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The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
The Breeders’ Cup is donating cash to help racetrack backstretch communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Lexington, Kentucky-based organization gave $25,000 to the Race Track Chaplaincy of America. The money will be allocated to help those most in need at various backstretch communities.
Breeders’ Cup also donated 4,500 gloves, 2,000 hair covers, 1,200 Tyvek suits, 500 masks and 500 shoe covers to the state of Kentucky for medical professionals to treat COVID-19 patients.
Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Drew Fleming says the group remains “fully committed” to holding the world championships at Keeneland on Nov. 6-7.
However, if the event is canceled or held without spectators, Fleming says anyone who has already purchased tickets, or is thinking of doing so, would receive a full refund.
Liberty University says it will allow all 19 of its spring sport athletes whose seasons were cut short by the novel coronarvirus to return next season and finish their careers.
The NCAA Division I Council voted March 30 to permit spring sport athletes to return and, for one year, suspended financial aid rules governing the permissible number of scholarships a school can offer.
The Flames’ spring sports include baseball, softball, men’s golf, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s outdoor track & field.
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has started a COVID-19 relief fund to help raise awareness of the impact of the pandemic on minority communities.
He opened the effort with a donation of $100,000.
“Black and brown communities are being disproportionately devastated by COVID-19 because of hundreds of years of structural racism,” Kaepernick said in a post on his Instagram account.
The 32-year-old Kaepernick sparked one of the biggest controversies in NFL history when he started kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest social injustice in America.
Kaepernick hasn’t appeared in an NFL game in three-plus years. He filed a grievance against the league, contending teams colluded to keep him out. The sides reached an undisclosed settlement.
Two-time Olympic skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin is stepping up to the microphone Friday to take part in a fundraiser for Goggles for Docs.
The self-taught singer and guitarist will perform from her home in Colorado as part of the grassroots effort to provide health care workers with ski/snowboard goggles to help in their care of patients. So far, they’ve donated more than 30,000 to hospitals and clinics.
The virtual benefit concert also will feature international singer/songwriter KT Tunstall. It can be heard on Facebook.com/REVERB.
Shiffrin won gold in the slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games and another in the giant slalom four years later in Pyeongchang. The 25-year-old, who has captured three overall World Cup titles, took a six-week break from ski racing this season following the death of her father.
Joe Kelly’s aim needs some work.
The Los Angeles Dodgers reliever was tossing some pitches in his backyard, throwing at a bull’s-eye target enclosed on three sides by netting. One throw got away from him, sailing past the right side of the netting and breaking a bedroom window.
“Oh!” Kelly exclaims in a video posted on social media, holding his right hand to his mouth.
His wife Ashley asks, “Wondering how quarantine is going? Joe was working on a changeup” while panning to the broken window.
“Yeah, that’s cool,” she says after a piece of glass falls out of the pane. “Rad.”
Last year, Kelly was scratched from a spring training appearance after he hurt his back while cooking Cajun food.
Colorado coach Jared Bednar says the three Avalanche players that tested positive for the novel coronavirus are feeling better.
In a teleconference call Thursday, Bednar said the players adhered to the guidelines and self-isolated.
“As far as I know, they’re all doing good and back with their families,” Bednar said. “Those guys are lucky and were lucky there wasn’t anything too serious with their symptoms. They were able to come through it without any major complications.”
The NCAA is permitting coaches in all Division I sports to hold up to eight hours per week of virtual meetings and instruction with their players, beginning Monday through May 31.
The Division I Council Coordination Committee made the adjustment this week to allow coaches more time to connect with their teams while social-distancing measures are in place to fight the coronavirus.
Athletes will be required to have at least one day off per week and required physical activities continue to be prohibited. NCAA rules require a sports-safety certified staff member be present when athletes do required physical activities such as conditioning, strength training or practicing.
Normally, coaches are allowed two hours per week to work with players and an additional six hours per week of strength and conditioning in the offseason.
The NCAA also said teams are prohibited from requiring any activities beginning one week before the start of their school’s final examination period for the spring semester through the conclusion of exams.
Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown says he’s “scared” the NFL will not have a 2020 season because of the threat of coronavirus.
Brown continues to train in Oklahoma but is unsure if Baltimore will get a chance to defend its AFC North title.
“I’m a little scared. It’s a serious situation,” he said. “You can only control what you can control, and for me personally that’s making sure I come back in the best shape and making sure my weight is where it needs to be.”
The final decision by the NFL is out of his hands.
“I am a little worried that we won’t have a season, but that’s up to the governors, the President, (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell and all those other people.”
–David Ginsburg reporting in Baltimore
Rutgers football players have had family members get sick with the coronavirus and some have dealt with a death, coach Greg Schiano says.
Speaking to the media for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the Big Ten Conference university and its athletic programs last month, Schiano said Thursday his biggest concern is the health of his players and their families.
Schiano said none of his football players is known to have had the virus. Once he hears about a virus-related illness in a player’s family, Schiano telephones the player to ask how the school can help.
While the start of horse racing season at Belmont Park is being postponed from the original April 24 date, the New York Racing Association says it’s committed to holding the Belmont Stakes in this year.
NYRA on Thursday announced the spring/summer meet will be delayed but did not set a new opening day. It continues to assess options for the Belmont Stakes, scheduled for June 6, including shifting the third jewel of the Triple Crown to a later date.
The Kentucky Derby has already been rescheduled from May 2 to Sept. 5. The Maryland Jockey Club has canceled infield activities for the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore but not announced whether it would be held May 16 or a later date.
Racing at Belmont Park is scheduled to go on through July 12 before New York racing shifts to Saratoga in upstate New York.
