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The Latest: Michigan State-Virginia hoops postponed

December 9, 2020 GMT
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West Virginia coach Bob Huggins talks with Jalen Bridges during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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West Virginia coach Bob Huggins talks with Jalen Bridges during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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Virginia’s ACC/B1G Challenge game against No. 4 Michigan State on Wednesday night has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Cavaliers’ program.

The No. 18 Cavaliers (3-1) are next slated to play William & Mary on Sunday. The Tribe shut its program down on Nov. 30 for COVID-19. The status of that game is to be determined.

Virginia did not reveal if the positive test was from a player, coach or staff member.

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West Virginia says its men’s basketball home opener scheduled for Wednesday against Robert Morris has been canceled due to COVID-19 protocols within the Colonials’ program. The 11th-ranked Mountaineers are set to play next at home Sunday against No. 19 Richmond.

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USA Diving has postponed the 2021 World Cup trials because of a spike in COVID-19 cases. The event was scheduled for next week in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The governing body says it is working on potential contingency plans. Options include holding another qualifying event on a different date or choosing the American team in other ways.

In the statement, USA Diving officials say they remain confident they will find a viable solution to field the best team they can for April’s 2021 FINA World Cup.

“This decision was not made lightly,” USA Diving President Lee Michaud said. “But after receiving feedback from public health professionals, our athletes, coaches and other individuals, we felt it was in the best interests of our community’s health to refrain from traveling and coming together at this time.”

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South Carolina has canceled a men’s basketball game against Wofford on Thursday and paused team activities because of positive COVID-19 tests within the program.

South Carolina said it will test the team again Wednesday. The Gamecocks last played Saturday night, losing to 10th-ranked Houston 77-67. The school said the status of future games will be determined once subsequent test results are back.

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A positive COVID-19 test within UNLV’s men’s basketball program has cause the Runnin’ Rebels to cancel their home game with Eastern Washington on Wednesday.

Eastern Washington was notified of the test before traveling to Las Vegas from Eugene, Oregon, after playing the Ducks Monday night. The Eagles instead flew back to Spokane.

Eastern Washington had two previous games canceled due to positive tests at Northwest and Montana Tech.

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East Tennessee State will not allow fans at any athletic event through Dec. 27 after consulting with the university’s medical response team and both local health care experts and local officials.

Dr. Brian Noland, the university president, said it will evaluate regional COVID-19 data at the end of the month about future events.

ETSU originally had planned to allow for 10% capacity at Freedom Hall, where its men’s basketball team plays.

The announcement comes after ETSU postponed Tuesday night’s game against UNC-Asheville because of COVID-19-related issues in the Buccaneers’ program.

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No. 8 Indiana canceled Tuesday’s practice and has paused all football-related activities because of an increase in COVID-19 cases within the program.

The announcement came about five hours after Purdue announced it also had canceled Tuesday’s practice to “evaluate the results of recent COVID-19 testing.”

The in-state rivals are scheduled to play Saturday for the Old Oaken Bucket. Indiana officials said no decision has yet been made about the game.

Indiana said in a statement that all players, coaches and Tier 1 staff members had PCR tests.

“The health and safety of our students, coaches and staff is paramount,” Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson said. “In consultation with our medical experts, we decided this is the appropriate decision at this time. We will continue to assess the situation moving forward.”

Indiana (6-1, No. 12 CFP) has clinched the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten East and would qualify for next week’s conference championship game if No. 4 Ohio State (5-0, No. 4) is deemed ineligible because it failed to meet the league’s minimum requirement of playing at least six games to qualify.

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The No. 2 Baylor men’s basketball team will play its home opener Wednesday, a night later than scheduled and against a different opponent than planned.

The Bears will play Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday night, replacing Tuesday night’s scheduled game against Nicholls State that was canceled after COVID-19 issues in the Colonels programs.

Baylor has also added a Dec. 15 home game against Tarleton State. That replaces a canceled game at Seton Hall that had been scheduled Nov. 29.

