A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.
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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.
All times are Eastern.
NOTE: A story originally planned for Friday, BKC–The Low Majors-Facilities, will now move on Wednesday next week. It is part of our occasional series about the disparity between college basketball at the low end of Division I and the elite programs.
FRIDAY, Dec. 22
US HOCKEY RISING
In the first 20 years of the IIHF World Junior Championship tournament, Team USA managed two podium finishes – bronze medals in 1986 and 1992. The state of USA hockey has improved, and the results of the Junior Championship – the annual tournament for the world’s best players 20 and under – reflects the development work and higher profile of the sport in a nation where hockey is only the sixth most popular sport. The US has won gold medals three times since 2010, including last year when they beat Canada in a shootout in the riveting final game. But the Americans haven’t been able to successfully defend a title, nor have they been able to win a junior tournament on their own soil. That could change when the 10-nation tournament begins the day after Christmas in Buffalo, New York. By Mitch Stacy. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 3 a.m. Friday.
FBN–THE CATCH RULE
It’s a catch. Wait, there’s a catch to the catch. While coaches, players, fans and broadcasters become puzzled or annoyed by the NFL’s ”catch rule,” the people in charge of developing and refining it through the years also have struggled. They simply couldn’t find language to simplify it, leading to the inconsistency and controversy seen for seasons. Especially this season. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 p.m. Friday.
SATURDAY, Dec. 23
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Emily Sweeney almost went to the Olympics eight years ago, but lost a race-off – to her sister – for the final spot. She didn’t make it again four years later, and there were times when she wondered if it would ever happen. She wonders no more. Sweeney is one of three members of USA Luge’s women’s team that is headed to Pyeongchang, which means she can finally wear clothes bearing the Olympic rings. By Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos, video by 12 p.m. Saturday.
SUNDAY, Dec. 24
VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn. – Marissa Brandt believed her hockey career was over, until the call came inquiring about her interest in playing for South Korea’s upstart team in the upcoming Winter Olympics. As a native Korean, adopted as an infant by parents in Minnesota, she’s eligible to play for the host country. The experience has given her a life-changing chance to discover her roots, but there’s yet another twist. Her sister, Hannah Brandt, will also be going for the gold in Pyeongchang as a member of the U.S. women’s team. They’re in opposite pools in the tournament, but the Koreans and Americans could meet in the quarterfinals. By Dave Campbell. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos, video by 10 a.m. Sunday.
MONDAY, Dec. 25
FBC–T25-OHIO STATE FUTURE
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Reloading is going to be a little more challenging than usual for Ohio State coach Urban Meyer next fall. Seven fifth-year seniors who were key contributors are departing, including quarterback J.T. Barrett, a four-year starter who holds nearly every Ohio State passing and scoring record. Another handful of this season’s starters could depart early to enter the NFL draft. First, though, Meyer will focus on beating Southern California in the Cotton Bowl Dec. 29. By Mitch Stacy. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 3 a.m. Monday.
TUESDAY, Dec. 26
FBN–THE ICE BOWL
The wakeup call at the Holiday Inn in Appleton, Wisconsin, jolted the Dallas Cowboys out of bed. It was 7:30 a.m., the operator said, and the temperature outside was 17 below. It was Dec. 31, 1967, and the Cowboys were playing the Green Bay Packers, with the winners going to the second Super Bowl ever. Bart Starr was under center for the Packers, while Don Meredith led the Cowboys. On the sidelines were two iconic coaches, Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry. Fifty years later, players still shiver when they think of the day that became the Ice Bowl, one of three games played in the span of a decade that cemented the NFL into the consciousness of America. By Tim Dahlberg. UPCOMING: 1,900 words and photos by 3 a.m. Tuesday.
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 27
BKC–THE LOW MAJORS-FACILITIES
The top programs in college basketball have state-of-the-art practice facilities and play in arenas that would make some pro teams jealous. At the low end of Division I basketball, the workout rooms can be a haphazard array of random weights and the gym of the bandbox variety, often not even on campus. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m. Wednesday.
THURSDAY, Dec. 28
OLY–SKI-THE SNOW MAN
PINEDALE, Wyo. – The cattle rancher and hay farmer from western Wyoming will have a big influence on who wins the speed events at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Tom Johnston’s other job just so happens to be as one of the world’s foremost experts on shaping a race course, most notably the downhill and super-G courses that Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, Aksel Lund Svindal and the rest will zoom down come February. By Pat Graham. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos, video by 12 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 28.
FBN–THE ICE BOWL – A repeat of the story moving Tuesday on the Ice Bowl, including newly-produced video and AP Was There, a look back at AP’s story written from the game in 1967.
Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.