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NFL says 80 percent of players are vaccinated amid stiffer penalties for the unvaccinated

The NFL announced that 80 percent of its players have been vaccinated just a day after informing teams that there could be stiffer penalties this season for the unvaccinated.
The NFL announced that 80 percent of its players have been vaccinated just a day after informing teams that there could be stiffer penalties this season for the unvaccinated.Michael Owen Baker/Associated Press

The number of NFL players in the COVID-19 vaccination process has reached 80percent, with nine teams having 90 percent or more of their players in that category. Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s medical director, said Friday that nearly all Tier 1 and Tier 2 team employees — those who deal directly with players — have been vaccinated. Five teams are at less than 70 percent of players who have either received one vaccination shot or both. He is optimistic the number of vaccinated players will continue to rise as training camps open. On Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to the 32 teams warning that forfeited regular-season games could occur for a COVID-19 outbreak caused by nonvaccinated players. Dawn Aponte, the league’s chief football administrative officer, reiterated that games will not be postponed to avoid roster issues because of the flexibility built in: COVID-19 replacement players; expanded practice squads to 16 players; a three-week minimum stay on injured reserve instead of six weeks; no limit on activating players from IR.

Jets assistant coach dies from injuries

Greg Knapp, the New York Jets’ passing-game specialist, died from injuries he suffered in a biking accident in California last weekend. He was 58. In a statement released through the Jets on Thursday afternoon, Knapp’s family said he was struck by a car on Saturday while riding his bicycle. ... Cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc signed a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins, who added depth to their secondary with the status of All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard in question. Linebacker Shaquem Griffin also signed a one-year deal ... The New York Jets placed safety Marcus Maye on the non-football injury list and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams on the physically unable to perform list ahead of the team reporting for camp next week. Defensive linemen Foley Fatukasi and Vinny Curry were also placed on the non-football injury list. Safety Ashtyn Davis and defensive linemen Jonathan Marshall and Kyle Phillips are also on the PUP list.


Lee6 leading Evian Championship

Jeongeun Lee6 tied the golf majors record for the lowest round ever when she carded a 10-under-par 61 at the Evian Championship. Her bogey-free second round equaled countrywoman Hyo Joo Kim, who shot the lowest score by a female or male in a major in the first round in 2014 also at the picturesque Evian Resort on the shore of Lake Geneva. Lee6′s 36-hole score of 127 was also the lowest total in a women’s or men’s major, beating the 128 by Brooks Koepka at the 2019 U.S. PGA Championship. After her 10 birdies in the second round, Lee6 led at 15 under, three shots clear of Thai players Pajaree Anannarukarn — the co-overnight leader — and Ariya Jutanugarn, who carded an 8-under 63 ... Adam Hadwin missed the weekend cuts in his last three tournaments, continuing a disappointing stretch as he dropped to 120th in the FedEx Cup standings. The 33-year-old Canadian has put himself in position to get back in contention for the playoffs with a strong run at the 3M Open. Hadwin shot a 6-under 65 for a share of the lead with Ryan Armour at 10-under 132. Armour shot 65 ... Darren Clarke shot a 3-under 67 after posting an opening 65 at Sunningdale and holds a one-shot lead after 36 holes at the Senior British Open.... Nacho Elvira started the day sharing the lead of the Wales Open and finished with it all to himself after shooting a 4-under 67 in the second round.



Texas, Oklahoma to SEC gaining steam

Eleven years after it survived a seismic conference realignment, the Big 12 is again in danger of losing two of its most prominent football programs. According to multiple reports, Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the Southeastern Conference about a possible move. Presidents and athletic directors from the 10-member Big 12 convened Thursday to discuss the situation via conference call after many members were reportedly blindsided by the news. Notably, leaders from Texas and Oklahoma were not on the call, per to multiple reports. Such a move would affect the college sports landscape beyond both conferences, with College Football Playoff expansion under consideration and television contracts of multiple Power Five conference set to expire in the coming years.


UConn men’s hoop probation is over

The two-year probation imposed on UConn men’s basketball for NCAA violations under former coach Kevin Ollie has ended. The governing body informed the school it has met all NCAA regulations, the university said. NCAA officials placed UConn on two years’ probation in July 2019, citing numerous violations that occurred mostly between 2013 and 2018. It also sanctioned Ollie, who was fired in 2018, for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.



Maria Taylor quickly joins NBC

Maria Taylor has joined NBC less than a week after her contract with ESPN expired. NBC formally made the announcement during its primetime Olympic show before a replay of the opening ceremony. Taylor had been with ESPN since 2014 but her contract expired Tuesday. ESPN and Taylor announced Wednesday that they could not agree on a new contract. Her first assignment for NBC will be the Tokyo Olympics. ... Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania reached her second straight WTA semifinals as a qualifier at the Palermo Ladies Open... The Cavaliers extended a qualifying offer to center Jarrett Allen, making him a restricted free agent ... Orlando Pride coach Marc Skinner has resigned to pursue another coaching position. Pride assistant coach Carl Green also stepped down, but will coach the National Women’s Soccer League team Saturday night at home for a game against OL Reign.