Planning normal season, NFL still forms ticket refund policy
UNDATED (AP) — While planning to play a full regular-season schedule, the NFL has formulated a ticket refund plan for canceled games or those held without fans.
In a memo sent to the 32 teams by Commissioner Roger Goodell and obtained by The Associated Press Tuesday, a uniform baseline for full refunds on any tickets purchased directly from the clubs was prepared.
As for the secondary market, the league received pledges from Ticketmaster and SeatGeek to make full refunds available for all ticket sales within no more than 30 days of cancellation. StubHub, however, will do so only where required by state law.
Each team will communicate directly with its fans over the next few days with specific details on potential refunds. The NFL will reveal its 2020 regular-season schedule on Thursday night.
The 2020 season is set to kick off on Sept. 10, with the first full weekend of games on Sept. 13-14.
In other NFL news:
— Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (TOO'-ah tuhng-ah-vy-LOH'-ah), the Miami Dolphins’ top draft pick, will wear uniform No. 1. The Dolphins announced number assignments Tuesday. Tagovailoa wore No. 13 at Alabama, but the Dolphins retired that number after it was worn by Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. Tagovailoa will be the first Dolphins QB to wear No. 1, which was most famously worn by kicker Garo Yepremian.
— Veteran pass rusher Aaron Lynch has signed a one-year contract with Jacksonville. He should give the Jaguars more depth in case disgruntled defender Yannick Ngakoue (yah-NEEK' en-GAH'-kway) decides to skip part of the season. Lynch played 16 games for Chicago last year and had six tackles, two sacks and two passes defensed. He also spent four years in San Francisco. The 49ers drafted him in the fifth round in 2014.
— The New York Giants have claimed former Dallas Cowboys’ backup quarterback Cooper Rush on waivers. The make room on the 90-man roster wide receiver, Reggie White was waived. Daniel Jones is the Giants’ starting quarterback. Rush joins Alex Tanney and Colt McCoy in competing for the backup job. The move reunites Rush with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who spent nearly a decade as Dallas' head coach before joining the Giants in the offseason.
— Running back Frank Gore has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the New York Jets. Agent Drew Rosenhaus announced the deal Tuesday. Gore turns 37 next week and joins a Jets backfield that also includes Le’Veon Bell and fourth-round draft pick La’Mical Perine. Gore is third on the NFL’s career rushing list with 15,269 yards.
— Patriots center David Andrews says he believes the blood clot issue in his lungs that caused him to miss the 2019 season was a freak occurrence that he’s ready to put behind him. Andrews declined to elaborate on what caused the issue but said he has been cleared by doctors to resume playing football. The 27-year-old currently isn’t on any workout restrictions and says he was limited in 2019 mainly because of the medication he was taking to treat the clotting issue. He has since discontinued the use of that medicine.
— The New York Jets placed wide receivers Quincy Enunwa and Josh Bellamy on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. The moves effectively ended each of the player’s seasons with the Jets, four months before the opener is scheduled. The team also announced it has waived cornerback Kyron Brown, wide receiver Keon Hatcher, running back Jalin Moore and defensive end Charles Tapper.
— The Los Angeles Chargers have hired Pep Hamilton as quarterbacks coach. Hamilton was head coach and general manager of the XFL’s DC Defenders before the league ended its season after five weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hamilton’s last NFL job was in Cleveland as assistant head coach and quarterback coach in 2016.
76ers, Flyers offering refunds
UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers are set to offer refunds or credits for unplayed regular-season games at their shared arena because of the coronavirus pandemic.
While neither the NHL or NBA has officially canceled the remainder of the season, or decided when and where the season may resume, both organizations on Tuesday decided to address the ticket status for games scheduled for the Wells Fargo Center.
Flyers’ season ticket holders will receive a credit for the six unplayed home games, to be applied to their 2020-21 season payment due in June. They may also opt to receive a refund. Fans who bought single-game tickets will receive an automatic refund. All fans who purchased tickets through a secondary website, such as Stubhub, will need to contact that site for refund options.
The Sixers outlined a similar process for their 10 unplayed games. There are rollover and refund options for season ticket holders and single-game holders can request a refund.
In other NBA news:
— Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand remains optimistic that injured guard Ben Simmons can return to play if the NBA season resumes. Simmons had been sidelined with nerve issues in his lower back when the NBA season shut down on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Simmons is allowed to rehabilitate at the 76ers’ practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, with other select players undergoing rehab.
Panthers strike deal with 2018 draft pick Grigori Denisenko
MIAMI (AP) — The Florida Panthers finally have a deal with Russian forward Grigori Denisenko.
