LSU quarterback Joe Burrow’s wante to become the No. 1 of Cincinnati Bengals. The fact that they missed the playoffs in each of the last four years is not a problem for him.
“We’ve talked about it,” Jim Burrow, Joe’s father, said, per Joey Alfieri of TSN 690. “I can be in my seat in 3.5 hours from Athens (Ohio), that’s certainly a positive. He’s excited to be in that conversation and if the Bengals do draft him, he’s going to be happy.”
There are some positives about Cincinnati for Burrow.
For one, he is from Ohio and would be playing close to his hometown of Athens, as his father mentioned. What’s more, there is also the possibility he and wide receiver A.J. Green could make a dynamic duo for years to come if the Bengals iron out the latter’s contract situation.
Burrow showed what he can do with an electrifying wide receiver in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game when he and Ja’Marr Chase teamed up to torch Clemson’s secondary.
Still, this Bengals team has plenty of holes. One doesn’t finish with a 2-14 record, as the Bengals did in 2019, if success is just one player away, and Burrow may be in for some lean years at the start of his career until the front office is able to surround him with more talent.
If his father is to be believed, he is still excited about the prospects of playing for the AFC North squad.
Twenty of the top women’s hockey players in the world will take part in a 3-on-3 game at a new-look NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis next week.
National team players from the U.S. and Canada will be split into two 10-player teams and compete in a 20-minute 3-on-3 scrimmage during the skills competition. This marks an expanded role for women at the All-Star game, and comes a year after American Kendall Coyne Schofield became the first woman to take part in skills competition event.
Filling in for injured Colorado forward Nathan MacKinnon, Coyne Schofield created a buzz in San Jose by finishing seventh out of eight competitors with a blazing time.
The women’s team rosters, coaches and referees will be unveiled later Wednesday.
The NHL is also adding a new event, called “Shooting Stars,” in which eight NHL players and two of the female players will shoot pucks from the stands at targets on the ice. The women, one representing each nation, will be selected through a vote on social media.
The skills competition will feature four other events limited to NHL players: fastest skater, save streak, shooting accuracy and hardest shot.
St. Louis is hosting All-Star Weekend Jan. 24-25. The skills competition is set for Jan. 24 and the 3-on-3 tournament among NHL All-Stars is Jan. 25.
Last September, PETA went after UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov over videos that surfaced of Nurmagomedov wrestling a bear in his native Russia.
On Thursday, the animal rights group showed it’s not picking sides in the blood rivalry between Nurmagomedov and former UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor, or his upcoming opponent, Donald Cerrone.
McGregor and Cerrone are living in the limelight this week due to their giant UFC 246 main event on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. At Wednesday’s news conference, McGregor and Cerrone went a bit off the rails as they discussed the snakeskin jacket Cerrone was wearing, prompting “Cowboy” to make a crack about PETA in the exchange.
“I’m sure PETA might be here because I got rattlesnakes on and python.”
To which McGregor, who has been known to sport animal hides himself, retorted: “They have a warrant out for me as well, PETA. They’re coming for me, too.”
This was the equivalent of an aging pitcher hanging a slider right over the middle of the plate with a slugger at bat.
Quote tweeting an MMA Junkie video of the exchange on Thursday, PETA slammed McGregor and Cerrone, writing in part: “You’re right! We ARE here – to remind you that only COWARDS would brag about wearing an animal who was likely beaten & skinned alive. Why don’t you knock out your insecurities and only wear your own skin?
McGregor and Cerrone were tagged in the tweet.
When made aware of PETA’s criticism by MMA Junkie, Cerrone responded.
“Man, I guess if killing humans was legal I could probably wear a bad-ass human jacket,” Cerrone said. “I got a white buffalo at home, PETA. And when she crokes, I’m going to wear a (expletive) (expletive) ass white buffalo cape one of these days. At the ranch I have a lot of animals: turkeys, goats, chickens, pigs. We kill them and butcher them, and we eat them all ourselves, man. We use every bit of them. So it’s not like – I don’t just go down to the store and buy beef. We raise it and kill it and eat it. So, if there’s something inhumane or unjust about killing beef for my own sake, PETA, you’re (expletive) up.
Granted, I didn’t kill the snake or raise the snake to build a python jacket, but goddammit it was (expletive) cool, so I had to wear to it.”
UFC 246 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ ESPN+.
