Wednesday Sports in Brief

March 31, 2022 GMT

NFL

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Bruce Arians has decided to retire as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and move into a front-office role with the team, a stunning move announced Wednesday night.

Arians, who will turn 70 this coming season, coached the Bucs to the Super Bowl title in the 2020 season — Tom Brady’s first with Tampa Bay. The Bucs were 31-18 in Arians’ three seasons there and he was 80-48-1 in eight years as a head coach overall when adding in his five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will replace Arians as coach.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The public’s share of the cost of building and operating a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills will exceed $1.1 billion, once long-term maintenance costs are factored in, according to documents released Wednesday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed a deal Monday in which state and county governments would pay $850 million toward the estimated $1.4 billion cost of building the stadium in a Buffalo suburb.

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Those figures, though, only covered construction costs. The team’s lease agreement would also require the state to pay into a fund to keep the new building in Orchard Park in tip-top shape, according to a 14-page memorandum released by the Hochul administration.

That would include $100 million, paid out over 15 years, for any needed maintenance and repairs, plus at least an additional $180 million for capital improvements, paid out over 30 years.

NEW YORK (AP) — Malcolm Jenkins is retiring after a 13-year NFL career in which he established himself as one of the league’s best all-around safeties, most durable players and leading voices for social justice.

Jenkins helped both the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles win their only Super Bowl and made a major impact off the field as an activist, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

The 34-year-old Jenkins played 2,651 consecutive snaps from the start of the 2017 playoffs through part of the 2020 season in New Orleans. He returned to the Saints that year and helped them go 4-0 against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in the regular season the past two years. However, Tampa Bay beat New Orleans in the 2020 playoffs in Drew Brees’ final game.

SOCCER

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — The United States men are returning to the World Cup after the trauma of missing the 2018 tournament, clinching a berth for this year’s championship in Qatar on Wednesday despite a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica on the final night of qualifying.

Juan Pablo Vargas got behind Walker Zimmerman and headed Brandon Aguilera’s corner kick past goalkeeper Zack Steffen in the 51st minute, and Anthony Contreras knocked in a cross off a scramble in the 59th after Steffen couldn’t hold onto a free kick.

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A sellout crowd of about 35,000 in National Stadium came to life, but the Americans’ 5-1 rout of Panama at home last weekend gave them a huge goal-difference margin over Costa Rica. That meant the U.S. merely had to avoid losing by six goals or more in order to claim an automatic berth by finishing among the top three nations in North and Central America and Caribbean.

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Soccer Federation and the union for its women’s national team are set to negotiate past the expiration of their collective bargaining agreement on Thursday in an effort to reach a deal on equal pay.

The sides announced in December they had agreed to a three-month extension of a labor deal originally set to expire Dec. 31. The terms of the expiring agreement will remain in force under the status quo.

The U.S. men have been playing under terms of an agreement that expired on Dec. 31, 2018.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Spirit announced that the sale of the National Women’s Soccer League team to Michele Kang has closed and she is officially the controlling owner.

The completion of the sale, which was announced in February, formally closes a lengthy battle over the team.

Kang acquired the interests of co-owners Bill Lynch and Steve Baldwin to form a new ownership group. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.

AUTO RACING

Formula One is all-in on the United States with a race on the Las Vegas Strip added to the 2023 calendar as the most glamorous motorsports series in the world continues to expand its North American footprint.

The Bellagio, Caesars Palace and the MSG Sphere will be among the landmarks along the temporary street course built for a Saturday night race in November 2023. The race is a first for F1 in that the series will promote the event alongside Liberty Media Corp., the American parent company of F1.

The Las Vegas race will be the third stop in the United States next season for F1, which has raced at Circuit of the America’s in Austin, Texas, since 2012 and in May will make its debut in Miami. Barring any shakeups, existing races in Mexico City and Montreal will bring F1 to North America five times next season.

WNBA

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Two of Brittney Griner’s USA Basketball teammates have broken their silence on the star player’s imprisonment in Russia.

Most WNBA players have been hesitant to talk about Griner’s detention on apparent drug charges in Russia, hoping to avoid potentially hurting her case.

“People are saying she’s 6-foot-9, she’s different. It’s really not about that,” said USA Basketball player Angel McCoughtry on Wednesday at the team’s training camp in Minneapolis. “It could have been any of us.”

Players have been keeping discussions about how to best help Griner within their community. WNBA players have been very cohesive in the past when rallying behind issues such as voter registration or the Black Lives Matters movement.

NCAA

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A year after glaring inequities were revealed at the women’s NCAA Tournament and less than two weeks after sharp criticism from Congress, NCAA President Mark Emmert declared Wednesday that he was happy with the institution’s progress but said there had only been “preliminary discussions” about distributing tournament revenues to women’s programs.

Emmert said the work ahead improving conditions for women’s basketball includes negotiating a new television contract for the women’s tournament and potentially having a similar revenue distribution protocol as the men’s event.

Emmert was careful not to call for specific changes ahead of discussions by the NCAA’s hundreds of member schools, and he declined to offer his own viewpoint.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Shaheen Holloway is leaving Cinderella Saint Peter’s for Seton Hall just days after helping the little Jesuit school make history by becoming the first No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.

Seton Hall athletic director Bryan Felt announced the hiring of the 45-year-old early Wednesday evening. It really wasn’t a surprise.

Holloway played for the Pirates of the Big East Conference and his move to replace Kevin Willard has been a hot topic since the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Willard left last week for the head job at Maryland.

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