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29 minutes ago

NFL draft prospects follow in famous father's footsteps

INDIANAPOLIS -- Toward the end of Brenden Rice's media session at the NFL combine, he received a question from a very familiar face. USC quarterback Caleb Williams joined the scrum asked his college teammate a familiar question. "How does it feel to be Jerry Rice's son?" Rice, with a big smile across his face, responded, "Man, it feels even better to be a teammate of Caleb Williams." The pressure, opportunities and recognition that comes with following a family member's success in the NFL was visible throughout the morning on Friday as the quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs spoke with the media. For Rice, the advice that he receives from dad, who is in the Hall of the Fame, is to be aware of what the name brings, but not to put too much thought into it to avoid it as a distraction. "Well, [my dad] always says, 'Yeah, you got a last name, so you got a target on your back. So, make sure you stay in the moment. Don't make the moment too big and don't...
29 minutes ago
1 hour ago

Motion filed to dismiss charges against Iowa State athletes

The prosecutor handling the sports wagering case against four former or suspended Iowa State athletes has asked a judge to dismiss all charges. In a motion filed Friday in Story County District Court, assistant county attorney Benjamin Matchan wrote that the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation exceeded the scope of permitted use of tracking software that detected open mobile betting apps in Iowa State athletic facilities. "Due to this newly discovered evidence, the State no longer believes further prosecution in this matter is in the interests of justice," Matchan wrote. Attorneys for former football players Isaiah Lee, Jirehl Brock and Eyioma Uwazurike and suspended wrestler Paniro Johnson had filed a motion to suppress earlier this week. The four are among about two dozen Iowa State and Iowa athletes criminally charged last year. They each faced a felony charge of identity theft and an aggravated misdemeanor charge of tampering with records. Most of the...
1 hour ago
3 hours ago

Andrey Rublev DQ'd from Dubai semi after yelling at line judge

Andrey Rublev was defaulted from his semifinal at the Dubai Championships on Friday for yelling in the face of a line judge, allowing Alexander Bublik to advance to the final. The second-seeded Rublev erupted after Bublik won a point to take a 6-5 lead in the deciding set. The Russian player, who is ranked No. 5, immediately pointed to the baseline, walked to the line judge, leaned over and shouted in his face. ATP supervisor Roland Herfel came to the court accompanied by a Russian speaker, who said Rublev swore in his native language. Rublev responded: "I was talking to him in English." But umpire Miriam Bley defaulted Rublev, after which the seventh-seeded Bublik said, "I'm OK to continue" with the match. "I highly doubt Andrey said something crazy," Bublik told reporters. "He's not this kind of guy. But I guess that's the rules. That's what they did, they just follow the procedure." "There's not much to say. With all due respect, it was a great match and both of us...
3 hours ago
March 01

Michael Penix says he's healthy, set to be franchise QB

INDIANAPOLIS -- Washington quarterback  Michael Penix Jr. said Friday he believes he has shown the NFL's talent evaluators he has put questions about his health behind him, and he's ready to be somebody's franchise quarterback. Penix said at the NFL's scouting combine he felt like his medical exams with all 32 of the league's teams went smoothly and he's ready to throw for those on hand at Lucas Oil Stadium. "They're good, I got it all out of the way [Thursday],'' Penix said of the exams. When asked if any teams had requested any additional tests, beyond the standard physical exams each of the prospects invited to the combine undergo, Penix said, "No [extra], I just did all of the things that they wanted to see.'' Penix, who is the fifth-rated quarterback in the draft by Mel Kiper Jr., has gone through the draft process so far as one of the players with the most medical questions. In his four seasons at Indiana, before his transfer to Washington, Penix tore his right...
March 01
March 01

Caleb Williams not thinking beyond No. 1 pick in NFL draft

INDIANAPOLIS -- The possibility of not being drafted No. 1 in April is not a scenario USC quarterback Caleb Williams has given much thought to. Speaking Friday at the NFL combine, Williams was asked whether he would feel disappointed if he didn't hear his name called by the Chicago Bears at the top of the draft order. "It's not a thought in my mind," Williams said. "I don't think that I'm not going to be No. 1. I think I put in all the hard work, all of the time, effort, energy into being that. I don't think of a Plan B. That's kind of how I do things in my life. I don't think of a Plan B, stay on Plan A and then when things don't work out, find a way to make Plan A work." The Bears own the No. 1 pick in the draft and met with Williams on Wednesday evening in Indianapolis. The quarterback said the limited time he had with the Chicago brass wasn't enough for him to know the team's plan for developing him but offered that he was not intimidated by the...
March 01
March 01

Cam Newton apologizes for role in youth football scuffle

Cam Newton apologized for his role in a scuffle at a 7-on-7 youth football tournament over the weekend, saying "there's no excuse" for his actions. Video from the Atlanta tournament surfaced Sunday that showed Newton being shoved by three people near the top of a set of steps before the pushing, shoving and grabbing moved toward a fence line. The video lasted less than 30 seconds before the altercation was broken up by a police officer and event security personnel. Speaking about the incident on an episode of  his YouTube show "4th and 1" that was published Friday, Newton said he "let my emotions get the best of me." "It should not have been called for. Simple. And with that, I apologize to anybody affected," Newton said, naming event organizers, players and parents among those he was issuing his apology to. Newton, the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft out of Auburn, did not appear to throw any punches in the video and seemed to be fending off three other...
March 01
March 01

