Associated Press VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSIOC chief invokes Trump in defense of Olympic decisionUNDATED (AP) — A day after postponing the Tokyo Olympics, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is invoking comments by President Donald Trump to defend himself from criticism.Bach spoke to about 400 reporters on a conference call and was asked why it took so long to postpone the Tokyo Games amid growing concern among athletes about the coronavirus pandemic. He noted that many governments have imposed social limits only into next month or early May, and pointed to Trump’s hope of easing restrictions by mid-April.Bach said “we were in line with these developments” until World Health Organization leaders said Monday that the outbreak was accelerating. March 25, 2020 TRANSGENDER ATHLETES-HIGH SCHOOLUS Justice Department: Don’t treat trans athletes as girlsHARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is getting involved in a federal civil rights lawsuit that seeks to block transgender athletes in Connecticut from competing as girls in interscholastic sports.Attorney General William Barr signed what is known as a statement of interest Tuesday, arguing against the policy of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, the board that oversees the state’s high school athletic competitions.The conference allows athletes to compete as the gender with which they identify, arguing it is following a state law that requires high school students be treated according to their gender identity. It also argues the policy is in accordance with Title IX, the federal law that allows girls equal educational opportunities, including in athletics. Update on the latest sports KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to one-year deals with defensive tackle Mike Pennel and fullback Anthony Sherman, continuing their trend of keeping low-cost valuable contributors to their Super Bowl run on the roster.Sherman will be entering his 10th season in the league and his eighth in Kansas City, and has become a useful piece not only as a blocker and short-yardage back but also catching passes out of the backfield. Sherman also has been a key piece of a special teams group that has consistently ranked among the league’s best.Pennel signed with the Chiefs midway through last season when a rash of injuries to the interior defensive line left them in desperate need of depth. He wound up playing eight games — the Chiefs won all of them — with 24 tackles and a sack.COLLEGE FOOTBALL-WASHINGTON STATE-BEEKMANPolice: Washington State safety Bryce Beekman found dead — NASCAR says in a memo to teams that one of its employees at track at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago has tested positive for the coronavirus. The employee was not identified and NASCAR said the individual has been receiving medical care and all potentially exposed have been told to self-quarantine. NASCAR was scheduled to race at Atlanta March 15 without spectators. But two days prior to the race, NASCAR postponed Atlanta and last weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which instead was converted into a virtual iRacing event broadcast on Fox Sports 1 with 35 drivers. NASCAR has suspended its season through May 9 and will race at least five more iRaces, televised on Fox, during the stoppage.— Roger Federer and his wife Mirka say they have donated $1 million “for the most vulnerable families” in Switzerland. Federer writes on his social media accounts that “these are challenging times for everyone and nobody should be left behind.” The announcement was the first post on his Twitter and Instagram accounts in more than three weeks. Federer underwent surgery on his right knee five weeks ago and hoped to return for grass-court tournaments in June. The men’s tennis tour has since shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Federer says he and wife hope “others might join in supporting more families in need.”— Experts are pointing to a Feb. 19 soccer game as one of the biggest reasons why the Italian city of Bergamo (BEHR’-gah-moh) has become an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. On that day a third of the Italian city’s population made the short trip to Milan to watch their team play Spanish club Valencia. Nearly 2,500 fans from Spain also traveled to the match. Two days later, the region’s first case of locally transmitted COVID-19 was reported. More than a third of Valencia’s team eventually became infected following what some are calling “Game Zero.”NFL-CHIEFS-FREE AGENCYChiefs agree to 1-year deals with DT Pennel, FB Sherman — The Kontinental Hockey League has given up on trying to reschedule its playoffs and canceled the remainder of the season. The Russia-based KHL is widely considered to be the strongest league outside the NHL. It was due to play its conference semifinals when play was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak. Teams from Finland and Kazakhstan withdrew because of travel and safety concerns, leaving the league with six teams in an eight-team bracket. The KHL tried to draw up a new playoff system and considered resuming in June and July but has now decided to focus on preparing for a 2020-21 season. It’s unclear how or even whether a champion will be declared. The league says the board will discuss how to allocate finishing positions.— Major League Soccer has extended its moratorium on team training through April 3 and still wants players to stay in their team’s local market. MLS has targeted May 10 as a potential return date. Team training facilities may be used only for physical therapy purposes at the direction of the team’s medical staff.— The All England Club says it is still evaluating whether to postpone or cancel Wimbledon because of the coronavirus pandemic and plans to make a decision next week. That’s when the club’s main board is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting. Main-draw play at Wimbledon is slated to start June 29 and preparations for the tournament are supposed to begin in late April. Playing without fans has been ruled out. Wimbledon hasn’t been canceled since World War II.— Chicago’s United Center is going to be turned into a logistics hub to help with Illinois’ response to the novel coronavirus. The arena that is home to the Bulls and the Blackhawks and the surrounding area will be used for front-line food distribution, first responder staging and collecting medical supplies.— Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns says his mother is hospitalized and in a medically-induced coma after contracting the new coronavirus. Towns talked about the condition of his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, early Wednesday on his Instagram page. He said both his parents went to the hospital recently and were tested for the disease. While his father was released and told to quarantine at home, his mother’s condition deteriorated to the point where she was put on a ventilator and placed in a coma. Towns urged his followers to take COVID-19 seriously and practice social distancing.
