NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson said Monday that anyone at Michigan State who was aware of sexual assault and didn’t say or do anything should be fired. Johnson, who led the Spartans to an NCAA men’s basketball title as a player in 1979 before embarking on a 13-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, also said on Twitter that he loves Michigan State and wants to be part of the solution. President Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis stepped down last week after campus sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was also a team physician for USA Gymnastics, was sentenced last week to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting athletes. Basketball coach Tom Izzo and football coach Mark Dantonio also face questions about their programs following an ESPN report detailing various allegations. Several tweets appeared on Johnson’s account Monday. One said: ‘‘If anyone was aware of the sexual assault happening to women on the MSU campus from the office of the President, Board of Trustees, athletic department, faculty & campus police, and didn’t say or do anything about it, they should be fired.’’
Congress passes bill in wake of Nassar scandal
Congress followed up on the Nassar sex abuse scandal by passing legislation that requires governing bodies for amateur athletics to promptly report abuse claims to law enforcement. Nassar’s sentencing for sexually abusing more than 150 women and girls over 25 years sparked new calls from lawmakers to complete action on legislation that had already received widespread support in both chambers of Congress. The House took up the Senate version of the bill to speed up final passage and it passed by a vote of 406-3. The House made a change in the bill, which sent it back to the Senate for approval before it can go to President Trump for his signature. Supporters of the bill, sponsored by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, said a patchwork of state laws on reporting suspected sex abuse made it necessary to enact a uniform national standard that would apply to amateur sports groups such as USA Gymnastics as well as to other sports organizations that participate in interstate and international travel. The failure to report a sexual abuse allegation could lead to up to one year in prison. Lawmakers who spoke in favor of the bill said that Nassar’s victims were failed by the people who were supposed to protect them . . . Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, released a letter saying he wants the school to turn over emails and text messages related to Nassar that were sent to or by 20 current and former school officials. Schuette, who is investigating Michigan State's handling of complaints against Nassar, asked for the communications of administrators and others, including Simon and Hollis. Schuette is also seeking emails and texts for the university’s governing board, its acting president, athletic doctors and trainers, as well as records from an internal review that the university hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct. Also being sought by Feb. 9 are records related to three people who have been under heightened scrutiny since Nassar was fired in September 2016: longtime gymnastics coach Kathie Klages, who retired last February after being suspended for defending Nassar in a team meeting; sports medicine doctor Brooke Lemmen, who resigned in January 2017 amid allegations that she did not tell the university in 2015 that Nassar was being invested by USA Gymnastics after the school had cleared him in a 2014 Title IX probe; and William Strampel, the former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine who began a leave of absence for medical reasons in December.
Virginia men home in on No. 1 Villanova
Virginia (20-1) took a step toward its first top ranking since 1982 in the Associated Press men’s basketball poll, earning 17 of 65 first-place votes from a media panel following wins over No. 18 Clemson and No. 4 Duke. Villanova (20-1) remained at No. 1 for the fourth straight week, receiving 47 first-place votes after two wins last week. Purdue had one first-place vote and remained at No. 3, Duke stayed at No. 4, and Michigan State moved up a spot to No. 5 . . . UConn (20-0) was once again the unanimous No. 1 team in the women’s poll, receiving all 32 votes from the national media panel. The top five was unchanged with Mississippi State, Baylor, Louisville, and Notre Dame following the Huskies . . . Jordan Cohen scored 19 points to help Lehigh (9-13, 4-7 Patriot) hang on for a 71-67 men’s basketball victory at Holy Cross (7-15, 4-7) after nearly blowing a 19-point lead. Pat Andree made a 3-pointer with 9:23 left to extend Lehigh's lead to 61-42 but the Crusaders roared back to within 67-62 on Jacob Grandison's open 3-pointer from the wing that hit the rim, rolled off the top of the backboard, and fell through with 2:59 to go. Karl Charles led Holy Cross with 16 points.
Islanders will split time at two homes
The New York Islanders will split their regular-season home slate between Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center beginning next year while a new arena is built at Belmont Park under an arrangement announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The club plans to play 12 games at the Coliseum in Nassau County next season, and 48 more games over the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons. The new arena is expected to open in time for the 2021-22 season. The $1 billion project will also include a hotel, restaurants, meeting space, and other amenities. To meet NHL venue requirements, the state will invest $6 million in upgrades at the Coliseum, where the Islanders played from 1972 until 2015, when they moved to Brooklyn. The work is expected to be finished this fall, in time for the start of next season . . . Jaromir Jagr cleared waivers and was reassigned by the Calgary Flames to the Kladno Knights, a team that he owns in his native Czech Republic. Calgary put the 45-year-old forward on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his NHL contract so he could return to Europe. Jagr had only a goal and six assists in 22 games after signing a one-year, $1 million contract on Oct. 4, and hasn’t played since Dec. 31 because of a lower-body injury. Jagr is the active NHL leader with 1,733 games played, 766 goals, 1,555 assists, and 1,921 points. He is second only to Wayne Gretzky on the all-time scoring list . . . The Montreal Canadiens said forward Andrew Shaw will be out four to six weeks with a lower-body injury incurred Jan. 13 against the Bruins . . . Former Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk will serve as team captain for the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” men’s hockey team at the Pyeongchang Games next month.