Source: NFL draft prospect Kool-Aid McKinstry has Jones fracture

INDIANAPOLIS -- Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry has a Jones fracture in his right foot, a source confirmed to ESPN's Jordan Reid. The fracture was discovered by doctors during the medical evaluations at the NFL combine. McKinstry plans to work out at his pro day later this month and then undergo surgery. A source told ESPN's Pete Thamel that McKinstry should be ready for training camp. McKinstry is a likely first-round pick and the third-ranked cornerback on Reid's top 50 prospects list. The junior cornerback finished with 32 tackles and seven passes defensed last season. The NFL Network was first to report on McKinstry's injury.
March 01
March 01

Sources: NFL draft prospect Kool-Aid McKinstry has Jones fracture

INDIANAPOLIS -- Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry has a Jones fracture in his right foot, a source confirmed to ESPN's Jordan Reid. The fracture was discovered by doctors during the medical evaluations at the NFL combine. McKinstry plans to workout at his pro day later this month and then undergo surgery. A source told ESPN's Pete Thamel that McKinstry should be ready for training camp. McKinstry is a likely first-round pick and the third-ranked cornerback on Reid's top 50 prospects. The junior cornerback finished with 32 tackles and seven passes defensed last season.
March 01
March 01

Victor Wembanyama outduels Chet Holmgren, seals win in clutch

SAN ANTONIO -- In front of their home fans for the first time in 26 days, the San Antonio Spurs and rookie Victor Wembanyama put on quite the show. After giving up a 12-point third-quarter lead and falling behind in the fourth, the Spurs stormed back for a 132-118 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Wembanyama put his stamp on the victory with a 3-pointer with 2:10 left to put San Antonio up nine and then a block on the Thunder's  Chet Holmgren 20 seconds later. Wembanyama finished with 28 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 blocks and was 5-of-7 from 3-point range. He became the first player in NBA history to have at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks and 5 3-pointers in a game. Down the stretch, the Spurs were constantly putting the ball in the 7-foot-4 rookie's hands, and he made the plays to help them get the victory. "I would say it's a requisite for any player who wants to be great," Wembanyama said about wanting the ball...
March 01
March 01

Anthony Kim shoots 6-over in pro return, last at LIV event

After a nearly 12-year hiatus from professional golf, Anthony Kim's return went about as well as one could have expected in the first round of LIV Golf Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Friday. Kim, who last played on the PGA Tour at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship before he walked away from golf after a series of injuries, was last in the 54-man field after carding a 6-over 76. "Obviously disappointed with the score, but I played much better than the score," Kim told reporters after the round. "I've got a lot to build on. Just made a lot of unforced errors and that was unfortunate, but I feel like I'm not that far away." Kim was 14 strokes behind co-leaders Adrian Meronk and Jon Rahm, who led the way in the individual competition after posting 8-under 62s at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club at King Abdullah Economic City. The 38-year-old Kim is competing as a wild card, meaning his scores won't count in the team competition. He was one of eight players in...
March 01
March 01

J.J. McCarthy to tout Michigan wins in NFL draft interviews

INDIANAPOLIS -- Michigan's J.J. McCarthy knows the other top quarterbacks in this year's NFL draft have thrown more passes, completed more passes and might even had far more touchdowns. But McCarthy said he will take the one statistic he thinks tips the scale toward him. "You know, like, stats for me aren't really the big thing, and all I really cared about was being the best teammate I could be and being the best quarterback I could possibly be," McCarthy said Friday at the NFL scouting combine. "And the only stat I cared about was W's, and we did pretty good in that category." McCarthy made 654 pass attempts in his two years as a starter in the Wolverines' run-heavy offense and had 713 pass attempts in his college career. By comparison, Washington's Michael Penix Jr. had at least 550 attempts in each of the past two seasons, USC's Caleb Williams had one season of 500 attempts, and North Carolina's Drake Maye had a...
March 01
March 01

Source: Saints plan to cut Marcus Maye amid cap-saving moves

INDIANAPOLIS -- The New Orleans Saints are planning to release safety Marcus Maye, according to a source. The move comes less than two years after Maye signed a three-year, $28.5 million contract with the Saints during the 2022 free agency period. Maye was one of the first major signings of the Dennis Allen tenure. He and Tyrann Mathieu, who signed later in the 2022 offseason, were considered replacements for the retiring Malcolm Jenkins and for Marcus Williams, who signed with the Baltimore Ravens. Maye's pending release is one of a series of moves the Saints have made in the offseason to get cap compliant by the start of the 2024 league year. Those moves included restructures to quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Cameron Jordan, along with a number of other restructures on the roster. Maye, 30, was set to count $9.6 million against the 2024 salary cap and was due $7 million in base salary this year. Releasing...
March 01
March 01

Caitlin Clark to leave Iowa after season, enter WNBA draft

Iowa women's basketball star Caitlin Clark announced on social media Thursday that she will be finishing her college career this year and won't be coming back for a fifth season via the COVID-19 waiver. Clark, who is projected as the WNBA's No. 1 pick by the Indiana Fever, broke the women's major-college scoring record Wednesday with a 33-point performance at Minnesota. She has 3,650 points and is 18 from passing LSU's Pete Maravich, who holds the Division I overall record between men's and women's basketball with 3,667 points. Clark is 234 points behind Pearl Moore (3,884 points), who set the AIAW overall/small-school record at Francis Marion from 1975 to 1979. "While this season is far from over and we have a lot more goals to achieve, it will be my last one at Iowa," Clark wrote. "I am excited to be entering the 2024 WNBA Draft. "It is impossible for me to fully express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me during my time at Iowa -- my...
March 01
March 01

