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Big Ten college sports league postpones fall season

iStock/DavidPrahlBY: KARMA ALLEN

(NEW YORK) -- The Big Ten college sports conference announced Tuesday it is postponing its 2020 fall season, which includes football, soccer, cross country and other sports.

"The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward," Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. "As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall."

The postponement applies to all fall sports, including men's and women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's and women's soccer, and women's volleyball. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports are still being evaluated, according to the statement.

"We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference," Warren said. "Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult."

"The Big Ten Conference will continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring," he added.

The announcement came after weeks of speculation that the fall season might be canceled over safety concerns due to rising coronavirus infections.

Some college athletes had publicly advocated for the right to opt out of the coming season without jeopardizing their eligibility to play the following season.

The Mid-American Conference was the first to cancel its season last week, with officials saying it would be far too risky to hold a season during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time MAC had canceled a football season.

The NCAA board previously expressed "serious concerns about the continuing high levels of COVID-19 infection in many parts of the nation," and it laid out a list of strict requirements for schools and conferences in light of the pandemic.

The board had said that it would only support moving forward with fall championships and other postseason play if "strict conditions are applied and adhered to."

In football, the Big Ten Conference had scheduled 10 games with the season set to begin on Sept. 5.

Teams had been practicing in anticipation of the new season, but players weren't allowed to wear pads or engage in full contact, officials said.

Some Big Ten football programs, including Rutgers and Northwestern, opted to postpone practice altogether, citing outbreaks among students and coaches.



Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Twelve years after Olympic run, Chellsie Memmel makes a comeback

Courtesy Chellsie MemmelBy KATIE KINDELAN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Chellsie Memmel last competed as a pro gymnast in 2012.

Today, eight years later, she is a 32-year-old mom of two who rediscovered her passion for gymnastics while quarantined in Wisconsin during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I was in the gym more than I ever have been," said Memmel, whose parents own a gym, M & M Gymnastics, in Dousman, Wisconsin. "And I just started practicing more and being in the gym even more."

The experience transformed Memmel, an Olympic silver medalist and three-time World Champion who is now making a gymnastics comeback, with an eye toward possibly competing in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

"I haven't said that out loud yet," Memmel told ABC News' Good Morning America about aiming for Tokyo. "My goal is just to see where this takes me. I've committed to training and to try to get to competitions and just to see this where it goes."

If Memmel does compete with Team USA in Tokyo, she will be one of a very few moms still competing in the sport and one of a very few women over the age of 30 in Olympics gymnastics history.

In 2016, for example, the oldest member of the U.S. women's gymnastics team was Aly Raisman, who at 22 was a decade younger than Memmel is today. Russia's Oksana Chusovitina made history that same year as the oldest woman gymnast to ever compete in the Olympic games, at age 41.

Memmel believes she would be the first mother to compete on the U.S. women's gymnastics team.

"It's made me a better mom," Memmel said of her revitalized gymnastics career. "When I started doing gymnastics, it lit that fire of something that was a huge part of my life for sure and something that I still love to do."

Memmel retired in 2012 after a series of injuries and after she failed to make the U.S. team for the London Olympics.

She got married the next year and then had her kids, Dashel, 5, and Audrielle, 2. All the while, she maintained a foot in the gymnastics world through judging and coaching.

It wasn't until two years ago that Memmel decided she wanted to get back in shape after having kids. She started doing "Chellsie Challenges," conditioning workouts that went viral on social media.

"Once I got in better shape I was like, 'I should try flipping and see how that feels,'" she recalled. "I started doing that and just having fun and seeing what I could do and that kind of kept happening."

Memmel now does gymnastics training three days per week and does conditioning on the other days. It's all part of a training plan that she said is both easier on her body and has made her feel stronger than she was even at the peak of her career.

"Being in shape and maintaining a good level of physical fitness was the hardest part for me when I was younger, the absolute hardest part," she said. "Now my runs feel stronger, some of my jumping just feels more powerful."

"[My] eating is better," she said. "I've learned a lot more about my body."

Valorie Kondos Field, the former UCLA women's gymnastics coach who led her teams to seven NCAA titles, said Memmel has a level of maturity now that is benefiting her emotionally and physically.