The Panthers announced Tuesday that Denisenko has agreed to a three-year entry level contract — though it remains unclear when that contract will be officially signed and begin to take effect, given the uncertainty of the current NHL season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Denisenko was the 15th overall pick by the Panthers in the 2018 draft. The forward has been with Lokomotiv of the KHL, Russia’s top league.
He had six goals and six assists in 38 games with Lokomotiv this past season.
Michigan guard Cole Bajema enters transfer portal
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan guard Cole Bajema has entered the transfer portal.
The school announced Bajema's decision Tuesday night. He played in 10 games this past season as a freshman.
The 6-foot-7 Bajema averaged 2.6 points per game. He has three years of eligibility remaining.
Two other Michigan players have already transferred this offseason — David DeJulius to Cincinnati and Colin Castleton to Florida.
Larson to race in Iowa event
UNDATED (AP) — Kyle Larson plans to race again Friday night in a World of Outlaws event at Knoxville Raceway.
The dirt track in Iowa will not have spectators at the event because of the coronavirus pandemic. Larson was fired three weeks ago by Chip Ganassi Racing for using s racial slur while competing in an iRacing event. The slur was publicly heard on a gaming app and went viral. Most of Larson’s sponsors bailed on him and Ganassi had to fire his star NASCAR driver.
The 27-year-old rose through NASCAR’s ranks in its diversity program. He was suspended by NASCAR and ordered to complete a sensitivity training course.
Nadal would just as soon cancel this season
MADRID (AP) — Rafael Nadal says if given the option he would scrap this season entirely so tennis could resume normally in 2021.
The second-ranked Spaniard is 33 years old and has won 19 Grand Slam titles. He says he hopes to resume playing this year but doubts it could happen because of the coronavirus pandemic. He says he "would sign up right now just to being ready for 2021.”
Nadal recently said he was concerned with the risk of new injuries when players return to action after a long time without proper training. The Spaniard has had to deal with a series of injuries throughout his career.
Tennis club says it mistakenly let Djokovic practice
MADRID (AP) — The tennis club where Novak Djokovic broke confinement rules in Spain says it mistakenly authorized the player to practice.
The top-ranked Djokovic published a video of himself training in Marbella on Monday, in apparent violation of Spain’s current rules amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Spain has eased some of the lockdown measures that have been in place since mid-March, allowing professional athletes to start training again individually. But most training centers and sports facilities must remain closed until next week.
Spanish soccer players and coaches worry about resuming play
MADRID (AP) — The players and coaches on Spanish soccer club Eibar have released a statement expressing their concerns about restarting the season.
They say they are “afraid of starting an activity” in which they will not be able to comply with physical distancing.
They say they are concerned about getting infected and infecting their family members and friends and worry about the risk of another coronavirus outbreak because of soccer’s return.
They demand “guarantees” and “responsibility” and say the return to action should only happen when everyone’s health is prioritized.
Players from Spanish league clubs are expected to resume practicing this week and matches could restart sometime in June. All players, coaches and club employees must be tested for COVID-19 before training resumes.
In other soccer news:
— German soccer could be cleared to resume when Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with the governors of the country’s 16 states. The dpa news agency reports that May 15 and 22 are being considered by the federal government as start dates for the Bundesliga. The league has introduced blanket coronavirus testing at clubs and is eager to finish the season by the end of June. That is when some player contracts expire.
Swimming championships postponed until next year
UNDATED (AP) — The European swimming championships have been pushed back to next year because of the coronavirus pandemic and will be used as preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
The governing body of the sport in Europe says the championships have been postponed by exactly one year to May 10-23, 2021. They will stay in Budapest, Hungary.
The final day is two months before the scheduled opening ceremony of the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
The European event had been provisionally pushed back to August when the original dates were not possible because of the pandemic.
The championships include swimming, diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming.
ESPYS to shift focus from top sports moments to heroism
LOS ANGELES (AP) — With live sports mostly postponed by the coronavirus, The ESPYS will shift focus from honoring athletic accomplishments to celebrating acts of heroism and humanitarian aid during the pandemic.
ESPN said Tuesday its annual awards show will air June 21, about a month earlier than its usual July date. Details of the two-hour show are still being worked out, but it will be produced rather than air live, the cable network said. Comedian Tracy Morgan hosted last year's show in its longtime home of Los Angeles.
The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, the Pat Tillman Award for Service and the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance will be featured. The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award and the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award, both usually given out at a separate show the night before, will be added to The ESPYS telecast.
Because of safety concerns surrounding large gatherings, ESPN has canceled live events surrounding the show as well as the sixth annual Sports Humanitarian Awards.