The Ohio State athletic department has paused all voluntary workouts following the results of its most recent COVID-19 testing, it announced Wednesday evening.
Seven teams are affected: football, men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
It is Ohio State’s policy to not share cumulative COVID-19 information publicly because, the university said, it could lead to the identification of individuals affected and compromise their medical privacy.
Student-athletes who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for at least 14 days and receive daily checkups from the athletic department medical staff. Student-athletes with roommates must self-isolate in a designated room on campus.
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Here is the statement from the athletic department:
The Ohio State Department of Athletics has paused all voluntary workouts on campus following the results of its most recent COVID-19 testing of student-athletes. Seven teams’ workouts are affected by this pause: men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
The university is not sharing cumulative COVID-19 information publicly as it could lead to the identification of specific individuals and compromise their medical privacy.
If a student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19, he/she will self-isolate for at least 14 days and receive daily check-ups from the Department of Athletics medical staff. Student-athletes living alone will isolate in their residence. If they have roommates, they will self-isolate in a designated room on campus.
The health and safety of our student-athletes is always our top priority.
The University of North Carolina announced an outbreak of COVID-19 among its athletic department in Chapel Hill on Wednesday that will halt the football team’s voluntary off-season workouts, according to The News & Observer in Raleigh.
In a press release, the school said it conducted 429 tests of athletes, coaches and staff and 37 tests came back positive for the coronavirus. The Orange County Health Department has identified the situation as a cluster, which means there are five or more people who are positive for COVID-19.
The football team’s workouts, which are led by players without coaches present per NCAA rules, will be paused at least for one week.
Jamal Crawford has found a new home in the NBA.
The veteran shooting guard agreed to sign with the Brooklyn Nets to play in the Orlando bubble, according to The Athletic.
The agreement comes after four Nets rotation players declared they will not play when the season resumes later this month. Taurean Prince, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and Wilson Chandler have all opted out, which creates extra strain on a team saddled with injuries to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Nic Claxton.
The 40-year-old Crawford is one replacement player who will step into a role with the team.
A longtime explosive offensive option, Crawford found a niche this past decade as a sixth man off the bench. Since 2010, he has averaged more than 14 points per game and only started 40 of 729 contests.
While fans throughout the league have clamored for a team to sign him, the Nets likely aren’t getting that version of the star role player. Over the past three seasons, Crawford’s production has dwindled.
Last year with the Phoenix Suns, Crawford averaged 7.9 points on 39.7% shooting overall and 33.2% from deep. He wasn’t an especially productive player on the 19-win Phoenix team, and had remained unsigned since.
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He could still have something left: Crawford finished his Suns tenure with a 51-point outburst in the 2019 season finale. Over the final three games, he played 34, 27 and 38 minutes, respectively, and scored 28, 27 and 51 points on 52.9% shooting from the field and 50% from 3-point range.
The Nets hope some of that productivity remains as they try to keep their hold on the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.
Nets Wire is part of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group.
Ivy League cancels sports for this fall in what could be barometer for college football amid COVID-19 pandemic
The Ivy League on Wednesday made official what had been suspected for some time, announcing that fall sports would not be held during the coming semester because of concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The decision affects football as well as men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s field hockey and volleyball.
A statement released Wednesday evening by the Ivy League Council of Presidents also said no sports will take place at least until the end of the first semester, which would impact winter sports such as men’s and women’s basketball and hockey.
“A decision on the remaining winter and spring sports competition calendar, and on whether fall sport competition would be feasible in the spring, will be determined at a later date,” the release said.
While the major conferences still hope to hold the season on time, it is worth remembering that in March the Ivy League’s decision to cancel its basketball tournaments proved prescient. Other leagues soon followed suit with the NCAA tournament eventually being canceled.
OPINION: Ivy League’s decision to cancel fall football sure to influence other conferences
A number of signs had pointed to Wednesday’s decision. Harvard and Princeton had already announced that classes would be online only this fall, and Harvard’s campus would only be opened to housing students at 40% capacity.
Ivy League football teams compete at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level but do not participate in the NCAA playoffs, making it easier if the league decides a round-robin slate could be contested in the spring.
