Update on the latest sports


MLB begins checking pitchers for sticky stuff

UNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball is starting its crackdown against pitchers using sticky substances, with umpires making regular, random mound checks starting today.

Pitchers will be ejected and suspended for 10 games if caught using foreign substances to doctor baseballs. Such grip aids — ranging from a tacky mix of rosin and sunscreen to heavy duty concoctions designed for use in strongman competitions — have long been illegal, but the ban has rarely been enforced.

Umps will check all starters multiple times and all relievers either at the end of his first inning or when removed, whichever occurs first. Caps, gloves and fingertips will be checked.

In other MLB news:

— Mets ace Jacob deGrom has been cleared to start the opener of New York’s doubleheader Monday against the Atlanta Braves after dealing with right shoulder soreness, and infielder Jeff McNeil has also been activated from the injured list. DeGrom was pulled after three innings Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs with the discomfort in his pitching shoulder. I

— The New York Mets have fired two high-ranking employees and will overhaul their legal and human resources departments on the recommendation of independent investigators hired to review the organization following allegations of sexual misconduct against former manager Mickey Callaway. was fired in October of 2019 for on-field performance. He was banned by Major League Baseball through at least 2022 in May following allegations of inappropriate behavior toward several women who work in sports media, including from his time with the Mets.


High court sides with former athletes in dispute with NCAA

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a ruling that could help push changes in college athletics, the Supreme Court has unanimously sided with a group of former college athletes in a dispute with the NCAA over rules limiting certain compensation.

The high court ruled today that NCAA limits on the education-related benefits that colleges can offer athletes who play Division I basketball and football can’t be enforced.

Under current NCAA rules, students cannot be paid, and the scholarship money colleges can offer is capped at the cost of attending the school. The NCAA had defended its rules as necessary to preserve the amateur nature of college sports. The case doesn’t decide whether students can be paid salaries.


Conferences urge stopgap for NCAA on NIL until federal law

UNDATED (AP) — Six Division I conferences are urging the NCAA to implement a stopgap measure that would allow college athletes to earn money off their fame before a federal law is passed. The conferences include the SEC, ACC and Pac-12.

In a letter obtained by AP and sent to the head of the Division I Council, the conference commissioners recommended the council refrain from adopting proposed reforms to the NCAA”s name, image and likeness compensation rules. The six conferences said the NCAA’s proposal would be vulnerable to legal challenges.

Six state laws allowing college athletes to earn endorsement money will take effect on July 1.


Lightning and Islanders play Game 5

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The ability of the Tampa Bay Lightning to bounce back after a loss will be tested again tonight.

The reigning Stanley Cup champions are 12-and-0 in games following a postseason loss since the start of their title run last year. Tonight they again host the New York Islanders, who evened the series at two games apiece with a 3-2 win on Saturday.

New York has already exhibited some fortitude of its own, rebounding from losing Games 2 and 3. The Islanders also erased series deficits by winning Game 4s the previous two rounds.


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former NHL player and Minnesota Wild assistant general manager Tom Kurvers has died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 58.

Kurvers won the Hobey Baker Award as the top college player. He then played 11 NHL seasons from 1984-1995 before moving into management. He began as a Coyotes scout, then joined the Lightning and helped build a Stanley Cup champion before moving on to the Wild.


Islanders sell out season tickets for 1st year at UBS Arena

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Islanders have sold out of season tickets for the first season in their new home at UBS Arena. The team says that’s an allotment of about 15,000 season tickets.

The Islanders are in the midst of their second straight trip to the semifinal round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the new arena won’t open for almost another four months.

UBS Arena is under construction next to the racetrack at Belmont Park and expected to open in November with a capacity of around 17,000 for hockey.

The Islanders also say 50 of the arena’s 56 suites have been sold out, and fewer than 240 seats are still available in the Dime Club.


Bills get green light to play in front of full stadium

UNDATED. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills have received the green light from New York state health officials to return to full capacity for home games this season.

Vaccinated and unvaccinated fans will be allowed to attend, though unvaccinated folks will be required to wear masks under federal guidelines.

The coronavirus pandemic led to Buffalo playing home games in an empty stadium during the regular season last year. The rules were loosened to allow about 6,700 fans attend the Bills’ two home playoff games in January.

In other NFL news:

— Eli Manning has a new job with the New York Giants. The two-time Super Bowl MVP is rejoining the organization to work in business opportunities and fan initiatives. The Giants announced the hiring on Monday, roughly 18 months after Manning retired following the 2019 season.


Harden commits to playing for US in Olympics

UNDATED (AP) — James Harden has committed to playing for U.S. men’s national basketball team that will play in the Olympics that begin next month. That’s according to a person familiar with the situation.

The men’s roster is getting closer to filled, with Miami’s Bam Adebayo also informing USA Basketball of his intention to play in the Tokyo Games.

The eight commitments, for now: Adebayo, Harden, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, Golden State’s Draymond Green, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Portland’s Damian Lillard.


Tokyo Olympics to allow limit of 10,000 local fans in each venue

TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics is set to open in just over a month. And Japanese organizers say there’s a limit of 10,000 local fans at each Olympic venue. That’s about 50% capacity.

This goes against Japan’s top medical adviser who has recommended the safest way during the COVID-19 pandemic is without any fans. Fans from outside Japan were banned several months ago.

Officials say there are strict rules to attend the games. Fans must wear masks, will not be allowed to cheer and must go straight home after the event.

The Olympics are scheduled to open July 23.