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AU$5 million to be refunded to fans for Boomers-Team USA fiasco

Around AU$5 million (US$3.08 million) will be refunded to spectators of last year's Boomers vs. Team USA two-game series at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium after the Australian consumer watchdog found that promoter TEG Live made false claims about its seating plan. The 20,000 refunds will be paid out to those who purchased floor-level seating for the games. Despite a mock-up depicting tiered seating, the seats used were in flat rows, lower than the court and, in some cases, more than 30 metres from the action. "Consumers paid a premium for floor-level seats, ranging between $895 and $3,995 for a hospitality package, and may have done so as a result of misleading seating advertising," said Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. "In our view, TEG Live's conduct was unacceptable." The ACCC had stepped in already in August, ahead of the two highly anticipated FIBA World Cup warm-up games in Australia, instructing TEG Live to offer refunds to any ticket...
April 7, 2020, 6:59 AM

Sources: MLB, union focused on plan that could allow season to start as early as May in Arizona

Major League Baseball and its players are increasingly focused on a plan that could allow them to start the season as early as May and has the support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN. Though the plan has a number of potential stumbling blocks, it has emerged above other options as the likeliest to work and has been embraced by MLB and MLB Players Association leadership, who are buoyed by the possibility of baseball's return and the backing of federal officials, sources said. The plan, sources said, would dictate all 30 teams play games at stadiums with no fans in the greater Phoenix area, including the  Arizona Diamondbacks' Chase Field, 10 spring training facilities and perhaps other nearby fields. Players, coaching staffs and other essential personnel would be sequestered at local hotels, where they would live in relative isolation, and travel only to the stadium and...
April 7, 2020, 4:19 AM

UFC's Anthony Smith fights home intruder; man charged with criminal trespass

A man has been charged after he unlawfully entered the Nebraska home of UFC fighter Anthony Smith early Sunday morning, according to police. Luke Haberman was arrested and charged with first-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, according to Sgt. Wayne Hudson of the Douglas County (Nebraska) Sheriff's office. Smith said in an interview with ESPN's Ariel Helwani on Monday that he woke up just after 4 a.m. local time Sunday to a stranger in his Omaha-area home. The UFC light heavyweight said he tried to subdue Haberman for more than five minutes while waiting for police to arrive. Haberman did not steal anything, Smith said, and it was unclear why he was in the house. Smith and his family -- he lives with his wife, mother-in-law and three daughters -- were not injured. Smith described the incident as "terrifying" and called it "one of the toughest fights" he has ever had. Smith said his wife woke him and told him there was a man in the house. Smith said he could hear a...
April 7, 2020, 3:59 AM

Commissioner Adam Silver does not expect to make any decisions on NBA season until at least May

Commissioner Adam Silver said Monday night that he has told people in the NBA that there will be no way for the league to make a decision about when it can return until May 1 at the earliest -- and probably not even then. "Essentially what I've told my folks over the last week is we should just accept that at least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions," Silver said in an interview with TNT's Ernie Johnson aired on the NBA's Twitter page. "I don't think that necessarily means that, on May 1, we will be [in that position], but at least I know that just to settle everyone down a little bit. "It doesn't mean that, internally, both the league and discussions with our players and the teams we aren't looking at many different scenarios for restarting the season, but I think it honestly is just too early, given what's happened right now, to even be able to project or predict where we will be in a few weeks." Silver said repeatedly throughout the...
April 7, 2020, 12:39 AM

NBA, players union assessing potential COVID-19 rapid-test options

In recent weeks, officials within the NBA and NBPA have been collaborating in assessing the viability of multiple blood-testing devices for the coronavirus that could provide accurate results within a matter of minutes, a process that would hopefully enable the league to track the virus in what is considered a critical first step toward resuming play in the near future. Multiple league sources close to the situation said the league and players union have been looking at what those familiar with the matter describe as "diabetes-like" blood testing in which someone could, with the prick of a finger, be tested quickly, and results could be gained inside of 15 minutes. The Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories began shipping its rapid-response tests across the U.S. last week, according to a Washington Post report. The tests, which have been approved by the FDA, are said to deliver results in five-to-13 minutes. The league sources stressed that this matter is in the exploratory phase and...
April 7, 2020, 12:29 AM

NBA sets guidelines on draft prospect workouts in memo

The NBA informed teams on Monday that organizations are prohibited from conducting in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice, according to a memo obtained by ESPN. NBA teams will be allowed to conduct virtual interviews with draft prospects, but are limited to four hours total for any single player, the memo said. The guidelines are in place for an indefinite period during the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA pre-draft process will be dramatically different for the 2020 draft, forcing teams to rely heavily on previous scouting and intelligence gathering. There are still uncertainties regarding how teams might gather crucial physical information on draft candidates. Teams are also prohibited from requesting video of recent workouts that players might conduct outside of a team environment, the memo said. Teams can study only film -- such as college game and practice sessions -- that occurred before the NBA's suspension of play on March 11. The...
April 7, 2020, 12:19 AM