Bucks’ Parker returning Friday from torn ACL
Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker is set to return to the court Friday against the New York Knicks, nearly a year after being sidelined with the second major left knee injury of his career. The team said Parker was medically cleared, making the announcement during the second quarter of its game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Parker tore his left anterior cruciate ligament on Feb. 8, 2017, against Miami. At the time, he was averaging a career-high 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds. Parker tore the same ACL in December 2014, ending his rookie season after 25 games. Milwaukee selected Parker with the second overall pick of the 2014 draft. The return of Parker comes at an important time, about a week before the NBA trade deadline, as the Bucks are trying to reassert themselves as a contender in the East after firing coach Jason Kidd.
Panthers to interview trio for GM job
The Carolina Panthers will interview interim general manager Marty Hurney, Texans vice president of football operations and assistant GM Jimmy Raye III, and Bills assistant director of college scouting Lake Dawson for their general manager position this week, according to team spokesman Steven Drummond. Hurney, who worked for Carolina from 1998-2012 in a stint that included 11 years as GM, is considered the frontrunner . . . Center Eric Wood's retirement is on hold over questions regarding whether the Buffalo Bills are allowed to ask him to return a portion of the contract bonus Wood received in signing a two-year extension in August, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. Wood was scheduled to retire after revealing Friday that he would no longer be cleared to play after being diagnosed with a severe neck injury . . . The Kansas City Chiefs said assistant head coach Brad Childress retired and Mike Kafka was promoted to quarterbacks coach as part of a series of changes to coach Andy Reid's staff. The 61-year-old Childress was head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2006-10. Longtime assistant Tommy Brasher, who had spent the past year working on special projects, also retired after more than 50 years in coaching. The team announced that longtime linebackers coach Gary Gibbs would not return, with Mark DeLeone taking over inside linebackers and Mike Smith handling outside linebackers . . . The Pittsburgh Steelers signed wide receiver Trey Griffey, son of baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., to a reserve/futures contract. The 24-year-old Griffey went undrafted last spring after graduating from Arizona and spent time with Indianapolis and Miami last summer before being cut by the Dolphins at the end of training camp.
Beckham bringing MLS team to Miami
It took four years, but David Beckham and Major League Soccer announced that the former English star is finally bringing a team to Miami. The Miami area had an MLS team from 1998 through 2001 before it folded because of poor attendance. The yet-to-be-named team will play in a 25,000-seat, privately funded stadium, though it remains unclear when that will open. A possible scenario is that the team begins play in 2020, and moves into its permanent home in time for the 2021 season . . . Defenders Ike Opara and Matt Polster made their United States men’s national team debuts along with goalkeeper Zack Steffen Sunday night in a 0-0 exhibition tie against Bosnia-Herzegovina at Carson, Calif.
Rousey moving from MMA to WWE
Former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey's next bout in the ring won't come in mixed martial arts but in the world of professional wrestling. The biggest superstar in women's MMA officially made the jump to WWE on Sunday night with a surprise appearance at the Royal Rumble in Philadelphia. Rousey has not fought since she suffered a 48-second loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016. Rousey (12-2) lost two straight bouts in 13 months . . . The Kansas City Royals acquired righthanders Jesse Hahn and Heath Fillmyer from the Oakland A's for lefthander Ryan Buchter, designated hitter Brandon Moss, and cash considerations. Moss was owed $8.25 million for the upcoming season, and the Royals sent $3.25 million to Oakland as part of the deal. That equates to a savings of about $5 million that the Royals, who have been trying to trim payroll, could use to sign free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer to a long-term deal. Moss hit .207 with 22 homers and 50 RBIs for the Royals last season . . . The Royals signed Alcides Escobar to a $2.5 million contract for next season, keeping their longtime shortstop on the roster . . . USA Boxing announced that Boston, Springfield, and Manchester, N.H., will host the 2018 USA vs. Ireland Northeast Boxing Tour. Up to 12 amateur bouts will be live streamed free of charge on USA Boxing’s website on March 12 from Boston’s Royale Entertainment Complex, March 15 from Springfield’s MassMutual Center, and March 21 from The Manchester Downtown Hotel. Headlining Team USA’s roster will be 2017 World Championship bronze medalist Troy Isley . . . Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez will meet in a May 5 rematch with the middleweight title on the line once again, promoters said. The location is yet to be decided, but Las Vegas is considered the front runner . . . 1977 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Jerry Sneva has died. He was 69. Indianapolis Motor Speedway says Sneva died Saturday in Indianapolis. The younger brother of 1983 Indianapolis 500 winner Tom Sneva, he made five career 500 starts, with his best a 10th-place finish his rookie year. His best start was fifth in 1980 . . . Three-time US Olympic Alpine skier Steven Nyman will miss the Pyeonchang Games after tearing a ligament in his right knee during training in Germany before the final pre-Olympic World Cup downhill last week. The 35-year-old intends to return to for the 2019 world championships . . . Russia's team has been banned from the upcoming Pyeongchang Paralympics because of its doping past. The International Paralympic Committee says about 30-35 Russians will be allowed to compete in five sports as neutral athletes at the games. The Paralympics run from March 8-18.