Jake Paul's MVP adds 1st international boxer in Neeraj Goyat

A top Indian boxer waged a viral social media campaign to land a fight against Jake Paul for months. Now, the two are joining forces. Paul, the YouTuber-turned-boxer, has signed Neeraj Goyat to his boxing promotional company, Most Valuable Promotions, officials told ESPN on Friday. Goyat, 32, is a former WBC Asian welterweight champion, the first Indian fighter to make the WBC world rankings and one of the best boxers in the country. He has nearly 1 million followers on Instagram and has appeared on Indian television and in Bollywood films. "I'm truly honored to be the newest member of the Most Valuable Promotions family," Goyat said in a statement. "MVP has been making waves in the boxing world, particularly with its commitment to showcasing and uplifting women in the sport since 2021. In just 2½ years, MVP has organized some of the world's most significant boxing events, and I'm excited to work with MVP to elevate the status of professional boxing in India and bring attention...
March 01
March 01

Dolphins' Tyreek Hill didn't break woman's leg, lawyer claims

MIAMI -- A lawyer representing Tyreek Hill denied allegations that the Miami Dolphins receiver broke a woman's leg while running football drills at his home last year, calling them in a statement obtained by ESPN on Thursday "baseless." The woman, Sophie Hall, filed a civil lawsuit in Broward County on Feb. 23. Hall, a self-described actress, model and social media influencer, accused Hill of battery, assault, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, based on events that occurred at the receiver's Miami-area home June 28. Hall alleged Hill flew her to South Florida to stay with him at his home for "several days" but became "angry" and "embarrassed" when she knocked him back while performing football activities the day she arrived. According to the lawsuit, Hill allegedly "charged into her violently and with great force, resulting in significant and serious injuries." Hall claimed that after she suffered the injury, Hill declined to get her...
March 01
February 29

Notre Dame upsets Virginia Tech as Hidalgo sets ACC freshman mark

Freshman Hannah Hidalgo had 23 points and 12 rebounds to help No. 17 Notre Dame beat fifth-ranked Virginia Tech 71-58 on Thursday night. In addition to leading her team to a big win over the conference rival Hokies, Hidalgo passed Florida State's Ta'Niya Latson to become the highest-scoring freshman in ACC history when she hit a free throw with 21 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Latson set the record of 659 points during her first year at Florida State last season. Virginia Tech (23-5, 14-3 ACC) had its 10-game winning streak snapped, but ended up claiming its first ACC regular-season championship outright as No. 12 North Carolina State defeated No. 19 Syracuse 75-71 in overtime Thursday. The Hokies won the ACC tournament crown last season and reached the Final Four. There was plenty at stake entering the game for both teams as they jockey for postseason advantages. The Hokies were ranked No. 5 in the NCAA reveal earlier in the night....
February 29
February 29

Vikings' Alexander Mattison informed he'll be cut, source says

Running back Alexander Mattison's time with the Minnesota Vikings came to an abrupt conclusion Thursday, when the team indicated its plans to release him after five seasons on its roster, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. The decision capped a disappointing year after Mattison failed to hold down the starting job following the departure of longtime lead back  Dalvin Cook. The move will save the Vikings $3.35 million against their 2024 cap. Had he remained on the roster past March 15, Mattison would have had $2.75 million guaranteed for the 2024 season. The Vikings' third-round draft pick in 2019, Mattison spent four seasons as Cook's backup before signing a two-year contract worth up to $7 million in March 2023. The Vikings released Cook later that spring and elevated Mattison, hoping he could provide strong inside running even if he couldn't match Cook's explosiveness. Mattison started 13 games but managed only 700 rushing yards. None of his 180 carries...
February 29
February 29

Penn State's Chop Robinson wows NFL combine with 4.48 40

INDIANAPOLIS -- Penn State's Chop Robinson turned in the first eye-popping workout of this year's NFL scouting combine, officially clocking a time of 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash Thursday. Robinson's time was the second-best among the edge rushers who took part on the first night of on-field drills in Lucas Oil Stadium, and his unofficial split of 1.54 seconds at 10 yards was one of the best for a player his size over the past two decades. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Robinson's 1.54-second split is tied for fourth among edge defenders weighing at least 250 pounds since 2003. Robinson measured in at 6-foot-2 7/8 and 254 pounds. His broad jump of 10 feet, 8 inches was tied for the best in the group. Alabama's Dallas Turner topped Robinson with a 4.46-second 40, but he was 7 pounds lighter. Robinson, ranked No. 25 on the latest Big Board by ESPN NFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper Jr., played two seasons at defensive end for the Nittany Lions after...
February 29
February 29

Caitlin Clark to forgo final year at Iowa, enter WNBA draft

Iowa women's basketball star Caitlin Clark announced on social media Thursday that she will be finishing her college career this year and won't be coming back for a fifth season via the COVID-19 waiver. Clark, who is projected as the WNBA's No. 1 pick by the Indiana Fever, broke the women's major-college scoring record Wednesday with a 33-point performance at Minnesota. She has 3,650 points and is 18 from passing LSU's Pete Maravich, who holds the Division I overall record between men's and women's basketball with 3,667 points. Clark is 234 points behind Pearl Moore (3,884 points), who set the AIAW overall/small-school record at Francis Marion from 1975 to 1979. "While this season is far from over and we have a lot more goals to achieve, it will be my last one at Iowa," Clark wrote. "I am excited to be entering the 2024 WNBA Draft. "It is impossible for me to fully express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me during my time at Iowa -- my...
February 29
February 29

