The Latest: On the stroke of time: a virtual rowing race
The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
Virtual racing — at least the timed variety — is coming to international rowing.
Rowing Australia says some of its coronavirus-idled athletes will take on those from Canada, Britain and New Zealand in the One Minute Challenge. It will start Friday and end next Tuesday and include anyone with a rowing machine at home to see how far they can row in one minute.
Members of the public will compete along with rowers from each nation’s Olympic and Paralympic teams for individual awards in various age, weight and adaptive rowing categories, with international bragging rights also at stake for the country that records the furthest combined distance.
Participants will be asked to log their scores on a live, real-time web platform, then share their results and nominate friends on social media using (hashtag) minutechallenge.
British Rowing chief executive Andy Parkinson says: “In these uncertain times, we’re delighted to be able to join together in friendly competition and motivate indoor rowers across our four nations. This couldn’t have happened without fantastic collaboration between each of our governing bodies.”
The Big 12 has become the first Power Five conference to say it will hold its football media days virtually.
Big 12 coaches and athletic directors made the decision Wednesday during a virtual spring meeting that replaced their annual gathering in Scottsdale, Arizona.
About 500 media members are usually credentialed to attend Big 12 media days, which were scheduled to be held July 21-22 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and the site of the league’s championship game.
The online media days will likely be held those same dates, though that was tentative.
Canadian Football League Commissioner Randy Ambrosie will testify at a House of Commons standing committee on finance Thursday.
The appearance on a videoconference will come nine days after news broke that the CFL asked the Canadian government for up to $150 million Canadian in financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ambrosie is part of a panel on arts, culture, sports and charitable organizations.
The CFL’s proposal to the federal government involves $30 million now to manage the current impact the novel coronavirus outbreak has had on league business, and up to another $120 million if the 2020 season is canceled.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association has announced the resumption of prep sports around the state can tentatively begin July 1.
All school-sponsored athletic activities were put on hold in March and later canceled because of school closures due to the new coronavirus. Those policies will remain in place through June.
The resumption of prep sports remains contingent on the state’s ability to gradually reopen for business under the plan outlined last week by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
If the the guidelines are met, athletes would be able to work out with teammates and coaches through at least Aug. 1.
The decision comes after Jennifer McCormick, Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction, clarified that June 30 will be the end of the traditionally defined school year.
Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke and the school’s five highest-paid coaches will take voluntary 20% pay cuts as the athletic department deals with a projected $7.5 million revenue shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Football coach Kevin Sumlin, men’s basketball coach Sean Miller, and baseball coach Jay Johnson will all take cuts for the 2020-21 school year. Women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes and softball coach Mike Candrea also agreed to salary reductions.
Other Arizona coaches will take smaller salary cuts as part of a university plan to reduce projected losses of $250 million through the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Heeke last month said the athletic department faces a roughly $7.5 million revenue shortfall in 2019-20 after the NCAA men's basketball tournament and all spring sports were canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The International Olympic Committee will hold an annual meeting through video conferencing on July 17.
The meeting of around 100 members, known as the IOC Session, had originally been scheduled to be held in Tokyo before the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics.
The one-year postponement of the Tokyo Games because of the new coronavirus, and global restrictions on travel and large gatherings of people, have left video conferencing as the best option.
The IOC says its executive board will discuss the Session agenda and a secure voting protocol. The board is due to meet remotely next week, on May 14.
North Carolina says it's launching a crowdfunding campaign to allow fans to help provide financial assistance to school athletes facing “extreme hardships” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The school announced the creation of the Helping Heels Fund on Wednesday. It is designed to receive gifts to directly aid athletes and their families with expenses as permitted by NCAA rules. Those expenses could include groceries, medical bills and technology needs for online classes or remote learning.
The fund is designed to supplement the school’s existing Student-Athlete Assistance Fund for the same issues. UNC has more than 800 student-athletes in 28 varsity sports.
Athletics director Bubba Cunningham says many people have reached out seeking to help school athletes amid the pandemic that has shut down college sports while displacing athletes from campuses and team facilities. He says the new fund “is an opportunity to offer resources beyond what our department is currently able to provide.”
The school's compliance office will vet any funds provided and no money will go directly from a donor to an athlete.
Orioles outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. is eager to get back on the baseball diamond, though not until he can be sure it’s in a safe environment.
Speaking Wednesday on a teleconference call from his home in Peachtree City, Georgia, Smith said he doesn’t want to return until there’s no threat of contracting the new coronavirus.
“There’s a definitely a concern about that,” Smith said. “We want to make sure it’s 100 percent safe. When they give us the go — if they do — to start back up again, we don’t want to contract that virus and then pass it around to others amongst ourselves and get other people sick and just continue that pandemic.
“Whenever they give us the go, when it’s like a really safe time to go back, I think that would be the best opportunity.”
Smith has been passing the time during the quarantine with his family, but he made time to participate in a video game challenge with other big leaguers. Playing MLB The Show 19, Smith went 19-10, finished fifth and was named Players League Best Manager.
— Reporting by David Ginsburg in Baltimore
Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the NBA team is going ahead with plans to open its training facility on Friday so players can individually work out.