That said, it is not the Ivy’s decision. The NCAA Division I Manual prescribes specific playing seasons for sports and allows only a select number of sports to split their seasons into two distinct segments. For the Ivy to move a fall sport such football to the spring, for example, the conference would need to obtain a waiver or waivers from the NCAA. The Ivy League has not yet reached out to the NCAA for a waiver, league spokesperson Matt Panto told USA TODAY Sports.
As far as impact at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level is concerned, only Princeton’s scheduled Oct. 10 game at Army is off the docket. For other fall sports, competing for NCAA championships in 2020 is off the table, but league-wide competition might be an option once campuses are reopened.
The Patriot League, which is in the FCS, figures to be impacted significantly by the Ivy League decision. Of the 24 non-league games the Ivy would play, 13 are scheduled against Patriot League teams. Bucknell and Holy Cross each have three games against Ivy opponents — with Bucknell’s slate featuring three in three weeks (Sept. 19, Sept. 26 and Oct. 3) and Holy Cross scheduled to face three Ivy opponents over four weekends that include a bye: Sept. 19, Oct. 3 and Oct. 10.
A few programs already had games canceled, including Fordham’s visit to Hawaii and Colgate’s contest at Western Michigan due to travel restrictions imposed by the Patriot League. Fordham also canceled two other games.
Lafayette told Navy it could not make it to Annapolis, Maryland, for a Sept. 12 game because the Patriot League school will not bring back its football team to campus with enough time to meet medical advisory guidelines established by the FBS, according to a release from the Naval Academy. That means Lafayette stands to lose at least four games, one against Sacred Heart on Sept. 5 and now two against Ivy League teams.
“Any time a member of a division makes a move, it’s certainly something you’re going to pay attention to,” said Colonial Athletic Conference commissioner Joe D’Antonio, who added his league’s schools are still evaluating their fall sports situation. “But I don’t think these two decisions (by the Ivy League and the Patriot League on its travel restrictions) will drive what the other FCS conferences do right now. At present, I don’t feel like there’s that great an impact.”
The Division III Centennial Conference, which includes Johns Hopkins, Muhlenberg and other Pennsylvania and Maryland schools earlier announced there will be no fall sports.
Amherst, Bowdoin and Williams from the New England Small College Athletic Conference have announced they won’t compete as well. The College of New Jersey earlier announced that it will not field teams in several sports, including football for the fall term.
Contributing: Steve Berkowitz, Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports; Paul Schwartz, NorthJersey.com
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb pointed to the “massive piece of property” that is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when asked Wednesday whether he’s worried about the Indy 500 going forward on Aug. 23.
The question came after Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Box announced that the Indiana State Fairgrounds canceled its summer fun park due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Indiana has seen an uptick in its positivity rate and hospitalizations related to COVID-19.
“I want to make it very clear that the leadership for the fairgrounds and for this particular amusement group had an excellent plan in place, and they really worked with us in consultation and worked to make the decision that they thought was in the best interests of Hoosiers…” Box said.
She went on to say that the Indy 500 organizers are “working very, very hard” to make the race safe for visitors and drivers, and that they’re taking data and fan interest into account.
IMS announced last week that its goal is to accommodate at least 50% of a ticket holder’s original ticket quantities in or near their current seating location.
“It is an outdoor venue so that does make me feel a lot better about the situation,” Box said. “And they do have a lot of great things in place to try to protect Hoosiers and our visitors to our state.”
In 2016, IndyStar estimated there were 235,000 seats in the grandstand. At the sold-out 100th running of the Indy 500, it was estimated that more than 350,000 attended, including infield and suite spectators.
Holcomb said officials will continue to work with IMS and noted that it’s a “massive piece of property where you can physically distance, where you can mask up if you’re in close proximity to someone.”
“I mean it is just an enormous piece of property, so we’ll continue to be in consultation with leadership out at the track,” Holcomb said. “One thing they’ve just reminded us of is they’ve always been about driver and fan safety and they’re showing that once again.”
IndyStar motor sports reporter Nathan Brown contributed to this story.
Contact IndyStar reporter Elizabeth DePompei at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @edepompei.
