Update on the latest sports
GYMNASTICS COACH-SEXUAL ASSAULT
Former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach dies by suicide after being charged
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar has killed himself after being charged with two dozen crimes.
Michigan’s attorney general announced John Geddert’s death on Thursday afternoon, about three hours after a news conference where charges were revealed. Crimes include sexual assault, human trafficking and turning his Lansing-area gym into a criminal enterprise.
Geddert had insisted he had no knowledge of Nassar’s sexual assaults, but he was charged with lying to investigators.
Nassar is serving decades in prison.
Beasley suspended following guilty plea
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Malik Beasley has been suspended for 12 games without pay by the NBA for his recent guilty plea to a felony charge of threats of violence.
Beasley was sentenced earlier this month to 120 days in jail for the Sept. 26 incident, when he pointed a rifle outside his home in suburban Minneapolis at a family on a house-hunting tour.
The fifth-year pro is averaging a career-best 20.5 points.
Also in the NBA:
— The Jazz said they will “thoroughly investigate” an allegation from former NBA player Elijah Millsap that longtime team executive Dennis Lindsey directed a bigoted statement toward him during an end-of-season exit interview in 2015. The brother of former Jazz standout and current Denver forward Paul Millsap made the allegation in a tweet Wednesday. Millsap alleged that Lindsey said “if u say one more word, I’ll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana.”
NCAA hands South Carolina 2-year probation for ex-assistant
UNDATED (AP) — South Carolina’s men’s basketball program has been placed on probation for two years.
The penalty stems from former assistant coach Lamont Evans accepting between $3,300 and $5,800 in bribes from a sports agent.
The case was part of the college basketball corruption trial in which Evans pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy. The NCAA accepted South Carolina’s self-imposed penalties, which include a reduction in unofficial visits from prospects and a six-week ban in telephone recruiting.
In other college basketball news:
— The NCAA has come up with a contingency plan in case teams can’t play in the March Madness tournaments because of COVID-19. The first four at-large teams that don’t make the original field will be placed in order and serve as replacement teams. If the tournament begins without any withdrawals, the four would still be eligible to compete in the NIT. The plan only applies to the short period between the announcement of the bracket and the start of games.
— Marquette will allow up to 1,800 to attend its men’s basketball regular-season finale March 6 against Xavier. This will be the first time this season that Marquette has played a home game in front of that many spectators.
— Junior forward Au’Diese Toney is the second Pittsburgh player in as many days to transfer, joining Xavier Johnson. Toney averaged 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists and is considered among the better defenders in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Ex-Washington employees want to see investigation findings
WASHINGTON (AP) — Twenty former Washington Football Team employees have asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to release the final report of an independent investigation into the organization’s conduct.
Owner Dan Snyder hired lawyer Beth Wilkinson to conduct an independent investigation in July after several female former employees made allegations of workplace sexual harassment. The NFL in July took over control of the investigation.
A spokesman said the NFL had not yet received the final report. Wilkinson declined to comment on the status of the investigation, referring comment to the league office.
Texas regents approve Sakisian contract
UNDATED (AP) — The University of Texas System Board of Regents has approved a six-year, $34.2 million guaranteed contract for new football coach Steve Sarkisian (sahr-KEE’-zee-en). The board also approved more than $21 million in guaranteed contracts for Sarkisian’s staff.
Texas still owed Tom Herman more than $15 million when he was fired after four seasons without winning a Big 12 title.
Sarkisian was the offensive coordinator at Alabama the last two seasons and helped guide the Crimson Tide to the 2020 national championship.
New defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski will be the highest-paid Texas assistant at $1.7 million per year.
Lundqvist still mulling return
UNDATED (AP) — NHL goaltender Henrik Lundqvist says he’s still months away from making a decision about his hockey future.
The 38-year-old Lundqvist returned to the ice this week, less than two months since undergoing open-heart surgery. He posted videos to social media of himself in goaltending gear taking shots in net.
However, he said it will be months before he can make any decisions regarding his future after more tests and conversations with doctors.
Lundqvist played his entire NHL career with the New York Rangers before signing with Washington last fall.
In other NHL news:
— Flyers forward Jakub Voracek has been cleared to return after 14 days on the COVID-19 list. The Flyers are down to just three players in the COVID protocol after having as many as seven on the list as recently as Feb. 17.
Indians, others to play home games in front of fans
UNDATED (AP) — The Indians plan to have 10,000 fans inside Progressive Field for home games in April. The team announced Thursday they’re hosting 30% percent of capacity at their downtown ballpark, which was off-limits to fans last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indians said ticket availability will be determined monthly until the ballpark can be at capacity.
In other sports attendance news:
— Boston’s Celtics and Bruins will be able to play in front of a limited number of fans starting March 22, and the Red Sox could host more than 4,500 fans at Fenway Park on opening day.
— The Cincinnati Reds have been cleared to have around 12,700 fans at Great American Ball Park for games this year.
— The Buffalo Sabres will begin allowing about 2,000 fans to attend select home games starting next month.
— The easing of public-gathering restrictions in North Carolina has opened the door for a limited number of fans to attend the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
Simpson, Fitzpatrick share Workday lead
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Webb Simpson ran off three straight late birdies for a share of the first-round lead in the PGA’s Workday Championship.
Simpson matched Matthew Fitzpatrick with a 6-under 66 that included birdies on the par-4 15th and 16th and par-5 17th. Fitzpatrick had a bogey-free round.
Brooks Koepka (KEHP’-kuh) was a stroke out of the lead at 67 with Billy Horschel, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner.
World No. 2 Dustin Johnson opened with a 77, as did Bubba Watson and Bryson DeChambeau.
PGA-PUERTO RICO OPEN
Gainey leads in Puerto Rico
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) — Tommy Gainey is the first-round leader of the PGA’s Puerto Rico Open.
Gainey birdied five of his last seven holes for a 7-under 65 that puts him one ahead of seven players. The 45-year-old from South Carolina won his lone PGA Tour title in 2012.
Rafael Campos, Robert Garrigus (GAR’-ih-guhs), Taylor Pendrith and Lee Hodges are in a second-place tie with Greg Chalmers, Fabian Gomez and Brandon Wu.