Baylor has played only one of the first six games on its initial schedule. With the two additions, along with games against Louisiana-Lafayette and Washington in Las Vegas, the Bears have replaced four of the five canceled games.

The only game played as scheduled was an 82-69 win over No. 5 Illinois last Wednesday in Indianapolis, where Baylor’s planned matchup against No. 1 Gonzaga was scrapped 90 minutes before tipoff Saturday because of two positive tests in the Bulldogs’ traveling party, including one player.

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Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson says running back Kenneth Walker III has informed the coaching staff that he plans to opt out of the remainder of the season.

Walker is the Demon Deacons’ No. 2 rusher at 579 yards and has 13 rushing touchdowns. His decision comes as Wake Forest prepares to play its first game in nearly a month this weekend at Louisville after being on hold due to coronavirus issues.

Clawson said Tuesday some players had decided to opt out and later changed their minds. He said the team would be open to Walker returning if he changed his mind and went back through required safety protocols to rejoin the team.

“But we’re expecting to play the rest of the year without him at this point,” Clawson said.

Clawson said the sophomore has indicated he plans to return to the team in the spring semester.

Christian Beal-Smith had split work with Walker this season, rushing for a team-best 592 yards. Clawson said reserves Justice Ellison and Ahmani Marshall could see more work in Walker’s absence.

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The Washington Nationals have laid off 18 full-time employees from their business operations staff, citing the coronavirus pandemic’s economic effect on the sport.

The 2019 World Series champions said Tuesday they also are eliminating most of the vacant jobs they planned to fill in the coming months.

The team will end a partial furlough for business-side employees who remain with the Nationals and restore their full salaries next year.

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DePaul says its men’s basketball game against No. 9 Villanova on Dec. 14 has been postponed.

The announcement from the school Tuesday followed an earlier announcement by the Big East that the Blue Demons would not play Seton Hall on Friday.

DePaul has paused team activities because of positive COVID-19 tests in the program. The Blue Demons have yet to play a game in a season that was scheduled to open two weeks ago.

Seven games have been postponed or canceled, including one at Iowa State that got called off shortly before tipoff on Sunday. Games against Western Illinois, Chicago State and Alcorn State were canceled, and one against Northern Illinois scheduled for Dec. 3 was postponed.

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NASCAR already has started adjusting the 2021 calendar.

The first three races of the season, which begins Feb. 14 with the Daytona 500, all will be held in Florida now.

NASCAR shifted the February race scheduled for Fontana, California, to the road course at Daytona International Speedway. It swapped the Fontana date to make it the second race of the season and follow the Daytona 500 at the same track.

The race at Homestead-Miami Speedway originally scheduled as the second event of the year was moved into Fontana’s original slot and will be run Feb. 28.

Homestead said its race weekend will have limited spectators. NASCAR said the schedule after Homestead will continue as previously announced with the fourth race of the season.

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Swimming Canada is changing the way its athletes qualify for next year’s Olympic team.

It plans to limit the number of competitors at its trials by making it an invitational event. A maximum of 20 places per Olympic event will be offered at the trials scheduled for April 7-11 in Toronto.

Each event will be held as a timed final over two 10-lane heats, with dedicated warmup and cooldown periods before and after each event.

Swimming Canada will post on its website an initial ranked list of 30 swimmers per Olympic event who are eligible to be invited to the trials by Dec. 22. The first round of invitations will be sent Jan. 6.

The Canadian open-water trials scheduled for April 17-18 on Grand Cayman island have been canceled. Instead, positions for Canada’s final spots in the FINA Olympic marathon swim qualifier in Fukuoka, Japan, on May 29-30 will be determined at the pool trials.

Canada’s high performance director John Atkinson says that if the COVID-19 pandemic improves significantly, the trials format may be reviewed. However, he says more athletes won’t be invited to the trials.

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Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list after a two-game absence.

