NCAA board supports name, image and likeness compensation

The NCAA is moving forward with a plan to allow university athletes to earn money for sponsorships and a host of other activities that involve personal appearances and social media content.

The NCAA announced on Wednesday that its Board of Governors will support athletes profiting from their likeness, names, and images like never before and without the participation of association, schools or conferences.

Ohio President and Chairman Michael Drake called the move “unprecedented” on the part of the NCAA.

The next step is for members to draft a bill by October 30. Many details still need to be worked out, including how to ensure that these sponsorship agreements are not used as inappropriate incentives for recruits. Schools will have a formal vote at the next convention in January and the new rules will come into force no later than the 2021-2022 school year.

“The NCAA member schools have adopted a very real change,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

The move comes months after a number of states, including California, passed legislation allowing students to receive compensation. In a statement released on Wednesday, Emmert said the NCAA will work with states and Congress to align their rules with local regulations.

“It’s clear we need Congress’ help in all of this,” Emmert said.


Goodell reduces salary to $0, as NFL workers take cuts

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has reduced his salary to zero, as the NFL announced other employees will receive a salary cut or leave due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Goodell, who earns more than $30 million/year in wages and bonuses, voluntarily cut his wages this month, according to a person close to the commissioner. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the NFL did not announce the measure publicly.

The league is also implementing progressive reductions in base salary, effective the pay period ending May 22. The reduction will be 5 percent for workers up to managerial level, 7 percent for directors, 10 percent for vice-presidents, 12 percent for vice-presidents and 15 percent for executive vice-presidents.

In a note to employees of the league office, Goodell said the pay cuts would only apply to those making less than $100,000.

“We hope that trading conditions will improve and allow wages to return to their current levels, although we do not know when this will be possible,” said Goodell.


NBA delays reopening; A new approach awaits

The NBA has delayed the possible reopening date of some team practice facilities for at least a week to at least May 8, saying Monday that more time is needed to ensure that players are safe and controlled in an effort to mitigate the threats caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA continues to pursue plans to reopen, but with additional rules. When those facilities are reopened, the rules will be strict, experts say. While the May 8 date is far from firm, the NBA reportedly told teams that “they can delay this time if events warrant it.” The league planned to give teams the option to reopen facilities as early as Friday, although it ultimately decided that it would comply with local government orders to remain close.

When they do open, however, there will be no immediate return to normal. A person with knowledge of the league’s plans said players would have to wear face masks inside the facility, except during exercise, and that any staff member present would have to wear face masks and gloves, as well. They will also require a maximum of 12 people present, all of whom will maintain a distance of six feet from one another. The exception in that 12 foot case would be when medical or athletic training personnel are in contact with players. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details were not publicly disclosed.

There are many other details of the league’s facility reopening protocols, the person said, including: All equipment used by players in their voluntary training, including basketball, must be disinfected before reuse; Players will not be able to share towels, and teams will not be able to utilize steam rooms, saunas, cold bathtubs, oxygen chambers or cryotherapy chambers in the available facilities; Teams will have to designate a staff member as “Hygiene Officer of Facilities “to oversee all new policies. Players must enter the facilities alone, without family, friends or personal security.

“Our top priority remains everyone’s health and well-being, and we will continue to follow NBA guidelines, as we continue to listen to experts and publicize local government directives,” said Orlando Magic spokesman Joel Glass.


Is Brazil the next big hot spot as other nations ease up?

Brazil is potentially becoming the next big hotspot for the coronavirus amid President Jair Bolsonaro’s insistence that it is just a “little flu” and that it is not necessary to establish severe restrictions that have slowed the spread of the infection. The USA And European countries gradually moved on Monday to ease their traffic and trade limits, with the epidemic escalating in Brazil’s largest Latin American country, with 211 million people pushing hospitals to the point of breaking and causing deaths at home.

“We have all the conditions to make the pandemic much more serious,” said Paulo Brando, a virologist at the University of Sao Paulo.

Brazil has officially declared around 4,500 deaths and almost 67,000 confirmed infections. But the real numbers there, as in many other countries, would be much higher given the lack of evidence and the number of people without severe symptoms who did not seek hospital care. And the crisis could worsen as the country approaches winter, which can worsen respiratory illness. The country’s health ministry said the death counting system is “robust” and has captured everything except a few cases, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.

The announcement comes as the death toll in the United States exceeded 55,000 near the 58,000 American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War; Italy, Great Britain, Spain and France are responsible for more than 20,000 deaths each.


