Something is finally clear in the uncertain NBA: Players believe they’re going to play games again this season.
The obvious questions — How? Where? When? — remain unanswered. But several people familiar with the details of the conversations have told The Associated Press this week that players around the league are being urged to start getting mentally and physically ready for training camps that could be just a few weeks away.
The NHL is taking a major step toward formulating the remainder of their season.
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press the NHL Players’ Association’s executive board is voting on a 24-team playoff proposal as they return to play format. Results of the vote could be in as soon as Friday night.
Under the proposal plan, the top four teams in each of the Eastern and Western Conferences would play each other for seeding while the remaining 16 teams face off in a best-of-five series play-in round to set the final 16. That would mean byes for Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia in the East and defending champion St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in West.
Even if the executive board votes to approve the format, the league and players union still need to negotiate other details, including health and safety protocols. But the format is a substantial piece of the return to play puzzle to award the Stanley Cup this season.
The Major League Baseball Players Association has given management a wide-ranging response to a 67-page proposed set of protocols for a season to be played during the coronavirus pandemic.
The union says it addressed protections for high-risk players, access to pre- and postgame therapies, testing frequency, protocols for positive tests, in-stadium medical personnel and sanitization procedures.
Players viewed many of the concepts in the original draft submitted last week as over-the-top, such as arriving in uniform at the ballparks, a prohibition on them leaving without team permission and a ban on guests other than immediate family members.
Players also objected to a ban on the use of showers and hydrotherapy.
The union wants more frequent testing than management’s proposed “multiple times per week.”
MLB is expected to make an economic proposal to the union within a few days.
The Cubs and Pirates are making tough financial decisions concerning their front office staff with the major league season still on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. A person with direct knowledge of the situation says the Cubs are instituting pay cuts based on compensation, but there will be no furloughs through the end of June. The Pirates announced today that they are instituting furloughs for several employees in business operations beginning on June 1. The Cardinals and Twins have informed their employees there won’t be any pay cuts or furloughs through the end of June.
Indiana University hopes to have some student-athletes back by mid-June. President Michael McRobbie posted a 22-page plan on his web site to reopen the university in stages, which includes the return of at least a percentage of all students this fall. The release comes one day after the NCAA approved a measure to lift the moratorium on voluntary workouts for football and men’s and women’s basketball players.
East Carolina University is eliminating its men’s and women’s tennis and swimming and diving programs to help reduce a $4.9 million budget deficit created by the pandemic. The move affects 68 student-athletes and nine coaches and reduces ECU’s sponsored sports from 20 to 16, including nine for women. The NCAA requires Division I FBS schools to carry minimums of 16 sports, eight for women.