The NFL will cut its preseason in half and push back the start of exhibition play so teams have more time to train following a virtual offseason made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
The person spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t announced that the preseason will be cut from four games to two.
Players are still discussing with their union whether to ask for cancellation of all preseason games, according to two people familiar with their thinking. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because a decision hasn’t been made.
The pandemic forced teams to conduct their entire offseason programs via videoconference. So, teams will be gathering together for the first time when training camps open July 28.
—By AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton.
NEW YORK (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have replaced the New York Yankees as the opponent for the Chicago White Sox in the Field of Dreams game on Aug. 13 at Dyersville, Iowa.
The schedule change caused by the new coronavirus pandemic meant the White Sox no longer play the Yankees this season. The new opponent, first reported by The Des Moines Register, was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the arrangements who spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the matchup has not been announced.
Major League Baseball hopes to announce its new schedule next week. Each team will play 60 games, 40 against division rivals and 20 against teams in the corresponding regional division in the other league.
— By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum.
NEW YORK (AP) — The baseball organization that presents the annual MVP awards will consider whether the name of former commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis should be pulled from future plaques.
“The issue is being addressed,” Jack O’Connell, longtime secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, said Wednesday. “It will definitely be put up for discussion.”
Former NL Most Valuable Players Barry Larkin, Mike Schmidt and Terry Pendleton this week told The Associated Press they would favor removing Landis’ name because of concerns over his handling of Black players.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — J.R. Smith has joined LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers for their championship push.
The Lakers announced their long-anticipated signing of Smith as a substitute player Wednesday, the first day allowed under the rules of the NBA’s summer restart.
Smith is the Lakers’ roster replacement for Avery Bradley, who cited family reasons last week for his decision not to finish the season with his team in Orlando amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Cameron Champ was added to the field in the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit under a modified PGA Tour policy that allows players who test positive for the coronavirus to be eligible if they had no symptoms and get two negative test results at least 24 hours apart.
The decision Wednesday was the latest change to an evolving “Health and Safety Plan” as the tour enters its fourth week back from the COVID-19 shutdown. Champ is among six players and two caddies on the PGA Tour who have tested positive.
Ricky Elliott, the caddie for Brooks Koepka, tested positive before the Travelers Championship last week in Connecticut, and then had a negative test.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley will remain on staff but will take a pay cut and must undergo diversity training after being suspended for using a racial slur in a 2013 text message.
Utah announced Wednesday that Scalley will participate in diversity and inclusion education and have his salary cut from $1.1 million to $525,000.
His contract also was trimmed from a multiyear deal, which he signed last year, to a one-year deal, and he will no longer be the designated head coach in waiting.
Scalley was suspended last month when his use of a racial slur in a text message was posted on social media. Scalley issued a public apology for using the slur and Utah hired an outside firm to conduct an investigation.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The NCAA’s infractions case against the University of Kansas men’s basketball program has been accepted into a newly created independent investigation process that was created to handle especially complex cases.
The Infractions Referral Committee said Wednesday that the case against the Jayhawks and coach Bill Self would go through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process. The approval is the first significant step in a process that was created in August 2018 to deal with select cases and minimize perceived conflicts of interest.
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Kansas has been accused by the NCAA of committing five Level I violations, which are considered the most egregious, as part of the fallout of an FBI investigation into college basketball corruption. The case hinges on whether representatives of apparel company Adidas were acting as boosters when two of them arrange payments to prospective recruits.
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta United has signed free-agent midfielder Jürgen Damm, a former member of the Mexican National Team.
Damm played on four Mexican professional championship teams and most recently played in Liga MX for Tigres UANL.
Atlanta purchased Damm’s Discovery Rights from the Houston Dynamo in exchange for $50,000 in general allocation money. He will join the Atlanta roster after the team returns from the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida.
Atlanta United cleared an international roster spot for Damm by waiving midfielder Luiz Fernando.
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos will miss the upcoming MLS restart tournament to have hernia surgery.
The Galaxy announced Dos Santos’ injury Wednesday.
The club says Dos Santos will be sidelined for roughly six weeks by the minimally invasive surgery, which will be conducted at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Santa Monica.
DALLAS (AP) — Six players with FC Dallas have tested positive for COVID-19 and the entire team has been quarantined ahead of the MLS Is Back tournament.
The club confirmed in a statement Wednesday that the players tested positive upon arrival in Florida for the month-long tournament starting next week.
The team said all players and staff tested negative for coronavirus before leaving for the tournament on Saturday. Upon arrival, two players tested positive. Four more positive tests were uncovered in subsequent testing.
TRACK AND FIELD
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — George Williams, longtime track and field coach at St. Augustine’s College and a former coach with the U.S. Olympic team, has been fired, his attorney said Wednesday.
Nicholas Sanservino Jr., the attorney representing Williams, released a statement confirming that the 78-year-old coach had been fired on Wednesday without cause by the historically black college in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“Coach Williams will vigorously fight for his rights so he can continue to serve the students and greater community.,” Sanservino said in the statement.
Williams, who was not available for comment, is scheduled to address his firing on Thursday, Sanservino said.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man was freed from prison Wednesday after a county prosecutor declined to retry his case, punctuating years of work by WNBA star Maya Moore and other supporters who argued he was falsely convicted of burglary and assault charges.
Moore was on hand when Jonathan Irons, 40, walked out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center. She clapped as Irons approached a group of people waiting for his release. She then dropped to her knees at one point before joining a group hug around Irons.
He had been serving a 50-year prison sentence stemming from the non-fatal shooting of a homeowner in the St. Louis area when Irons was 16. But a judge threw out his convictions in March, citing a series of problems with the case, including a fingerprint report that had not been turned over to Irons’ defense team, according to The New York Times.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) — Everton Weekes, who formed one of the famous three “Ws” of West Indian cricket as part of a formidable batting lineup for more than a decade, has died. He was 95.
West Indies Cricket said the Barbados-born Weekes died Wednesday. He played alongside Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott, with all three players making their test debuts in 1948.
He was also a highly respected coach, analyst, team manager, match referee for the International Cricket Council, and a member of the ICC Hall of Fame.
Weekes made his test debut at the age of 22 against England at Kensington Oval. His final match was against Pakistan in Trinidad a decade later.
In his career, Weekes played 48 test matches and made 4,455 runs at an average of 58.61 per innings. That included a world-record five consecutive centuries in 1948 — scores of 141 against England in Jamaica, followed by scores of 128, 194, 162 and 101 in India. In his next innings, he made 90 when he was run out.
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