Update on the latest sports
VIRUS OUTBREAK-BIG TEN
Big Ten changes course, will play fall football after all
UNDATED (AP) — The Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all. Less than five weeks after pushing football and other fall sports to the spring in the name of player safety during the pandemic, the conference changed course and said Wednesday that it plans to begin its season the Oct. 23-24 weekend.
Each team will play eight games in eight weeks and the conference championship game will be held Dec. 19 — if all goes well. That should give the Big Ten an opportunity to compete for the national championship.
The Big Ten said its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Tuesday to restart sports. The vote last month was 11-3 to postpone, with Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska voting against.
The decision to play came after sharp pressure from coaches, players, parents and even President Donald Trump, all of them pushing for a Big Ten football season. The conference is home to a number of battleground states in the November election, and Trump swifly applauded the move in a tweet.
Another factor in triggering the revote was the emergence of daily rapid-response COVID-19 testing, which wasn’t available when university presidents and chancellors decided to pull the plug on the season. The Big Ten said it will begin daily antigen testing of its athletes, coaches and staff on Sept. 30.
Seattle games relocated to San Francisco amid wildfires
UNDATED (AP) — The Mariners and Giants play at Oracle Park Wednesday after their two-game series in Seattle was postponed because of poor air quality caused by the West Coast wildfires. The teams will now play twice in San Francisco.
Forecasters are calling for smoke to reach very unhealthy levels in western Washington through at least tomorrow. There have been smoky skies in the Bay Area, too, but the air quality has remained OK.
The Mariners and Oakland split a doubleheader Monday in Seattle. The smoke level reached a level of very unhealthy on the air quality index, even with the roof closed at T-Mobile Park.
Elsewhere around the majors:
— NL East foes Jacob deGrom and Aaron Nola are set to face off for the second time in 10 days after rarely sharing the mound during their careers. In just their second career matchup on Sept. 6, the Mets pounded Nola and the Phillies 14-1, although Nola was only charged with three earned runs. DeGrom goes into this game at Philadelphia likely to get three more starts this season to cement his case for a third consecutive NL Cy Young Award. He entered Tuesday with the NL’s best ERA and tied for second in strikeouts behind the Reds’ Trevor Bauer.
— The wait is over for left-hander Cole Hamels, who is poised to come off the 45-day injured list and pitch for the first time as a member of the Braves. After signing a one-year contract with Atlanta in December, Hamels arrived at spring training with a sore shoulder. Then, he developed triceps tendinitis during summer camp. The rehab, at long last, is done and he’ll start against Baltimore at Camden Yards. And at a good time for a team that’s leading the NL East despite several injuries to its pitching staff. The 36-year-old Hamels hasn’t pitched competitively since last September.
— Yankees slugger Aaron Judge could come off the injured list and return to the lineup to face the Blue Jays in the Bronx. Judge missed two weeks in late August with a strained calf, was activated, played one game and then went back on the IL. The All-Star right fielder was off to a big start this season with nine home runs and 20 RBIs in 18 games. Gerrit Cole starts for New York and Tanner Roark for the Blue Jays in the race for second place in the AL East. At 99-55 lifetime, Cole looks to join Justin Verlander, Roy Oswalt and Mark Mulder as the only pitchers since 2000 to reach 100 wins in 203 or fewer appearances.
Djokovic behaves better in 1st match since US Open default
ROME (AP) — Novak Djokovic behaved better in his first match since being defaulted from the U.S. Open. The top-ranked Serb was mostly courteous with the chair umpire during a 6-3, 6-2 win Wednesday over local wild-card entry Salvatore Caruso in his opening match at the Italian Open.
The performance came in sharp contrast to the scene in New York 10 days ago, when Djokovic was disqualified for unintentionally hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball. Djokovic said earlier this week that the incident taught him “a big lesson.”
Nine-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal is set to make his return to competition after a seven-month absence against Pablo Carreño Busta. Other winners included Matteo Berrettini and Marin Cilic (CHIHL’-ihch).
LUGE-WORLD CUP-LAKE PLACED
Coronavirus fears cancel Lake Placid’s luge World Cup stop
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Lake Placid won’t play host to any major international sliding events this winter, after the International Luge Federation said Wednesday it will not hold a World Cup competition there because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
The upstate New York village was supposed to host a luge World Cup in mid-January. It will now be held in Oberhof, Germany, meaning the entire sliding-sports season will be held in Europe and Asia — skipping North America entirely.
Former IAAF head Lamine Diack sentenced to 2 years in prison
PARIS (AP) — Former track federation president Lamine Diack was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison for his role in a scheme that allowed Russian athletes who paid hush money to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping.
The guilty verdict in a Paris court represented a spectacular fall from grace for the 87-year-old Diack, who was the powerful head of the IAAF from 1999-2015. The court also sentenced Diack to another two years of suspended jail time and fined him 500,000 euros ($590,000).
Diack was found guilty of multiple corruption charges and of breach of trust but acquitted of a money laundering charge.