49ers acquire Pro Bowl LT Trent Williams from Redskins

The San Francisco 49ers acquired one Pro Bowl left tackle and said goodbye to another.

The defending NFC champion 49ers acquired seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams from the Washington Redskins on Saturday for a pair of draft picks and later announced that six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley is retiring.

The Niners sent a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and a 2021 third-rounder to acquire Williams, who still must pass a physical for the trade to be finalized.

The 49ers had a big need at left tackle because Staley informed them he planned to retire. He announced it later Saturday, saying a deteriorating neck injury led to his decision to retire after 13 seasons. Staley also missed nine games last season with injuries to his leg and finger.

“The game of football has been a true passion of mine since I was 8, but my body is telling me it is time,” Staley said in a statement. “Football is a physical sport and I have given my all to the game and pushed my limits. Last season was a dream to be a part of, having the opportunity to chase a championship. But, it was by far the most difficult on me and my family.”

Staley was a first-round pick in 2007 and played 181 games over 13 seasons. He was selected to the NFL’s all-decade team for the 2010s and played a big role in San Francisco’s runs to the Super Bowl following the 2012 and ’19 seasons.

“A consummate professional, one of the best players in the game and a great human being, Joe has left an indelible mark on this franchise and everyone he has come into contact with throughout his career,” 49ers CEO Jed York said.

“His passion, sense of humor and heart are just a few of the many traits that allowed him not only to be a team leader but also an ambassador for our game and the Bay Area.”

Staley leaves a big void but the 49ers managed to find a more than suitable replacement.

Williams sat out the entire 2019 season because of a dispute with Washington’s front office. The Redskins did not trade him before the Oct. 29 deadline and Williams renewed his request for a trade this offseason.

In November, Williams revealed he had cancer and said that situation led him to distrust the Redskins’ medical staff and organization as a whole. The 31-year-old at the time said “there’s no trust there” with president Bruce Allen, who was fired after Washington’s 3-13 season.

The medical staff also was overhauled, and new coach Ron Rivera took control of football operations. Rivera spoke with Williams and it seemed as if there was hope to repair the relationship.

Instead, the Redskins gave Williams’ representatives permission to seek trading partners and it led to the deal with San Francisco on the third day of the draft.

Williams’ agent, Vincent Taylor, said in a statement that it was time for Williams to leave Washington.

“Trent Williams is ready to get back to competing in the NFL and is glad to be part of a great organization like the San Francisco 49ers,” Taylor said.

The deal reunites him with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was the offensive coordinator in Washington when Williams was drafted fourth overall in 2010.

Williams made the Pro Bowl every season from 2012-18 and is considered one of the best left tackles in the league when healthy. He has one year remaining on his contract, which will pay him $12.5 million this season.

The acquisition of Williams is the biggest veteran addition this offseason for the defending NFC champion 49ers. They spent free agency trying to keep the team together, reaching deals with defensive lineman Arik Armstead and safety Jimmie Ward.

They then drafted defensive tackle Jevon Kinlaw and receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the first round to replace the departed DeForest Buckner and Emmanuel Sanders. Now they have added one of the top tackles in the league.

Minutes after completing the trade, the Redskins drafted Williams’ potential replacement, LSU lineman Saahdiq Charles, with the 108th pick.

“Growing up as an offensive lineman, I watched Trent’s film many a time, and I have a lot of respect for his game,” Charles said. “Just to see that they traded him and picked me, it just shows what they might have in mind for me. I’m going to come in there (with) hard work and go do my thing.”


New Pats kicker says tattoo doesn’t represent militia group

BOSTON (AP) — New Patriots kicker Justin Rohrwasser says a tattoo on his arm is not representative of a loosely organized right-wing militia group that has adopted the symbol.

Rohrwasser, who played at Rhode Island and Marshall, was taken 159th overall in the fifth round of the draft Saturday.

He said in a conference call with reporters that he got the tattoo as a teenager because he has a lot of family members in the military. He added he “thought it was a military support symbol at the time.”

“It evolved into something I do not want to represent,” he said. “It will be covered.”

On its website, the right-wing Three Percenters group says it isn’t an anti-government militia but “we will defend ourselves when necessary.”

The Three Percenters derived the name from the belief that just 3% of the colonists rose up to fight the British. They have vowed to resist any government that infringes on the U.S. Constitution.

