Wednesday Sports in Brief
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis 500 is set to be the largest sporting event in the world since the start of the pandemic with 135,000 spectators permitted to attend “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” next month.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway said Wednesday it worked with the Marion County Public Health Department to determine that 40% of venue capacity can attend the May 30 race on Memorial Day weekend. The speedway is the largest sporting facility in the world with more than 250,000 grandstand seats and the ability to host close to 400,000 on race day throughout the entire property.
The attendance figure was determined after Indianapolis hosted the NCAA men’s basketball tournament through March and into April with limited attendance. The NCAA allowed 8,000 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium for the April 5 men’s championship game.
MADRID (AP) — While trying to at least keep the idea of the Super League alive, more of the founding members of the controversial breakaway competition abandoned the project on Wednesday.
The moves by Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atlético Madrid came a day after the six Premier League clubs involved in the new competition made it unviable by dropping out, leaving Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona as the only teams still officially in it.
While some English clubs apologized to their fans while pulling back on Tuesday, the teams that dropped out on Wednesday admitted defeat but tried to show they still believe in the project.
The brother of George Floyd thanked the Las Vegas Raiders for their support after owner Mark Davis issued a statement on Twitter that drew backlash following the conviction of a police officer who killed Floyd.
Philonise Floyd issued a statement through the family’s attorney on Wednesday, a day after the tweet sent on the team’s official account saying “I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21.”
George Floyd told officers “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times before he was killed when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck last May. Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter on Tuesday for causing Floyd’s death.
The tweet from the Raiders drew backlash on Twitter.
NEW YORK (AP) — NFL owners on Wednesday approved eliminating overtime in preseason games and expanded selection of jersey numbers for receivers, running backs and defensive backs.
The league also will allow on-field officials to get certain “objective information” from the replay official and designated members of the officiating department “when clear and obvious video evidence is present.”
During a virtual meeting, the 32 owners also tabled a proposal by the Philadelphia Eagles that a team be given two chances per game to retain possession after a score by converting a fourth-and-15 play from its 25-yard line.
DENVER, Colo. (AP) — T.J. Ward, the walk-on at Oregon who became a key part of Denver’s famed “No Fly Zone” secondary that helped the Broncos win Super Bowl 50, officially announced his retirement on Wednesday.
Ward played eight seasons in the NFL, earning All-Rookie team honors, two trips to the Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. He last played for the Buccaneers in 2017, although he spent a month with the Cardinals last season.
A second-round pick by the Browns in 2010, Ward played eight seasons in the NFL, including three in Denver.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NBA has suspended Indiana Pacers forward JaKarr Sampson for one game for headbutting San Antonio guard Patty Mills during Monday’s loss to the Spurs.
The fourth-quarter incident began with a shoving match as Sampson and Mills fought for a rebound. Sampson then confronted Mills, drawing a flagrant two foul and automatic ejection. Mills and Spurs forward Rudy Gay also drew technical fouls.
The league fined Mills $25,000 while Gay was fined $20,000. Sampson will sit out Wednesday night’s game against Oklahoma City,
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Longtime major league second baseman Neil Walker says he has no regrets about deciding to retire.
The 35-year-old Walker says he waited during the offseason for the right situation to materialize. When it didn’t he opted to get on with the rest of his life.
The Pittsburgh native spent most of his 12 seasons in the majors with his hometown Pirates, helping the club reach the playoffs three straight times from 2013-15.
Walker says he plans to stay around the game, including potentially working with the Pirates as a broadcaster.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Southwestern Athletic Conference is moving its championship game to a neutral site.
The league announced Wednesday that the May 1 game between Alabama A&M and Arkansas Pine-Bluff will be played at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Mississippi. It was initially scheduled to be played on the campus of the highest ranked team.
The Atlanta Dream have fired president and general manager Chris Sienko.
He came to the team in 2017 as general manager and was promoted to president the following year.
The Dream won a franchise-record 23 games in the 2018 regular season and reached the semifinals of the playoffs. Sienko was honored as the league’s Executive of the Year that season.
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mark Trakh is retiring as Southern California women’s basketball coach after four years at the helm in his second stint with the school.
Trakh turns 66 next month. His overall record of 155-114 is second in program history behind Linda Sharp.
USC finished 11-12 overall and eighth in the Pac-12 with an 8-10 mark this season. Four games were canceled due to COVID-19 issues.
Trakh had a 65-50 record in his second stint with USC. His first tenure from 2005-09 produced a 90-64 mark, including two NCAA Tournament appearances, before he resigned for personal reasons.
HAMILTON, N.Y. (AP) — Colgate has named Ganiyat Adeduntan its women’s basketball coach.
Adeduntan arrives after three seasons on Jennifer Rizzotti’s staff at George Washington. She helped the Colonials win an Atlantic 10 Conference championship in 2018 and served as the program’s recruiting coordinator.
Adeduntan, a 1,000-point scorer at Florida State under coach Sue Semrau, spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Northeastern and was head coach for two seasons (2012-14) at Division III Wheelock College in Boston.
ZURICH (AP) — The United States will open the women’s Olympic soccer tournament on July 21 against Sweden, the team that beat the World Cup champion Americans in the quarterfinals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
The two teams were drawn into Group G on Wednesday and will also play Australia and New Zealand at the Tokyo Games. The Oceania neighbors will also play on July 21, two days before the Olympics officially open.
Defending champion Germany did not qualify.
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese residents with tickets to the Tokyo Olympics may not know until weeks before the games open if they’ll be allowed to attend.
Fans from abroad have already been barred.
Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto says a decision on venue capacity may not be made until June. She had previously promised that decision for this month.
Hashimoto says “we are still studying the timing.” Hashimoto spoke after she and CEO Toshiro Muto took part in an online briefing with the IOC executive board in Switzerland.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Athlete protests and political messages will remain banned at the Olympics, the IOC said Wednesday, after a survey found that a majority of competitors were in favor of keeping the ban in place.
That means raising a fist on the podium — like American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos famously did at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics — or taking a knee would still risk punishment at the Tokyo Games this year.
The IOC said it surveyed more than 3,500 athletes over the past year and that 70% said it was “not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views” on the field of play or at the opening or closing ceremony.
CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — Former major league player and coach Tom Robson has died. He was 75.
Robson died of natural causes on Tuesday at Memory Care Facility in Chandler, Arizona, New York Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Wednesday.
Taken by the Mets on the 50th round of the 1967 amateur draft, Robson played two seasons in the major leagues, both with the Texas Rangers. He batted .208 with four RBIs over 23 games and 54 plate appearances in 1974 and ’75, playing first base and designated hitter.
His last season as a player was with Nankai in Japan’s Pacific League in 1976.
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