to a live stream. And more than 3,000 did at various times during a men’s 10-over exhibition match and the women’s Twenty20 final won by the Mele Bulls.
NCAA OKs 28- or 29-game schedules for upcoming hoops season
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA is giving teams new scheduling options for the 2020-21 season.
The Division I Council has 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.
Dodgers sued over parking lot attack
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers are being sued for negligence by a man who was attacked in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium and left with brain damage.
Lawyers for Rafael Reyna and his wife announced the suit, which contends that the stadium lacked adequate security.
Rafael Reyna was attacked while walking to his car shortly after midnight following a Dodgers game against Arizona on March 30, 2019. Reyna suffered a brain injury when his head hit the pavement.
The suit says he spent days in a medically induced coma and still suffers effects of the injury.
A team spokesman said the Dodgers had no comment on the suit.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-WASHINGTON STATE-PLAYER DEATH
Coroner says Cougars player died of acute intoxication
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP)— The Whitman County coroner says acute intoxication was the cause of death for a Washington State football player last month.
Coroner Annie Pillers said Friday that 22-year-old Bryce Beekman died after consuming a combination of fentanyl and promethazine. She ruled the death as accidental.
The senior defensive back from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was found dead in his Pullman apartment March 23.
Beekman started all 13 games last season for Washington State after transferring from Arizona Western College.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-DOCTOR
U. of Michigan facing more legal action over alleged abuse
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A legal team that says it represents more than 100 people who allege they were abused by a University of Michigan sports doctor on Friday announced the first step in filing a lawsuit against the school.
The Anderson Survivors Legal Team said it has filed 20-plus notices of intent to sue the Ann Arbor school, its board and Dr. Robert Anderson's estate. A lawsuit would be among a rising wave of legal action against the school, which is investigating allegations of decades of sexual abuse by Anderson.
The university has acknowledged some campus employees were aware of accusations against Anderson before a 2018 complaint that led to a police investigation.
The Anderson Survivors Legal Team says its clients include Robert Stone, the first to speak publicly about allegations of abuse against Anderson, and female accusers.
Flame-thrower Dalkowski dies
UNDATED (AP) — The hard-throwing, wild left-hander whose minor league career inspired the creation of Nuke LaLoosh in the movie “Bull Durham," has died.
Steve Dalkowski died Sunday at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain. He was 80. 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. According to “Bull Durham” director and writer Ron Shelton, Ted Williams told him Dalkowski was the fastest he ever saw after facing the southpaw during batting practice at spring training in 1963.