NBA, players union assessing potential COVID rapid-test options

In recent weeks, officials within the NBA and NBPA have been collaborating in assessing the viability of multiple blood-testing devices for the novel coronavirus that could provide accurate results within a matter of minutes, a process that would hopefully enable the league to track the virus in what's considered a critical first step toward resuming play in the near future. Multiple league sources close to the situation said the league and players union have been looking at what sources familiar with the matter have described as "diabetes-like" blood testing in which someone could, with the prick of a finger, be tested quickly and results could be gained inside of 15 minutes. The Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories has begun shipping its rapid-response tests across the U.S. as of last week, according to a Washington Post report. The tests, which have been approved by the FDA, are said to deliver results in five to 13 minutes. The league sources stressed that it is in the...
April 7, 2020, 12:19 AM

Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu completes sweep of major honors with John R. Wooden Award

Oregon senior Sabrina Ionescu completed a clean sweep of the major individual honors in women's college basketball by winning the John R. Wooden Award on Monday. The Wooden Award is given annually to the nation's most outstanding player. Ionescu is the sixth woman to win the Wooden multiple times, joining Seimone Augustus, Brittney Griner, Maya Moore, Candace Parker and Breanna Stewart. She is the fifth player to win the award in back-to-back seasons. She and former LSU standout Augustus are the two repeat winners who did not win national championships. Oregon was 31-2 and ranked No. 2 in the AP poll when the NCAA canceled its tournament in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the Wooden, Ionescu recently won the Naismith Trophy and Wade Trophy and was recognized as the nation's best player by The Associated Press and espnW. After leading Oregon to the Pac-12 regular-season and conference tournament titles, she also was the Pac-12 Player of the Year for...
April 6, 2020, 10:29 PM

Nebraska expels two former Cornhuskers after violations of the school's sexual misconduct policy

The University of Nebraska expelled two former football players after a school investigator last year found them responsible for violating the school's sexual misconduct policy, according to a document obtained by ESPN. In a letter obtained by ESPN, the university conduct board said the expulsion of two unnamed respondents was effective April 3. A university spokeswoman confirmed Monday that the players involved were redshirt freshmen Katerian LeGrone and Andre Hunt. The March 25 letter states that the board "considered the seriousness of this incident and modified the previously proposed sanction." The school's investigator previously recommended a two-and-a-half-year suspension when she issued her finding in December. Expulsion means the two men are not allowed on campus and are permanently terminated as students, according to the letter. The university investigation found evidence to support that Hunt touched and digitally penetrated a female student...
April 6, 2020, 10:19 PM

Dana White says Tony Ferguson-Justin Gaethje to headline UFC 249

UFC 249 has a new headliner. With Khabib Nurmagomedov in Russia and facing potential travel issues, Tony Ferguson will now meet Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 249 on April 18, UFC president Dana White tweeted Monday. The fight for the interim lightweight title is "signed" and "100%" on, White wrote. The location of UFC 249 remains undisclosed. White tweeted that the fight will be "somewhere on EARTH!" ESPN's Ariel Helwani reported Sunday night that the UFC is targeting a venue on the West Coast for the card. It will more than likely take place in front of no fans. "#forthepeople I'm terrified and I f----- love it. #ufc," tweeted Gaethje on Monday. The UFC 249 main event was supposed to be held in Brooklyn with Nurmagomedov defending his lightweight title against top contender Ferguson. However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the UFC to change its plans. New York has become the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States and all large...
April 6, 2020, 8:09 PM

Hall of Fame outfielder and Detroit Tigers legend Al Kaline dies at 85

Al Kaline, a Hall of Famer who played all 22 years of his career in Detroit, earning the nickname "Mr. Tiger,"  died Monday, a team official confirmed to ESPN. Kaline was 85. Kaline, an All-Star in 15 seasons and a 10-time Gold Glove winner in right field, retired shortly after recording his 3,000th hit in 1974 and joined the Tigers' broadcasting team. He continued to work for the Tigers after his retirement from the booth in 2002. He became the first Tiger to have his number retired, with the "No. 6" by which he was known in the clubhouse going up on the walls in 1980. He was also elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame that year, his first on the ballot. "Baseball lost a titan today," Tigers chairman and CEO Christopher Ilitch said in a statement. "Anyone who knew Al Kaline would describe his gentle soul and passion for baseball as an unbelievably powerful combination, making him one of the most respected players in Major League Baseball history." The cause of death was...
April 6, 2020, 8:09 PM

Chicago teams coordinate stay-at-home message

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot strode onto the sun-drenched grass at Soldier Field on Monday to make an announcement that was difficult for any sports fan to misinterpret: "We are not playing." "We'd rather be here in Soldier Field, or Wrigley, or Sox park or at the United Center or Wintrust [Arena], cheering on our players and having a good time with our friends, but this crisis has changed almost everything -- and particularly our sports," Lightfoot said. "Coming to these parks would be dangerous and deadly to ourselves and our city." Standing alone at a lectern in an empty stadium that can comfortably seat more than 60,000 fans, Lightfoot announced a first-of-its-kind awareness campaign, called "We Are Not Playing." All of Chicago's professional sports teams -- including the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Fire, Red Stars, Sky and White Sox -- have agreed to use their platforms and athletes to encourage residents of...
April 6, 2020, 6:29 PM

