Update on the latest sports


Feds blame pilot in Kobe Bryant crash

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pilot error has been determined to be the cause of a helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others last year.

The National Transportation Safety Board said poor visibility because of thick fog north of Los Angeles probably led pilot Ara Zobayan to become disoriented. The NTSB said Zobayan thought he was climbing when the craft was plunging toward a Southern California hillside.

Zobayan frequently flew Bryant. Investigators say he ignored his training and violated federal regulations.


Former coach Marty Schottenheimer dead at 77

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The longtime NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer has died at 77.

Family friend and former Kansas City Chiefs publicist Bob Moore says Schottenheimer died Monday night in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014 and was moved to a hospice Jan. 30.

Schottenheimer won 200 regular-season games with four NFL teams thanks to his “Martyball” brand of smash-mouth football but fell short in the playoffs. He was the eighth-winningest coach in NFL history. He coached for 21 seasons with Cleveland, Kansas City, Washington and San Diego.


Mahomes to have toe surgery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will have surgery this week on the turf toe injury he suffered in the playoffs. That likely will sideline him for the start of the offseason program but ensure he’ll be ready well before training camp.


Super Bowl had smallest TV audience since 2006

NEW YORK (AP) — Sunday’s Super Bowl between Tampa Bay and Kansas City had the smallest television audience for the big game since 2006.

Nielsen estimated that 92 million people watched and CBS said the total audience swelled to 96.4 million when you add in people who streamed the game. It was nowhere near the 2015 record of 114.4 million viewers.


Big Ten moves tournament to Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Big Ten officials have decided to move next month’s men’s basketball tournament from Chicago to Indianapolis. Games will be played March 10-14 at Lucas Oil Stadium, which also will be the site of this year’s Final Four. The Big Ten women’s tournament will be held the same week just a few blocks away at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The conference says the moves were necessary for several reasons surrounding health and safety concerns because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other college basketball developments:

— Howard University has canceled the rest of its men’s basketball season almost two months since playing just its fifth game. The school said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Howard went 1-4 and last played Dec. 18.


Wolves’ Beasley gets 120-day sentence for gun threat

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley has been sentenced to 120 days in jail after pleading guilty to a felony charge of threats of violence. He was arrested for pointing a rifle at a family outside his home last fall.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Beasley can serve his stay in the workhouse after the conclusion of his NBA season. A tentative report date was set for May 26.


COVID concerns force another NHL postponement

WASHINGTON (AP) — Coronavirus problems continue to affect NHL teams across the United States.

The league has postponed Tuesday’s Flyers-Capitals game in Washington because of COVID-19-related issues with Philadelphia. It’s the 34th game postponed so far this season, which is roughly a quarter of the way through.

Philadelphia’s upcoming games against New Jersey and Washington’s at Buffalo scheduled for Thursday and Saturday were already postponed because of breakouts on the Devils and Sabres.


Pens hire Hextall, Burke

UNDATED (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins are under new management.

The team has hired Ron Hextall as general manager and veteran NHL executive Brian Burke as president of hockey operations.

Hextall previously was GM of the Flyers. He replaces Hall of Famer Jim Rutherford, who resigned abruptly two weeks ago.

— Blue Jackets center Mikko Koivu (MEE’-koh KOY’-voo) has decided to retire in the midst of his 16th NHL season, saying he couldn’t elevate his level of play. He spent the first 10 days of the season on the COVID-19 list and then had a goal and an assist in seven games with the Blue Jackets.


MLB players to wear electronic tracers, face discipline

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has updated its protocols to quell the coronavirus pandemic.

Players, on-field staff and non-playing personnel who require access to ballparks must wear electronic tracing devices from the start of spring training or face discipline for violations.

MLB and the union extended last year’s experimental use of seven-inning doubleheaders and runners on second base at the start of extra innings. Active rosters will return to 26 from opening day through Aug. 31 and 28 for the rest of the regular season.


Archer back with Rays

UNDATED (AP) — Free agent right-hander Chris Archer has finalized a one-year, $6.5 million contract that reunites him with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The 32-year-old Archer missed all of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season after surgery to relieve symptoms of neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome last June. The two-time AL All-Star is 60-80 with a 3.86 ERA in 212 appearances, including 210 starts.

Elsewhere in the majors:

— A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that infielder Jonathan Villar (vee-AHR’) has agreed to a one-year, $3.55 million package with the Mets. Villar split last season between Miami and Toronto, batting .232 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 185 at-bats.

— Jordan Zimmermann has inked a minor league deal with the Brewers. Zimmermann pitched in just three games for the Tigers last season due to a forearm injury after going 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA in 2019.

— The Angels have signed outfielder Juan Lagares and utilityman Phil Gosselin to minor league deals with invitations to spring training. Lagares spent most of the past eight seasons with the New York Mets, batting .254 with 25 homers and 179 RBIs. Gosselin is a career .261 hitter who has played every position except catcher and center field.


Hamilton tests positive, pulls out of Pro-Am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington has withdrawn from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Irishman is the fifth player this year in six PGA Tour events who had to withdraw because of a positive test. That includes Jim Herman, who tested positive in Florida and did not finish his self-isolation in time to travel to Maui for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson has pulled out of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. His manager says Johnson felt he would be better served with a week of rest at home before going to Los Angeles for the Genesis Invitational and then a World Golf Championships event in Florida.


Annika Sorenstam to play first LPGA event in more than a decade

UNDATED (AP) — Annika Sorenstam is returning to the LPGA Tour, at least for one tournament.

The LPGA tweeted that the 50-year-old Sorenstam has committed to play the Gainbridge LPGA in Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 25-28. It would be her first official LPGA event since she retired in 2008, the year she earned the last of her 72 tour victories.