Wednesday Sports in Brief

Sports

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

The Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all.

Less than five weeks after pushing fall sports to spring in the name of player safety during the pandemic, the conference changed course Wednesday and said it plans to open its football season the weekend of Oct. 23-24.

All 14 teams will play eight regular-season games in eight weeks, plus have an opportunity to play a ninth game on Dec. 19 when the conference championship game is in Indianapolis – if all goes well. That should give the Big Ten an opportunity to compete for the national championship.

The Big Ten said its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Tuesday to restart sports. The vote last month was 11-3 to postpone, with Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska voting against.

MLB

SAN DIEGO (AP)The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the pandemic-shortened season, beating the San Diego Padres 7-5 Wednesday behind Dustin May’s gutty effort out of the bullpen and home runs from AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor.

Will Smith drove in three runs for the seven-time defending NL West champion Dodgers, who opened a 3 1/2-game lead in the division by winning two of three in the matchup of the NL’s two best teams.

NEW YORK (AP) – A Major League Baseball umpire tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting a late shift in crew assignments in Florida this week, several people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The affected umpire, who wasn’t identified, was not on the field when the result was learned.

MLB medical experts didn’t believe the positive test represented a threat of infection or presented a risk to other personnel, according to those familiar with the matter. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.

The afflicted umpire and four umps who were considered close contacts with him have all tested negative multiple times since the positive test, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

-By Baseball Writer Ben Walker.

NBA

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – LeBron James now stands alone in All-NBA recognition history, getting there unanimously.

James was revealed Wednesday as an All-NBA player for a record 16th time, breaking the mark he shared with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. He was a first-team pick on all 100 ballots, joining Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo as the only unanimous first-team selections this season.

Joining them on the first team: Houston guard James Harden, Lakers forward Anthony Davis and Dallas guard Luka Doncic, who got the nod in just his second season in the NBA – becoming the first player to get there in either his first or second season since Duncan did for San Antonio. Duncan was first-team in each of his first eight NBA seasons, starting in 1997-98 and going through 2004-05.

WNBA

NEW YORK (AP) – Basketball star Maya Moore has married Jonathan Irons, the Missouri man she helped work to free from prison after a 22-year-old wrongful conviction.

Moore and Irons appeared together on ABC’s ”Good Morning America” on Wednesday to discuss their social justice efforts – and their relationship. Moore revealed that the two married this year, shortly after Irons was released on July 1.

Moore, a two-time Olympian who won four WNBA titles with the Minnesota Lynx, put her career on hold in 2019 to focus on ministry work, criminal justice system reform and the specific case of Irons, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 1998 as an 18-year-old on burglary and assault charges.

NFL

Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson are among 14 first-year eligible candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Joining the two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback and the star cornerback/safety on the ballot are receivers Calvin Johnson, Wes Welker and Roddy White; running back Steven Jackson; tight end Heath Miller; offensive linemen D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Logan Mankins; defensive linemen Jared Allen, Justin Tuck and Kevin Williams; linebacker Jerod Mayo; and defensive back Charles Tillman.

In all, there are 130 nominees for five modern-era spots. The roster of nominees consists of 65 offensive players, 49 defensive players and 16 special teams players.

NHL

SEATTLE (AP) – The Seattle Kraken will split its players among several American Hockey League teams for its inaugural 2021-22 season with plans for their own AHL franchise in the Palm Springs area delayed by a year.

Oak View Group and the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation announced plans Wednesday to build a sports and entertainment arena in California’s Coachella Valley that will be the future home of the Kraken’s AHL franchise, but it will not open until the 2022-23 season.

Oak View had originally partnered with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to build an arena on 16 acres of land owned by the tribe in downtown Palm Springs with the hopes of having the arena open for the 2021-22 season. But the sides could never finalize the agreement.

AUTO RACING

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – IndyCar plans to return to Nashville next year on an urban street course that will be a three-day festival of sound and speed that organizers hope rivals the storied Long Beach Grand Prix.

The Music City Grand Prix is scheduled for Aug. 6-8 on a temporary circuit. The 2.17-mile course will race across the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge into downtown Nashville and back.

The 11-turn course will cross the Cumberland River, making it a rare racing event that crosses a body of water. It is the first new street course added to the IndyCar schedule since 2013 and returns the series to the city to Nashville for the first time since 2008. IndyCar raced at Nashville Super Speedway from 2001 to 2008.

TRACK AND FIELD

PARIS (AP) – Former track federation president Lamine Diack was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison for corruption during his nearly 16-year tenure at the IAAF, most notably a scheme that allowed Russian athletes who paid millions in hush money to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping.

The guilty verdict in a Paris court represented a spectacular fall from grace for the 87-year-old Diack, who was the powerful head of the IAAF from 1999-2015 and mixed with world leaders and was influential in the world of Olympic sports. The court also sentenced Diack to another two years of suspended jail time and fined him 500,000 euros ($590,000).

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Relays, one of the longest-running track and field events in the country, will be postponed in the spring as the University of Kansas tries to deal with a massive budget shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The school said in announcing its decision Wednesday that postponing the relays will save at least $300,000 from the Kansas Athletics budget, and perhaps more given the likely COVID-19 testing requirements.

OBITUARY

Jeannette Belichick, the mother of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, has died. She was 98.

Patriots spokesman Stacey James said Belichick died Monday night of natural causes in Annapolis, Maryland.

Belichick was preceded in death by her husband, Steve, who died in 2005 at age 86. In addition to their son, Bill, she is survived by three grandchildren: Holy Cross College women’s lacrosse coach Amanda Belichick and Patriots assistants Stephen Belichick and Brian Belichick.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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