- Associated Press - Thursday, October 15, 2020


NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL has canceled next January’s Pro Bowl scheduled for Las Vegas.

During an owners meeting held virtually on Wednesday, the league opted to call off the all-star game, hoping to replace it with a variety of virtual activities. The NFL needs flexibility in January in case it needs to move regular-season games to that month because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pro Bowl, set for Jan. 31, a week before the Super Bowl, has lost much of its attractiveness in recent years.

If there is a Pro Bowl in 2022, the 32 owners voted to return it to the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The next Super Bowl in New Orleans has been pushed back from 2024 to 2025 in order to avoid a conflict with the city’s traditional Mardi Gras celebrations, the NFL announced Wednesday.

The NFL said the change was approved by all 32 clubs during a virtual league meeting.

New Orleans was initially named the 2024 host city in 2018, but the NFL’s decision to lengthen the regular season schedule from 16 to 17 games in 2023 created a conflict in 2024 with Mardi Gras.


A set of proposals to permit NCAA athletes to earn money from endorsements and sponsorships deals will go up for vote in January, the last step for the association to change its rules but not the last word on how name, image and likeness compensation will work.

One year after the NCAA’s Board of Governors directed membership at each of division of the association to come up with plans to allow athletes to cash in on their fame, the Division I Council on Wednesday approved a proposal that took shape in April.

The council also approved a proposal that would permit all NCAA athletes to transfer one time without having to sit out a season of competition.


Alabama coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne have tested positive for COVID-19, three days before the second-ranked Crimson Tide is set to face No. 3 Georgia in a clash of Southeastern Conference and national powers.

Both said their tests Wednesday morning came back positive, and Saban said in a statement that he “immediately left work and isolated at home.”

Saban, who monitored practice Wednesday from home, said he didn’t have any symptoms as of early evening. But the second-ranked Crimson Tide will almost certainly be without their iconic 68-year-old coach on the sideline when they play Georgia.

Saban said offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will oversee game preparations within the football building while he works from home.

Saban said Sarkisian, a former head coach at Washington and USC, will still call the offensive plays.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - No. 10 Florida and defending national champion LSU are now scheduled to play in December. Unfortunately for coach Dan Mullen, the stadium still won’t be packed.

The Southeastern Conference postponed Saturday’s LSU-Florida game a day after Mullen had 19 players and coaches test positive for COVID-19. Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said Wednesday the number is now up to 21 positives with considerably more in quarantine because of contract tracing.

Those players likely would have been unavailable against the Tigers, leaving Florida with fewer than 50 scholarship athletes and less than the SEC’s threshold (53) for holding games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Conference USA has pushed its football championship game back two weeks to Dec. 18, giving the league additional time to make up games postponed because of the coronavirus.

The league said Wednesday that its 16th championship game will now be played on a Friday night. The game had been scheduled for Dec. 5.

There have been three games matching C-USA opponents postponed the last two weeks. Seven other non-conference matchups were either postponed or canceled.


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Las Vegas will host an NCAA Tournament men’s regional for the first time after the NCAA changed a policy that prevented states with sports wagering from hosting championships.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that a 2023 NCAA Tournament men’s regional will be held in Las Vegas, the first time Nevada will host an NCAA championship since a women’s basketball regional was held at the Thomas & Mack Center in 1991.

The men’s regional in Las Vegas was among 450 host sites announced through 2026 for a variety of sports. Nevada will host 11 events, including the 2026 men’s Frozen Four, after the NCAA changed its stance on cities with sports betting last year.

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Dayton will continue to host the NCAA Tournament First Four through at least 2026.

The NCAA on Wednesday announced the extension of the contract giving the University of Dayton Arena the rights to the tournament play-in games.

UD Arena has hosted the event since the First Four began in 2011.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Danny Kaspar, the former Texas State basketball coach who resigned while under investigation for allegations he directed racist taunts at Black players, said he holds “only love in my heart for people of all races, colors and creeds” in a resignation letter released Wednesday by the school.

