Friday’s Sports In Brief
NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA indefinitely delayed the start of training camps and the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Training camps were to open April 26 and the regular season May 15.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the league will “use this time to conduct scenario-planning regarding new start dates and innovative formats.”
The postponement of the 2020 Olympics gives the WNBA flexibility. The league was set to have a month break in July for the Tokyo Games.
WNBA cities New York and Seattle are major virus hot spots. One of the Seattle’s homes for the season, the Angel of the Winds Arena, is being used as a coronavirus isolation site. Las Vegas and Connecticut play in casino arenas that are shut down..
ATLANTA (AP) — Dayton forward Obi Toppin won the Naismith Trophy as college basketball’s most outstanding player.
Already The Associated Press player of the year, Toppin had a breakout sophomore season for the third-ranked Flyers, averaging 20 points and 7.5 rebounds and shooting 63%.
Flyers coach Anthony Grant also swept Naismith and AP honors.
Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu won the women’s player award.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas fired women’s basketball coach Karen Aston after eight seasons.
Aston was 184-83 and 93-51 in the Big 12. Her best season was 2015-16 when the Longhorns were 31-5 and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. They lost in the first round last year.
NEW YORK (AP) — Days after the NFL revealed its hopes of conducting a normal regular season and playoffs, its chief medical officer warned that nothing is a certainty during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Allen Sills, a neurosurgeon who has been with the NFL since 2017, says he and other league and team medical personnel have been in constant communication with health officials throughout the country, looking at the same data they are using to make public recommendations. The NFL also has consulted with the other major sports leagues and the players’ union.
The NFL has done that in its revisions to the draft in three weeks, which will be conducted remotely with no public events. It also has temporarily barred teams from using their facilities, meeting in person with free agents and draft prospects.
Beyond the draft, the league must decide on allowing offseason workouts and minicamps that usually occur in the spring. And then on conducting training camps and the preseason.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert to a one-year contract.
The 10-year veteran was a free agent after missing last season because of a shoulder injury.
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by fantasy sports contestants who claimed they were damaged by sign stealing in Major League Baseball.
Five men who participated in DraftKings fantasy contests from 2017-19 sued MLB, MLB Advanced Media, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox in federal court in Manhattan, claiming fraud, violation of consumer-protection laws, negligence, unjust enrichment and deceptive trade practices by teams that violated MLB’s rules against the use of electronics to steal catchers’ signs.
“The connection between the alleged harm plaintiffs suffered and defendants’ conduct is simply too attenuated to support any of plaintiffs’ claims for relief,” U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in a 32-page opinion.
NEW YORK (AP) — About 370 players who were at big league spring training with minor league contracts will get advance payments of up to $50,000 each from the Major League Baseball Players Association.
The money will be in addition to $400 weekly allowances being paid to all minor leaguers through May 31 by Major League Baseball. Players can receive $5,000 if they have at least one day of major league service. The amount increases to $7,500 for one year of service, $15,000 for two, $25,000 for three and $50,000 for six.
LONDON (AP) — The English Premier League was suspended indefinitely amid club discussions about player salary cuts during the coronavirus-forced break.
Having previously given a tentative — and improbable — return date of April 30, the league said the season would not resume at the start of May. Teams have nine or 10 games left to play, with Liverpool needing two more wins to wrap up its first title since 1990.
MIAMI (AP) — The CONCACAF Nations League semifinals and final in June were called off, a decision that leaves the U.S. men to play their fewest matches in a year since 2007.
The U.S. was scheduled to play Honduras on June 4 in Houston, with Mexico meeting Costa Rica in the other semifinal. The winners were to play three days later in Arlington, Texas.
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Preakness is looking for a new date and has canceled the infield party at the Triple Crown race normally held on the third Saturday in May.
The Kentucky Derby has already been moved from May 2 to Sept. 5, and it’s possible the Preakness could be held in mid-September.
NEW YORK (AP) — A hacker posted a racial slur hundreds of times in an online fan video chat with a black New York Rangers prospect.
The NHL team scrambled to disable the hacker on the Zoom chat with K’Andre Miller, the 20-year-old former Wisconsin defenseman drafted No. 22 overall in 2018.
The hacker repeatedly posted a one-word slur in all capital letters on the Rangers’ “Future Fridays” series on Twitter.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — The U.S. Tennis Association advised all players to stand down during the coronavirus pandemic in a posting on its website.
The USTA called it “in the best interest of society to take a collective pause.” It said there have not been specific studies about tennis and the COVID-19 illness, but there is “the possibility” germs could be transferred through the sharing and and touching of tennis balls, net posts and other surfaces.
FAR HILLS, N.J. (AP) — The U.S. Women’s Open at Champions in Houston was shifted from June 4-7 to Dec. 10-13, the latest a major championship has ever been played.
The 1929 PGA Championship ended Dec. 7 in Los Angeles.
The LPGA Tour also pushed back the resumption of its schedule until the middle of June and found slots for three postponed tournaments.