Antonio Brown hires veteran agent Ed Wasielewski as he attempts NFL return

Antonio Brown has hired veteran agent Ed Wasielewski of EMG Sports to represent him in his pursuit of a return to the NFL this season, Wasielewski told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Monday. Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, is a free agent who wasn't on an active roster for most of the 2019 season. The Oakland Raiders parted with Brown when he publicly demanding his release after the preseason. He was active for one game with the New England Patriots but was released shortly after, amid sexual assault allegations. Additionally, the state of Florida has levied three formal charges against Brown for an alleged January assault that resulted in his arrest. Brown, 31, faces felony burglary conveyance, misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor criminal mischief charges, according to a Broward County court document obtained by ESPN. In January, agent Drew Rosenhaus terminated his relationship with Brown. Brown has continued to get into scrapes with the law since being...
April 6, 2020, 5:29 PM

Masters in November as golf shuffles schedule for majors

Golf's various organizers announced a revamped schedule for 2020 in hopes that the coronavirus pandemic will allow them to proceed later in the year, with the Masters being rescheduled from this week to November. The Open at Royal St. George's was canceled, but the PGA Championship was moved to August and the U.S. Open to September, the Ryder Cup will remain in its original late September date and the Masters will be Nov. 12-15. "We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials," said Fred Ridley, Augusta National and Masters chairman. "Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date and welcome all existing ticket holders to enjoy the excitement of Masters week." The PGA Tour hopes to resume in June with the Memorial Tournament, but details about dates and other events are forthcoming. It is...
April 6, 2020, 3:49 PM

Clemson early favorite to dominate ACC, win national championship

The  Clemson Tigers have won five consecutive ACC championships, going 43-2 in conference play during that stretch, and oddsmakers expect the Tigers' ACC dominance to continue this season but aren't convinced that coach Dabo Swinney's squad is the best in the nation. Caesars Sportsbook has installed Clemson as a giant -600 favorite to win the ACC championship game. The Tigers are the second-largest preseason favorite in a Power 5 conference since 2010, behind only the Clemson team of last season (-650). Clemson's season-win total opened at 11.5 at Caesars Sportsbook, with the vigorish tilted toward the over, meaning the Tigers are favored to complete a third straight unbeaten regular season. Clemson's win total is the highest in the nation. With quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne returning -- and a seemingly smoother path through conference play than other contenders -- the Tigers also have emerged as the consensus favorites to win...
April 6, 2020, 3:39 PM

Masters in November; golf shuffles majors schedule

Golf's organizers announced a revamped schedule for 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that will see The Open canceled, the PGA Championship moved to August, the U.S. Open in September, the Ryder Cup remaining in its original dates and the Masters in November -- all predicated on clearance from health officials. The Open, scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England, will not be played for the first time since World War II. The R&A said it will play the championship in 2021 at Royal St. George's, meaning the 150th celebration at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, will be moved to 2022. Here is a rundown of the various changes: The PGA Championship, originally scheduled for May 14-17, is moving to Aug. 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco. The U.S. Open, originally scheduled for June 16-19 at Winged Foot in Mamoroneck, N.Y., is moving to Sept. 17-20, one week prior to the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup, at Whistling...
April 6, 2020, 3:39 PM

Clemson early favorites to dominate ACC, win national championship

Clemson Tigers has won five consecutive ACC championships, going 43-2 in conference play during that stretch and oddsmakers expect the Tigers' ACC dominance to continue this season but aren't convinced that coach Dabo Swinney's squad is the best in the nation. Caesars Sportsbook has installed Clemson as a giant -600 favorite to win the ACC Championship Game. The Tigers are the second-largest preseason favorite in a Power-5 conference since 2010, behind only Clemson last season (-650). Clemson's season-win total opened at 11.5 at Caesars Sportsbook, with the vigorish tilted toward the over, meaning the Tigers are favored to complete a third straight unbeaten regular season. Clemson's win total is the highest in the nation. With quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne returning -- and a seemingly smoother path through conference play than other contenders -- the Tigers have also emerged as the consensus favorites to win the national championship....
April 6, 2020, 3:09 PM

Open Championship canceled because of coronavirus

The 149th Open Championship, scheduled for July 16-19, was canceled Monday because of the coronavirus pandemic. The R&A confirmed the decision and said the tournament, which was to be played at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England, will take place at that location in 2021. Further details were to be released. "I can assure everyone that we explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible," R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said. That means the 150th Open celebration for the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, will move to 2022. Royal Liverpool, in Hoylake, England, was scheduled for 2022 but will move to another year. The Open joins a long list of sporting events and golf tournaments that have been postponed or canceled. The PGA Championship, originally scheduled for May 14-17, is moving to Aug. 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco. The U.S. Open, originally scheduled for June 16-19 at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York, is moving...
April 6, 2020, 2:29 PM

LeBron James' classic: UConn All-Stars facing Pat Summitt-era Tennessee

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley believed her program would have celebrated a national championship Sunday night, had this season's NCAA tournament proceeded as scheduled. That may have been, but a surprising source handed the Gamecocks program a different kind of loss. Responding Sunday night to an SEC Network poll asking who would win a matchup between all-star teams from Pat Summitt's coaching era at Tennessee and Staley's coaching era at South Carolina, Lakers star LeBron James left no doubt that he backed a Lady Vols team. James went on to argue that the better matchup for Summitt's all-time team, conference affiliation notwithstanding, would be a collection of UConn greats. "Man WHAT??!!!" James' tweet began, followed by four laughing emojis. "No disrespect to those lady Gamecocks and their hoopers cause they can ball but THAT Lady Vols team would SMASH damn near any team." Tennessee's team was composed of Tamika Catchings, Kellie Harper, Chamique...
April 6, 2020, 2:19 PM

