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Coronavirus notebook

Indianapolis 500 postponed because of pandemic

Because of the coronavirus pandemic the Indianapolis 500 won't run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The Indianapolis 500 was postponed Thursday until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946. The race will instead be held Aug. 23, three months later than its May 24 scheduled date. Postponing the Indy 500 was an inevitable decision but still had to be difficult for Roger Penske, the motorsports titan who finalized his purchase of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year and who had already pumped millions into capital improvements to ready the historic speedway for its first 500 under new ownership. “It’s a shame Roger has to go through this in his first year of owning Indianapolis Motor Speedway but you couldn’t have a better man in charge,’’ said A.J. Foyt, a four-time Indy 500 winner and team owner. “It will still be the Indy 500. I never thought we’d see it like this, but all of the sports field has been affected. I’m just glad that we will be able to race.’’ Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said the series chose the August date to get away from extended delays caused by the coronavirus shutdown. The series did not choose Labor Day weekend out of fear of disrupting fans’ traditional plans … IndyCar will follow the lead of other racing leagues and go virtual. IndyCar’s first iRacing event will be Saturday with a 25-car field. The track is still being decided by fan vote. IndyCar’s broadcast partner is NBC, but the network passed on coverage and Saturday’s race will instead be streamed by IndyCar, and many drivers will have social media feeds running live during the race. Most series regulars have committed to participate for events scheduled to run through May 2. The entry list has only 25 confirmed drivers but it is widely believed seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, who is scheduled to retire from full-time racing at the end of the season, will join the field.

NCAA to pay schools $225 million

The NCAA will distribute $225 million to its Division I members in June. That total is $375 million less than had been budgeted this year because the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancellation of the men’s basketball tournament.The NCAA says $50 million of the payout will come from its reserve fund. A $270 million event cancellation insurance policy will be used to pay off a line credit that will cover the remaining distribution.

Pay cut for NBA executives

Top NBA executives are having their base salaries reduced by 20 percent for the foreseeable future, said a person with knowledge of the details. The reductions affect the roughly 100 highest-earning executives, as the NBA joins the NHL and NASCAR in cutting salaries while competitions are on hold because of the coronavirus. Many of the executives and officials who are impacted work in the league’s New York headquarters, including commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, sources told ESPN. The cuts are effective immediately. Health benefits remain unaffected and there are no changes for the rest of the organization, including support and administrative staff … Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry held a half-hour talk on Instagram to discuss all things related to the coronavirus with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. More than 50,000 viewers were logged in for much of the talk — among them, former President Barack Obama, a very big basketball fan.


NFL releases PSA, donates $35 million

The NFL released a public service announcement in conjunction with an announcement of a donation of more than $35 million in COVID-19 relief aid. The PSA is narrated by Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. It features more than 50 current or former players and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, who has tested positive for COVID-19 … In a memo sent out to all 32 NFL teams, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated that the 2020 NFL Draft would go on as scheduled from April 23-25. During a meeting with the Commissioner’s Executive Committee, Goodell said the decision was “unanimous and unequivocal.”


Manning encourages students

Five-time NFL MVP and former University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning dropped in on one of his alma mater’s online classes to boost the spirits of students having to finish their coursework virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. Tennessee communications professor John Haas was conducting an online class when Manning’s face suddenly appeared on the screen. “I just wanted to drop in and say hello to all the fellow communications students there,” Manning said. “I realize this is a unique time and probably not the ideal way you guys expected to spend your senior year, but I just encourage you to keep a positive attitude, keep working like you’re doing and try to take advantage of a little bit of the extra time that you have to accomplish something else or help out somebody in need — a lot of people (are) hurting out there during this time — be thankful for what you have and just know the University of Tennessee is proud of you and is going to support you every way (it) can and Dr. Haas and his department is going to do the same thing.”


MLB deal reached

Players agreed to a deal with Major League Baseball that would preserve service time in the event this season is canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but left open details of what a configured schedule would look like. As part of the agreement approved by the union , players agreed not to challenge giving up up their salaries if no games are played, except for $170 million payment management will advance in two stages. Management was given the right to cut the amateur draft in both 2020 and 2021, and to freeze the values of signing bonus money at 2019 levels.


NHL stars want to go straight to playoffs

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin prefer the NHL skip the rest of the regular season and head directly to the playoffs if games resume during this pandemic-interrupted spring … The Colorado Avalanche said one of their players has recovered after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. The player was at home in isolation since the symptoms first appeared. The team said anyone who had known close contact with the player has been notified.

Arsenal manager recovers

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, 38, said he is fully recovered from the coronavirus, two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19. Arteta said that he only felt ill for a few days. ‘‘It was a normal virus for me," he said. "I had three or four days which were a little bit difficult, with a bit of a temperature and a dry cough, and some discomfort in my chest.’’ Arteta became the first Premier League figure to test positive for the coronavirus on March 12. The league was then suspended the next day.


Horse racing urged to continue

Aiden Butler, acting executive director of California racing operations for The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita horse racing track in Arcadia, urged the California Horse Racing Board to continue live racing despite a statewide stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields in the San Francisco Bay area are among a handful of US tracks continuing to race without fans. The Stronach Group also owns Golden Gate Fields. “We are very different from almost every other industry. Horses need exercise,” Butler told the board during its monthly meeting held via conference call. “The second we stop racing, the whole ecosystem becomes in jeopardy.” … Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano tested positive for the coronavirus and will be in quarantine for two weeks.