Monday’s Sports In Brief

NBA

MIAMI (AP) — The NBA has told players to avoid high-fiving fans and strangers and avoid taking any item for autographs, the league’s latest response in its ongoing monitoring of the coronavirus crisis that has spread to most corners of the planet.

The league, in a memo sent to teams on Sunday and obtained Monday by The Associated Press, offered 10 recommendations to players with hopes of decreasing risks of getting the virus. Among them were not taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph seekers.

The NBA also told teams that it is consulting “with infectious disease experts, including the Centers for Disease Control” and infectious disease researchers at Columbia University in New York.

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Knicks hired Leon Rose as their president, hoping the longtime player agent can be just as successful as an executive.

Rose is taking over what has become one of the NBA’s worst franchises, headed toward its seventh straight season out of the playoffs. But teams such as Golden State and the Lakers have found success handing their basketball operations to an agent and the Knicks are hoping to do the same.

Rose, the former co-head of the basketball division at CAA Sports, replaces Steve Mills, who was fired early last month.

Rose has represented such All-Stars as LeBron James, Chris Paul and former Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, along with current young stars Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns.

NFL

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Standout defensive end Yannick Ngakoue no longer wants to sign a long-term deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Ngakoue announced his desire to play elsewhere via social media, a move that could force Jacksonville to place the franchise tag on the 24-year-old disgruntled defender and trade him.

Ngakoue has 37 1/2 sacks and 14 forced fumbles in four seasons. The speedy strip-sack specialist made the Pro Bowl in 2017 and was an alternate the last two seasons.

GOLF

On the fence about the Olympics at the start of the year, Dustin Johnson decided he won’t be going.

Johnson’s manager said in a text message that the FedEx Cup playoffs hold as much importance to Johnson as chasing a gold medal in Tokyo this summer.

Johnson’s name was removed from the Olympic golf ranking. At No. 5 in the world ranking, he currently would have been No. 3 among Americans behind Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas. Countries are allowed a maximum of four players in golf provided they are among the top 15 in the world ranking.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois rewarded basketball coach Brad Underwood for a significant jump this season with a three-year contract extension through 2026, the school announced.

The move comes with the Illini challenging for the Big Ten Conference championship in Underwood’s third season. They are ranked No. 23 in the AP Top 25, are 20-9 overall and are tied for second in conference play. Illinois went 14-18 and 12-21 in Underwood’s first two seasons.

Underwood signed a six-year contract in 2017 when he left Oklahoma State after leading the Cowboys to the NCAA Tournament in his lone season.

Underwood’s extension is pending approval by the university’s Board of Trustees at its meeting on March 12. The school also announced extensions through 2022 for his assistants.

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Tech withdrew its appeal of the NCAA postseason ban against its men’s basketball program and will not play in this month’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

The school announced Nov. 15 it would appeal a one-year ban on postseason play as well as scholarship reductions and limits on official visits. By accepting the postseason ban this year, Georgia Tech is assured of being eligible to compete in the postseason in the 2020-21 season and beyond.

The school is continuing its appeal of limits on official visits connected with home games for two seasons and the reduction of one scholarship each of the next four years.

Georgia Tech (15-14, 9-9 ACC) likely would have had to win the ACC Tournament next week in Greensboro, North Carolina, to earn a bid to this year’s NCAA Tournament. Even so, the school waited as long as possible to accept the ban this year in hopes the NCAA appeal would be successful.

BASEBALL

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones has joined the ESPN lineup.

The former Atlanta Braves star will work as a major league analyst, primarily on weeknight and holiday games. He’ll debut on opening day when San Francisco plays at Dodger Stadium on March 26.

Jones worked twice last year as a guest analyst for ESPN.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Baseball’s final qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics has been postponed from April to June because of concerns over the virus outbreak that has infected nearly 89,000 people and caused more than 3,000 deaths, mostly in China.

The World Baseball Softball Conference announced the qualification event scheduled for Taichung and Dou Liu in Taiwan from April 1-5 had been postponed to June 17-21 because of “player, personnel and spectator health and safety measures against the spread of the coronavirus.”

Hundreds of new cases of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease have been announced in recent days outside of China. There have been 40 cases and one death in Taiwan.

The Olympics are scheduled to open July 24, with baseball competition set to be played at Fukushima and Yokohama from July 29 to Aug. 8.

The second- and third-place teams from the Americas qualifying tournament in Arizona from March 22-26 will advance to the final qualifying tournament in Taiwan, joining a field that will include Australia, China, Netherlands and Taiwan.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — South Carolina, Baylor, Oregon and Maryland would be the No. 1 seeds if the women’s NCAA Tournament began Monday.

With two weeks to go until selection Monday, the NCAA revealed the top 16 teams to this point of the season. Most of the major conferences are set to begin their conference tournaments this week.

The snapshot of the top 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament field is the second and final one released this year. Those schools would potentially host the opening two rounds of the tournament, which begins March 20.