Kentucky freshman Tyrese Maxey declares for NBA draft

Kentucky freshman Tyrese Maxey declared for the 2020 NBA draft on Monday. "My thoughts were that we would be playing for a national championship [today]," Maxey told ESPN. "Although we're unable to do that due to what our country is experiencing, I felt like this was the day to declare for the draft to make it as special as I thought today would be." Kentucky coach John Calipari tweeted Monday about challenging Maxey: Maxey is the No. 8 prospect in the ESPN Top 100. He averaged 14 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his lone season with the Wildcats. The 6-foot-3 guard burst onto the college scene with 26 points in an opening night win over then-No. 1 Michigan State at Madison Square Garden. Maxey's scoring ability was on full display during a Dec. 28 overtime win against then-No. 3 Louisville. He had 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting (4-of-5 from the 3-point line). He showed his versatility in a Jan. 7 win over Georgia with 17 points, eight assists and...
April 6, 2020, 2:09 PM

LeBron James: UConn All-Stars win vs. Tennessee, South Carolina

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley believed her program would have celebrated a national championship Sunday night, had this season's NCAA tournament proceeded as scheduled. That may have been, but a surprising source handed the Gamecocks program a different kind of loss. Responding Sunday night to an SEC Network poll asking who would win a matchup between all-star teams from Pat Summitt's coaching era at Tennessee and Staley's coaching era at South Carolina, Lakers star LeBron James left no doubt that he backed a Lady Vols team. James went on to argue that the better matchup for Summitt's all-time team, conference affiliation notwithstanding, would be a collection of UConn greats. "Man WHAT??!!!" James' Tweet began, followed by four laughing emojis. "No disrespect to those lady Gamecocks and their hoopers cause they can ball but THAT Lady Vols team would SMASH damn near any team." Tennessee's team was composed of Tamika Catchings, Kellie Harper, Chamique Holdsclaw, Kara Lawson and...
April 6, 2020, 1:59 PM

Rams' COO Kevin Demoff says new logos, colors won't change despite criticism

If you were under the impression that the Los Angeles Rams might be thinking twice about moving forward with their recently revealed rebranding effort, think again. The Rams have no plan to move away from their new logos and colors and are taking in stride some of the backlash they've received from fans and even Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson. Kevin Demoff, the Rams' chief operating officer who has been heading the project for more than two years, promised to read mean tweets about the new logos if a recent telethon hosted by the Rams and KABC, the local ABC affiliate in L.A., raised more than $2 million for coronavirus relief efforts. The fundraiser passed the $2.2 million mark, and Demoff kept his word, recording a video that was published on his Twitter feed. Among the nine mean tweets that Demoff read: "This is actually embarrassing. Looks like some freshman college students in Graphic Design 101 made it in about 6 minutes." "There's a Rams logo...
April 6, 2020, 1:39 PM

Rob Gronkowski adds 'WWE 24/7 champion' to expansive résumé

Since retiring from the NFL last year, former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has kept himself busy -- as a CBD entrepreneur, NFL analyst for Fox, television special co-host, music video star, contestant on "The Masked Singer" and game show celebrity. Now he can add one more line to his résumé: WWE champion. Gronkowski, who was serving as host of the taped, two-night WrestleMania studio event that concluded Sunday night, ended up as part of the action and was crowned 24/7 champion. The WWE 24/7 championship was created in 2019, and it frequently changes hands across a variety of WWE platforms. The title has been held by several non-wrestlers, including NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and the NBA's Enes Kanter. Gronkowski jumped off a balcony in between matches at WrestleMania 36 and landed on a group of wrestlers, including the 24/7 champion --- and his friend -- Mojo Rawley. Gronk got up off the pack, pinned Rawley and became the latest WWE...
April 6, 2020, 6:59 AM

Rams' COO says new logos, colors won't change despite criticism

If you were under the impression that the Los Angeles Rams might be thinking twice about moving forward with their recently revealed rebranding effort, think again. The Rams have no plan to move away from their new logos and colors and are taking in stride some of the backlash they've received from fans and even Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson. Kevin Demoff, the Rams' chief operating officer who has been heading the project for more than two years, promised to read mean tweets about the new logos if a recent telethon hosted by the Rams and KABC, the local ABC affiliate in L.A., raised more than $2 million for coronavirus relief efforts. The fundraiser passed the $2.2 million mark, and Demoff kept his word, recording a video that was published on his Twitter feed. Among the nine mean tweets that Demoff read: "This is actually embarrassing. Looks like some freshman college students in Graphic Design 101 made it in about 6 minutes." "There's a Rams logo...
April 6, 2020, 5:19 AM

Sources: Though still in works, facility for UFC 249 closer to being confirmed once and for all

Despite facing several obstacles along the way, UFC officials are hoping to finalize the location for its April 18 show in the coming days. According to multiple sources, the promotion believes it is very close to securing a new venue for UFC 249. It's unclear at this time where the location will be, however, sources said it's looking like it will take place on the West Coast of the United States. The UFC has made a point to not share the specific location with many people outside the company at this time, sources said. The UFC has explored the possibility of holding the event on a tribal land, which doesn't have to adhere to the regulations of the state athletic commissions, and that possibility is still very much in play, per sources. The current plan, as previously reported, is for the event to be headlined by Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, however, that fight isn't signed yet. The original main event between Ferguson and lightweight champion Khabib...
April 6, 2020, 4:29 AM

