AP Source: NFL extends virtual offseason work through May
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL has updated its Organized Team Activities schedule as the league hopes to begin the upcoming season on time.
A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press that the NFL has extended its virtual offseason workouts through the end of May.
NFL teams normally would be holding OTAs during May, followed by June minicamps. Those activities are being done remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Coaching and training staffs have worked with the players by conducting classroom instruction and on-field activities through digital applications.
All 32 teams must submit plans for reopening their facilities to the league by Friday, though no dates for such re-openings are set. Offseason workouts must end by June 26, a week or so later than usual.
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— Florida is willing to be a restart site for professional sports leagues when play resumes following shutdowns caused by the new coronavirus. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said today that he is welcoming all pro sports for practicing and playing, although he couldn’t guarantee that fans would be permitted. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced yesterday that his state is open to games without spectators for all the major sports starting Saturday.
— Major League Soccer is looking at the possibility of resuming the season this summer with all teams playing in Orlando, Florida. A person with knowledge of the plan says the league's 26 teams and limited staff would likely be sheltered in a resort with games played without fans at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. Details of the plan are still under consideration. Teams could head to Florida as early as June 1 for training camps.
— A person familiar with the decision says the Miami Marlins will temporarily furlough 90 to 100 baseball operations employees beginning June 1 because of the pandemic. The person told The Associated Press that about 40 percent of the baseball operations staff will be affected, with the status of those furloughed to be evaluated monthly. Their health benefits will continue through the end of October.
— The Italian soccer league is hoping to resume competition on June 13. The date was agreed to during a video conference with all 20 Serie A clubs. It is subject to approval by the Italian government. Full team training will restart on May 18 after a revised medical protocol was approved. The clubs have already resumed training on an individual basis.
— The Portuguese soccer league says it will delay its restart until June 4. The league was expected to resume at the end of May but will wait another week so there is time to “rigorously inspect stadiums and conduct medical tests on all professionals involved” in the matches.
— Players from the Spanish soccer club Elche did not return to practice on Wednesday as a protest against reduced salaries. The players for the second-division club were supposed to practice at the team’s stadium. Instead, they decided to keep training at home to show their discontentment with the team’s decision not to lift the furloughs that had been put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. Players had their salaries reduced by 70%.
— The PGA Tour has outlined a health plan for its return that includes testing players for the new coronavirus both at home and when they arrive at tournaments. The tour's chief of operations says they won't play if it's not safe for everyone involved, and if testing takes away from resources in the host city. The return to golf will not include spectators or pro-ams. Key personnel will have to answer health questionnaires and have their temperatures taken every day. The tour says if a player tests positive, he will have to withdraw.
— Santa Anita has received approval from Los Angeles County health officials to resume live racing Friday. The track stopped live racing on March 27 by order of the county health department because of concern over the spread of the coronavirus. The track raced without spectators for two weeks before it was shut down.
— The South Korean women’s golf tour is starting up again. The KLPGA Championship opens on Thursday, without fans on the course. Organizers say social distancing will be practiced by players and tournament officials. Women’s golf joins South Korea’s professional baseball and soccer leagues, which have already restarted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
— Golf courses in England are reopening as part of some modest socially distanced easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. People in England can exercise more than once a day and with one person from outside their household, provided the rule to remain more than six feet apart is adhered to. In addition, outdoor tennis and basketball courts can be used, and people will also be able to swim in lakes and the sea.
— Ferrari says it has developed a ventilator for hospitals dealing with the pandemic. The Formula One team says it created a device that is easy to use and assemble in conjunction with the Italian Institute of Technology. Ferrari says it was designed in only five weeks and can be produced using easily available materials at a lower cost than normal ventilators.
— The Japan Sumo Association says a 28-year-old wrestler has died from the coronavirus. The association identified the wrestler as Shoubushi and said he died of multiple-organ failure. He is reported to have been the first sumo wrestler to die from the virus, and among the youngest to die in Japan.
— Beach volleyball teams will have an extra year to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The system will otherwise remain the same. Most teams qualify by earning points on the international tour. The deadline for Tokyo had been this June but now it will be June 13, 2021. Additional spots in the Olympic tournament will be decided at continental tournaments that will be held until June 27 of next year.
