Monday Sports in Brief
MIAMI (AP) — Don Shula, who won the most games of any NFL coach and led the Miami Dolphins to the only perfect season in league history, died Monday at his home, the team said. He was 90.
Shula surpassed George Halas’ league-record 324 victories in 1993. He retired following the 1995 season with 347 wins, 173 losses and six ties, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Shula became the only coach to guide an NFL team through a perfect season when the 1972 Dolphins went 17-0. They won the Super Bowl again the following season, finishing 15-2.
Shula appeared in six Super Bowls and reached the playoffs in four decades. He coached three Hall of Fame quarterbacks: Johnny Unitas, Bob Griese and Dan Marino.
During his 26 seasons in Miami, Shula became an institution. His name adorns an expressway, an athletic club and a steakhouse chain.
Shula’s only losing seasons came in 1976 and 1988, but he drew increasing criticism from fans and the media in his final years and retired in January 1996, with Jimmy Johnson replacing him.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL will release its regular-season schedule on Thursday night, the league announced Monday, as it continues conducting business mostly as usual amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The schedule will be revealed in a 3-hour telecast on NFL Network starting at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Thus far, the league has not announced any major changes to its schedule as a result of the pandemic, which has brought most organized sports around the globe to a halt. NFL training facilities are closed because of the pandemic, leading to the league’s first-ever “virtual offseason,” but the league still plans to start the season on time while playing in teams’ home stadiums.
Opening day for the 2020 season is Sept. 10, with the season set to conclude with Super Bowl 55 on February 7, 2021.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL is moving its five games scheduled for London and Mexico City this season back to U.S. stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic. All five regular-season games will be played at the stadiums of the host teams.
Scheduled were two home games for the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London and two at Tottenham’s new facility, with the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins as hosts. The Arizona Cardinals were to be the home team for the game at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
Opponents had not been announced.
The NFL said in a statement Monday that “in order for the entire season to be played in NFL teams’ stadia under consistent protocols focused on the well-being of players, personnel and fans … Commissioner Roger Goodell made this decision after consultation with our clubs, national and local governments, the NFL Players Association, medical authorities and international stadium partners.”
Dalton is guaranteed at least $3 million on the one-year deal that could be worth up to $7 million for the 32-year-old former Cincinnati starter. The Bengals released Dalton with a year remaining on his contract after drafting Joe Burrow first overall.
It’s the biggest investment in a backup by the Cowboys since Kyle Orton was behind Tony Romo in 2012-13. Orton replaced an injured Romo for the regular-season finale in 2013 when Philadelphia beat Dallas with a playoff berth on the line.
Prescott hasn’t missed a game in his four seasons, including three playoff starts. Rush, an undrafted free agent in 2017 out of Central Michigan, got mop-up duty in five games over three seasons. He completed one of three passes.
NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole aren’t the only major leaguers with a big financial incentive to get back on the field.
While they head a starry quartet that would take in more than $200,000 per game, 65 players would earn at least $100,000 each time their team wins or loses if the pandemic-delayed major league season get under way, according to an analysis of their contracts by The Associated Press.
Most rookies and those making the minimum would get nearly $3,500 each. Every game added to the big league schedule earns players about $24 million in aggregate.
Clubs would benefit, too, with huge revenue streams flowing from regional sports networks and national broadcast contracts. A contentious negotiation is likely if Major League Baseball asks the players’ association to accept salary cuts to compensate for competing in empty ballparks.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The NCAA has accused the Louisville men’s basketball program of committing a Level I violation with an improper recruiting offer and extra benefits and several Level II violations, including an accusation that former Cardinals coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
The notice released on Monday is the completion of a two-year NCAA investigation following a federal corruption probe into college basketball. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II, which led to the ousters of Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich in October 2017.
The school noted those personnel moves and other corrective measures in a statement and subsequent teleconference in which it said it takes the allegations seriously. The school has 90 days to respond.
Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi said the school would accept responsibility for violations it committed and “will not hesitate to push back” against allegations it believes are not supported by facts.
Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson headline a $3 million charity match for COVID-19 relief that will mark the first live golf on television since the pandemic shut down sports worldwide.
The May 17 match will be played at Seminole Golf Club in South Florida, a fabled course along the ocean where Ben Hogan once prepared for the Masters. It is to be televised by NBC networks, including Golf Channel, Sky Sports and the PGA Tour’s global TV partners.
It will be the first golf event at Seminole shown on television.
McIlroy and Johnson, major champions who have reached No. 1 in the world, will be partners in a Skins match against Oklahoma State alumni Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.
McIlroy and Johnson are playing for the American Nurses Foundation, while Fowler and Wolff are playing for the CDC Foundation. The match is titled, “TaylorMade Driving Relief.” All four players have endorsement deals with TaylorMade.
The governing bodies of tennis plan to announce as soon as this week they are launching a fund of more than $6 million aimed at lessening the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic for about 800 singles and doubles players.
According to an email obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, the WTA and ATP professional tours, the groups that run the four Grand Slam tournaments and the International Tennis Federation are expected to establish eligibility rules that will factor in the players’ rankings and past prize money earnings.
If $6 million were evenly distributed to 800 players, each would get $7,500.
The seven entities involved in the initiative are contributing to what the email refers to as the “Player Relief Programme,” and the money will be divided equally among men and women. The hope is additional funding will come via other sources, including donations from higher-earning players and auctions.
The email also confirms the WTA and ATP would oversee the distribution of the financial aid, something mentioned when word emerged last month of some sort of tennis fund in the works.
—By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich.
MADRID (AP) — Novak Djokovic apparently broke confinement rules in Spain by going back to a tennis court on Monday.
Djokovic posted a video on Instagram showing him exchanging shots with another man at a tennis club in the coastal city of Marbella, where the Serb has reportedly stayed.
Djokovic filmed the video while hitting shots and wrote he was “so happy to play on clay .. well, just for a bit with my phone in the hands.”
Spain on Monday loosened some of the lockdown measures that had been in place since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, allowing professional athletes to return to practice. But sports facilities are supposed to remain closed at least until next week in most parts of the country, with the exception of training centers for teams in professional leagues in sports such as soccer.
The Spanish tennis federation said in a statement on Monday that professional players in Spain were allowed to exercize by themselves or with a coach, but not yet on a tennis court.
WOMEN’S COLLEGE SPORTS
Women’s flag football will become a varsity sport for NAIA schools by next year, the organization announced Monday.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has secured a two-year partnership with the NFL and its NFL FLAG arm, and Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX). The NAIA will develop league infrastructure and operations for the first women’s flag football competition governed by a collegiate athletics association.
The NAIA will host its first showcase open to female football athletes in late summer or early fall. The first competitive season will be held next spring, and the NAIA will host an emerging sport or invitational championship in the spring of 2022.
INGELWOOD, Calif. (AP) —Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer on Monday completed his purchase of The Forum from Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. for $400 million.
Newly created Forum Entertainment LLC will continue operating the building that opened in 1967 as a concert venue. The current management team will remain in place and report to Gillian Zucker, president of business operations for the Clippers.
All of The Forum’s California-based staff are expected to stay on as employees of the new company and help with the transition.