Kaspar resigned Sept. 22 while the school probed allegations raised by a former Bobcats player who had transferred. In his letter, Kaspar noted he had been a coach for 29 years, the last seven with Texas State, and that most of his players over his career were Black.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Colonial Athletic Association released its men’s and women’s basketball schedules for the 2020-21 season using a format designed to limit travel and exposure to COVID-19.

The schedules will run from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28 and include 18 games. Instead of traditional home-and-home contests, it will feature teams playing the same opponent on back-to-back days at the same site, primarily on Saturdays and Sundays.


NEW YORK (AP) - The NCAA women’s Final Four is finally headed west again.

Phoenix will host the 2026 championship, the NCAA announced Wednesday. It will be the first time since 2012, when Denver was the host, that the women’s Final Four will be in the Mountain or Western time zone. Tampa was awarded the 2025 Final Four, marking the fourth time that the Florida city will be the host. Tampa last hosted in 2019.

Portland, Oregon, and Columbus, Ohio, were the other two finalists.

The next four Final Fours will be played in San Antonio, Minneapolis, Dallas and Cleveland. Dallas will also host the Division II and III titles in 2023.


LONDON (AP) - A plan to transform English soccer engineered by Liverpool and Manchester United was rejected by Premier League rivals at a meeting on Wednesday.

Liverpool and United worked with the English Football League on a plan that would have provided more cash for the three professional divisions below the Premier League, but it was denounced by critics as a power grab by the wealthy elite to strengthen their control and split of television revenue.

The plan - known as Project Big Picture - was criticized by the government and Premier League leadership ahead of Wednesday’s video call between clubs.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The match between the Chicago Fire and Minnesota United scheduled for Wednesday night has been postponed due to a suspected case of COVID-19 among the United club.

The match was postponed for further testing. No reschedule date has been determined.


The Dallas Wings have fired coach Brian Agler, the team announced Wednesday.

Agler, who had one year left on his contract, came to the Wings in 2018 and led the team to an 8-14 mark this past season. Dallas finished one game out of making the playoffs with the youngest roster in the league.

The 62-year-old coach won titles with Seattle and Los Angeles and is second on the league’s wins list with 287.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Three-time Brazilian Olympian Sheilla Castro is coming out of retirement to play in a new U.S. professional volleyball league early next year.

She also hopes to make another Olympic team after already capturing two gold medals during a decorated career.

At 37, Castro will be the oldest player so far to commit to playing - and she would be 38 for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics if chosen for the Brazilian national team. Castro captured Olympic gold with Brazil at the 2008 Beijing Games and again in 2012 at London.


OTTAWA (AP) - Skate Canada, the second event of the Grand Prix series, has been canceled amid concern of rising COVID-19 cases in Ontario.

The event was scheduled for Oct. 30-31 in Ottawa with no fans in attendance, but the decision was made to scrap the competition by the city, the provincial government, and Skate Canada organizers.


DÜSSELDORF, Germany (AP) - The future of weightlifting at the Olympic Games was put in further doubt Wednesday after the governing body’s interim president was ousted and the International Olympic Committee expressed concern.

Interim president Ursula Garza Papandrea told The Associated Press that board members voted to remove her from office Tuesday during a virtual meeting which she did not attend, after she had called the meeting for Wednesday. The IWF said that first vice-president Intarat Yodbangtoey of Thailand chaired the meeting and assumed the powers of president.


AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) - John Reid, the New Zealand cricket great who captained his country for its first three test victories and was one of the world’s best allrounders in the 1950s and 60s, has died. He was 92.

Reid’s death was announced by New Zealand Cricket on Wednesday. The cause of death was not disclosed.

A hard-hitting batsman and a pacey seam bowler, Reid played 58 tests for New Zealand - captain for 34 of them. He scored 3,428 runs, including six centuries, and took 85 wickets.


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