The Latest: Coronavirus affects sports at all levels, around the country

By The Associated Press

Mahomes is virtual commencement speaker

Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is set to be part of the virtual graduation ceremonies for Texas Tech, his alma mater.


Patrick Mahomes will address graduates of his alma matter, Texas Tech, as part of virtual graduation ceremonies. (AP)

The star quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs will address the graduates along with two students receiving their degrees in a ceremony to be livestreamed on May 23. Commencement ceremonies normally held at Texas Tech’s basketball arena were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mahomes was a record-setting passer for the Red Raiders before the Chiefs drafted him 10th overall in 2017. He just finished his second season as Kansas City’s starter by leading a fourth-quarter comeback in a 31-20 victory over San Francisco in the Super Bowl in February.

The 24-year-old Mahomes is the son of former major league pitcher Pat Mahomes. The younger Mahomes was a two-sport standout in high school in East Texas and briefly played baseball at Texas Tech before focusing on his football career.

Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec says, “Patrick’s story and his rise to stardom, both here at Texas Tech and in the NFL, have been a great source of pride for Red Raiders and an inspiration for thousands.”

IndyCar street race in Toronto postponed

The IndyCar race in downtown Toronto has been postponed. The race was scheduled to be held July 12 on a street course at Exhibition Place.

Event organizers said they have been in discussions with city officials about an alternate date later in the year for the popular race.

IndyCar has yet to start its season. It is scheduled to race June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway for its opening event. The Indianapolis 500, held on Memorial Day weekend every year since 1946, has been moved to August.

Players Coalition urges HEROS Act relief bill

A coalition of players is urging Congress to pass a coronavirus relief bill that would provide critical funding for elementary and secondary education.

Among the signers of the letter from the Players Coalition are NFL players Devin McCourty, Kelvin Beachum and Sebastian Joseph-Day. The coalition was formed in 2017 and aims to advance social justice and racial equality.

The letter asks the House and the Senate to pass the HEROES Act, which would secure internet access for millions of economically disadvantaged students during the pandemic.

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act proposed by the House would provide nearly $60 billion in relief funding to kindergarten through high school districts, as well as funding for schools and libraries to provide internet services for students and families.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the existing digital divide as millions of students struggle to get online, adjusting to distance learning without internet access,” said McCourty, a safety with the New England Patriots.

NASCAR stalls in Pennsylvania

NASCAR has yet to receive the green light to race in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf says he spoke to NASCAR officials about the status of the June 27 and 28 races at Pocono Raceway. The stock car series announced this week it will stick to Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Florida and Alabama for June races — all of them without fans.

NASCAR has now set plans for 20 races — including nine in the elite Cup Series — as it returns to the tracks after being shut down for more than two months by concerns about the coronavirus. The revised schedule didn’t address the scheduled doubleheader weekend at Pocono and the rest of season.

“We actually had conversations with NASCAR and I told them Pennsylvania is not ready to make a decision,” Wolf said. “The area that they want to have this gathering in is actually in the red right now, red zone, red phase, so I told them Pennsylvania is not ready to make a decision.”

The Cup Series is scheduled to run four times in 11 days at the South Carolina track and at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

Pay cuts for Oregon Ducks

Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens said Friday that the entire athletic staff has taken a 10% pay cut.

The Ducks are the latest athletic department to cut costs in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mullens said that Oregon is not planning to cut any sports to save money.

“We’re looking at a lot of other things. But cutting a sport is the last thing we would ever want to do,” Mullens said in a video conference call with reporters.

Oregon is also committed to helping the seniors on scholarship in canceled spring sport return next year.

“It’s about $525,000 that we’ve committed to fund those spring sports seniors to make sure that they get that final year experience,” Mullens said. “And our development team is going to help us try to raise that money to support those student athletes.”

Dolphins fan pay respects to Shula by vehicle

Miami Dolphins fans will be given a chance to view Don Shula’s statue at their stadium in the first of a series of events to celebrate the late coach.

Access to the statue by vehicle will be permitted next Friday and Saturday. Fans will be required to practice social distancing and are discouraged from bringing any items with them.

The Dolphins will host a public memorial for Shula at the stadium once coronavirus concerns ease.

Shula led the 1972 and 1973 Dolphins to Super Bowl championships. He died on May 4 at the age of 90.

LPGA hiatus continues

The Michigan tournament where the LPGA Tour hoped to resume has been canceled.

The LPGA says the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will not be played July 15-18 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The tour did not offer any other specifics except for Commissioner Mike Whan emphasizing the long-term health of the tour is paramount.

Whan says Dow has extended its title sponsor contract and the LPGA will return to the Great Lakes Bay region next year and beyond.

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