Congress calling for an independent study of the NCAA’s lack of accountability for athletes accused or convicted of sexual assault. The NCAA will review its stance regarding such athletes.
Both the congressional call and the NCAA’s commitment to reviewing its policies come on the heels of a USA TODAY Network investigation that exposed how college athletes can keep playing sports even after being found responsible for sexual assault.
The NCAA notoriously metes out punishments to student athletes for bad grades, smoking marijuana or accepting money and free meals. But nowhere in its 440-page Division I rulebook does it cite penalties for sexual, violent or criminal misconduct, the USA TODAY Network found.
Even when suspended or expelled from school for rape, NCAA athletes can transfer elsewhere and continue playing.
U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Florida, wants to change that. She, along with U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Florida, introduced a bill requesting the study on Dec. 19.
Called the Congressional Advisory Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics (CACIA) Act, the measure would establish a two-year independent commission to review, among other issues, “the NCAA’s lack of accountability for athletes who commit sexual assault, other serious misconduct, and the practice of transferring to other institutions,” said Christofer Horta, a legislative assistant for Shalala.
There is “no question” that the NCAA should have a personal conduct policy for athletes and strict transfer regulations, Shalala told the USA TODAY Network.
“That really goes to not only the integrity of the NCAA but the integrity of the colleges themselves,” Shalala said. “The NCAA clearly does not have clear rules on sexual assault and transferability. What we’re interested in is everyone being accountable for their behavior, and for the NCAA to be accountable specifically for the behavior of athletes.”
The bill, H.R. 5528, has been assigned to the House Committee on Education and Labor. If enacted, the commission also would examine the NCAA’s amateurism rules, athletic department finances, safety protocols and other issues in college sports.
“The NCAA is actively working with members of Congress, including Congresswoman Shalala, on finding appropriate ways to modernize our rules,” NCAA spokesman Chris Radford said in response to questions from the USA TODAY Network.
“At its upcoming meeting this month, the Board of Governors will review and examine NCAA policies regarding those accused and/or convicted of sexual assault in an ongoing effort to provide guidance at the campus, conference, and national level,” Radford said.
The Board of Governors – the NCAA’s highest governance body, comprised of 19 university presidents, chancellors and athletic directors – has been aware of the issue for years. But it has resisted previous calls by eight U.S. senators and its own study commission to fix it. An NCAA study group, the Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence, in 2018 advocated for the organization to tie athlete eligibility to behavior.
But the Board of Governors disbanded the group instead. It promised to “continue to monitor and track on sexual violence issues,” according to minutes from its August 2018 meeting. It has taken no action since.
National Organization for Women president Toni Van Pelt said in a statement that the CACIA Act “will hold the NCAA accountable and work towards ending a serious predator pipeline.”
“We are finally seeing some hope for change,” Van Pelt said. “NOW strongly supports the demand for the equal enforcement of rules, laws and regulations especially when it comes to Title IX requirements, criminal behavior and violence against women. Enough is enough.”
A USA TODAY Network four-part series published Dec. 12 called “Predator Pipeline” found at least 33 athletes since 2014 who have transferred to NCAA schools despite being administratively or criminally disciplined for sexual offenses at a previous college.
One of them is Alex Figueroa, a University of Miami football player accused of gang rape in 2014, when Shalala was the university president, a position she held from 2001 to 2015. The university expelled Figueroa, and later he accepted a deferred prosecution agreement for felony sexual battery with multiple perpetrators.
But like many athletes disciplined for sexual assault, Figueroa managed to find acceptance at another NCAA school.
After two seasons at Garden City Community College in Kansas, Figueroa played another two years at the University of Central Oklahoma under head coach Nick Bobeck. In a previous statement, Bobeck said Figueroa was an exemplary student-athlete while on his team and that a university review during his recruitment determined he was “not a threat to the campus community.”
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The congressional commission, Shalala said, would examine whether athletes like Figueroa should be permanently banned from intercollegiate athletics or subject to some other punishment from the NCAA. It would report back to Congress, make recommendations to the NCAA and determine what legislation to issue.
The commission also would review another issue the newspaper investigation identified — insufficient background checks for incoming transfers, Shalala said.
“Predator Pipeline” found several schools claiming ignorance that athletes on their rosters had been disciplined for sexual misconduct by previous institutions. Such confusion could have been avoided had they requested the recruits’ disciplinary records, but none did so until after the USA TODAY Network brought the matters to their attention, they said.