Bach and the IOC faced mounting criticism last week from athletes, including Olympic gold medalists, for continuing to publicly support holding the Tokyo Games as scheduled from July 24-Aug. 9. The Canadian Olympic committee said before the decision it would not send a team to Tokyo in 2020. Even Trump said on March 12 at the White House that the Olympics should be postponed for a year.The IOC board eventually decided on Tuesday, with Japanese government agreement, to delay until 2021. The postponement calls for the Tokyo Games to take place no later than next summer.In other developments news related to the pandemic:— NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has instructed the 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees by 6 p.m. Wednesday. In a memo to the teams, Goodell said the restrictions meant as a safeguard against the new coronavirus will be in force until at least April 8. Then the league will re-evaluate, using advice from medical experts and health authorities. The few exceptions include trainers and doctors treating players, security and technology personnel.— The NHL’s chief medical officer expects the coronavirus pandemic to get worse before it gets better in North America. Dr. Winne Meeuwisse says it is difficult to predict when cases of COVID-19 might peak or decrease. That uncertainty makes it unclear when players might be able to get back on the ice in small groups, let alone when games might resume. He says different regional or local health recommendations and lockdown protocols could affect how the league proceeds. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly believes it’s too early to know whether fans would be allowed in whenever hockey is back. Former Texas A&M basketball player David Edwards dead at 48COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Former Texas A&M basketball player David Edwards, whose single-season school record for assists has stood for more than 25 years, has died in his home state of New York. He was 48.The school said in a news release that Edwards died Monday. Former teammate Charles Henderson posted on social media that Edwards died of complications from the new coronavirus. The Associated Press couldn’t independently confirm Henderson’s account.Edwards, who was from New York City, played three seasons for the Aggies from 1991-94 after transferring from Georgetown. He is second to Alex Caruso on Texas A&M’s career list in assists (602) and steals (228). Edwards averaged 13.5 points per game.Edwards played 31 games at Georgetown in 1989-90, averaging 5.4 points and 4.8 assists in 20 minutes per game before transferring and sitting out a year. The Justice Department, in its filing, disagrees. Barr and the other department officials say the policy “deprives those women of the single-sex athletic competitions that are one of the marquee accomplishments of Title IX.”The lawsuit was filed in February by three female runners who say they have been deprived of wins, state titles and athletic opportunities by being forced to compete against transgender athletes.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Washington State senior defensive back Bryce Beekman has died.Police in Pullman, Washington, say the 22-year-old was found dead in his apartment by an officer who responded to a call for help involving “breathing problems.”Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins says there were no signs of foul play and that the Whitman County coroner will determine the cause of death.Beekman started all 13 games last season for Washington State after transferring from Arizona Western College. He finished fifth on the team with 60 tackles and one interception. He was expected to be part of an experienced Washington State secondary going into this season.COLLEGE BASKETBALL-OBIT-DAVID EDWARDS Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-NEWSMLB to air teams’ `greatest hits’ instead of opening day gamesUNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball will air 30 games across its digital platforms on Thursday, giving fans plenty of hardball to choose from on an opening day postponed by the coronavirus pandemic. With its season delayed until at least mid-May, MLB will air one memorable game for each franchise on its YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages. The list includes Dave Roberts’ series-shifting stolen base for the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of the 2003 AL Championship Series, the Chicago Cubs ending their championship drought in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, and perfect games by Félix Hernández and Mark Buehrle (BUR’-lee).MLB Network plans to broadcast classic opening day games throughout the day, including Derek Jeter’s debut in 1996, and SiriusXM also plans to carry memorable season openers. ESPN2 is airing a Home Run Derby marathon starting with Pete Alonso’s impressive show from last summer.In other baseball news:— Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins is pitching an idea to help big league teams squeeze in more games once the season resumes. Atkins is floating the prospect of playing seven-inning doubleheaders. Those have long been a staple of minor league baseball. Atkins says seven-inning twinbills could add more games in a condensed season without exhausting pitching staffs. Opening day has been postponed until at least mid-May because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Blue Jays were set to begin the 2020 season at home against the Boston Red Sox tomorrow afternoon.— Injured New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge still hasn’t resumed baseball activities. Judge didn’t play in any spring training games because of discomfort in his right pectoral muscle and shoulder that he felt when swinging. The Yankees said March 6 that the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year had a stress fracture to his first right rib, an injury likely dating from a diving catch late last season. Yankees manager Aaron Boone says Judge will be evaluated again in a few weeks.