Thursday's Sports in Brief

Thursday's Sports in Brief

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 12:06 p.m. ET


ZURICH (AP) FIFA wants to decide in January if the 2026 World Cup will expand from its current 32-team format.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino says he expects a decision on expanding to 40 or 48 teams when the ruling council next meets. The January session is likely to be held in Zurich.

Infantino says the feeling was ''rather positive'' toward expansion in Thursday's council meeting.


The FIFA president was elected in February on a campaign pledge to add eight teams to the current tournament.

In a recent speech in Colombia, Infantino suggested a 48-team tournament with an opening playoff round of 16 matches. The 16 winners would advance to join 16 seeded teams.


DALLAS (AP) - The Stars honored five officers slain in downtown Dallas this summer, wearing decals of their badges on their helmets during a season-opening 4-2 win.

Family members of two of the slain officers, Dallas police Sgt. Michael Smith and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer Brent Thompson, participated in the pregame ceremonial puck drop. The captains for both teams, Jamie Benn of the Stars and Ryan Getzlaf of the visiting Anaheim Ducks, joined them at center ice.

When introduced, the families got a long and loud ovation in the arena only a few blocks from where the five officers were killed by a sniper on July 7.

The other officers killed were Dallas police Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens and Dallas police officers Michael Krol and Patrick Zamarripa.


ST. LOUIS (AP) - Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last month, has been selected to receive the Dean Smith Award, given annually to an individual in college basketball who embodies the spirit and values of the late North Carolina coaching great.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association will present Izzo with the award at a Spartans' home game to be announced.

Izzo is the second person to receive the Dean Smith Award. The USBWA established the award last year and selected former Georgetown coach John Thompson as the first recipient.

The award recognizes coaches for more than just their success in basketball.

T. Boone Pickens' alma mater finally has its national football championship.

It just didn't come the way the oil tycoon expected. The American Football Coaches Association has named Oklahoma State its 1945 national champion.

The AFCA, which made the announcement Thursday, said several schools requested that it establish a group of coaches to select winners from 1922, when the association was founded, to 1949, the year before its coaches' poll was first published. Oklahoma State is the first school to be retroactively named national champion. Pickens, a 1951 graduate who has donated more than $500 million to the school and whose name is on the football stadium, was thrilled to hear the news.

Army was The Associated Press national champion in 1945. Oklahoma A&M, as Oklahoma State was called as back then, finished No. 5 in the final AP poll that year. Coach Jim Lookabaugh's Aggies won all nine of their games, by an average of 23.2 points.


NAPA, Calif. (AP) - Scott Piercy began the new PGA Tour season by pouring in putts and setting the course record at Silverado, a 10-under 62 for a two-shot lead Thursday in the Safeway Open.

Conditions were practically perfect in the morning, and Piercy took advantage. He made 12 birdies , only three of them from inside 10 feet, and he even missed a pair of birdie chances from inside 8 feet.

He wasn't alone in attacking Silverado.

Paul Casey, coming off a pair of runner-up finishes in the FedEx Cup playoffs that signaled a return to form, birdied his last three holes for a 64. Patton Kizzire also shot a 64.

INCHEON, South Korea (AP) - Se Ri Pak ended her Hall of Fame career in tears Thursday in front of her adoring home fans in the LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship.

Overcome at the end of the sunny afternoon at Sky 72, Pak cried nearly throughout a retirement ceremony on the 18th hole. The Little Angels children's choir sang, players wore ''SE RI'' hats and farewell messages were played in a video montage.

''A lot of emotion going on through my mind,'' Pak said.

It mattered little to the fans and players, many of them drawn to golf by Pak, that she shot an 8-over 80 and was tied for last - 15 strokes behind leader Alison Lee - before withdrawing.

''It wasn't easy out there today,'' Pak said.

Hampered by left shoulder problems, the 39-year-old Pak said in Phoenix in March that this season would be her last and she stepped away as planned after the first round of the tour's lone South Korean event.