An easy fix would be to require schools to obtain past disciplinary records for prospective transfer students, Shalala said, though any legislation on that issue would likely cover all students as opposed to only athletes.
“My bill specifically covers these shortfalls,” Shalala said.
A handful of NCAA conferences and individual schools already have adopted policies that ban athletes found responsible for serious misconduct. Only one existing policy, the Tracy Rule, requires schools to request athletes’ past disciplinary records.
The University of Texas at San Antonio in September became the first school to implement the rule, named for Brenda Tracy, a survivor advocate who reported being gang-raped by college football players in 1998 and went public with her story 16 years later.
Slippery Rock University, an NCAA Division II school in Pennsylvania, announced last month that it also will adopt the Tracy Rule. It did so after the USA TODAY Network’s investigation revealed it had recruited an athlete found responsible for rape at his last school.
“Despite receiving over $130 billion in federal subsidies, the NCAA continues to willfully ignore the problem of violent athletes,” said Tracy. “I hope Congress can serve as an advocate for these student-athletes because clearly the NCAA doesn’t care about the violence student-athletes are experiencing or perpetrating.”
Ex-University of Idaho diver Mairin Jameson reported a fellow athlete, Idaho football player Jahrie Level, for sexually assaulting her in 2013. Although Idaho expelled him, Level transferred before the ruling to Stony Brook University in New York, where he played two more years without losing any playing time.
“Congress is choosing to do what the NCAA will not do, which is assess the risks these perpetrators bring to all students on campuses across the country and acting appropriately to negate future assaults,” Jameson said. “This is a step in the right direction, but we need to do more to create positive change.”
Asked about the USA TODAY Network’s investigation at an Aspen Institute symposium last month, NCAA president Mark Emmert blamed universities for failing to act. The 19 college and university leaders who sit on the NCAA’s Board of Governors, however, ignored requests for comment or referred questions to the NCAA.
The NCAA and its member universities’ inaction, Shalala said, shows why an independent congressional commission is necessary.
“My view is that we need across-the-board accountability,” Shalala said. “That’s why Congress has to step in.”
Atlanta Hawks forward Chandler Parsons suffered a concussion and whiplash following an auto accident Wednesday afternoon after the team’s practice, team officials said.
The 6-foot, 9-inch small forward was evaluated after the incident at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex, where the diagnosis was made, a Hawks spokesperson said.
ATLANTA HAWKS’ TRAE YOUNG CAMPAIGNS FOR NBA GREAT’S DUNK CONTEST PARTICIPATION
Parsons will enter the NBA’s concussion protocol and miss Friday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta’s WXIA-TV reported.
No details about the location, time or other injuries in the car accident were available, the report said.
In his eight years in the league, Parsons, 31, has played for Houston, Dallas and Memphis prior to Atlanta.
Parsons has played in only five games this season, with his last appearance being Dec. 27.
The interview of Jason Garrett with head coach Joe Judge to be the next offensive coordinator of the New York Gianthas been on Wednesday in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Garrett’s contract with the Cowboys expired Tuesday, according to multiple reports, so the Giants were able to talk to him freely and without permission from Jerry Jones.
ESPN reported Tuesday that the Giants have also interviewed incumbent OC Mike Shula for the job.
Is this a feasible plan with Garrett coming aboard? Maybe.
Garrett was a good coordinator for four years, and his proficiency there helped him land the head coaching job in Dallas. The 53-year-old former New Jersey resident and Princeton grad could be a valuable resource overall and within the division for Judge. Giants co-owner and team president John Mara is on record indicating he would not be opposed to Garrett as OC, but that it would solely be Judge’s call.
Garrett played for the Giants and served as the backup quarterback from 2000-2003, impressing many within the organization with his approach, work ethic and knowledge of the game.
Garrett spent two years as quarterbacks coach with the Dolphins under Saban when his playing career ended in Miami. His became offensive coordinator for the Cowboys in 2007 and took over an offense led by Tony Romo, Jason Witten and eventual Hall of Famer Terrell Owens, not to mention an offensive line with three Pro Bowlers.
He served as interim head coach of the Cowboys when Wade Phillips was fired in-season during the 2010 campaign and was officially named head coach the following season. Garrett held that post for nine years until the Cowboys opted to not renew his contract this month, instead hiring Mike McCarthy as his successor.
In 2007, the Cowboys scored 455 points, the second-most in franchise history at that point, and Garrett emerged as a hot candidate among head coaching searches.