"I think that she has a tremendous chance of making the [Olympic] team, and the reason being is because she's allowed her body to heal so she's actually probably healthier physically than she was when she was at the top of her game during the Olympics," said Field. "What we college coaches have seen is that when gymnasts are mature, they have a second peak in their careers that is actually better then when they're younger."

"It's because of their maturity, of their wisdom, and it's because they're no longer doing a sport just because they're told to," she said. "They're actually doing it because they love it."

Memmel, who started doing gymnastics as soon as she could walk because her parents owned a gym, said this is the first time in her career that gymnastics does not have her complete attention. In fact, she started doing conditioning workouts on her own two years ago in part so she could have some "me time" in her day.

"This time around, gymnastics isn't my main focus," said Memmel. "I'm a mom first. My life doesn't solely revolve around it right now."

Memmel's two kids and husband will be by her side in Tokyo if she makes the team. The Olympics were delayed until next summer because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

"The timing for me obviously worked out for the better because there wouldn't have been enough time to get to where I am now and even be thinking about having a shot," said Memmel. "I'm just one person, one sport, but the entire world is going through the same thing, so it's just kind of rolling with it and seeing what happens."

Field said she can already see the country rallying behind a 32-year-old mom of two competing for Olympic gymnastics gold.

"When she thinks about her gymnastics now, it's coming from such a genuine place of her spirit, versus something that she continued doing because she was good at it," said Field. "Imagine having Chellsie to rally behind."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 8/10/20

iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Monday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE

Minnesota 4, Milwaukee 2
Detroit 2, Pittsburgh 1
Houston 6, San Francisco 4

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Detroit 5, Chi White Sox 1
Tampa Bay 8, Boston 7
Seattle 10, Texas 2
LA Angels 10 9, Oakland 9

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Philadelphia 13, Atlanta 8
Washington 16, NY Mets 4
Pittsburgh, St. Louis (Postponed)
Arizona 12, Colorado 8
San Diego 2, LA Dodgers 1

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Phoenix 128, Oklahoma 101
Dallas 122, Utah 114
Toronto 114, Milwaukee 106
Miami 114, Indiana 92
LA Lakers 124, Denver 121

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


College football crisis as conferences deliberate upcoming season

artisteer/iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Power 5 conference officials gathered Sunday for an emergency meeting, ESPN reported. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss whether to cancel college football and fall sports altogether amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Watch the report from ABC's Good Morning America for more details:

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Series between Cardinals, Pirates postponed over coronavirus

33ft/iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The three-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, scheduled for Monday through Wednesday in St. Louis, has been postponed due to the coronavirus, Major League Baseball officials announced Sunday.

The announcement follows the league's decision on Friday to postpone games over the weekend between the Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs, after the Cardinals reported additional positive coronavirus tests in their clubhouse.

"In light of the most recent positive test results, MLB and the [St. Louis] Club believe it is prudent to conduct additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play," MLB officials said in a statement Sunday evening.

The Cardinals have not played since July 29 due to positive coronavirus tests.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 8/9/20

iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE

Baltimore, Washington (Suspended)
Detroit 2, Pittsburgh 1
Seattle 5, Colorado 3

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Tampa Bay 4, NY Yankees 3
Boston 5, Toronto 3
Kansas City 4, Minnesota 2
Texas 7, LA Angels 3
Oakland 7, Houston 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Atlanta 5, Philadelphia 2
Atlanta 8, Philadelphia 0
NY Mets 4, Miami 2
Milwaukee 9, Cincinnati 3
San Diego 9, Arizona 5
LA Dodgers 6, San Francisco 2
Chi Cubs, St. Louis (Postponed)

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Oklahoma City 121, Washington 103
Toronto 108, Memphis 109
San Antonio 122, New Orleans 113
Boston 122, Orlando 119
Portland 124, Philadelphia 121
Sacramento 129, Houston 112
Brooklyn 129, LA Clippers 120

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Washington 2, Boston 1
Dallas 2, St. Louis 1 (SO)
Columbus 3, Toronto 0

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


What Native American activists think about the Washington Football Team name change

ABCNews.comBY: ABBY CRUZ, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) -- Deep in the woods on the outskirts of Accokeek, Maryland, lives Billy "Redwing" Tayac, 80, the chief of the Piscataway Indian Tribe.