Devin Booker, Andre Drummond to highlight NBA 2K quarterfinals

The second night of the NBA 2K Players Tournament on ESPN is over, and the quarterfinal matches are set. Sunday night featured two of the most competitive matches in the tournament so far, but also the largest blowout of the eight first-round matches. Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker defeated Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. 85-75, and Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura bested Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell 74-71 in a nail-biter. In two one-sided matches,  Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond dominated former Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins 101-49, while  LA Clippers center Montrezl Harrell took down Indiana Pacers center Domantas Sabonis 73-51. Harrell and Sabonis were the first in the tournament to use their real-life teams in the game, with Sabonis taking shots at his in-game self and pulling him early in the first...
April 6, 2020, 4:29 AM

Rob Gronkowski adds 'WWE 24/7 champion' to expansive resume

Since retiring from the NFL last year, former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has kept himself busy -- CBD entrepreneur, NFL analyst for Fox, television-special co-host, music video star, contestant on "The Masked Singer" and game show star. Now he can add one more line to his résumé: WWE champion. Gronkowski, who was serving as host of the taped two-night WrestleMania studio event that concluded Sunday night, ended up as part of the action and being crowned 24/7 champion. The WWE 24/7 championship was created in 2019 and frequently changes hands across a variety of WWE platforms. The title has previously been held by several non-wrestlers, including NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and the NBA's Enes Kanter. Gronkowski, arguably the best tight end in the history of the NFL, announced his retirement in March 2019 after a nine-year career in which he earned three Super Bowl rings and was one of the league's most colorful personalities. Gronkowski had...
April 6, 2020, 4:09 AM

Devin Booker, Andre Drummond highlight NBA 2K quarterfinals

The second night of the NBA 2K Players Tournament on ESPN has come to an end and the quarterfinals matches are set. The night featured two of the most competitive matches in the tournament so far, but also the largest blowout of the eight first-round matches. Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker defeated Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. 85-75, and Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura bested Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell 74-71 in a nail-biter. In two one-sided matches,  Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond dominated former Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins 101-49, while  LA Clippers center Montrezl Harrell took down Indiana Pacers center Domantas Sabonis 73-51. Harrell and Sabonis were the first in the tournament to use their real-life teams in the game, with Sabonis taking shots at his in-game self and pulling him early in...
April 6, 2020, 2:49 AM

Carlik Jones commits to Louisville as grad transfer from Radford

Louisville has landed a commitment from former Radford guard Carlik Jones, the top graduate transfer in the country, Jones announced Sunday night.  Jones chose the Cardinals over a final list that included Maryland and Michigan State, among others. Jones made the announcement via Instagram. Jones, a 6-foot-1 guard from Cincinnati, emerged as the No. 1 graduate transfer in the country after entering the transfer portal in late March. The Big South Player of the Year averaged 20.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists last season, shooting 40.9% from 3-point range. He was a first-team All-Big South selection in 2018-19 after putting up 15.7 points and 5.8 assists. Jones helped lead Radford to the NCAA tournament in 2018 and back-to-back Big South regular-season championships in 2019 and 2020. He scored 33 points in a Big South tournament loss to Hampton in his final game earlier this month. Jones should start immediately next season for Chris Mack and...
April 6, 2020, 1:39 AM

Columbia grad transfer Patrick Tape recommits to Duke

Columbia graduate transfer Patrick Tape is back in the fold at Duke three days after reopening his recruitment and less than two weeks after originally committing to the Blue Devils. Tape told ESPN on Sunday that he recommitted to Mike Krzyzewski and Duke. "I thought I rushed into it at first, but I realized that it was the best fit for me," Tape said. He originally committed to Duke over a final four that also included Syracuse, USC and Ohio State. Georgetown jumped into the mix following his decommitment last week, while Syracuse also made a strong push toward the end. But Duke was able to convince him once again. A 6-foot-10 Charlotte native, Tape sat out this past season while finishing up his coursework at Columbia. He tore a ligament in his toe over the summer and then aggravated the injury before the season began, which would have forced him to miss at least a few games. Instead of playing just a portion of his final season of college basketball, Tape...
April 6, 2020, 1:29 AM

Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell, who helped integrate Redskins, dies at 84

Bobby Mitchell, who was the first African American player to sign with the Washington Redskins, died Sunday at 84, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced. "I was extremely saddened to hear the news about the passing of the great Bobby Mitchell. Bobby was a Hall of Fame player and executive and represented the Washington Redskins organization with integrity for over 50 years," team owner Daniel Snyder said in a statement. "His passion for the game of football was unmatched by anyone I have ever met. Not only was he one of the most influential individuals in franchise history, but he was also one of the greatest men I have ever known. He was a true class act and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Gwen and the entire Mitchell family during this time." Mitchell began his pro career as a halfback for the Cleveland Browns in 1958. A running and receiving threat, he shared the backfield with Jim Brown, giving Cleveland one of the strongest...
April 6, 2020, 1:29 AM