The new CEO of the U.S. Tennis Association says he expects a decision on the status of the 2020 U.S. Open to be made by June and calls the prospect of holding the Grand Slam tournament without spectators because of the coranivirus pandemic “highly unlikely.”
Mike Dowse, whose term began on Jan. 1, said in a conference call with reporters Thursday that “time is on our side at this point” because the U.S. Open is not scheduled to begin until late August.
It would be the next major tennis championship on the calendar because the French Open’s start was postponed from May until September and Wimbledon was canceled altogether.
The men’s and women’s tennis tours are on hold entirely until at least mid-July, and one tournament in August already has been scrapped.
As for holding the U.S. Open with no fans, Dowse said the USTA is “not taking anything off the table, but right now, I’d say that’s a highly unlikely scenario.”
He did add that the USTA “may reconsider.”
The International Skating Union has formally canceled its figure skating and short track world championships because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ISU made the decision after an online meeting of its governing council.
The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships were initially set for March 13-15 in Seoul, South Korea, while the World Figure Skating Championships were supposed to be held in Montreal from March 16-22. Both events had already been postponed in the early days of the worldwide lockdown caused by the pandemic. Now, it’s official — they won’t be held at all.
This will be the first year without the figure skating worlds since 1946, the last of a seven-year layoff because of World War II. Since the event’s founding in 1896, the only other cancellations occurred from 1915-21 because of World War I and its aftermath.
The World Synchronized Skating Championships in Lake Placid, New York have been formally canceled as well. That event was originally set for April 3-5.
The ISU plans another online meeting April 28 to discuss scheduling possibilities for the 2020-21 skating season.
More than 50 Major League Baseball players representing all 30 teams have raised nearly $1 million to provide over 4 million meals to support childhood hunger prevention during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Home Plate Project is a partnership between Major League Baseball, country music superstar Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation, and Big League Impact, a program led by St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and Texas Rangers pitcher Kyle Gibson.
The Home Plate Project initiative was originally scheduled to launch its second year in the fall. But Brooks, Wainwright and Gibson saw the urgency now to provide meals for children who rely on free or reduced-price meals at schools that are closed because of the pandemic.
On short notice, the charity groups were able to raise $937,100.
Wainwright founded Big League Impact in 2013. He says the big leaguers felt the need to jump in right away to help feed kids in their cities.
Italian second-division soccer club Ascoli has fired its coaching staff because of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ascoli says it made the decision only after coach Roberto Stellone and his staff refused to terminate their contracts consensually with a settlement agreement.
The Serie B team says the move is part of measures being taken to “safeguard” the squad’s future “amid the temporary situation we are experiencing.”
Stellone was hired in February to replace Paolo Zanetti. The former coach and his staff are still under contract with the club.
Youth team coach Guillermo Abascal has been promoted to direct the first squad.
Ascoli is in 15th place in the 20-team division.
No soccer games have been played in Italy since March 9. That was when the government ordered a nationwide lockdown. The lockdown is set to expire after May 3.
Former NFL coach Don Shula and three of his former Miami Dolphins players are providing free meals to those seriously affected by the coronavirus crisis. The program is funded by a $250,000 grant from team owner Stephen Ross.
Shula, John Offerdahl, Kim Bokamper and Bob Brudzinski — all involved in the restaurant business — have teamed to help deliver breakfast, lunch or dinner to those most at risk.
The Dolphins said Thursday the program provides wrapped meals for health care and nonprofit organizations and first responders. It is also aimed at keeping food service workers employed.
Mike Conley Jr. expected to spend this week starting a quest for a championship with the Utah Jazz.
He’s playing for the NBA HORSE title instead.
Conley is one of four semifinalists in the tournament. The conclusion will be streamed Thursday night on the ESPN platforms. The other semifinalists are retired NBA champion Chauncey Billups, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine and WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky.
The HORSE tournament was born to give basketball-starved fans some content and Conley says it scratched his itch to be competitive again as well.
Conley says “HORSE is something that we’ve all played growing up and it’s something I actually play after most of my workouts in the summertime.”
Conley adds “I like to still have fun and throw shots off the backboard, the walls, bounce stuff in. It’s just good to get the creative juices flowing again and I know all the competitors are feeling that way.”
The Canadian Open golf tournament has been canceled because of the to the coronavirus pandemic.
The event was scheduled for June 8-14 at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
The Canadian Open is the third oldest event on the PGA Tour schedule behind the British Open and the U.S. Open.
The French soccer federation is preparing a rescue package for its 14,000 amateur clubs.
The FFF says it will announce its “massive support plan for amateur soccer” in the coming days. It says the plan will support clubs when their leagues restart next season.
The FFF canceled all its leagues this season because of the coronavirus pandemic except the third division and the women’s first division. The top two men’s leagues in France and the League Cup are run by the LFP.
The French Cup final on April 25 and the women’s French Cup semifinals on March 21 have been postponed but not canceled.
The U.S. Tennis Association says it is overseeing a commitment of more than $50 million to help the sport deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The USTA says it is shaving more than $20 million from its budget by reducing salaries of its management and eliminating programs in player development and marketing.
The group that runs the U.S. Open says the total future support provided by the USTA and its industry partners for the sport at the grassroots level “will be determined by the financial performance” of the 2020 Grand Slam tournament in Flushing Meadows.
The USTA says it still plans to stage its tournament as scheduled from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.
The U.S. Open would be the next major tennis championship on the calendar after the French Open was postponed and Wimbledon was canceled.
The WTA and ATP professional tours are currently suspended until at least July and one tournament in August already has been called off.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports
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sources: sports news from abc.com