His family, as he likes to say, is not from Maryland, Virginia or Washington D.C., they are from the Chesapeake Bay region.

Issues like calling their home by the native Indigenous terms, is just one of the several issues that Chief Tayac has fought for what he says has been his entire life.

Hailing from five generations of activists, if you live in the area, Chief Tayac may look familiar. Since the mid-1980s, Chief Tayac has been at the forefront of protests on getting Washingon's NFL team to change their name. On July 13, the team announced it was changing its name to the Washington Football Team during the 2020-2021 season.

"The name is racist that's what you've got to understand," said Chief Tayac. "Don't believe what I tell you, look it up in Webster's Dictionary for the Washington Football Team. I don't like to say the word, but it's Redskin. See what it means. It's a racial slur for Native Americans. It's derogatory."

For Chief Tayac, it's hard being a football fan, especially when his hometown team's name and mascot "hurts" him. He has no merchandise of the D.C. football team except one thing, a magnet on his refrigerator that reads "Love the team, hate the name," and that's exactly how Chief Tayac says he feels.

And growing up in the area, he says it was hard for him to celebrate victories like the Super Bowl or attending parades when all you see is the term written on hats, jackets and other accessories.

"Like I said, I led the demonstrations in the 80s and I was one of the original plaintiffs for this name here and it hurts," Chief Tayac said. "It's a racist term. Let's bury all these racist terms once and for all. We are all God's children, let's treat everybody as equal."

And although Chief Tayac may not be protesting in the field as he would in his younger days, the next generation of activists like Mary Phillips from the Laguna Pueblo/Omaha Tribe has carried the torch and continues to fight for the name change. Phillips refers to the name as the "R" word and wishes that no one says it or uses it even if it said regarding the football team.

"Because it's a word that conjures up so many horrible thoughts," said Phillips. "And it is a slur towards Native Americans for those who still haven't heard that but it's a slur."

Phillips adds it is very difficult to educate fans or people who celebrate Washington football because oftentimes fans do not understand or know the history of the word.

"And so it's always been, you know [difficult], trying to educate people to understand that this word, this team celebrates actually celebrates the color of my skin by saying that it is red," Phillips said.

"And therefore we can call you this name from history that proves that you are worth $200," Phillips said. "Your head, your scalp is worth $200 and people would hunt you down for that. And fast forward to today, why is that term even being used at all?"

Regarding the D.C. football team, some slight progress has been made, some say. The statue of former team owner George Marshall, who opposed desegregation and whose team was the last to integrate Black players, has been removed and the team has decided to refer to the team as the Washington Football Team for now. A battle that longtime owner Daniel Snyder has fought for years. Snyder wanted to keep the team's original name despite how some fans and indigenous locals like Chief Billy, felt. According to Chief Billy, it was not about "political pressure" or how people felt, for Snyder, it was about losing advertisements. Companies like Nike, FedEx, and Pepsi Cola threatened to pull advertising, and Snyder and the team dropped the nickname days later.

"With Mr. Snyder, what put the pressure on him to change the name? Money talks and that's what he realizes. And he realizes that he's fighting a losing battle. And that's the bottom line," said Chief Tayac.

In July, the team released a statement regarding its decision to stop the use of the name and logo until a new name is selected.

"On July 3rd, we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team's name. That review has begun in earnest. As part of this process, we want to keep our sponsors, fans and community apprised of our thinking as we go forward," the team said in a statement last month. "... we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review."

But for Phillips, she says there is still much change that needs to happen in order to truly put an end to the term.

"It's not debatable," said Phillips. "And so it should never have been used as a casual word, much less for a team name and then celebrated and then plastered everywhere on this building, on the FedEx building, on every aisle you go down in a grocery store, you see the face, the logo, the word."

"In the grander sense of things, it's so evaporating from people's minds that they don't even realize how racist it really is," she said.