On March 10, a day before the NBA shocked the nation by suspending operations due to a player’s positive coronavirus test, the Ivy League canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournament.
Two days later, the rest of the nation canceled every men’s and women’s basketball game, including the NCAA tournaments.
On March 11, the Ivy League canceled all spring sports. A few days later, every college and high school in the country canceled all spring sports.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Ivy League told schools that it was canceling football and other fall sports.
If past is prologue, we will soon be hearing that the rest of the college sports world is considering canceling all fall sports. But that’s not going to happen right away. The Power 5 conferences will take their time before they make such a momentous decision. The last thing our biggest football schools want to do is lose football – and the payday football brings – this fall. So they’ll hang on for a while longer, buy some time, shudder as they watch coronavirus cases soar in the country and wonder how they’re going to pull this off in the midst of a raging pandemic.
In the end, though, they are increasingly likely to wind up right where the Ivy League is now. We tend to focus on athletic directors and coaches when talking about college sports. But college presidents are always an integral part of those conversations, and many of those presidents not only revere the Ivy League, they trace their roots back to it.
To those men and women, as the Ivy League goes, so goes the nation. They will soon be putting more pressure on their ADs and coaches. Why are we still planning on playing, they will ask, when the smartest people in the room have decided to give up on sports this fall?
There are some significant differences between the Ivy League and our most prestigious football conferences, chief among them money. The Ivy League doesn’t bring in anywhere near the revenue that, say, the Big Ten and SEC do in football television deals and ticket revenue. So the Ivy League has far less to lose than our biggest conferences.
And there is absolutely no doubt that the last league that will be left standing, holding out to play this fall, will be the SEC. Let’s see how that goes.
There’s also the issue of not having all Ivy League students back on campus in the fall, which makes it difficult to either field teams or explain why you’re bringing athletes back, but not their classmates. This is a potential problem in other conferences, too, of course.
There has been conversation about moving football to the spring of 2021, but if that happens, it will be downright strange. Consider the schedule: Do we really want to have an eight-, 10- or 12-game season in the spring, followed a few months later by another eight-, 10- or 12-game season in the fall? Whatever injuries we expect in a normal season, expect more if young men are playing 20 or so football games within eight months.
And the best of them might not want to play at all. Unless the NFL Draft is moved, imagine all the players who will be reluctant to participate in a spring football season for fear of an injury that could ruin their pro prospects. It will be like players opting out of bowl games, times ten.
There are no good options for playing a sport that is the antithesis of social distancing in the middle of a pandemic. But if there is a way to pull it off relatively safely, expect the Ivy League to know how to do it.
The Baltimore Ravens announced Wednesday that they plan to allow fewer than 14,000 fans to attend any given home game at M&T Bank Stadium in 2020 — if fans are allowed to attend the games in-person at all.
The Ravens referenced that figure in a statement announcing they will defer 2020 season tickets to 2021 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 130,000 Americans to date. Based on current guidelines from public health officials and experts, the team said, M&T Bank Stadium would only be able to safely host a fraction of the 62,000 fans who have purchased season tickets for 2020.
“To offer a proper level of safety for fans who want to attend games, a reduction in capacity is necessary,” Ravens president Dick Cass said in a statement. “We are disappointed that this will be a disruption for many ticket buyers, but we have an obligation to our fans and our community to keep M&T Bank Stadium as safe as possible.”
The Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday and Green Bay Packers last week announced similar plans to significantly reduce the capacities of their stadiums, but neither team provided a specific figure at which attendance would be capped.
A crowd of 14,000 fans at M&T Bank Stadium would represent roughly 20% of the venue’s normal seating capacity. Baltimore averaged more than 70,000 fans per home game in 2019.
Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
Stanford will drop 11 varsity sports, including wrestling, men’s volleyball and women’s field hockey
Stanford has announced it will eliminate 11 varsity sports at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
Wrestling, men’s volleyball and women’s field hockey are among the sports to be cut. The list also includes men’s and women’s fencing, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash and synchronized swimming.
The reductions were spelled out in an open letter signed by university president Marc Tessier-Lavigne, provost Persis Drell and athletics director Bernard Muir.