Vic Schaefer leaves Mississippi State to be Texas women's coach

Vic Schaefer is the new women's basketball coach at Texas, after spending the past eight seasons building a powerhouse at Mississippi State. "I certainly feel really fortunate and just truly humbled to be entrusted with the opportunity to build on the years of success and help lead the Longhorns back where they belong -- among the nation's elite," Schaefer said in a statement. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte first broke the news in a  tweet on Sunday of Schaefer and his family giving the "Hook 'em Horns" sign with the words, "Guess who's coming to the Forty" referencing Texas' nickname as the Forty Acres.  Schaefer, a Texas native, graduated from Texas A&M and spent nine years as associate head coach there under coach Gary Blair. He was a member of the Aggies' staff when they won the national championship in 2011. He took over as head coach of Mississippi State in 2012 and led the Bulldogs to the national championship game in 2017 and 2018, losing both...
April 5, 2020, 8:49 PM

Colts owner Jim Irsay donating 10,000 N95 masks

INDIANAPOLIS --  Colts owner Jim Irsay has obtained more than 10,000 N95 masks that he plans to have distributed to medical people, he announced on Twitter on Sunday. Irsay is donating the masks to the Indiana State Department of Health so that they can be distributed to hospitals most in need. The N95s are respiratory masks used to help protect doctors and nurses working with COVID-19 patients. The masks have been in short supply for health care workers and first responders across the country as they continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Irsay's announcement came days after New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft sent his team plane to Shenzhen, China, to pick up 1.2 million N95 masks, which will be distributed in Massachusetts and New York. Irsay also gave $1 million to the Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis last month to help in relief efforts. Irsay donated the money after he challenged Colts fans to raise $200,000 for relief boxes to help feed...
April 5, 2020, 6:29 PM

Rick Pitino challenges son Richard Pitino to game over WrestleMania match

Rick Pitino is back in coaching, and he's already ready to "wrestle" with his son's team. The new Iona coach tweeted out a challenge: If Brock Lesnar beats Drew McIntyre in their championship bout airing Sunday during WrestleMania 36, Richard Pitino's Minnesota team will play at Iona. If McIntyre wins, Iona will play at Minnesota.  Richard Pitino tweeted back that he can't root against Lesnar since he wrestled at the University of Minnesota. He said that if the terms were reversed, he was in. His dad has yet to respond. WrestleMania 36 was scheduled to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, but the coronavirus pandemic stopped that. The Lesnar-McIntyre match took place at WWE's Performance Center in Orlando, without a crowd. It was taped earlier this week -- before Florida issued a stay-at-home order -- and will be shown on the pay-per-view Sunday night. WWE is one of the only sporting events taking place during the pandemic. Rick Pitino, 67, was...
April 5, 2020, 5:09 PM

Rick Pitino challenges son Richard Pitino to game over WWE match

Rick Pitino is back in coaching and he's already ready to "wrestle" with his son's team. The new Iona coach tweeted out a challenge: If Brock Lesnar beats Drew McIntyre in their championship bout during Wrestlemania 36, Richard Pitino's Minnesota team will play at Iona. If McIntyre wins, Iona will play at Minnesota.  Richard Pitino tweeted back that he can't root against Lesnar since he wrestled at the University of Minnesota. He said that if the terms were reversed, he was in. His dad had yet to respond. Wrestlemania 36 was scheduled to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, but the coronavirus pandemic stopped that. The Lesnar-McIntyre match took place at WWE's Performance Center in Orlando, without a crowd. It was taped earlier this week -- before Florida issued a stay-at-home order -- and will be shown on television Sunday night. WWE is one of the only sporting events taking place during the pandemic. Rick Pitino was named Iona's coach last month. The 67-year-old...
April 5, 2020, 4:49 PM

French guard Theo Maledon files to enter NBA draft

French point guard Theo Maledon has submitted paperwork to the league office to make himself eligible for the 2020 NBA draft on Sunday. "I am excited to announce that I am declaring for the 2020 NBA draft," Maledon wrote in an email to ESPN. Maledon, the No. 15 prospect in the ESPN Top 100, plays in the EuroLeague and French LNB for ASVEL, averaging 7.1 points and 2.3 assists in 17 minutes. He is a leading candidate to win the prestigious EuroLeague Rising Star award that was scheduled to be announced at the Final Four in May, as only the second 18-year-old in the past decade (along with Luka Doncic) to start the majority of his team's EuroLeague games. Maledon was identified at a young age, receiving a scholarship at 14 to famed INSEP Academy, a government-sponsored institute outside Paris for the nation's top athletes. He left the program to join ASVEL, the club Tony Parker owns in Lyon, and started to see minutes at the pro level just a few months after...
April 5, 2020, 4:09 PM

Famed New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey dies from coronavirus

Former New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey, who famously made a 63-yard field goal in 1970 despite being born without toes on his right kicking foot, has died due to complications of the coronavirus, his daughter said. He was 73. Ashley Dempsey said Sunday that her father tested positive for the coronavirus a little more than a week ago. Dempsey had been battling Alzheimer's disease and dementia. He was a resident at the Lambeth House senior living center in New Orleans, which has been hit hard by the virus. More than 50 residents have been affected, according to NOLA.com. The Orleans Parish coroner has yet to release an official cause of death. Saints owner Gayle Benson released a statement Sunday morning on Dempsey's death. "The New Orleans Saints family is deeply saddened and heartbroken at this most difficult time. Tom's life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his...
April 5, 2020, 1:09 PM