Chief Tayac said he wants people to know that even after the name change, the fight is not over. For Native Americans, their fight will always continue, he says.

"We didn't die in 1890 as a race of people. We're still here. That's God's will. Whether anybody likes it or not, I'd like to say this is our country. This is where God put us there. And nobody is gonna shove off of it," said Chief Tayac.

"We survived the genocidal practices of the United States government, the cultural genocide practice of people. And you know what, we're still here? That's what I can say. And I'm proud to be an Indian."



Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 8/6/20

iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
St. Louis, Detroit (Postponed)
Pittsburgh 6, Minnesota 5
Philadelphia 5, NY Yankees 4
Cleveland 13, Cincinnati 0
NY Yankees, Tampa Bay (Postponed)
Arizona 5, Houston 4
Kansas City 13, Chi Cubs 2
Atlanta 4, Toronto 3
Miami 8, Baltimore 7
Milwaukee 8, Chi White Sox 3

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Oakland 6, Texas 4
LA Angels 6, Seattle 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Colorado 6, San Francisco 4

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Sacramento 140, New Orleans 125
Milwaukee 130, Miami 116
Phoenix 114, Indiana 99
LA Clippers 126, Dallas 111
Portland 125, Denver 115
Houston Rockets 113, LA Lakers 97

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Vancouver 3, Minnesota 0
Philadelphia 3, Washington 1
Las Vegas 6, St. Louis 4
Columbus 4, Toronto 3
Calgary 4, Winnipeg 0

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 8/5/20

iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
St. Louis, Detroit (Postponed)
Philadelphia 11, NY Yanks 7
NY Yankees 3, Philadelphia 1
Miami 1, Baltimore 0
Minnesota 5, Pittsburgh 2
Cleveland 2, Cincinnati 0
Toronto 2, Atlanta 1
Milwaukee 1, Chi White Sox 0
Arizona 14, Houston 7

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Boston 5, Tampa Bay 0
Oakland 6, Texas 4
Seattle 7, LA Angels 6

NATIONAL LEAGUE

NY Mets 3, Washington 1
San Francisco 4, Colorado 3
LA Dodgers 7, San Diego 6

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Utah 124, Memphis 115
Philadelphia 107, Washington 98
Denver 132, San Antonio 126
Oklahoma City 105, LA Lakers 86
Toronto 109, Orlando 99
Boston 145, Brooklyn 114

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Florida 3, NY Islanders 2
Arizona 4, Nashville 1
Tampa Bay 3, Boston 3
Colorado 4, Dallas 0
Montreal 4, Pittsburgh 3
Edmonton 3, Chicago 2

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


UConn cancels football season as NCAA announces scholarship protection amid COVID-19

fstop123/iStockBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The NCAA has stepped up to protect student-athletes' welfare amid the ongoing pandemic as it pertains to scholarships, eligibility and player health for the 2020 fall season.

The NCAA Board of Governors announced on Wednesday that athletes who opt out of the 2020 season will retain full scholarships.

"All student-athletes must be allowed to opt out of participation due to concerns about contracting COVID-19," the NCAA said. "If a college athlete chooses to opt out, that individual's athletics scholarship commitment must be honored by the college or university."

All schools and conferences must follow the NCAA's newly released return-to-sports guidelines in order to carryout preseason, regular season and postseason schedules, and they can't ask student-athletes to sign COVID-19 waivers.

"Our decisions place emphasis where it belongs -- on the health and safety of college athletes," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. "Student-athletes should never feel pressured into playing their sport if they do not believe it is safe to do so."

On the heels of Wednesday's news, the University of Connecticut Athletic Department said in a statement that its football program has decided to "cancel all competition for the 2020-21 school year."

Among the other proclamations from the NCAA, there will be a new hotline for "athletes, parents or others" to report COVID-19 violations.

This gives players a way to make the NCAA aware of unacceptable behavior by coaches who may be inclined to bully and/or to retaliate against those who would dare to complain.

Due to the continued threat of coronavirus infection, the NCAA said it could still cancel fall championships, which could pressure conferences and schools to forgo a college football season. The decision for Division I must be made no later than Aug. 21.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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