— Oaklawn plans to reopen its casino next to the racetrack in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on Monday. General manager Wayne Smith says state and health officials have given the go-ahead to do so with new health and hygiene protocols in place. The casino will operate at 33% capacity, staff and visitors will have their temperatures checked upon entry and must wear masks, and guests must show ID in case contact tracing is needed.
— Rutgers is doing away with paper tickets to sports events in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The State University of New Jersey announced Wednesday that mobile-only ticketing to sports events will start this fall with the football season.
— IndyCar plans to crown its champion on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The original opener is being rescheduled for Oct. 25 as the finale. IndyCar was supposed to start its season March 15 on the temporary street course. Teams were already in place to compete before sports shut down 48 hours before the race because of the coronavirus pandemic.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NBA DRAFT DEADLINE
Draft deadline pushed back
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA is pushing back its deadline for early entrants to the NBA draft to withdraw and return to school.
The deadline had been June 3, 10 days after the completion of the NBA scouting combine. But the combine was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said in a statement that college sports’ governing body won’t set a new deadline until the NBA has determined its revised timeline for the predraft process.
Hoyas star guard transferring
WASHINGTON (AP) — Georgetown guard Mac McClung plans to enter the NCAA transfer portal after taking his name out of consideration for the NBA draft.
McClung averaged 15.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 21 games as a sophomore this past season, missing time with a right foot injury.
His departure follows the transfers of four other Georgetown men’s basketball players during last season.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-ALABAMA ST-MO WILLIAMS
Williams takes over Alabama State program
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Former NBA point guard Mo Williams is Alabama State's new head coach.
Williams played 14 seasons in the NBA, winning a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant for California State University at Northridge, under coach Mark Gottfried.
Former Celtics, Canisius guard Johnny McCarthy dies
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Former NBA guard John McCarthy has died at 86.
McCarthy was the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double in his first career playoff game, a feat that has been matched just three other times. He played six seasons in the league and closed his career by helping the Boston Celtics win the 1964 championship.
McCarthy also helped Canisius earn a pair of NCAA appearances in 1955 and ’56.
Canisius announced that McCarthy died Saturday of natural causes in the Buffalo suburbs, where he grew up and lived most of his life.
DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT-MICHIGAN STATE
Nassar-related case dismissed against ex-university chief
DETROIT (AP) — A judge has dismissed criminal charges against former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon.
She was accused of lying to investigators in 2018 as they tried to learn what she knew years earlier about sexual assault complaints involving campus doctor Larry Nassar. Simon last year was ordered to trial in Eaton County, near Lansing. But Circuit Judge John Maurer tossed the case, saying a lower court judge had abused her discretion in finding enough evidence to keep the case going.
Nassar is serving decades in prison after hundreds of women and girls came forward to say he molested them during visits for hip, back and leg injuries. Authorities alleged that Simon knew in 2014 that Nassar had been accused of molesting a patient at a campus clinic, and that she knew of the nature of the complaint.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-DOCTOR
U. of Michigan seeks to remove law firm in sex abuse suits
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan has announced that it is seeking to remove a law firm it hired to handle lawsuits following hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse by Dr. Robert Anderson, a sports doctor who worked at the school for decades.
It's the second time the university has sought to remove a firm helping handle the allegations, and just two months after the firm was hired.
The school said in April that it hoped to settle the lawsuits.
Pro women's hockey association unveils 5-city regional plan
UNDATED (AP) — The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association enters its second season with plans to regionalize its structure by basing players in five hub cities.
Groups of 25 players will practice in rinks in New Hampshire, Minnesota, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. The league says players will have access to dedicated dressing rooms, strength and conditioning facilities as well as support staff and coaches.
The PWHPA was established a year ago following the collapse of the six-team Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
The league says it will continue its Dream Gap Tour series of barnstorming stops across North America.
McMahon fights back in battle with Luck
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Lawyers for XFL owner Vince McMahon have argued in court filings that he was justified in firing league CEO Oliver Luck last month just before the football operation shut down.
Luck filed a federal lawsuit last month over his April 9 termination, alleging the wrestling magnate breached their contract. The father of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and a long-time football executive is seeking monetary damages.
Attorneys for McMahon argued Wednesday that Luck was fired for cause, in part because he failed to devote his business time to his XFL duties. They claimed Luck abandoned his responsibilities after the schedule was halted by the coronavirus.
The league suspended operations and laid off all of its employees on April 10, three days before filing for bankruptcy protection.