UFC's Dana White named as extortion victim in lawsuit

UFC president Dana White responded Saturday to a civil lawsuit filed against him by a man who went to prison for extortion, calling it a "bulls---" suit that he expects to be quickly dismissed. Ernesto Joshua Ramos, a Las Vegas resident, is suing White for breach of contract. In the civil suit, filed Friday in Clark County (Nevada) District Court, Ramos claims that White broke an agreement that would have paid Ramos $450,000 for not disclosing White's name after Ramos' 2015 extortion case closed. Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, was also named in the lawsuit. The Las Vegas Review-Journal was the first to report the news. "I just found out that a bulls--- lawsuit was filed against me yesterday," White said in a statement sent to the Review-Journal. "This guy went to federal prison for trying to extort me over five years ago. Now he's hired a lawyer who is also a convicted felon, and he's trying to extort me again for $10 million. He got no money from me last time and he won't be...
April 5, 2020, 2:39 AM

Vanessa Bryant says Hall of Fame election is 'peak' of Kobe's career

Kobe Bryant's wife, Vanessa, said Saturday that his election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was the "peak of his NBA career." Speaking to ESPN's Rece Davis via FaceTime with her daughter Natalia by her side, Vanessa Bryant said, "It's an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we're extremely proud of him. "Every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a steppingstone to be here," she added. Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26 as they were flying to a basketball tournament where Gianna was to play. "Obviously we wish that he was here with us to celebrate," Vanessa said Saturday. "We're incredibly proud of him. And there's some solace in knowing that he was probably going to be a part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class." Vanessa and Kobe Bryant were married for 19 years. They had four daughters: Natalia is 17, Bianka is 3 and Capri is 9...
April 4, 2020, 10:19 PM

Sources: NBA, ESPN working on televising H-O-R-S-E competition

The NBA and ESPN are working on televising a H-O-R-S-E competition involving several high-profile players, sources told ESPN. Discussions have been ongoing among the NBA, NBPA and ESPN about a competition among several players in isolation -- presumably using home gyms -- that would include them competing shot for shot in the traditional playground game, sources said.   Details, including a schedule and specific player involvement, are still being finalized. The NBA has been shut down since March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and there's no expectation that the league can resume play anytime soon. Current NBA isolation protocols governing players make it impossible for players to compete in the same location.
April 4, 2020, 10:19 PM

Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett lead star-studded Basketball Hall of Fame class

The Class of 2020 will arguably be the most star-studded in the history of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. All eight finalists -- led by the late  Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett -- were selected Saturday for enshrinement and will be inducted Aug. 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Bryant, Duncan and Garnett will be joined by 10-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever; coach Kim Mulkey of three-time women's NCAA champion Baylor; five-time Division II coach of the year Barbara Stevens of Bentley University; four-time NCAA coach of the year Eddie Sutton; and former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, a two-time title winner. In addition to the finalists, longtime FIBA executive Patrick Baumann was selected as an inductee, bringing the Class of 2020 to nine. From the moment they were eligible, it was assured Duncan, Garnett and Bryant would gain entry into the Hall of Fame. But a pall was...
April 4, 2020, 7:49 PM

Sources: President Donald Trump says NFL season should start on time

In a conference call with major league sports commissioners on Saturday, President Donald Trump said he believes the NFL season should start on time in September, sources familiar with the call told ESPN. Trump also said he hopes to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September, sources said, although it is currently unclear if medical experts find that to be a realistic timeline amid the current coronavirus pandemic. "I want fans back in the arenas," Trump said later in a briefing at the White House. "I think it's ... whenever we're ready. As soon as we can, obviously. And the fans want to be back, too. They want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey. They want to see their sports. They want to go out onto the golf courses and breathe nice, clean, beautiful fresh air." Trump declined to give an exact date when reporters asked when he anticipates fans returning to arenas, saying, "No, I can't tell you a date, but I think it's going to be sooner...
April 4, 2020, 7:09 PM

Sources: Trump says NFL should start on time

In a conference call with major league sports commissioners on Saturday, President Donald Trump said he believes the NFL season should start on time in September, sources familiar with the call told ESPN. Trump also said he hopes to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September, sources said, though it is currently unclear if medical experts find that to be a realistic timeline amid the current coronavirus pandemic. NBA commissioner Adam Silver told those on the call the leagues were the first to shut down and that the leagues would love to lead the way in starting the economy once there was an "all clear" from public health officials, sources familiar with the call told ESPN. Trump also raised the idea of the leagues working together to lobby for tax credits that used to exists for fans, such as the ability to deduct concessions and tickets from taxes, sources said. That would be a way for leagues to jumpstart fans ability to return to stadium in a difficult...
April 4, 2020, 6:59 PM

Sources: NFL teams preparing to draft virtually from home

High-level officials from multiple NFL teams are now preparing to conduct the April 23-25 draft virtually, from home, away from their team facilities, league sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Saturday. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a leaguewide memo on March 26 that it was "unanimous and unequivocal that the Draft should go forward as scheduled," despite the coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted work for most of the nation. NFL vice president Troy Vincent has already invited several prospects to participate "live" in the draft. The NFL draft, the biggest event on the league's off-the-field calendar, was originally scheduled as a lavish affair in Las Vegas before those plans were dropped when the league announced it would not be open to the public. Goodell had acknowledged there would have to be significant changes and told teams to prepare to conduct the draft outside team facilities and with a limited number of people. The league's general manager...
April 4, 2020, 6:09 PM