“Stanford currently offers more varsity sports than nearly every other Division I university in the nation” the officials wrote. “Our goal is to provide excellent support and a world-class experience for our student-athletes in the sports that we offer.
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“Over time, however, providing 36 varsity teams with the level of support that they deserve has become a serious and growing financial challenge. Each of the individuals associated with these programs will forever have a place in Stanford’s history.”
The announcement said all scholarship commitments and coaches’ contracts would be honored, and that all of the affected programs would have the opportunity to compete as club sports.
As NBA teams arrived Tuesday at the campus-like complex near Orlando, Florida for the league’s restart, some less than appealing photos of food delivered to their rooms have appeared on social media.
Nuggets guard Troy Daniels posted on Instagram a paltry tray of greens, fruit, dinner roll, potato chips and trail mix.
Some Twitter users skewered the meal selection, referencing those sad meals of cheese and bread slices from the failed Fyre Festival in 2017.
Food services should improve as initial quarantines end, but the early photos illustrate a salient point — this is not what NBA players are accustomed to on the road while staying at five-star hotels such as the Four Seasons and The Ritz-Carlton. Team executives were concerned about accommodations and how hotel space was divided among teams.
There will be glitches and issue to resolve as the NBA and its teams figure out life at Disney.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged, “This is far from an ideal way to finish our season, and it will require tremendous sacrifices from all those involved.”
The NBA meals were more expansive than some of the photos indicated. The Wizards, for example, were delivered a meal with several options, including seafood linguine, steak with chimichurri sauce and chicken with peach BBQ sauce.
Another aspect to consider is that players and staffers are in quarantine and confined to their rooms for 2-3 days until they return two negative COVID-19 tests, according to the NBA’s 113-page health and safety protocols.
The meals are expected to be much different once quarantine ends. For each team, Disney will provide a culinary team “to help create individualized team menus, support team dietary needs, and ensure health and safety guidelines are followed.”
Each team will also have a meal room that is expected to be open 24/7, and players and staffers will be able to order contactless room service via a Disney app. The NBA and Disney are also working to open restaurants on campus for limited capacities.
Once players and staffers clear quarantine, they will be tested daily and teams can conduct group workouts, practices, meetings, conditioning and individual workouts at gyms on the campus. Courts will be cleaned and disinfected between practices and use.
Each team will also have two rooms it can use for meetings and video in addition to a space for eating meals and socializing.
The remaining NBA teams participating in the restart will arrive in the Orlando area Wednesday and Thursday. Scrimmages begin July 22 and seeding games begin July 30.
Cleveland Buckeyes? Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown wants Indians to adopt new name honoring Negro League team
Sen. Sherrod Brown wants the Cleveland Indians to adopt the nickname used by the city’s Negro League team in from 1940’s.
It should have a pretty familiar ring to it in Columbus.
Brown said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday that he left a message with the team’s ownership, the Dolan family, on Tuesday to say that the team should change its name to the Cleveland Buckeyes.
Brown is a big fan of the team, and on Wednesday he rattled off its historical accomplishments in helping to desegregate professional baseball, including signing the first black player in the American League when the team added Larry Doby to the roster. He pointed out that the Cleveland Buckeyes won the Negro League World Series in 1945.
“Cleveland has a better Civil Rights record, frankly, than most other teams in baseball,” he said.
The team already has transitioned its Chief Wahoo logo to be secondary to a block C, and last week it announced that it was considering a name change as well. The team’s statement came after the Washington Redskins, under pressure from sponsors, announced that it would re-evaluate its team name as well.
“We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues. The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice,” the Indians wrote in astatement.
These two friends have worked in the same business for nearly 40 years together but are taking opposite stances on the upcoming Major League Baseball season.
They are 67-year-old umpires Joe West and Gerry Davis, who have a combined 78 years of experience, worked 12 World Series, seven All-Star Games, and 26 postseason series.
Davis, who had planned to retire after he umpired his 43rd game of the season to reach 5,000, told USA TODAY Sports he has officially informed MLB that he will opt of the season, fearful of being infected with the deadly coronavirus.