Bickerstaff said the team has been in contact with local and Ohio health officials to make sure it is following safety guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team’s year-round facility in Independence, Ohio has been closed since mid-March.
Bickerstaff, who took over the Cavs when John Beilein stepped down in February midway through his first season, said the league has advised that any player and coach remain 12 feet apart while on the floor together.
He said coaches will be required to wear masks and gloves. Bickerstaff said the workouts are voluntary and “no one is being pressured to do anything.”
Torino has announced that a player has tested positive for COVID-19 after the first run of medical tests were carried out on the team as it begins the return to training.
The club has not named the player but says he is asymptomatic and has been placed in quarantine.
Most Serie A clubs are resuming training this week on an individual basis before full team training restarts on May 18.
The teams have been allowed to do so under a strict set of guidelines, including testing players and staff.
The Green Bay Packers are teaming with American Family Insurance to provide $20,000 worth of ready-made meals to northeast Wisconsin’s front-line workers in the fight against the new coronavirus.
Packers officials said the meals will be delivered to hospitals May 6-12 for Nurse Appreciation Week and will go to police and fire stations May 10-16 as part of Police Appreciation Week.
The Packers also have provided $1.5 million in grants through the Packers Give Back COVID-19 Community Relief Fund.
Juventus has announced that forward Paulo Dybala has recovered from the new coronavirus.
Juventus issued a brief statement Wednesday saying that Dybala’s two latest tests came back negative for COVID-19. The club says Dybala has “therefore recovered and will no longer be subjected to the home isolation regime.”
It was reported last week that Dybala was still positive for the disease after several weeks of tests.
Juventus and most of the other Serie A clubs are resuming training this week on an individual basis before full team training restarts on May 18.
The New Jersey Devils are donating 10,000 tickets for next season to health care workers with RWJBarnabas.
The Devils also promised to donate two extra tickets for every season ticket member and plan holder who use credits they earned this year for next year.
The NHL team plans to use social media to honor front-line workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in New Jersey and across the country. The tribute is called “Stick Taps at 7” and will be broadcast at 7 p.m. It will include videos of players, alumni, coaches, management, front office staff and others saluting doctors, nurses and health care workers.
RJWBarnabas Health is a sponsor of the Devils.
The owners of the team previously donated money and medical supplies to the RWJBarnabas Health Emergency Response Fund. Josh Harris and David Blitzer are the managing partners of the Devils.
Two more international golf tournaments for amateurs have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Golf Federation says the World Amateur Team Championships for men and women — scheduled over two weeks in October in Singapore — have been scratched. The tournament dates to 1958. It was moved in February from Hong Kong because of social unrest.
The World Amateur Team is held every other year. The IGF decided not to postpone it until 2021 because of the effect it would create with scheduling problems. It next will be played in France in 2022.
Also, the R&A says it has postponed until next year the inaugural Women’s Amateur Latin America Championship. It was scheduled for Sept. 3-6 in Buenos Aires. It now is scheduled for Sept. 2-5 in 2021.
The Spanish soccer federation is proposing an end to this season’s women’s league because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal is expected to be approved by the federation’s board on Thursday.
Barcelona was leading the competition at the time it was suspended in March and will be declared champion.
No teams will be relegated but the top two from the second division will be promoted.
There will be no relegation in the third and fourth divisions but the promoted clubs will come from the winners of playoff matches played without fans.
The head of the Australian Open says various contingency plans are being considered for the Grand Slam tournament scheduled for January 2021. They include scrapping it altogether because of the coronavirus pandemic or allowing just spectators from the host country.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley tells the Australian Associated Press that the “worst-case scenario" is no tournament at all next year.
Tiley is the Australian Open’s tournament director. He says organizers have “modeled everything” and tells AAP “our best-case scenario at this point is having an AO with players that we can get in here with quarantining techniques and Australian-only fans.”
More than 30 sanctioned tennis tournaments have been postponed or canceled so far because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The French Open was moved from May to September and Wimbledon was called off entirely for the first time in 75 years.
A decision on this year’s U.S. Open is expected in June.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Bundesliga can resume this month amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Merkel announced a loosening of a range of containment measures after meeting with the country’s 16 state governors. Pressure to relax the rules had been growing as the rate of daily infections in the country has dropped.
Soccer in the country’s top two divisions will be able to resume without spectators and with a range of other conditions designed to prevent another outbreak. Players will be tested and teams will also have to spend time in quarantine before games can restart.
The earliest the league can resume is May 16. The German soccer league is to hold a general meeting with the country’s 36 professional clubs in the top two divisions via video link on Thursday.
The Bundesliga was suspended with nine rounds remaining on March 13. The clubs had committed to finishing the season by the end of June.
Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes says all sporting competitions in the country will remain suspended until July 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Belgian soccer league says it will respect the national security council’s decision. The league recommended last month ending its season with the current standings declared final.
The league says “the working group’s proposals will be presented to the Pro League clubs at the general assembly on May 15.”
Club Brugge stands to be awarded the title and qualify for next season’s Champions League if the advice is confirmed. Brugge is currently 15 points ahead of second-place Gent with one game to go before the season-ending playoffs.
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