According to an interview on Marshall’s last year Rohrwasser described his tattoos, which include phrases like “Liberty or death” and “Don’t tread on me” as well as an American flag and one for the Dave Matthews Band, are “all random.”

Rohrwasser was drafted as a replacement for Patriots all-time leading scorer Stephen Gostkowski, who was released last month. Gostkowski made the 2010s All-Decade team, is a two-time All-Pro and member of three of the Patriots’ Super Bowl-winning teams.


Eagles pull off a stunner, draft Jalen Hurts in second round

After giving Carson Wentz a playmaker, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted his backup.

The Eagles selected Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night, a stunning move for a team with more pressing needs.

Then they took Davion Taylor, a hybrid safety-linebacker from Colorado, in the third round with the 103rd overall pick.

Philadelphia hoped it filled a big void in the first round, taking TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor with the 21st pick. But the team passed on other receivers and defensive players to add Hurts at No. 53.

“Quarterback is the most important position in sports,” Eagles executive vice president and general manager Howie Roseman said. “We have shown how we feel about Carson by our actions, by the amount of picks we put into him, and we showed it by the contract extension. We believe this is the guy to lead us to our next Super Bowl championship. But for better or worse, we are quarterback developers. We want to be a quarterback factory.”

Hurts transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma and became a Heisman Trophy finalist last year when he threw for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns.

“The opportunity to go there, be part of the organization, it’s surreal,” Hurts said about playing in Philadelphia. “It’s an opportunity to grow, learn and be best quarterback I can be. I’m ready to go to work. I’ve always been about the grind.”

Hurts will provide insurance for Wentz, who started 16 games last season and led the Eagles to the NFC East title but was knocked out of a wild-card playoff loss to Seattle with a concussion.

Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in 2016, helped Philadelphia secure the NFC’s No. 1 seed in his sophomore season but tore two knee ligaments and watched Nick Foles lead the Eagles to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. Wentz injured his back in 2018 and Foles stepped in again and led the team to a playoff win.

Roseman said he spoke with Wentz about picking Hurts earlier in the day. Wentz, who finished third in NFL MVP voting in 2017, signed a $137 million contract extension last season.

“We think Carson is a phenomenal player and nobody is going to be looking at a rookie quarterback taking over for a Pro Bowl quarterback who was on the cusp of being an MVP,” Roseman said.

Hurts, 6-foot-1 and 218 pounds, led two elite programs to the College Football Playoffs and put up big numbers both passing and rushing. His passing accuracy and consistency were the biggest questions entering the draft.

Hurts went was 38-4 as a starter, including 26-2 for the Crimson Tide and was the Southeastern Conference player of the year as a freshman. Then he was benched at halftime of the national championship game against Georgia, with Tua Tagovailoa leading the comeback victory and ultimately winning the starting job for the 2018 season.

“He has uncanny toughness, poise and competitiveness,” said Andy Weidl, the team’s vice president of player personnel. “He’s a natural leader. His starting record speaks for itself.”

Hurts is Oklahoma’s third quarterback drafted in three years. Oklahoma is the only program to ever produce quarterback selections in the first two rounds of the draft in three consecutive years — Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray went No. 1 overall each of the last two years. No school had ever produced quarterback picks in the first five rounds of the draft in three straight seasons.

Hurts had 9,477 yards passing and 80 TDs with a 65.1 completion percentage in his four-year career at Alabama and Oklahoma. He also rushed 614 times for 3,274 yards and 43 TDs.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said the team would explore ways to use him with Wentz and mentioned the way New Orleans features Taysom Hill.

“He’s a great runner. He can throw on the run. He has a unique set of skills that we’re going to look at it,” Pederson said.

Hurts wouldn’t get into any specifics about his conversations with the Eagles.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” Hurts said. “I don’t put a ceiling on myself or my game.”

Taylor, 6-foot and 228 pounds, had an unusual path to the NFL. He only played in two games in high school because his family observed the Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath on Friday nights.

Taylor had two 60-tackle seasons at Colorado and starred in track and field, where he posted a 10.51 time in the 100-meter dash at the PAC-12 championships.

He was impressive at the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine and again at CU’s pro timing day, where he trimmed a tenth of a second off his 4.49 time from Indianapolis in the 40-yard dash.

The 5-foot-10, 206-pound Reagor averaged 14.2 yards on 43 receptions and had five touchdowns last season. He also returned two punts for scores. Reagor had 148 catches for 2,248 yards and 22 TDs in 39 college games.