Steelers GM has 'full faith' in Kenny Pickett after struggles

INDIANAPOLIS -- Despite a rocky sophomore campaign from quarterback Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan still expresses confidence in the 2022 first-round pick. "I have full faith in Kenny," Khan said at the NFL scouting combine Thursday. "He's shown us some good things, and obviously there were some issues with the offense. "I'm excited about the impact that [new offensive coordinator] Arthur Smith's going to have on him. Arthur's very optimistic about Kenny and they communicated, and like I said, we will have some strong competition there and we'll see where it goes. Feel really good about him." Pickett was limited to 12 games last season because of an ankle injury in Week 13 that resulted in TightRope surgery. He finished with six touchdown passes and four interceptions while his QBR declined from 53.6 to 38.1. Though he was medically cleared to return prior to Week 17, the Steelers stuck with Mason Rudolph for the final two...
February 29
February 29

New Pac-12 commissioner Teresa Gould considering all options

A day before she is set to begin a two-year commitment as the new commissioner of the Pac-12 conference, Teresa Gould said the most important part of her job will be to help the remaining two schools -- Oregon State and Washington State -- position themselves for the future. "That strategic piece is really being bold and being aggressive, being intentional and really attacking these challenges head on, but also being open-minded and making sure that we're considering all options," Gould said on a videoconference. "That is probably the most important and urgent piece of my role, is to partner with the leadership on both campuses to forge that future path for their two campuses and their athletic programs." Gould, who was joined by Washington State president Kirk Schulz, did not provide any specifics about what that future could look like beyond the next two seasons, during which Oregon State and Washington State will compete in the West Coast Conference in...
February 29
February 29

Horner dismisses 'anonymous speculation' after files leaked

Red Bull principal Christian Horner dismissed "anonymous speculation" after files purportedly related to his misconduct investigation were widely distributed on Thursday, two days before his team opens its bid for a fourth consecutive Formula One drivers' championship. His statement was forced by a stunning off-track development: As the second practice was going on for the Bahrain Grand Prix, files were emailed to nearly 200 people in the F1 paddock, including Liberty Media, F1, the FIA, the other nine team principals and multiple media outlets. The authenticity of the files has not been verified by ESPN or The Associated Press; the files came from a generic email account. The files were sent one day after the team's parent company dismissed a complaint of alleged misconduct by Horner toward a team employee. He was at the practice when the files were sent. "I won't comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate, I have always denied the allegations," Horner said in a...
February 29
February 29

Embiid plans to return this season, regardless of Sixers' record

CAMDEN, N.J. --  Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid spoke to the media Thursday afternoon for the first time since he suffered a knee injury a month ago and said he hopes he will be able to return sometime before the regular season is over. "That's the plan," Embiid said after Philadelphia practiced Thursday ahead of a game at home against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night. "Obviously everything has to go right, as far as getting healthy and being as close as I'm supposed to be. But yeah, that's the plan." Embiid, 29, was in the midst of a historic season when Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga inadvertently fell on his left leg during a scramble for a loose ball in Philadelphia's 119-107 loss to the Warriors in San Francisco on Jan. 30. He had been averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game this season. The team announced Feb. 6 that Embiid had undergone a procedure "to address an injury to the...
February 29
February 29

NWSL commish sees 'explosive' growth ahead of next World Cups

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said she expects the United States to see an "explosive" growth in interest in soccer ahead of the 2026 World Cup. The United States will co-host the men's World Cup in 2026 with Mexico and Canada and is bidding to host the Women's World Cup in 2027 with  Mexico, while the arrival of  Lionel Messi at  Inter Miami CF in July has caused a huge surge of interest in the sport. - Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)  Speaking to reporters at the Financial Times' Business of Football summit in London, Berman said: "We know that in the U.S., the next four to six years, there is going to be an explosive growth, with or without the intentional investment we're making. ... With the World Cup coming in 2026 and the possibility the Women's World Cup will come in 2027, there is an incredible amount of interest. "There's this age-old question: When is America going to start paying...
February 29
February 29

Iowa CB Cooper DeJean confirms broken leg, outlines recovery

INDIANAPOLIS -- Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean said he has recently started to run at full speed, acknowledging he is still recovering from the broken leg that ended his final season with the Hawkeyes early. DeJean said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine that he suffered a fractured fibula during a mid-November practice and underwent surgery. DeJean missed the Hawkeyes' final four games of the season, including the Big Ten championship game.  Discussing the injury publicly for the first time and calling it "kind of a freak thing," DeJean said he still plans to have an on-campus workout for NFL evaluators before the April draft. "I've been rehabbing ever since," DeJean said of the injury. "[I] just started running full speed last week. I plan on working out at some point before the draft. ... I am [medically] cleared. I'm just progressing right now." DeJean, who is the No. 15 player on Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest Big Board, said he will not work out at the...
February 29
February 29