Dominick Reyes says UFC talked rematch with Jon Jones before pandemic

UFC light heavyweight Dominick Reyes says he was in preliminary talks with the promotion about a rematch against Jon Jones before the impact of the coronavirus pandemic hit the UFC. Reyes (12-1) suffered the first defeat of his career earlier this year, as he dropped a controversial decision to Jones in a 205-pound title bid in February. Many people scored the fight for Reyes, and the Californian says the UFC has already discussed booking a rematch in the fall. "Yes, we were talking early fall," Reyes told ESPN. "We started moving along, moving along, and then [COVID-19]. And that was it." The UFC was forced to postpone three events between March 21 and April 11. The promotion is still trying to salvage a pay-per-view event on April 18, although an official location has not been determined. One of the headliners, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, has indicated he likely won't compete due to travel restrictions out of his native Russia. Despite the...
April 4, 2020, 5:59 PM

Sources: NFL teams to draft virtually from home

High-level officials from multiple NFL teams are now preparing to conduct the April 23-25 draft virtually, from home, away from their team facilities, league sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Saturday. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a leaguewide memo on March 26 that it was "unanimous and unequivocal that the Draft should go forward as scheduled," despite the coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted work for most of the nation. NFL vice president Troy Vincent has already invited several prospects to participate "live" in the draft. The NFL draft, the biggest event on the league's off-the-field calendar, was originally scheduled as a lavish affair in Las Vegas before those plans were dropped when the league announced it would not be open to the public. Goodell had acknowledged there would have to be significant changes and told teams to prepare to conduct the draft outside team facilities and with a limited number of people. The league's general manager...
April 4, 2020, 4:59 PM

Vanessa Bryant says Hall of Fame 'peak' of Kobe's career

Kobe Bryant's wife, Vanessa, said Saturday that his election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was the "peak of his NBA career." Speaking to ESPN's Rece Davis via FaceTime with her daughter Natalia by her side, Vanessa Bryant said, "It's an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we're extremely proud of him. "Every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a steppingstone to be here," she added. Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26 as they were flying to a basketball tournament where Gianna was to play. "Obviously we wish that he was here with us to celebrate," Vanessa said Saturday. "We're incredibly proud of him. And there's some solace in knowing that he was probably going to be a part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class." Vanessa and Kobe Bryant were married for 19 years. They had four daughters: Natalia is 17, Bianka is 3 and Capri is 9...
April 4, 2020, 4:49 PM

Mississippi State lineman enters transfer portal after Mike Leach tweet

Mississippi State defensive lineman Fabien Lovett, who criticized Bulldogs coach Mike Leach's tweet that showed a meme of a woman knitting a noose for her husband during self-quarantine, entered the NCAA transfer portal on Friday. Lovett wrote on Twitter that he had entered the transfer portal and has three years of eligibility remaining. Lovett's decision came one day after Leach posted the now-deleted tweet. Lovett responded to his new coach's tweet with "wtf" on his Twitter account. Lovett didn't specify whether he decided to transfer because of Leach's tweet. Leach removed the tweet Thursday night and later apologized, writing on Twitter, "I sincerely regret if my choice of images in my tweets were found offensive. I had no intention of offending anyone." Lovett, a redshirt sophomore from Olive Branch, Mississippi, had 19 tackles and one sack in 2019.
April 4, 2020, 1:29 PM

Derrick Jones Jr. upsets Kevin Durant in NBA 2K Players tourney

The NBA 2K Players Tournament started with a bang Friday night on ESPN. No. 16 seed Derrick Jones Jr. upset No. 1 seed Kevin Durant 78-62 to lead off the evening. Jones and Durant faced off in a tense matchup -- this time not on the court, but on the sticks -- as the players queued up for a game of NBA 2K20 in which Jones would select the Milwaukee Bucks and Durant the LA Clippers. Sitting at their homes in Miami and New York, respectively, Jones and Durant competed in a 24-minute game that ended with Jones defeating the Brooklyn Nets superstar. Evan Turner wasn't at all surprised Jones pulled the upset. It was a fitting kickoff to the NBA 2K Players Tournament, in which 16 players are competing in NBA 2K20 for bragging rights and a $100,000 donation from the NBA, National Basketball Players Association and 2K to a coronavirus relief charity of their choice. Friday's participants included Jones and Durant as well as NBA notables ...
April 4, 2020, 5:29 AM

Rangers, NHL condemn racial slurs in hijacked player video chat

The New York Rangers are investigating how prospect K'Andre Miller's video chat with fans was "hijacked" by racial slurs directed toward the African American player. Miller, 20, took part in a video Q&A on Zoom that was limited to 500 participants on Friday afternoon. With about 150 fans streaming the chat, the comments section for questions was overrun with the N-word being published over and over again, under different user names, before the comments were turned off. Videos of the incident circulated on social media, and both the Rangers and the National Hockey League put out statements condemning the act. "We held an online video chat with fans and New York Rangers prospect, K'Andre Miller, during which a vile individual hijacked the chat to post racial slurs, which we disabled as soon as possible," the Rangers said. "We were incredibly appalled by this behavior, which has no place online, on the ice, or anywhere, and we are investigating the matter." A source told...
April 4, 2020, 1:39 AM