Philadelphia has six remaining picks, including three choices in Saturday’s fourth round.


Pick-Six: Most intriguing players left after Day 2 of draft

The quarterbacks are waiting.

After four quarterbacks went off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft, Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma was the only QB taken in rounds two and three on Friday.

That means Saturday when rounds four through seven are completed, at least a few notable passers will be available. And more than a few other intriguing players, especially if you look outside the Power Five schools


Two Jakes

Washington’s Jacob Eason and Georgia’s Jake Fromm both entered the draft with a year of eligibility still remaining. Both will go into the final day of the draft waiting to be selected. Eason is a former five-star recruit with a huge arm. Fromm is the former four-star who took Eason’s job at Georgia after he was injured. Both had inconsistent seasons in 2019 a and were considered third-round talents. But quarterbacks tend to get overdrafted so it’s a little surprising to see them still available.

Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty

Gandy-Golden put up crazy numbers the last two seasons at Liberty, a relative newcomer to the FBS. He caught 150 passes for 2,433 yards and 20 touchdowns. At 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, Gandy-Golden can move like a gymnast — he was one when he was little.

Curtis Weaver, Edge Rusher, Boise State

The Mountain West defensive player of the year was tied for fifth in the nation in sacks with 13.5. At 6-2 and 265 pounds he is not the most explosive athlete, but he is a hard-worker pass rusher who might be able to work his way into being an effective NFL player.

Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech

Robertson is a feisty, quick and undersized cornerback at 5-8, 187 pounds. But he makes plays. Robertson had 14 interceptions in the last three seasons and 48 defended passes. Should be effective in the slot.

Kenny Robinson, S, XFL

Robinson played at West Virginia but his college career came to an end in the summer of 2019 because of academic issues. Instead of trying to transfer, Robinson signed with the St. Louis BattleHawks of the XFL. The rangy, 6-1, 205-pound playmaker showed out in half a season in the fledgling league, improving his draft stock

Ben Bartch, OT, Saint John’s (Minn.)

There has already been a Division II player drafted in Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger, who went early in the second round to the New England Patriots. The 6-5, 305-pound Bartch could be the second. He started his career as a tight end before bulking up to play tackle and kept his athleticism.


Cape Cod League cancels season

The Cape Cod League, the top summer competition for college baseball players, canceled its 2020 season.

The 10-team league said Friday its executive committee made the decision in a unanimous vote “based on the health concerns and safety needs of all involved.”

“The league determined it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, umpires, host families, volunteers and fans during this unprecedented health crisis,” it said.

The season had been scheduled to start June 13 and the playoffs on Aug. 4. The league was founded in 1885 and had not missed a season since 1945, the last year of World War II.


Tampa mayor lightheartedly apologizes to NFL’s Tom Brady

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — When it comes to first impressions, Tampa didn’t exactly give the best of welcomes to one of its newest and most famous residents when NFL superstar Tom Brady was ejected from a downtown park while working out.

Mayor Jane Castor tried to make amends by issuing a letter of apology.

“Tom, my apologies for the miscommunication when you arrived — not the best first impression,” the mayor wrote in a letter she posted on social media on Saturday.

“But given my law enforcement background, I couldn’t help but have someone investigate the sighting of a G.O.A.T running wild in one of our beautiful city parks.”

The 42-year-old quarterback, widely known as “the greatest of all time,” has six Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots and recently joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On Monday, Brady was working out at the park and spotted by staff patrol, who ordered the four-time Super Bowl MVP to leave because the park was closed to the public because of the coronavirus outbreak.

In her letter, the mayor thanked Brady “for being a good sport.”

The mayor thanked Brady and his wife, Gisele Bundchen, for their recent donation of 750,000 meals to Feeding Tampa Bay.

The letter was also addressed to Rob Gronkowski, more simply known as “Gronk,” who also bolted the Patriots to join the Tampa Bay roster.

With so many “wonderful activities,” the mayor said, listing the area’s long list of offerings, “you must be ready to pARRGHty…but not too hard (I’m talking to you Gronk).”

She was perhaps referring to Gronkowski’s penchant for playing hard on and off the field.

Tampa hosts next year’s Super Bowl and the city is looking to Brady and Gronkowski to help the Buccaneers be the first team to win an NFL championship in its own backyard.

With the coronavirus outbreak preventing large gatherings, the mayor said the welcome would have to be virtual for now, saying that a “proper Tampa welcome will have to wait for a while.”