Son of Blue Jays' Erik Swanson out of ICU after hit by car

The 4-year-old son of Toronto Blue Jays reliever Erik Swanson is out of the pediatric intensive care unit at a Florida hospital where he'd been since the weekend when he was struck by a car. Toby Swanson's mother, Madison Swanson, posted the news to her Instagram Story account Wednesday night. "The most important update is that Toby is out of the PICU, and we are continuing to take it day by day," she posted. "God is so good, and we are so blessed. We are so grateful for the speedy first responders to the accident, to the pedestrians that helped as we waited the next step, and to the AMAZING staff at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. Someone has truly been watching over my little man." Police and fire crews responded to a struck pedestrian call Sunday morning in Clearwater involving a young boy who sustained potentially life-threatening injuries, Clearwater Police said Tuesday in a news release. The child was airlifted to the hospital after being...
February 29
February 29

Hornets to hire Jeff Peterson as top executive, sources say

The Charlotte Hornets are planning to hire Brooklyn Nets executive Jeff Peterson as the franchise's next head of basketball operations, and the sides expect to reach a contractual agreement soon, sources told ESPN on Thursday. Peterson, 35, is completing a meteoric rise to oversee the Hornets' front office and become tasked with revitalizing one of the league's traditionally underperforming franchises. New owners Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin chose Peterson to replace Mitch Kupchak, who is moving from general manager into an advisory role with the Hornets. Charlotte's ownership is convinced of Peterson's ability to be a long-term leader for the organization and deliver it the kind of player personnel acumen, relationships and deal-making ability with rival executives, player agents and players necessary to transform the Hornets into a formidable franchise. Peterson -- one of a dozen candidates who sources said had interviews with the Hornets' ownership --...
February 29
February 29

Mavs' Doncic marks 25th birthday with 11th triple-double

Luka Doncic had 30 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds on his 25th birthday for his 11th triple-double of the season and the Dallas Mavericks beat the host  Toronto Raptors 136-125 on Wednesday night. Doncic, the NBA's leading scorer, is the first player in league history to record a 30-point triple-double on his birthday. He has scored 25 or more points in nine straight games, topping 40 twice in that stretch. "Just a normal game, triple-double," Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. "He was really good. I guess 25 means he's still going to be really good as he gets older here." Doncic shot 11 for 23, going just 1 of 8 from 3-point range, as Dallas snapped a two-game skid. He went 7 for 9 at the foul line. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, he is just the fourth NBA player with 75 points, 20 rebounds and 30 assists over a two-game span, joining Pete Maravich, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. Asked whether he considered 25 a milestone birthday,...
February 29
February 29

Federal commission to offer major changes for athlete safety

The system for safeguarding athletes in U.S. Olympic sports might be on the cusp of a major revamp, with an independent commission set to propose sweeping changes and lawmakers saying they are standing by to act. The congressionally appointed commission has finished its two-year study of how the system has worked and is set to publish its findings this spring. The commission's two co-chairs told ESPN that they will make recommendations on at least three major issues: the scope of the U.S. Olympic system's governing body, which spans from elite Olympic athletics to youth sports; athlete representation in decision-making positions throughout sports institutions; and the frequent concerns they heard about the U.S. Center for SafeSport. The commission's co-chairs, Dionne Koller and Han Xiao, called their work a "once-in-a-lifetime" chance to "reconceptualize" how amateur sports are organized. "It will be up to Congress to take the next steps, which we hope will include new legislation...
February 29
February 29

Olympic commission to suggest major changes for athlete safety

The system for safeguarding athletes in the U.S. Olympic movement might be on the cusp of a major revamp, with an independent commission set to propose sweeping changes and lawmakers saying they are standing by to act. The congressionally appointed commission has finished its two-year study of how the system has worked and is set to publish its findings this spring. The commission's two co-chairs told ESPN that they will make recommendations on at least three major issues: the scope of the U.S. Olympic system's governing body, which spans elite Olympic athletes and youth sports; athlete representation in decision-making positions throughout sports institutions; and the frequent concerns they heard about the U.S. Center for SafeSport. They called their work a "once-in-a-lifetime" chance to "reconceptualize" how amateur sports are organized. "It will be up to Congress to take the next steps, which we hope will include new legislation based on our recommendations," the commission's...
February 29
February 29

Juventus star Paul Pogba handed four-year ban for doping

France and Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has been banned from football for four years for a doping offence.  Pogba was provisionally suspended by Italy's national anti-doping (NADO Italia) tribunal in September after testing positive for testosterone -- a banned substance. Italian prosecutors requested a maximum four-year ban in December. The 2018 World Cup winner tested positive for testosterone after Juventus' game against Udinese on Aug. 20, 2023. He did not play in the match but was on the bench. In a statement, Pogba confirmed he will appeal against the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and insisted he has never taken banned substances.  "I have today been informed of the Tribunale Nazionale Antidoping's decision and believe that the verdict is incorrect," Pogba said.  "I am sad, shocked and heartbroken that everything I have built in my professional playing career has been taken away from me. "When I am free of legal...
February 29
February 29

Caitlin Clark passes Lynette Woodard for major-college record

MINNEAPOLIS -- The black-and-gold-clad fans among the 14,625 at Williams Arena were virtually begging for one more 3-pointer from Caitlin Clark late in Wednesday's game, and she delivered for another historic mark. The Iowa guard continued her record-breaking quest as she passed Kansas Jayhawks legend Lynette Woodard for the major-college women's basketball scoring mark in the No. 6 Hawkeyes' 108-60 victory over Minnesota. Clark scored her 33rd and final point of the game on her eighth 3-pointer, coming at the 4:29 mark of the fourth quarter, to give her 3,650 points. Woodard, who played in the final years of the AIAW from 1977 to '81, scored 3,649 points. "I think it just speaks to the foundation that these players have laid for us," Clark said of past stars such as Woodard. "To have opportunities, to be able to play in environments like this, in front of crowds like this. "I wouldn't have the opportunity to be able to do what I'm doing...
February 29
February 29

Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani announces he is married

TOKYO --  Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani announced on social media Thursday that he is married. The two-way player, who moved from the Los Angeles Angels to the Dodgers in December on a record-breaking contract worth $700 million over 10 years, wrote on Instagram in Japanese: "The season is approaching, but I would like to announce to everyone that I have gotten married." He said his new wife is also from Japan, without identifying her. He said he would reveal more in an interview Friday. "I began a new chapter in my career with the Dodgers, but I also have started a new life with someone from my native country of Japan who is very special to me," he wrote. He asked the media to refrain from "conducting unauthorized interviews." The news broke in the middle of the night in North America, but it was late afternoon in Japan, where the story immediately became the top news item on local television. Local television reports daily on his training in...
February 29
February 29

LeBron James powers biggest 4th-quarter comeback of career

LOS ANGELES --  LeBron James authored a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback by the Lakers to beat the Clippers  116-112 on Wednesday night, marking the largest fourth-quarter comeback of James' 21-year career, according ESPN Stats & Information. James singlehandedly outscored the Clippers 19-16 in the final frame, including hitting 5-for-8 from 3 with four assists, to close out the franchises' "hallway series" in dramatic fashion. Wednesday marked the final regular-season matchup for the two teams while sharing the same arena, with the Clippers opening the new Intuit Dome at the start of next season. James hit three 3s in the first 3:13 of the fourth quarter, quickly cutting the Clippers' cushion to nine and prompting coach Tyronn Lue to call timeout. "It's just a zone, and you can't really describe it," James said after finishing with 34 points and eight assists. "You wish you could stay in it forever, but obviously it checks out once the game ends....
February 29
February 28

Caitlin Clark passes Lynette Woodard for major-college scoring record

MINNEAPOLIS -- The black-and-gold-clad fans among the 14,625 at Williams Arena were virtually begging for one more 3-pointer from Caitlin Clark late in Wednesday's game, and she delivered for another historic mark. The Iowa guard continued her record-breaking quest as she passed Kansas Jayhawks legend Lynette Woodard for the major-college women's basketball scoring mark in the No. 6 Hawkeyes' 108-60 victory over Minnesota. Clark scored her 33rd and final point of the game on her eighth 3-pointer, coming at the 4:29 mark of the fourth quarter, to give her 3,650 points. Woodard, who played in the final years of the AIAW from 1977 to '81, scored 3,649 points. "I think it just speaks to the foundation that these players have laid for us," Clark said of past stars such as Woodard. "To have opportunities, to be able to play in environments like this, in front of crowds like this. "I wouldn't have the opportunity to be able to do what I'm doing...
February 28
February 28

Mavs' Doncic marks 25th birthday with 11th triple-double of season

Luka Doncic had 30 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds on his 25th birthday for his 11th triple-double of the season and the Dallas Mavericks beat the host  Toronto Raptors 136-125 on Wednesday night. Doncic, the NBA's leading scorer, is the first player in league history to record a 30-point triple-double on his birthday. He has scored 25 or more points in nine straight games, topping 40 twice in that stretch. "Just a normal game, triple-double," Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. "He was really good. I guess 25 means he's still going to be really good as he gets older here." Doncic shot 11 for 23, going just 1 of 8 from 3-point range, as Dallas snapped a two-game skid. He went 7 for 9 at the foul line. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, he is just the fourth NBA player with 75 points, 20 rebounds and 30 assists over a two-game span, joining Pete Maravich, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. Asked whether he considered 25 a milestone birthday,...
February 28
February 28

Iowa's Caitlin Clark breaks women's major-college scoring record

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. --  Iowa guard Caitlin Clark continued her record-breaking quest Wednesday as she passed Kansas Jayhawks legend Lynette Woodard for the major-college women's basketball scoring record in the Hawkeyes' 108-60 victory over Minnesota. Clark scored her 33rd and final point of the game on a 3-pointer at the 4:29 mark of the fourth quarter against the Gophers, giving her 3,650 points. Woodard, who played in the final years of the AIAW from 1977 to '81, scored 3,649 points. Clark also broke the NCAA women's single-season 3-point record in Wednesday's game; she hit eight and is now at 156 for the season. She got the 17th triple-double of her career as well, adding 12 assists and 10 rebounds to her 33 points. Iowa has won every game in which Clark has had a triple-double. Clark broke the NCAA women's scoring record of 3,527, set by  Washington's Kelsey Plum, on Feb. 15 against Michigan. As she did Wednesday, Clark...
February 28
February 28

Stars get Chris Tanev from Flames as part of 3-team trade

The Dallas Stars addressed what was arguably their biggest need Wednesday when they acquired defenseman Chris Tanev as part of a three-team trade with the Calgary Flames and the New Jersey Devils. In total, the Stars received Tanev and the rights to University of Massachusetts prospect goaltender Cole Brady. The Flames, who will retain 50% of Tanev's salary, received prospect defenseman Artem Grushnikov from the Stars along with their 2024 second-round pick and a 2026 conditional third-round pick. The Devils received the Stars' 2026 fourth-round pick for serving as a third-party broker that retained 50% of Tanev's salary. The conditions of the 2026 third-round pick are that the Flames will receive that draft pick if the Stars advance to this year's Stanley Cup Final. If the Stars do not reach the Cup Final, then no additional pick is transferred from Dallas to Calgary, according to the Stars. Dallas was among the teams believed to have...
February 28
February 28

