Friday Sports in Brief

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball and its players are moving closer — to a deal or to Commissioner Rob Manfred ordering a shortened season without an agreement.

MLB offered players 80% of their prorated salaries and a 72-game schedule beginning July 14 in an effort to start the pandemic-delayed season, according to details of the proposal obtained by The Associated Press.

Players would get 70% of their prorated salaries during the regular season and the rest for completion of the postseason under MLB’s plan, given to the union Friday.

“This represents our final proposal for a 72-game season,” Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter to union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer that was obtained by the AP. “You should let us know by the end of the day on June 14 whether players desire to accept it.”

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — While Major League Baseball and the affiliated minor leagues are shut down, an independent circuit is set to open on July 3 with some fans in the seats.

The American Association said Friday its six teams will play in three hubs due to the new coronavirus, at least at the start of the season.

Minnesota’s St. Paul Saints will play home games at Sioux Falls Stadium along with South Dakota’s Sioux Falls Canaries. Manitoba’s Winnipeg Goldeyes will be based at Newman Outdoor Field along with North Dakota’s Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. The Chicago Dogs will play home games at the Ballpark Commons along with the Milwaukee Milkmen.

All three home teams are in position to sell about 25% to 33% of their ballpark’s capacities.

BASKETBALL

The NBA gave teams a more definitive timetable for the restart to the pandemic-interrupted season Friday, including required coronavirus testing that is set to begin this month and mandatory individual workouts in early July before training camps.

The league is still working on completing the health and safety protocols that will essentially become the rulebook for the restart at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida — and told teams that talks with the National Basketball Players Association on those issues are continuing.

Meanwhile, a person with direct knowledge of the talks said that Disney workers who will be on the campus during the NBA restart will have to follow a long list of protocols — including constant mask or other appropriate personal protective equipment usage when in the vicinity of any NBA participants or others there for the restart, strict social distancing guidelines and a submission to daily temperature checks and symptom self-assessments.

—By Pro Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds.

AUTO RACING

Formula One races in Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan were canceled on Friday because of issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

The sport’s governing body said it still hopes to deliver up to 18 races in the rearranged 2020 season, with the first eight already confirmed starting with a double-header in Austria in early July.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix was due to be rescheduled after the postponement of its original race date on June 7, while the Singapore Grand Prix was scheduled for Sept. 20.

The Japanese Grand Prix, scheduled for Oct. 11, was canceled because of ongoing travel restrictions during the pandemic.

SOCCER

TURIN, Italy (AP) — Soccer resumed in Italy in a surreal atmosphere as Juventus drew with 10-man AC Milan 0-0 on Friday to reach the Italian Cup final on the away goals rule.

The first leg finished 1-1 in Milan before the coronavirus forced the season to be suspended on March 9.

Napoli hosts Inter Milan in the other semifinal second leg on Saturday.

HORSE RACING

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jockeys competing in California won’t be allowed to strike a horse more than six times during a race, and then only in an underhanded position, according to a new rule approved by the California Horse Racing Board.

The rule would allow no more than two strikes in succession using whips that must meet new board standards to soften the blows.

The board voted 4-2 on Thursday in a meeting that lasted nearly seven hours to approve the rule that was first proposed in March 2019. Commissioners Alex Solis, a retired Hall of Fame jockey, and Dennis Alfieri represented the no votes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen became the all-time leading trainer at Churchill Downs on Friday, saddling Drop Dead Gorgeous to a win in the first race for his 738th victory beneath the Twin Spires.

Asmussen overtook Louisville native Dale Romans, who held the record since Nov. 12, 2017, when he surpassed Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who was the historic track’s leading trainer for over 31 years.

Asmussen added to his total, winning the second race with Hulen.

SPORTS BUSINESS

Florida has cleared the way for college athletes in the state to earn money from endorsement deals as soon as next summer. That comes even as some in college sports want to slow things down due to concerns about how athlete compensation will actually work.

A bill that would allow college athletes in Florida to be paid for the use of their name, images and likenesses was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis. By then, both the NCAA and Congress could have rules or legislation in place to lift those restrictions, too.

Florida is the third state, joining California and Colorado, to pass an NIL law targeting current NCAA rules that restrict college athlete compensation.

NEW YORK (AP) — Nike, the NFL and other businesses will give their employees a day off for Juneteenth for the first time this year, the latest example of how American employers are responding to protests that have placed additional attention on racial injustice in the U.S.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger came to Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War and slavery. Although slavery was already abolished more than two years earlier by the Emancipation Proclamation, it continued in some areas.

Texans began celebrating the day a year later with parades and parties. It’s not a federal holiday, but most states observe it in some way, except three: Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to a list compiled by the Congressional Research Service.

SPORTS CONFERENCES

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Institute of Technology is switching conferences, joining America East and leaving the Atlantic Sun.

America East announced its board of presidents had unanimously voted to to give NJIT full conference membership, effective 2020-21.

NJIT will become America East’s 10th member and move into a league that is a more natural geographic fit, with school such as Hartford, Maine, Binghamton and Maryland-Baltimore County. The Newark-based school has been competing in NCAA’s Division I since 2006. It sponsors 16 varsity sports.

COURTS

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — NFL free agent Antonio Brown pleaded no contest Friday to charges related to a fight with a moving truck driver outside his South Florida home earlier this year.

As part of a deal with Broward County prosecutors, Brown pleaded no contest to burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and criminal mischief. He will serve two years of probation, undergo a psychological evaluation and follow-up treatment, attend an anger management course, perform 100 hours of community service and follow a stay-away order from the truck driver and the moving company owner.

Judge Edward Merrigan Jr. withheld adjudication, meaning Brown won’t receive a criminal conviction on his record if he successfully completes his probation.