Thursday’s Sports in Brief

Sports

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

A major college football season that was in peril six week ago as conferences succumbed to concerns about COVID-19 is reconstituting.

The West Coast got back in the game Thursday night. The Pac-12 set Nov. 6 to start a seven-game season, joining the Big Ten in overturning August decisions to punt on fall football. The Mountain West followed up a few hours later by announcing it is aiming to kick off Oct. 24.

Nine of the 10 FBS conferences are now ready to have their seasons completed by Dec. 20, the day the College Football Playoff selection committee is scheduled to pick teams to play for the national championship and in the most lucrative bowls.

As soon as Friday, the Mid-American Conference, the first FBS league to postpone, could make it 10 out of 10.

All that talk about playing football in the winter and spring, about whether it was a good idea to play during a pandemic at all? Out the window. Not even a pandemic could stop college football at the schools that play it at the highest level.

PRO FOOTBALL

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP)Florida prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor charge against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft after courts blocked their use of video that allegedly shows him paying for massage parlor sex.

Palm Beach County court records show that the owner and manager of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa are still facing numerous felony charges related to running a house of prostitution.

The Florida 4th District Court of Appeal found last month that Jupiter police violated the rights of Kraft and the other customers when they secretly installed video cameras inside massage rooms at the spa in early 2019. The court then blocked use of the video footage at trial.

The recordings, which have not been made public, are the only known evidence the men paid for sex. It could not be immediately determined if the charges against the other men have also been dropped, but that is likely.

BASEBALL

ATLANTA (AP) – Major League Baseball is moving its amateur draft to the All-Star break beginning next season.

A three-day draft of at least 20 rounds will begin Sunday, July 11 as part of All-Star week in Atlanta, the league announced. The first night, which has traditionally included only the first round, will take place before the All-Star Futures Game.

MLB has staged its draft in June since its inception in 1965, and it had broadcast the first night live from MLB Network’s studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, since 2009.

The later draft date will allow college players to attend the draft, similar to what the NFL and NBA have long done. The College World Series usually concludes in mid-to-late June, creating conflicts.

This year’s draft was slimmed from 40 rounds to five in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s unclear how many rounds will be in future drafts. The league and the union have agreed the draft will be at least 20 rounds, but it’s unlikely the draft will return to its full 40-round size as MLB seeks to shrink the minor leagues after the expiration of the Professional Baseball Agreement on Sept. 30.

NEW YORK (AP) – Longtime baseball executive Sandy Alderson will return to the New York Mets as team president if Steve Cohen’s purchase of the club is approved by Major League Baseball owners.

The 72-year-old Alderson is currently a senior adviser for the Oakland Athletics. He was the Mets’ general manager from 2010-18 and stepped down after being diagnosed with cancer.

Former player agent Brodie Van Wagenen replaced Alderson as general manager and has overseen two losing seasons. Van Wagenen’s future with Cohen in charge is uncertain.

Cohen reached an agreement earlier this month to buy the Mets from the Wilpon and Katz families. The deal values the franchise at about $2.4 billion.

The billionaire hedge fund manager needs to be approved by at least 23 owners for the sale to be completed.

TENNIS

PARIS (AP) – The French Open may have to reduce the number of fans at Roland Garros from 5,000 to 1,000 for the clay-court tennis tournament.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said Wednesday that a new limit of 1,000 people will be imposed at big events in big cities like Paris amid growing coronavirus concerns. But discussions between the Paris police and officials are ongoing as to how this will affect Roland Garros, which begins on Sunday and ends on Oct. 11.

The Tour de France finished last Sunday. During the cycling race’s final days in the mountains, television cameras showed hundreds of fans standing side by side and sometimes very close to the cyclists as they rolled past. Many fans were not wearing masks and others screamed encouragement into the faces of riders as they rode past. But there were no positive COVID-19 tests recorded among the 176 starters or 146 finishers.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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