Filipowski leads Duke in rout 4 days after court-storming injury

Kyle Filipowski was back in the starting lineup four days after sustaining a knee injury when fans stormed the court and finished with 9 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists as No. 10 Duke beat Louisville 84-59 on Wednesday night. Filipowski, a preseason Associated Press All-American, was hurt following Saturday's loss at Wake Forest when he collided with a fan. Team managers and coaching staff members helped guide the sophomore standout away from the swarming fans and off the court. "It wasn't anything too bad," Filipowski said of making the quick recovery. "Coming off a real hard loss, we had to make ourselves known again." Filipowski was on the court for pregame stretching with teammates Wednesday and announced in the starting lineup about a half-hour before tipoff. The Blue Devils had the right mindset following the aftermath of chaotic weekend game, coach Jon Scheyer said. "Not to make excuses," Scheyer said. "Get back to work." In...
February 28
February 28

Filipowski nets 9 points for Duke 4 days after court-storming injury

Kyle Filipowski scored nine points for No. 10 Duke as it beat  Louisville 84-59 on Wednesday night four days after he sustained an injured knee in a postgame court storming at Wake Forest. The team listed the sophomore standout as playing about a half-hour before scheduled tipoff. Earlier, he was on the court for pregame stretching with teammates. On Monday, coach Jon Scheyer said Filipowski was still "a little bit sore" in his right knee. Filipowski, a preseason Associated Press All-American, collided with a fan and was hobbled Saturday in Winston-Salem. Team managers and coaching staff members helped guide Filipowski away from the swarming fans and off the court. Wake Forest defeated Duke 83-79, sparking many fans amid Wake Forest's first announced sellout crowd in seven years to charge onto the court. Filipowski leads Duke with 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He has never missed a game in his two college seasons. Information from The...
February 28
February 28

Filipowski in starting lineup for Duke after court-storming injury

Kyle Filipowski started the game for No. 10 Duke as it faced  Louisville on Wednesday night four days after he sustained an injured knee in a postgame court storming at Wake Forest. The team listed the sophomore standout as playing about a half-hour before scheduled tipoff. Earlier, he was on the court for pregame stretching with teammates. On Monday, coach Jon Scheyer said Filipowski was still "a little bit sore" in his right knee. Filipowski, a preseason Associated Press All-American, collided with a fan and was hobbled Saturday in Winston-Salem. Team managers and coaching staff members helped guide Filipowski away from the swarming fans and off the court. Wake Forest defeated Duke 83-79, sparking many fans amid Wake Forest's first announced sellout crowd in seven years to charge onto the court. Filipowski leads Duke with 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He has never missed a game in his two college seasons. Information from The...
February 28
February 28

Sources: 14-team College Football Playoff has 'momentum'

The future of the College Football Playoff contract after the 2025 season remains uncertain, with executive director Bill Hancock saying last week there's a "need" for the deal to be done in the next month. Since its inception in 2014, when it created a four-team model for a sport with five major conferences, the CFP has been unwieldy and awkward. The only certainty has been a slow pace, turf squabbles and an unstable conference environment that has kept everything fluid. But as Hancock's one-month deadline of mid-March looms, there's optimism and "momentum" for a 14-team playoff starting in 2026, sources told ESPN. There is an effort to come to an agreement in the coming weeks, sources said, but nothing is certain, and there are potential roadblocks and expected push back -- as evidenced by the CFP's own meandering path to a 12-team playoff. The television side of the deal has already been agreed to in principle. Starting in 2026, ESPN is poised to spend an average of nearly...
February 28
February 28

Cristiano Ronaldo given 1-match ban for obscene gesture

Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for one match after appearing to make an obscene gesture following Al Nassr's 3-2 win over Al Shabab, the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee of the Saudi Football Federation (SAFF) said on Wednesday. After the final whistle on Sunday, social media videos captured Ronaldo cupping his ear before repeatedly pumping his hand forward in front of his pelvic area. The action appeared to be directed at the rival Al Shabab supporters. - Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.) In the background, chants of "Messi" could be heard, referencing Ronaldo's long-term football rival from Argentina. The committee said the Portuguese star would have to pay a fine of 10,000 Saudi riyals ($2,666) to the Saudi Football Federation and 20,000 riyals to Al Shabab to cover the costs of the complaint filing fees. The committee said the decision is not subject to appeal. In April 2023, the 39-year-old...
February 28
February 28

Cubs' Cody Bellinger 'excited' despite push for long-term deal

MESA, Ariz. -- At some point in a long offseason, Cody Bellinger and his agent, Scott Boras, understood they might have to pivot from their desire for a long-term contract and instead sign something with more flexibility. With that in mind, the former MVP inked a three-year, $80 million deal to return to the  Chicago Cubs with the opportunity to opt out and become a free agent again after each of the first two seasons. Flanked by Boras and Cubs president Jed Hoyer during a Wednesday news conference to announce his return, Bellinger, 28, was asked how closely the offseason played out compared with what he expected. He deferred the question to Boras, turning his head to his agent for a response. "There are variables," Boras said. "We have some irregularity going on in this current market. We have close to 11 teams that are spending less money than they did a year go ... in light of the fact we have record revenues in baseball." But even Boras seemed to indicate he...
February 28
February 28