This Saturday night is the date when Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone will attempt to knock each other’s heads off come .
On Wednesday, though, the two men set to headline UFC 246 seemed like anything but a pair of adversaries.
At the pre-fight press conference, McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC), the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion, and Cerrone (36-13 MMA, 23-10 UFC), a longtime fan favorite whose name is all over the company record book, seemed more like co-stars promoting an upcoming, odd-couple crime fighting flick or, at the very least, a future pro wrestling tag team laying the groundwork for their championship run.
Given McGregor’s legendary ability to read the room, this was likely the plan – at least on his part.
The UFC’s first-ever champ-champ is in need of a change in his public relations narrative. The fighter who boldly called his shots as he rocketed to the top of the combat sports world has given way over the past couple years to the sort of caricature that has befallen many before him.
For a while, each month seemed to bring a new controversy, a new legal issue, a new low. The message McGregor needs to deliver this week to a skeptical public is that this time he’s here for business and ready to get back to the thing he most loves.
On that count, McGregor said everything a fighter three years removed from his last victory should have said when given the platform.
“I’m in a position now where I’m just very, very excited to be here, and I’m very eager to perform for the fans on January 18th,” said McGregor, who predicted he’d knock out Cerrone. “I’ve got a solid opponent in front of me, a veteran of the game, and I’m just in a good spot. That’s it. I don’t think I’ve changed or altered, or, you know, I’m just committed and focused and happy to be here.”
It helped that McGregor has a willing dance partner in Cerrone, a fighter allergic to B.S., someone who simply loves to go in there and throw down. The lighting at the Pearl Theater at The Palms caused his black cowboy hat to create a shadow over all of his face but his goatee, adding a mysterious aura to a fighter whose appeal is no mystery at all.
“I’m going to go in there and (expletive) give it all we got,” Cerrone said in exactly the manner you’d expect from someone who’s gotten his own limited-edition Budweiser cans on fight week. “Yeah, man, I am going five rounds with this dude, and I cannot (expletive) wait until Saturday.”
On this went as the duo repeatedly affirmed they love to fight, and they respect one another because of that commonality, and they’re going to give the fans all they could possibly want if they tune in on pay-per-view.
All the chatter rang true. But it still couldn’t entirely remove the shadow of McGregor’s alleged misdeeds. The UFC has done its best to steer McGregor away from questions about his reported ongoing sexual assault investigations back in Ireland. The UFC funneled McGregor to the safety of promotional partner ESPN, which will directly profit off McGregor’s appearance in Saturday’s pay-per-view, for a couple quick questions in a Monday appearance. It became obvious Wednesday the promotion wanted that to be the end of the subject.
UFC president Dana White deflected attempts by a reporter to ask McGregor about his issues, and in doing so was aided by fans – presumably some of the same people who endlessly complain that MMA media only asks softball questions – who jeered the reporter for daring to ask. White then dismissed a follow-up question if he was worried the issues would keep McGregor from fighting with a quick “no.”
That’s a story which will continue to play out down the road, no matter how much some might want to wish it away. But for now, the matter of the fight itself took precedence, and the duo soon returned to their revelry as the mutual respect held the day, from the nattily attired McGregor inquiring about Cerrone’s snakeskin jacket all the way up to their amicable staredown at the end.
Before they did so, though, McGregor made clear once more what his purpose is this week, telling MMA Junkie that UFC 246 is all about reminding people of the realness that propelled him to the top.
“I am as real as it gets, like the company slogan,” McGregor said. “I react to the situation as it is. The situations happened a different way for some time. This situation seems to be a little bit different, so I react accordingly. There’s nothing false, nothing fake. This is just me being real, and that’s it.”
UFC 246 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ ESPN+.
According to Major League Baseball’s report on illicit sign-stealing by the Houston Astros two names at the “factual findings” section were not current members of the club. They were Alex Cora, now the Boston Red Sox manager, and Carlos Beltran, who was hired as the Mets’ manager in November.
Both men were members of the Astros in 2017 — Cora as a bench coach and Beltran as a player — and were implicated in the scandal, but so far only Cora is facing a severe penalty.
Cora was the most culpable actor in the scheme to steal opposing catchers’ signs via a video feed and communicate them to the Astros’ hitters, coordinating the effort with several players starting early in the 2017 season, according to M.L.B.’s report. Beltran was the only Astros player named in the report, and M.L.B. declined to hold any players responsible, citing a 2017 memo in which Commissioner Rob Manfred said he would hold managers and general managers accountable for such schemes.