“It was really not that tough of a decision for me,’’ said Davis, who has high blood pressure and hypertension. “I can’t beat on my chest and say nothing is going to happen to me. My doctors told me I don’t have a higher risk of catching it, but higher implications from catching it. Eight of 10 people who have died from it have been over 65 or had pre-existing conditions.
“We have three young grandchildren. I couldn’t risk taking anything back to my family.’’
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West, 67, who is 65 games short of breaking Bill Klem’s record of 5,375 for the most regular-season games by an umpire, informed MLB that he will work, believing that not all of the 130,000 deaths in this country should be attributed to the virus.
“Those statistics aren’t accurate, I don’t care who’s counting them,’’ West said from his Florida home. “When country music [singer] Joe Diffie died, they said he died of the coronavirus. He had Stage 4 lung cancer. The coronavirus may have accelerated his death, but let’s be realistic.
“Our system is so messed up they have emptied hospitals because there’s no elective surgery. The government has been given these hospitals extra money if someone dies of the coronavirus. So everybody that dies is because of coronavirus. I don’t care if you get hit by a car, it’s coronavirus.’’
But while West thinks the numbers are inflated, he understands the concern, and says those who aren’t comfortable umpiring in the middle of a pandemic should stay home.
“I’m being cautious, just like everyone else,’’ West says. “It’s not like I’m going to go out in a crowd of people. Baseball is doing the right thing looking out for those guys and giving them a choice. If you’re not comfortable, and remotely concerned, you’re doing the right thing by opting out.
“This isn’t the kind of job you can do while worrying about everything else happening around you.’’
There may be 10 to 12 umpires who will opt out of the 2020 season. West had the choice too, and would have been paid as a high-risk employee because of his age. Yet, he never seriously entertained the possibility.
“I don’t want to let anybody down,’’ West said. “Everybody has a responsibility to the game, that doesn’t necessarily mean to the commissioner’s office or the union, but a responsibility to the sport. As long as they’re trying to do everything possible to keep all of us healthy, I’m going.
“I think it’s good for the country that we get back to work. This country has missed it. I feel for the little people in this game. I feel for the vendors. I feel for the ticket-takers and the ushers. The parking lot attendants. The groundskeepers. It hurts. You can’t get those games back.
“Baseball could have just thrown up their hands and said that’s it, but to their credit, they didn’t do that, and I think everybody appreciates that.’’
Life will be different for the umpires, too. They will resume spring training on Friday, working at teams’ facilities closest to their homes, umpiring intrasquad games and exhibition games before the season opener July 23.
They no longer will be staying at their own hotels, rather the same ones as the visiting team. They will take teams’ chartered flights whenever possible, and avoid commercial flights. During games, no player or manager is permitted to be within six feet from them to argue a call. And after games, just like the players and coaches, they are prohibited from hitting the hotel bars and restaurants.
“We’ll have to adjust just like everyone else to keep everyone safe,’’ West said. “We’ve stayed at a team’s hotel before on the road. We’ve even been on the same flights. There were times, especially when we umpired in one league, we had no choice but to fly with a team going coast-to-coast.’’
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It’s the banter and camaraderie among the umpiring fraternity that Davis will miss this summer. The umpires all knew the significance of this season to Davis. He was planning on having a retirement party the moment he umpired his 43rd game to reach 5,000, and MLB officials were trying to assure that the milestone game would be in his hometown of St. Louis.
Davis, who has umpired more postseason games – 151 – than anyone in history, would become only the fourth to umpire 5,000 games overall.
Now, COVID-19 willing, the celebration must wait until 2021.
“I’m very comfortable I made the right decision,’’ says Davis, who had long discussions with his wife, Linda. “I just want to be safe. Hey, 5,000 games is a nice round number, but it’s not going to change anything. If I don’t make it, I don’t make it. Everybody has to make the right decision for your family.
“Quite frankly, I have no reservations about it. This is the right choice for me.’’
And for West, he believes he’s making the right decision too. There aren’t enough games in the 60-game season to break Klem’s record this season. He could have waited a year. But for him, the decision was easy.
“The scary thing about all of this is a good athlete can get this virus, never get sick, and pass it on it without knowing he had it,’’ West says. “So, I do worry about the elderly.
“I just don’t consider myself elderly.’’