The 37-year-old Fitzgerald, who went on the list on Nov. 26, has caught 43 passes for 336 yards this season in 10 games.

His presence will be welcome as the Cardinals try to snap a three-game losing streak when they face the New York Giants on Sunday. Arizona has a 6-6 record and is two games behind the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks for the top of the NFC West.

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Texas says all football activities for the No. 23 Longhorns remain on pause “out of an abundance of caution” after the school previously announced that three players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 following a game at Kansas State.

Texas (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) is scheduled to play at Kansas on Saturday. That game had originally been set for Nov. 21 before it was postponed due to virus issues within the Jayhawks’ program.

Texas had said the players and staffers who tested positive on Sunday had passed pre-game testing and were allowed to travel to Kansas State. It hasn’t identified the players and staffers who tested positive after the team returned to Austin following the Longhorns’ 69-31 victory.

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Purdue says it has canceled Tuesday’s football practice to “evaluate the results of recent COVID-19 testing.” Athletic department officials provided no additional comment.

The Boilermakers are scheduled to renew their rivalry with No. 8 Indiana on Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana. The Hoosiers won last year’s game in overtime to reclaim the Old Oaken Bucket.

Indiana (6-1) already has locked up the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten East and has met the minimum standard of playing six games to be eligible for the conference championship game.

Purdue (2-4) has lost four straight and has had some issues with COVID this season. Coach Jeff Brohm missed the season opener after testing positive and all-conference defensive end George Karlaftis sat out the last two games after also testing positive. The Boilermakers also had their Week 3 game at Wisconsin canceled because of a COVID outbreak.

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The NFL says there were 18 new confirmed positive COVID-19 tests among players and 27 among other personnel in the latest round of testing, which concluded Saturday.

The weeklong program included 16,475 tests administered to 2,427 players and 25,194 given to 4,585 team personnel.

Since testing began in August, 173 players and 297 other personnel have been confirmed positive cases out of more than 757,000 tests given.

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No. 7 Houston’s men’s basketball team has paused all team activities and postponed its two games this week because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing.

The Cougars were scheduled to host Sam Houston State on Wednesday night and Rice on Saturday.

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Michigan has scheduled a men’s basketball game against Toledo to replace the one against North Carolina State that was canceled.

The Wolverines were supposed to play the Wolfpack on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but that was called off because of COVID-19 concerns involving N.C. State. Now Michigan is set to host Toledo instead.

The schools are about 50 miles apart, but these programs haven’t played since 1983, when Michigan won 55-52.

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Michigan’s football team is relegated to limited workouts for a second day in a row due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the program.

The Wolverines are scheduled to play No. 3 Ohio State on the road on Saturday, but there are increasing doubts about whether they will be medically cleared to compete after canceling last weekend’s game against Maryland.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and some of his players were scheduled to be on Zoom calls with reporters on Tuesday, but those media availabilities have been postponed.

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The Big East Conference has switched a couple of opening night men’s basketball games because of COVID-19-related concerns.

St. John’s is now scheduled to visit Seton Hall on Friday at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The game will start at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

St. John’s was originally scheduled to welcome UConn back into the Big East on Friday in Storrs, Connecticut, and Seton Hall was to host DePaul. But UConn and DePaul are both dealing with COVID-19 issues.

DePaul announced Tuesday it was pausing all team activities this week following positive COVID-19 tests involving its program, two days after a similar announcement from UConn.

Also, the start time of Friday’s Villanova-Georgetown game has been changed from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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Seton Hall women’s basketball coach Anthony Bozzella will miss Tuesday’s season opener against St. Peter’s because of COVID-19 concerns.

The program paused nearly three weeks ago after positive tests were revealed, the team was quarantined for 14 days and has since completed the protocol process.

Bozzella remains in quarantine. There is no timetable for his return. Assistant coach Lauren DeFalco will serve as interim head coach during Bozzella’s absence.

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