The NCAA will not conduct fall championship events — a move that does not effect major college football — because not enough schools are competing in sports such as men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. NCAA President Mark Emmert made the announcement in video posted on Twitter, but it has been clear this was coming. “Sadly, tragically that’s going to be the case this fall. Full stop,” Emmert said. “That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t and can’t turn toward winter and spring and say, ‘How can we create a legitimate championship for those students?’ There are ways to do this. I am completely confident we can figure this out.” Divisions II and III had cancelled their fall championships last week. Division I — which is comprised of 357 schools — held on, but as conference after conference canceled their fall seasons the tipping point came. Falls sports also include field hockey, cross-country and water polo. Schools in conference that have not yet canceled their fall seasons could conceivably try to stage regular season competition. The highest tier of Division I football, the Bowl Subdivision, is not impacted. The College Football Playoff is run by the conferences and six of those leagues are still moving toward having a season, including the Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 . . . The NCAA’s chief medical officer, Dr. Brian Hainline, and two of its infectious disease expert advisers warned that the uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus throughout the US remains an enormous obstacle for college sports to overcome. “I feel like the Titanic. We have hit the iceberg, and we’re trying to make decisions of what time should we have the band play,” said Dr. Carlos Del Rio, executive associate dean at Emory.
Purdue coach proposes 2 seasons in ’21
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm believes football can be played safely this spring and again next fall if university presidents and medical teams agree. On Thursday, two days after the Big Ten postponed fall sports, Brohm released a detailed, seven-page proposal that calls for an eight-game season in the spring and a 10-game season next fall, a reduction in padded practices and a months-long break from the sport between seasons. “I always thought we (the conference) should have had a backup spring plan ready. I was frustrated they didn’t,” he told The Associated Press during a telephone interview. “There are going to be some people that maybe don’t agree with it. But at the same time, if we really play want to play football then let’s make this season work.” Brohm used the anger and frustration about the Big Ten’s announcement to motivate him to come up with a solution. He finished the document Thursday morning . . . Florida State receiver Warren Thompson said he has been “lied to multiple times” about his health and that of his teammates during the first week of training camp during the coronavirus pandemic. “I have been ridiculed about speaking up regarding this issue and it needs to be addressed for myself to safely continue the season.” . . . A proposal for a college athletes “bill of rights” from New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has the backing of 10 other Democratic senators, including vice-presidential nominee, Sen. Kamela Harris. It would support causes such as social justice matters, the right to cash in on their fame, and improved health and safety conditions if they are to play football this fall during the pandemic . . . The Big Sky Conference voted to postpone all fall sports competition until the spring because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
NFL mourns O-line legend Howard Mudd
Howard Mudd, a former NFL All-Pro player and longtime offensive line coach, most notably with the Indianapolis Colts from 1998-2009, died Wednesday at 78. He had been in a motorcycle accident in the Seattle area recently. Indianapolis was one of many stops in Mudd’s coaching career that included time with Philadelphia, Kansas City, Cleveland, Seattle, San Francisco and the San Diego Chargers . . . While he reiterated his belief in standing for the national anthem in his annual pre-training camp meeting with reporters, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tried to say he intended to be more open to the points of view of players . . . All-Pro tight end George Kittle reportedly agreed to a five-year, $75 million extension with the San Francisco 49ers that is the richest contract ever at the position. NFL Network first reported the terms and says the deal includes an $18 million signing bonus . . . With an eye on protecting quarterback Josh Allen’s blindside for the long term, the Bills signed left tackle Dion Dawkins to a four-year, $60 million contract extension. A second-round pick out of Temple in 2017, the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Dawkins has 43 career starts . . . Philadelphia officials say Eagles fans shouldn’t get their hopes up that they’ll be allowed to watch the team’s season home opener on Sept. 2-0 from the stands at the Linc.
Andreescu out of US Open
Reigning US Open champion Bianca Andreescu pulled out of the Grand Slam tournament, saying the coronavirus pandemic prevented her from properly preparing for competition. Andreescu joins 2019 men’s champion Rafael Nadal in skipping the Open, scheduled to start in New York Aug. 31. A year ago at age 19, Andreescu became the first woman in the professional era to win the championship in New York in her tournament debut. She is the fourth woman in the top seven in the rankings to pull out, joining No. 1 Ash Barty, No. 5 Elina Svitolina and No. 7 Kiki Bertens . . . Serena Williams came back and won the last four games to beat her older sister, Venus, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in a hard-hitting, back-and-forth, second-round matchup at the Top Seed Open. It was the 31st meeting of their careers — 22½ years after the first. After their meeting at the first official tennis tournament in the United States since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the siblings simply tapped rackets. No handshake or hug . . . Robert Ryland, the first Black professional tennis player and later a coach to such stars as Arthur Ashe and Serena and Venus Williams, died Aug. 2 at age 100 at his stepson’s home in Provincetown. Born in Chicago in 1920, Ryland began playing tennis at age 10 and won the Illinois state and junior American Tennis Association singles titles in 1939. He received a scholarship to play tennis at Xavier University in New Orleans but departed after a year to serve in the Army during World War II. He broke the color barrier on the World Pro Tour in 1959, at age 39.
D. Wayne Lukas recovering from COVID
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time Kentucky Derby winner, is recovering after recently testing positive for COVID-19. Lukas, who turns 84 in September, is “on the road to recovery and looks forward to getting back to the track,” wrote his grandson Brady Wayne Lucas . . . In the WNBA, Tiffany Mitchell scored 19 points, Kelsey Mitchell made a long 3-pointer with 29.8 seconds left, and the Indiana Fever beat the New York Liberty 86-79 in Bradenton, Fla. . . . Riquna Williams scored 13 points, Nneka Ogwumike added 12 points and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the short-handed Washington Mystics 81-64 . . . Alexander Levy became the first golfer to test positive for the coronavirus at a European Tour event and was one of two French players withdrawn on the opening day of the Celtic Classic n Wales . . . The newest Major League Soccer team will be called St. Louis SC when it debuts in 2023. St. Louis SC will join Sacramento as the 29th and 30th teams when they begin play . . . Los Angeles FC forward Adama Diomande, a valuable 30-year-old backup striker from Norway, said has terminated his contract immediately to “best care for his loved one.”