The Latest: Iowa to drop 4 sports due to pandemic

Sports

A ball carrier wears a face mask prior to the friendly soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Le Havre, in Le Havre, western France, Sunday, July 12, 2020. For the first time since the coronavirus shut down sports and chased away spectators, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and other soccer stars are going to play again in front of fans. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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Iowa will drop four sports programs at the end of the 2020-21 academic year in response to the financial hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

School President Bruce Harreld and athletic director Gary Barta said in a joint statement that a projected revenue loss of $100 million forced the university to discontinue men’s gymnastics, men’s tennis and men’s and women’s swimming and diving.

The athletic department deficit is projected at $60 million to $75 million this year.

The four sports programs will compete in 2020-21 if circumstances surrounding COVID-19 permit. Existing scholarships will be honored through graduation for athletes who remain at Iowa. The contracts of affected coaches will be honored.

Among factors considered for which sports to cut were number of schools sponsoring teams at the Division I level; impact on gender equity and Title IX compliance; expense savings; history of the sport at Iowa; and engagement level.

Iowa is the second school from a Power Five conference to drop sports programs. Stanford announced last month it would cut 11 sports.

Nearly 200 sports programs across three NCAA divisions and the NAIA have been eliminated since the coronavirus pandemic began in the United States in March.

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The Southeastern Conference has modified its previously announced requirements for COVID-19 testing.

The league has outlined specific cardiac evaluation requirements from its initial report and will have a third, rapid test close to competition for sports with a high risk of close contact.

The SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force has now specified the cardiac evaluation would mandate a troponin level, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and a medical evaluation by a physician.

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The University of Louisiana-Monroe has paused football practices because of nine new positive COVID-19 tests earlier this week, athletic director Scott McDonald said Friday.

McDonald says ULM hopes to resume practice by early next week as soon as ongoing testing indicates it is safe to do so.

“We fully anticipated an increased exposure to COVID-19 with the reopening of campus, the beginning of the fall semester as well as uptick in related off-campus activities,” McDonald said. “We also knew that we would have to work to create a modified student-athlete bubble once classes and on-campus activities resumed this month.

“We’ll await the latest round of test results while continuing to monitor our quarantined and isolated student-athletes.”

ULM officials say the school has administered 1,404 virus and antibody tests combined to athletes and staff across all sports since mid-June. So far, 34 total tests have been positive. The Warhawks football team is slated to open its season Sept. 5 at Troy.

“We’re fully aware that we’re managing a fluid situation,” ULM coach Matt Viator said. “While disappointed, we realized that the suspension of practice was a real possibility sometime this preseason. … Our team remains optimistic that we’ll be able to safely compete this fall.”

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The Detroit Lions say they will not have fans at their first two home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team also announced Friday that parking lots near the stadium and businesses within the indoor facility will be closed when Detroit hosts the Chicago Bears on Sept. 13 and the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 4.

The Lions may allow spectators to watch their game at Ford Field on Nov. 1 against the Indianapolis Colts.

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There will be no fans for the Denver Broncos’ season opener against the Tennessee Titans on Monday night Sept. 14 because of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Broncos said Friday they hope to have fans at subsequent games. The team has sold out every home game since the 1960s.

The Broncos have been working with the Colorado governor’s office, using computer-generated plans that include up to 20,000 fans at Empower Field at Mile High.

But the team said having an empty stadium for the opener was the “responsible thing to do right now for our community.”

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Vanderbilt has canceled Friday’s practice after some positive COVID-19 test results.

The private Southeastern Conference university is not sharing the number of positive results. But Vanderbilt issued a statement noting the university’s ongoing testing procedures has “positive COVID-19 test results.”

Vanderbilt says it is working closely with its Public Health Command Center and other health officials assessing potential close contacts and advising on additional steps. But Vanderbilt cites federal student privacy law in not disclosing information that could identify any student who has tested positive.

SEC schools started practice Monday with the league set to start a 10-game, league-only season Sept. 26.

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French league clubs Monaco and Lens both say one of their players has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Monaco did not name the player but says he is recovering and that the club has informed league officials.

Monaco is scheduled to play at home against Reims on Sunday in the opening weekend of the season.

Lens defender Jonathan Clauss has also tested positive for the virus. Lens coach Franck Haise says Clauss is showing no symptoms and is in isolation from the rest of the squad.

Newly-promoted Lens is also in action on Sunday. The club will travel south to play Nice.

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The World of Outlaws is “ramping up” its COVID-19 protocols following an outbreak after last weekend’s event at Knoxville, Iowa.

The sprint car series confirmed “several drivers and crew members have tested positive for COVID-19” following the Saturday night main event won by suspended NASCAR driver Kyle Larson.

Daryn Pittman, Tori Knutson and Paul McMahan all confirmed they had tested positive for the coronavirus. Kraig Kinser Racing and Roth Motorsports said team members had tested positive and Knoxville Raceway said one of its employees had tested positive.

Series officials urged anyone at the track who had come into contact with those infected to get tested. Several other participants and family members tested positive following that notification.

Fans were allowed at the races last weekend and also took part in autograph sessions. WoO says it will be reverting to the initial protocols in place when the series resumed racing earlier in the pandemic. Among the tightened restrictions will be closing the pit area to fans until further notice.

The World of Outlaws says all affected parties must quarantine until medically cleared to return to the track. Drivers racing for season-long points now unable to race because of the positive test will receive points based on their average finish for the season until they are able to return.

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