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Stanford to cut 11 varsity teams, Ivy League cancels fall sports due to pandemic

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July 8 (UPI) — As coronavirus cases continue to spike around the country, Stanford University is cutting 11 of its varsity programs and the Ivy League has ruled out playing sports this fall.

Stanford is discontinuing men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball and wrestling, according to the school. The programs will end at the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic year.

“As you can imagine, this has been a heartbreaking day for all of us, especially those student-athletes and coaches involved,” Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir said Wednesday. “We came to this decision only [after] exhausting all other viable alternatives.

“It recently became painfully clear we would not remain financially stable and support 36 varsity sports at a nationally competitive level, which is what we desire.”

The school announced the decision and the reasoning behind it in an open letter to the Stanford community on behalf of Muir, president Marc Tessier-Lavigne and provost Persis Drell. The letter said that funding the school’s 36 athletic programs was “not sustainable” and that alternatives such as budget cuts and fundraising were “insufficient.”

“These 11 programs consist of more than 240 incredible student-athletes and 22 dedicated coaches,” the letter read. “They were built by more than 4,000 alumni whose contributions led to 20 national championships, 27 Olympic medals, and an untold number of academic and professional achievements.

“Each of the individuals associated with these programs will forever have a place in Stanford’s history.”

Stanford will honor all of its scholarship commitments and provide assistance to any athletes who attempt to continue their careers elsewhere. Coaches’ contracts also will be honored.

Meanwhile, the Ivy League became the first Division I conference to cancel fall sports because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No decision has been reached about winter or spring Ivy League sports or whether fall sports could be pushed back to spring 2021.

“As a leadership group, we have a responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the students who attend our institutions, as well as the faculty and staff who work at our schools,” the Ivy League Council of Presidents said in a joint statement Wednesday. “These decisions are extremely difficult, particularly when they impact meaningful student-athlete experiences that so many value and cherish.

“With the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk, consistent with the policies that each of our schools is adopting as part of its reopening plans this fall.”

Student-athletes in fall sports within the conference will be allowed to practice — in modified form — on campuses.



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Parkour organizers ask Olympic committee to reject sport for 2024 Summer Games

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Dec. 1 (UPI) — Parkour Earth, a governing body for the sport, on Tuesday asked the International Olympic Committee to reject International Gymnastics Federation proposals to include the discipline in the 2024 Summer Games.

“Unfortunately, [the International Gymnastics Federation’s] encroachment and misappropriation of our sport continues,” Parkour Earth, the international federation for the obstacle-course-style training discipline, said in a letter to the committee.

Parkour is not currently part of the Olympic program for Paris 2024. The International Gymnastics Federation is expected to request Parkour’s inclusion on Monday when the International Olympic Committee’s executive board meets to finalize programs for the 2024 Summer Games.

Parkour was developed in Paris in the 1990s. The sport features a free-running competitor, who climbs, swings, rolls and jumps from one point to another within a complex environment, without the assistance of equipment.

The International Gymnastics Federation in 2018 recognized parkour as gymnastics’ newest discipline. Parkour Earth has often fought with the International Gymnastics Federation for control of the sport.

Sport climbing is one of the new sports included in the 2021 Tokyo program. Break dancing will be an Olympic sport in Paris.



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Fantasy football: Booker, Fitzpatrick among best Week 13 add-drops

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Dec. 1 (UPI) — We’ve finally reached the last week of the fantasy football regular season. That also means it’s the last week to improve your team on the waiver wire and through free agency.

This week’s waiver wire features several players who can help you win your final matchup of the regular season and help put your team in position for a playoff run.

You also could need to fill in empty spots on your roster, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers have Week 13 byes. Even if you don’t have any players on a bye week, you can play defense by adding players that your opponent might need.

It’s also a good idea to add backup running backs to your bench to capitalize on future injuries or illnesses for starters at the position. If a star running back gets hurt or goes on the reserve/COVID-19 list over the next few weeks, you could find yourself with an RB1 or RB2, if you use that strategy.

Las Vegas Raiders running back Devontae Booker and Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick are among my favorite waiver wire targets for Week 13.

I have added more of my favorite players to target on this week’s waiver wire and separated them by priority and position. The players I have listed ahead of this week’s waiver period have low ownership percentages in standard size leagues.

Here are my top players to add and top players to drop for Week 13:

ALL-ADD TEAM

QB | Ryan Fitzpatrick; RB | Devontae Booker, Cam Akers; WR | Denzel Mims, Hunter Renfrow, Gabriel Davis; TE | Kyle Rudolph; D/ST | Seahawks; K | Tyler Bass

HONORABLE MENTIONS

QB | Mike Glennon, Jalen Hurts; RB | Frank Gore, Alexander Mattison, D’Onta Foreman; WR | T.Y. Hilton, Michael Gallup; TE | Dalton Schultz; D/ST | Packers

TOP DROPS

QB | Tua Tagovailoa; RB | Phillip Lindsay, Salvon Ahmed; WR | Marquise Brown, John Brown; TE | Jared Cook, Noah Fant

QUARTERBACK

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been forced into action for the Miami Dolphins after rookie Tua Tagovailoa sustained a thumb injury. The veteran quarterback has thrown at least two touchdown passes in five of his seven starts this season and should produce again in Week 13 when the Dolphins host the Cincinnati Bengals.

Fitzpatrick is worth a streaming start on Sunday if your normal starter has a bye week or you are desperate at the position. Make sure to monitor Tagovailoa’s practice activity throughout the week before you put Fitzpatrick in as your starter, as the Dolphins could make a last-minute swap atop their depth chart.

RUNNING BACK

Las Vegas Raiders running back Devontae Booker is my top waiver wire addition for Week 13. Raiders starter Josh Jacobs sustained an ankle sprain in Week 12. Booker would be first in line to get carries if Jacobs misses time.

The Raiders face the New York Jets on Sunday, which is a great matchup, Booker will land in RB2/flex territory in my weekly rankings if Jacobs is ruled out.

The Los Angeles Rams finally gave some work to rookie running back Cam Akers on Sunday and he did not disappoint. Akers had 84 yards and a score on nine carries in the Rams’ Week 12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He should continue to receive a healthy workload moving forward.

Akers is a risky weekly start, but could prove to be a great streamer down the stretch, especially if you have a wide-receiver-heavy team and are in a league with at least 14 teams.

WIDE RECEIVER

New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims is another rookie who has gotten more opportunities as of late. Mims has received eight targets in each of his last three games. He also has at least 42 receiving yards in every game he has played in 2020.

I believe Mims’ best games are ahead. He should provide great bench value at wide receiver, especially as COVID-19 continues to impact player availability around the league.

TIGHT END

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph hasn’t been much of a touchdown threat this season, but is on pace to have one of his best seasons in terms of receiving yards. Rudolph had his best game of the season in Week 12, with seven catches for 68 yards in a win over the Carolina Panthers.

I expect Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to spread the ball out a lot down the stretch as he eyes playmakers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson at wide receiver and Rudolph on shorter routes. Rudolph should provide TE1 value in leagues with at least 14 teams that require starting tight ends.

This week in the National Football League

Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Monday, where the Seahawks defeated the Eagles 23-17. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo



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Ravens record no new positives, remove four players from COVID-19 list

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Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Monday, where the Seahawks defeated the Eagles 23-17. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo



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