M.L.B. did just that on Monday, suspending Astros Manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow until the end of the 2020 World Series for allowing the conduct to occur under their watch. Shortly after M.L.B. announced the suspensions on Monday, the Astros owner Jim Crane fired Hinch and Luhnow.
With that precedent set, Cora, who was hired by the Red Sox before the 2018 season and immediately led them to the World Series title, could face the same fate from his Red Sox bosses after their case is fully investigated in the coming weeks. M.L.B. is now investigating whether the Red Sox also illegally used technology to steal signs, and whether Cora was involved again. The league said it would refrain from issuing a penalty to Cora until that investigation was complete.
While nothing has been decided, two people familiar with both investigations who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said that Cora’s conduct would earn him a suspension at least as long as Hinch’s.
And if Crane felt compelled to fire Hinch and Luhnow for not stopping the illegal activity, the Red Sox owner John Henry could feel pressure to do the same to Cora, who was an active participant in 2017 and was a central architect of that entire caper. The Red Sox declined to comment on the matter on Tuesday, and Cora, who is highly regarded by the Red Sox from his two years as manager, did not respond to requests for comment.
In the primary Astros scheme, video equipment was used to decipher the catcher’s signs, and that information was then relayed to batters by various methods — most often someone banging on a nearby trash can with a bat; the number of hits on the trash can indicated what pitch was coming.
“Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs,” the report said. “Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct.”
M.L.B. also stripped Houston of four future draft picks and fined the team $5 million. If M.L.B. discovers that the Red Sox were engaged in similar behavior in 2018, then Boston could lose draft picks and face a heavy fine, too.
The commissioner’s office announced its separate investigation into the Red Sox this month after an article in The Athletic, citing anonymous sources connected to the club, accused Boston of illegally using the replay video room next to the dugout to decipher signs.
Luhnow, in a statement issued on Monday through his law firm, blamed his underlings for the Astros’ cheating, particularly Cora, noting that the “video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach.”
Beltran’s situation is different. M.L.B. said in its statement that it would have been impractical to punish the players, because they were not in official leadership roles at the time. Players were assured immunity in return for their cooperation, and it is believed Beltran was forthright with investigators.
But Beltran was the only player named in the report because he played a central role, along with Cora, in initiating the scheme. The M.L.B. report also noted that virtually all of the position players were involved in sign-stealing and that many had migrated to different teams, making it even more cumbersome to issue suspensions that would hurt those teams and not the Astros.
Therefore Beltran, even though he is a manager now, might slip through unscathed. That is, unless the Mets decide to impose punishment of their own based on the precedent set by the Astros with Hinch. That pressure could mount depending on Cora’s fate. In November, Beltran stated in an article in The New York Post that he had not been involved. That has now been contradicted by M.L.B.’s findings.
The report said Beltran, who was in his final year as a player in 2017, was at least a consultant in the affair.
“Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltran, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter,” the report said.
The Mets declined to comment for this article, and Beltran also did not respond to a request for comment.
With the investigation into the Astros’ scandal concluded, M.L.B. hopes to wrap the Red Sox investigation before teams head to spring training in mid-February.
Regardless of the outcome, Cora is likely to be suspended for his conduct with the Astros, and he is not expected to report to Red Sox spring training.
In its investigation of the Astros, M.L.B. said, it had interviewed 68 witnesses, including 23 current and former Astros players, and reviewed thousands of communications, video clips, photographs and documents. A similar effort is expected with Boston, with Cora in the cross hairs again.
LSU defeated Clemson, 42-25, to win the college football national championship Monday night.
LSU’S JOE BURROW BREAKS SINGLE-SEASON PASSING TOUCHDOWN RECORD DURING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow led the Tigers with 463 passing yards and five touchdown passes. He set the single-season record for most touchdown passes with 60. He also had a rushing touchdown in the game. Burrow was named offensive player of the game for his efforts.
It is LSU’s first national championship since the 2007 season. LSU’s win snapped Clemson’s 29-game winning streak.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow warms up before a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game against Clemson Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Burrow’s main targets –Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson – both had more than 100 yards receiving.
Chase had nine catches for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Jefferson had nine catches for 106 yards but did not have a touchdown grab.
