No agreement yet on resumption of NBA season
UNDATED (AP) — The NBA Board of Governors continues to ponder various scenarios as they prepare to resume a season still on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Three people familiar with Friday’s meeting have told The Associated Press that the board hasn’t developed a consensus opinion on how many teams should be back on the floor for the planned late-July resumption. The people say Commissioner Adam Silver is still collecting information on multiple options ranging from 16 to all 30 teams returning to action when the season begins again near Orlando, Florida.
One person said 20 of more teams would be brought back to finish the season near Orlando, while a second person said the league would bring back any team within six games of a playoff berth.
The league suspended play following the conclusion of its March 11 games.
MLB-MINOR LEAGUE CUTS
Hundreds of minor leaguers cut
NEW YORK (AP) — Major league teams have released hundreds of young players with the minor league season in doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Transactions posted at MLB.com say over 200 players were cut Friday and more than 400 have been released over the past month.
The start of the minor league season was postponed in March and players were mostly sent home from spring training. While Major League Baseball and the players' association are negotiating terms to play big league ball this summer, it's unlikely there will be minor league games.
Minor league players not on 40-man rosters were promised $400 per week through May 31 by a policy drafted by MLB.
Governor says Massachusetts sports teams can resume practice next week
UNDATED (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says the state’s five professional sports teams — the Boston Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, New England Patriots and Revolution — can resume practicing at their respective facilities on June 6.
But Baker made clear the reopening of those facilities must be done in accordance with the health and safety rules that each of the leagues are developing.
The Celtics announced they will begin voluntary individual workouts at their facility on Monday. Workouts will be conducted in accordance with city, state, CDC and NBA requirements, with only four players allowed to workout at a time.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE SPORTS
NCAA has plan for bringing athletes back
UNDATED (AP) — The NCAA has released a long and detailed plan to help schools bring athletes back to campus during the pandemic.
The move comes as schools across the country prepare for the return of athletes as early as June 8.
The NCAA last week lifted a moratorium on athletic activities starting Monday. That cleared the way for voluntary workouts and training to begin at team facilities.
Schools have already started putting plans in place to test athletes, coaches and staff for the coronavirus and implement social distancing.
The NCAA says its plan is offered as guidance, consistent with federal and local public health guidelines.
In other sports developments related to the coronavirus:
— Pocono Raceway will hold its NASCAR weekend without fans. The Cup Series is scheduled to race June 27-28 and Truck and second-tier Xfinity races also will be held that weekend. Pocono Raceway is in Monroe County, which is under a yellow designation. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said earlier this month that if the county moved to yellow, then NASCAR may hold the two races with no spectators present and guidelines followed to keep competitors safe.
— The Arizona Diamondbacks have laid off or furloughed about one-quarter of the team’s employees because of lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organization made the moves on Friday. Remaining staff will take pay cuts that average less than 15%, with the team's highest earners losing a bigger percentage of their income.
— UEFA (yoo-AY’-fuh) is planning to pull the Champions League final from Istanbul and is considering other locations as planning and scheduling are shaken up by the coronavirus pandemic. The UEFA executive committee will meet on June 17 to examine the findings of a working group that has been assessing how to complete competitions that are likely to finish without any fans in stadiums. UEFA is aiming to complete its elite club competition in August after the delayed domestic leagues of the remaining sides have managed to conclude.
— Liverpool might not get a chance to win the English Premier League at Anfield. Police have included the leader’s key games among at least five it wants at neutral venues in a bid to prevent fans from gathering outside when the competition resumes next month. Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp hopes authorities will allow them to play at home as planned, with supporters adhering to advice while they are prevented from attending games due to COVID-19 restrictions.
— Leicester (LEHS’-tur) manager Brendan Rodgers says he had the coronavirus and compared its effects to how he felt climbing Kilimanjaro. Rodgers says he fell ill “a week or so” after the English season was suspended on March 13 and later tested positive for the virus. He says he felt the effects of it for three weeks.
— Dominic Thiem (teem), Alexander Zverev (ZVEHR’-ehv) and Nick Kyrgios (KEER’-ee-ohs) will play exhibition tennis matches in Berlin in July amid the coronavirus pandemic. One exhibition event will run from July 13-15 on grass and another on a hard court in a hangar in the city’s closed Tempelhof airport from July 17-19. There will be electronic line calls with no line judges to reduce the number of people involved on court.
— Poland will allow soccer fans to attend games in limited numbers starting on June 19. Fans will only be allowed to make up 25% of the stadium’s capacity and no away supporters will be allowed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
— The Swiss soccer league will restart on June 20 in empty stadiums. The league says the 20 clubs in the top two divisions have voted 17-2 in favor of resuming.
— The Japanese soccer league will resume on July 4 in empty stadiums. Both soccer and baseball were able begin play after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a state of emergency earlier in the week.
— Fans will be in the stadiums when the Russian soccer league restarts next month. The Russian government’s coronavirus task force says spectators will be allowed if they don’t exceed 10% of the stadium’s capacity.
COLLEGE SPORTS-ATHLETE COMPENSATION
Power Five conferences asking Congress for help with compensation guidelines
UNDATED (AP) — The Power Five conference commissioners are asking Congress to move forward with federal legislation regarding compensation for college athletes.
Those commissioners sent a letter to congressional leaders encouraging them to not wait for the NCAA process to play out before passing a national law that would set parameters for college athletes to be compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses.
The NCAA hopes to have legislative proposals crafted by November and ready to be voted on in January.
Ford says he’s better after surgery
UNDATED (AP) — San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Dee Ford says he had an “extensive cleanup” operation for the tendinitis in his left knee that limited his effectiveness last year.
Ford says surgery was performed a few weeks after San Francisco lost the Super Bowl and that he feels in much better condition heading into his second year with the Niners. Ford’s availability was severely limited as he dealt with a knee injury initially suffered during training camp last summer.
Blackhawks sign Czech forward
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to a two-year contract with Czech forward Matej Chalupa. It begins with the 2020-21 season and carries an average annual value of $925,000. The 21-year-old Chalupa spent most of last season in the Czech Republic League, collecting seven goals and 17 assists in 50 games.
Donors revive UAH hockey program
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama-Huntsville’s hockey program will continue for another year.
Athletic director Cade Smith says “numerous individual donors” had combined to raise more than $500,000 this week to help save the program from the chopping block. UAH had announced the elimination of hockey and men’s and women’s tennis amid the financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
Two other gifts of $125,000 each from longtime supporters provided enough money to allow the Chargers to continue competing at the Division I level for the 2020-21 season.
The $750,000 marks the largest athletic campaign contribution in UAH history.
FEDERER-TOP EARNING ATHLETE
Federer tops highest-earning athlete list at more than $100M
UNDATED (AP) — Roger Federer leads the annual Forbes ranking of highest-paid athletes with what the magazine says is $106.3 million in total earnings. He is the first tennis player top the list since it was first compiled in 1990.
Federer made $6.3 million of that haul from tennis prize money, with the other $100 million from endorsements and appearances fees.
Soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar are in spots 2, 3 and 4, followed by the NBA’s LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Tiger Woods is at No. 8 and NFL players Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz complete the top 10.