MLB offers players 80% of prorated salaries, 72-game season
UNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball has offered players 80% of their prorated salaries and a 72-game schedule starting July 14 in an effort to start the pandemic-delayed season. That’s according to details of the proposal obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
Players would get 70% of their prorated salaries during the regular season and the rest for completion of the postseason. The players’ last offer was for an 89-game regular season at full prorated pay.
MLB proposed that players be guaranteed about $1.25 billion in salaries, earn an additional $200 million if the postseason is completed plus a $50 million postseason players' pool even if no tickets are sold.
The union's proposal would guarantee players $2.2 billion. Before the new coronavirus caused opening day to be pushed back from March 26, salaries had been set to total $4 billion.
Players have insisted they receive 100% of their prorated salaries, the terms the sides agreed to in March. But MLB told the union that playing in empty ballparks without gate revenue would cause a loss of $640,000 for each additional game played and that teams can't afford 100% prorated pay. The union has said it doubts MLB's figures but has not received sufficient financial disclosure to make a full evaluation.
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— The NBA has given teams a more definitive timetable for the restart to the season. It includes required coronavirus testing that is set to begin this month and mandatory individual workouts in early July before training camps. The league is still working on completing the health and safety protocols that will essentially become the rulebook for the restart at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida. Talks with the players' union on those matters are continuing.
—The University of Houston is suspending all voluntary workouts for its athletes after six tested positive for COVID-19 with symptoms. Houston announced it was shutting down workouts due to “an abundance of caution” and an increase of positive tests in the greater Houston area over the last week. The school said the athletes, who were not identified, have been placed in isolation and medical staff is conducting contact-tracing procedure.
— An unidentified Boston Bruins player has tested positive for COVID-19. General manager Don Sweeney says the player had not been a part of informal workouts with his teammates. The Bruins say the player was tested as a requirement to enter the team’s practice facility and came up positive. The player has not shown any COVID-19 symptoms. The Bruins say the player has since tested negative twice for the disease.
— The Kentucky Derby Festival won’t have any large-scale events this year, including the highly popular Thunder Over Louisville air and fireworks show that leads off the run-up to the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Oaks for fillies and 146th Derby were postponed from May 1-2 to Sept. 4-5 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Thunder Over Louisville was rescheduled for August, but Festival organizers announced last night that the air show and events such as the miniMarathon and Pegasus Parade are off.
— Formula One races in Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan have been canceled because of issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The sport’s governing body says it still hopes to deliver up to 18 races in the rearranged 2020 season. The first eight have already been confirmed and they start with a double-header in Austria in early July. The races in Azerbaijan and Singapore use street circuits and require long lead times to construct them. The Japanese Grand Prix was canceled because of ongoing travel restrictions during the pandemic. That was scheduled for Oct. 11.
— The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it has dismissed appeals by two Swiss soccer clubs who wanted to complete their league season despite the coronavirus pandemic. The Swiss soccer association voided the seasons of all leagues below the second division and scrapped promotion from the third division. Third-division league leader Yverdon Sport asked CAS to approve its promotion and both Yverdon and second-place Rapperswil-Jona appealed to the court to order the season restarted. The court says the Swiss soccer body did not violate its rules and dismissed the appeals one day after a fast-track hearing was held Thursday.
— The Romanian soccer league’s first match following a three-month suspension has been postponed because a medical staff member at third-place club Botoşani tested positive for the coronavirus. Botoşani was to play at second-place Universitatea Craiova on Friday but the match has been called off. The league is now scheduled to resume on Saturday when Voluntari hosts Academica Clinceni. Another of the seven games scheduled for this weekend in empty stadiums was also postponed after a staff member of Dinamo Bucharest tested positive ahead of the team’s home game against Chindia Targoviste on Saturday.
— English Premier League jerseys will feature “Black Lives Matter” instead of player names for the first 12 games after the competition's shutdown ends on Wednesday. The movement's campaign logo will then feature elsewhere on jerseys through the July 26 conclusion of the pandemic-delayed season as players decided to highlight racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. The Premier League also announced it would support players taking a knee at matches.
— The head of the Tokyo Olympics says 80% of the facilities needed for next year's games have “basic approval” to be used. But organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori says “there are also venues that already have reservations from other users for next year." Organizers say that two of the largest venues needed for the Olympics have not yet been secured. They are the 5,000-apartment Athletes Village and the Tokyo Big Sight. That is the venue for the main press center. Organizers are also still unable to say what the delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic will cost and who will pay.