LSU’S ED ORGERON CUT HIMSELF TRYING TO GET TEAM PUMPED UP FOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Thaddeus Moss had five catches and two touchdown grabs. Terrace Marshall Jr. had an impressive touchdown grab in the fourth quarter to ultimately put the game away.
Patrick Queen was named the defensive player of the game. He had six tackles and a half-sack in the win.
Clemson started the game off with a rushing touchdown from Trevor Lawrence in the first quarter. It was the first time the LSU had been trailing in a game in 78 days, according to The Advocate.
However, LSU nixed any kind of momentum Clemson had in the second quarter. LSU outscored Clemson, 21-10, in that frame and it gave them some momentum going into the second half.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron watches during warm ups before a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game against Clemson Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
COLLEGE FOOTBALL FANS FURIOUS WITH ESPN AS APP APPEARS TO CRASH AT START OF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Lawrence, who suffered the first loss of his collegiate career, was 18-for-37 with 234 passing yards and a rushing touchdown. It was the first time he finished without a touchdown pass since Sept. 29, 2018, when he didn’t throw one in a win over Syracuse.
Travis Etienne and Tee Higgins both had rushing touchdowns as well. Etienne finished with 78 rushing yards and Higgins had 36 rushing yards.
No Clemson receiver was over 100 yards receiving.
Justyn Ross led the way with five catches for 76 yards. Braden Galloway, in his first game during the 2019 season, had two catches for 60 yards. Higgins finished with three catches for 52 yards.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence passes against LSU during the second half of a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
LSU gets coach Ed Orgeron his first national championship as head coach.
LSU defeated several great teams on the way to the national championship. LSU had wins over Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Auburn to get to this point. The Tigers defeated Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow suspended for one year as part of penalties for sign-stealing during the 2017 season in which they won the World Series.
Houston also loses its first- and second-round draft picks for the 2020 and 2021 drafts and will be fined $5 million, according to The Athletic. Former Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman will be placed on baseball’s ineligible list.
DODGERS’ CODY BELLINGER TAKES JAB AT ASTROS, RED SOX AS MLB REPORTEDLY NEARS END OF SIGN-STEALING PROBE
“I find that the conduct of the Astros, and its senior baseball operations executives, merits significant discipline,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said as part of the ruling. “I base this finding on the fact that the club’s senior baseball operations executives were given express notice in September 2017 that I would hold them accountable for violations of our policies covering sign stealing, and those individuals took no action to ensure that the club’s players and staff complied with those policies during the 2017 postseason and the 2018 regular season.
Manager AJ Hinch #14 of the Houston Astros looks on from the dugout prior to Game 5 of the ALCS between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Friday, October 18, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
“The conduct described herein has caused fans, players, executives at other MLB clubs, and members of the media to raise questions about the integrity of games in which the Astros participated. And while it is impossible to determine whether the conduct actually impacted the results on the field, the perception of some that it did causes significant harm to the game.”
Hinch and Luhnow are banned from performing any business on behalf of the Astros and will not be allowed in any Major, Minor or Spring Training facility.
BOSTON RED SOX, 2018 WORLD SERIES CHAMPS, ACCUSED OF SIGN-STEALING DURING SEASON: REPORT
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was a bench coach for the Astros in 2017, could face discipline as well. But it will be determined once MLB finishes its investigation into the Red Sox for its own replay scandal during the 2018 season, The Athletic reported.
According to MLB.com, the ruling said the sign-stealing was mostly player-driven but Cora played a key role in setting it up.
Manfred cleared Astros owner Jim Crane of any wrongdoing.
Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander gets a pack on the back from manager A.J. Hinch after the team’s 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels in a baseball game Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif.
“Crane is extraordinarily troubled and upset by the conduct of members of his organization, fully supported my investigation and provided unfettered access to any and all information requested,” he said.
HOUSTON ASTROS’ CARLOS CORREA SAYS HE BELIEVES SIGN-STEALING ALLEGATIONS DON’T TAINT 2017 TITLE
Houston came under intense scrutiny late last year when former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers and other unnamed sources, revealed to The Athletic that the team used a sophisticated system to steal signs given by an opposing team’s catcher to his pitcher.
Houston allegedly had a camera set up in centerfield which was hooked up to a monitor in the clubhouse, and when a sign for an off-speed pitch was given, a team employee would relay the message to a hitter with loud banging in the dugout.
Two sources told The Athletic that the sign-stealing extended into the postseason in 2017, but another denied it went on that long.
Houston won the World Series in 2017, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.