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June 21, 2021
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June 22, 2021
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Update on the latest sports


MLB begins checking pitchers for sticky stuff
UNDATED (AP) – Major League Baseball will begin 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.


Also in MLB:
– Jacob deGrom is still listed as a probable starter in a doubleheader against Atlanta and no doubt Mets management, players and fans will be closely watching every pitch the New York ace throws after recent health scares. The two-time NL Cy Young Award exited his last start after three perfect innings because of a sore right shoulder, which he might have aggravated taking a swing. In his previous outing, he was pulled after six innings with flexor tendinitis in his pitching arm. Medical tests haven’t revealed anything significant and deGrom says he feels fine to face the Braves at Citi Field.


– Merrill Kelly (2-7, 5.40 ERA) starts for Arizona to begin a three-game series at Chase Field against Milwaukee. The Diamondbacks then head to San Diego, hoping to end a major league-record 23-game road losing streak.


– Tampa Bay infielder Wander Franco, considered the best prospect in the minors, is on deck to make his big league debut. The Rays say they plan to promote the 20-year-old Franco from Triple-A Durham on Tuesday. Tampa Bay is off today and hosts the Red Sox Tuesday night. Franco is a .332 hitter with 145 RBIs in three minor league seasons. The Rays had the best record in the majors this year until their current six-game losing streak.


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.


Bills get green light to play in front of full stadium
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (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.


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.


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.