Varner takes early 1-shot lead over Spieth, DeChambeau
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Harold Varner III took his place in history in the PGA Tour's technology era, all because of a triple bogey.
Jordan Spieth had his lowest 36-hole score in four years. Rory McIlroy shot 63 with a bogey on his last hole. The strongest field of the year in golf's return to competition produced an All-Star leaderboard at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Varner had plenty of juices flowing after his first tee shot on No. 10 went onto a bridge, led to a one-shot penalty, and eventually a triple bogey that quickly knocked him out of a share of the lead. No worries. He answered with eight birdies and a place in the record book with a 66. It was the lowest score on the PGA Tour by a player who began his round with a triple bogey. He was at 11-under 129, the lowest 36-hole score of his career. He heads into the third round with a one-shot lead over Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau.
The PGA Tour has returned after three months because of the pandemic. And if the opening round felt like the first day of school, Friday was a small step toward normalcy, even without fans.
Hilton Head field stacked with winners, but no Tiger Woods
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — The field for the RBC Heritage next week includes 114 players who have won on the PGA Tour, the most of any event since the tour began keeping track in 2000.
It just doesn't have Tiger Woods.
For the second straight week, the top five in the world will be competing as golf resumes its schedule from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown that began in March.
Rory McIlroy, the world's No. 1 player, will be at Hilton Head for the first time since 2009. Brooks Koepka will be playing for the first time.
Woods only played Hilton Head one time, in 1999. It was thought he might return at Hilton Head, especially with no likely appearances for him until the Memorial on July 16-19. Speculation increased when a marine tracking site indicated his yacht “Privacy” was just off the Georgia coast near Sea Island.
But there could be family obligations as his daughter's 13th birthday is Thursday.
Texas athletes: Rename buildings, drop 'The Eyes of Texas'
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A group of University of Texas football players and athletes across several sports called on the school Friday to rename several campus buildings, change the traditional school song and donate a percentage of athletic department revenue to organizations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
The letter said it was sent on behalf of the Longhorn “student athlete body.” It said the football team will participate in all required team activities ahead of the upcoming season, but players would not aid in recruiting future players or participate in alumni events.
The two-page, unsigned note posted on social media accounts of dozens of Longhorns athletes noted the school's motto of “What starts here changes the world." It said the group was moved to issue its call for campus changes after protests erupted nationwide following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
Florida governor signs college athlete compensation bill
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill that would allow college athletes in the state to earn money from endorsement deals.
The law goes into effect in July 2021. By then, both the NCAA and Congress could have national legislation in place to lift restrictions on college athletes being paid for the use of their names, images and likenesses. Florida is the third state, joining California and Colorado, to pass a law targeting current NCAA rules that restrict college athlete compensation. Florida’s law goes into effect 18 months earlier than the other two.
NCAA encourages day off from college sports on election day
UNDATED (AP) — The NCAA is encouraging its 1,100 member colleges and universities to give athletes the day off from sports on election day.
In response to nationwide protests of police brutality and racial injustice, Georgia Tech announced earlier this week it was giving nine fall sports teams a day off from athletic activities on Nov. 3 so athletes can vote in person. UCLA followed with a similar announcement.
At other schools, coaches and players have organized team-wide voter registration efforts, marches and rallies.
The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes.
The NCAA did not mandate a day off for athletes on election day, but instead encouraged schools to assist students in registering to vote and give them a day off from athletics.
What's in a name? Cincinnati grapples with Marge Schott
CINCINNATI (AP) — Marge Schott's slurs and other offensive comments while she owned the Cincinnati Reds have organizations in her hometown reconsidering the use of her name on facilities that benefited from her donations.
Schott died in 2004, but her name is still prominent in the community. Most of her estate went to a foundation that funds a wide range of philanthropic ventures. Her name is featured on many facilities, from the Cincinnati Zoo to a baseball stadium on the University of Cincinnati's campus.
Calls for racial justice following George Floyd's death have renewed questions about how to remember Schott, who was repeatedly suspended and ultimately ousted by Major League Baseball over her slurs and praise for Adolf Hitler.
A Catholic high school this week became the first to remove her name from facilities.