Manchester United to face Liverpool in FA Cup quarterfinals

Great rivals Manchester United and Liverpool are set for a blockbuster FA Cup quarterfinal clash after both teams made it though their fifth-round matchups on Wednesday. The two heavyweights were paired with each other in Wednesday's draw, but the matchup was only confirmed after Manchester United saw off the challenge of  Nottingham Forest and a young Liverpool team got the better of Southampton. - Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.) In another all-Premier League clash, FA Cup holders Manchester City will host Newcastle United. Elsewhere, eight-time winners Chelsea will face Championship leaders Leicester City and Wolves will host Coventry City. It is the meeting between 12-times winners Man United and eight-time victors Liverpool that will be the tier of the round, however. United left it late to confirm their part in the matchup, with Casemiro's late header delivering a 1-0 in over...
February 28
February 28

Man United, Liverpool set for potential FA Cup quarterfinal

Great rivals Manchester United and Liverpool could be set for blockbuster FA Cup quarterfinal clash, if they can make it through their fifth-round matchups on Wednesday. The two heavyweights were paired with each other in Wednesday's draw, but first Manchester United will have to beat Nottingham Forest and Liverpool will need to get the better of Southampton. - Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.) In the only confirmed matchup before the fifth round is completed, holders Manchester City will host Premier League rivals Newcastle United. Elsewhere, eight-time winners Chelsea or Leeds United will face Championship leaders Leicester City while Wolves or Brighton will host Coventry City. Holders City booked their place in the last eight with an emphatic 6-2 victory over Luton Town, in which Erling Haaland became the first top-division player to score five goals in an...
February 28
February 28

Knicks' protest of Feb. 12 loss denied by NBA

The NBA on Wednesday denied the game protest lodged by the New York Knicks in the aftermath of their 105-103 loss at the  Houston Rockets earlier this month. The Knicks filed the protest with the league to dispute the Feb. 12 loss, citing concerns about the validity of the last-second foul call that made the scoring difference. The league reaffirmed the refs blew the call but not in a manner to uphold a protest. "New York was required to demonstrate that there was a misapplication of the official playing rules, as opposed to an error in judgment by game officials," the league said in a release. "Because the foul call at issue reflected an error in judgment, New York did not demonstrate a misapplication of the playing rules, and the extraordinary remedy of upholding a game protest was not warranted." In the closing moments of the game, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson pulled New York even by hitting a 15-foot jumper with 8.1 seconds remaining. ...
February 28
February 28

GM: Free agent WR Michael Pittman Jr. will be a Colt in 2024

INDIANAPOLIS -- Colts general manager Chris Ballard offered a succinct but bold prediction when asked Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine whether impending free agent receiver Michael Pittman Jr. will be on the roster next season. "Yes," Ballard said, without a hint of hesitation. It was a meaningful, if brief, reply to a critical question facing Indianapolis. The Colts' top wideout the past three seasons, Pittman is set to become a free agent in the coming weeks after playing out his rookie contract. But given Pittman's preference to test the open market, the only way of truly ensuring Pittman remains on the roster for the 2024 season is to franchise-tag the 2020 second-round pick. NFL teams have until next Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to designate a franchise player. The nonexclusive franchise tag allows players to negotiate with other clubs, but it removes their unrestricted status because the player's original team retains the right to match a competing offer or...
February 28
February 28

Tim Wakefield's widow, Stacy, dies from cancer 5 months later

Stacy Wakefield, the widow of longtime major league pitcher Tim Wakefield, died from cancer nearly five months to the day after he did, the family announced Wednesday. Stacy Wakefield died after battling pancreatic cancer. Tim Wakefield died Oct. 1 from brain cancer at age 57. "The loss is unimaginable, especially in the wake of losing Tim just under five months ago. Our hearts are beyond broken," the family said in a statement released by the Boston Red Sox. "We feel so lucky to have had her in our lives, and we take comfort in the fact that she will be reunited with Tim, the love of her life." Tim and Stacy Wakefield were married in 2002. They are survived by their two children, Trevor and Brianna, who were born in 2004 and 2005, respectively. As much as Tim was celebrated for his achievements on the field, both he and Stacy were also regarded in Boston for their work in the community. Stacy worked alongside her husband in raising money for multiple charitable...
February 28
February 28

GM: Mecole Hardman's 'come get me' comments 'resonated' with Jets

Super Bowl standout  Mecole Hardman admitted on a podcast that he was so disgruntled with the New York Jets last season that he begged the Kansas City Chiefs to "come get me" -- a remark that isn't sitting well with Jets brass. "I'll just say those comments definitely resonated with us," general manager Joe Douglas told reporters Wednesday at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. It's unclear if the Jets will pursue tampering charges against the Chiefs. An NFL spokesperson, in an email to ESPN, declined to comment on whether the Jets have asked the league to check into the matter. In a wide-ranging interview on "The Pivot," hosted by Ryan Clark, Hardman was critical of the Jets' culture and detailed his issues with the team. He said he was so frustrated by his lack of playing time that by Week 4, a home game against the Chiefs, "I'm telling you right now, I was so checked out, like, it was over with. I had already talked to [Chiefs GM Brett] Veach...
February 28

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