Olympics team in crisis

DENVER — The postponement of the Tokyo Games has catapulted the sports organizations that make up the backbone of the U.S. Olympic team into crisis.

At least one has already started layoffs and others are desperate to stay solvent. Some are expecting a major downturn in membership dues, while others are reeling from event cancellations totaling more than 8,000 across all sports.

A database analyzed by The Associated Press shows combined projected losses of more than $121 million in revenue between February and June for 43 of the 50 national governing bodies that responded to a survey from the NGB Council in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

As much or more as the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which serves as an umbrella regulator of the country’s Olympic sports, it’s the NGBs that provide funding and other support for athletes to pursue their dreams at the Olympic and other elite levels. About 80% of the typical NGB’s budget goes toward supporting athletes.

MLB players OK with late start

NEW YORK — If the final pitch of the 2020 baseball season comes closer to Christmas than Halloween, that’s fine with the players.

Major League Baseball owners ratified a 17-page agreement with the union on Friday in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with players willing to extend the season as long as needed to cover as close to a full schedule as possible.

Union head Tony Clark said that could involve neutral sites in warm-weather cities and domes, playing in empty ballparks, day-night doubleheaders and even expanding the playoffs from 10 teams.

The deal provides for $170 million in advances from salaries that total more than $4 billion and guarantees service time to players even if no games are played this year. That means Mookie Betts, George Springer, Marcus Stroman, Trevor Bauer and J.T. Realmuto remain on track for free agency next offseason.

The Associated Press

World track championships in limboLONDON — The date of the next world track championships is in limbo until the International Olympic Committee decides on a new schedule for the postponed Tokyo Games.

Sebastian Coe, the Olympic great who is now president of World Athletics, said there are plenty of options for rescheduling next year’s world championships in Eugene, but at the moment they all depend on the IOC.

The Olympics were postponed on Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, with the IOC saying the Tokyo Games would now take place sometime in 2021. Although it’s likely the games will be pushed back to the same slot in 2021 as it would have occupied this year, that decision hasn’t yet been finalized.

College eligibility on the lineThe NCAA Division I Council is scheduled to vote Monday on whether to allow another year of eligibility for spring sport athletes such as baseball, softball and lacrosse players, who had their seasons wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.

Providing similar relief to winter sport athletes, such as basketball and hockey players and wrestlers, will also be considered. According to a memo recently sent to college sports administrators from the NCAA, there does not appear to be support for that.

“(W)inter sports had either concluded their regular season competition or substantially concluded their regular season competition,” said the memo, a portion of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Division II has already approved legislation to provide an extra season of eligibility and financial aid for its spring sport athletes, according to the memo.

Around Division I, conference-level discussions on the subject of restoring eligibility have been ongoing.

Russian athletes face doping offensesMONACO — Two Olympic gold medalists were among four Russian track and field athletes charged with doping offenses.

Andrei Silnov, the 2008 Olympic high jump champion, and Natalya Antyukh, the 2012 champion in the 400-meter hurdles, are facing charges of using a prohibited substance or method.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said the cases were based on an investigation into Russian doping for the World Anti-Doping Agency presented in 2016 by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren.

Silnov was the senior vice president of the Russian track federation until last June, when he stepped down citing an investigation by the AIU into his conduct. The AIU said his case included suspicions of the presence of the banned DHCMT, also known as turinabol.

The other two athletes charged were Yelena Soboleva, who won a silver medal in the 1,500 at the 2006 world indoor championships, and retired hammer thrower Oksana Kondratyeva.

Loyola great Les Hunter diesCHICAGO — Les Hunter, a star on Loyola Chicago’s barrier-breaking 1963 NCAA championship team, died Friday. He was 77.

The university announced Hunter’s death, saying he died from cancer.

Hunter helped Loyola — with four black starters — break down racial barriers and capture what remains the only NCAA Division I championship for an Illinois school by beating Cincinnati. The 6-foot-7 center from Nashville, Tennessee, averaged 17 points and 11.4 rebounds as a junior that season and followed that up by turning in 21.4 and 15.3 as a senior.

In an era when freshman did not play with the upperclassmen, Hunter had 1,472 points in three seasons and 1,017 rebounds — second on the school’s career list. He and LaRue Martin are the only Loyola players with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

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